“Okay, first you drink from him—“
“I’ve done it already! Why isn’t he waking up all black-eyed yet?”
“—and then he has to drink from you, remember?”
“Oh yeah, that’s right. Got so excited about the blood I’d nearly forgotten. So I just…ergh…make a little cut, and then stick my wrist in his mouth like so…”
“He doesn’t seem to be drinking.”
“He’s looking kind of peaky.”
“Peaky? He hasn’t moved or blinked in ten minutes. That’s a bit beyond peaky.”
“Think he’s dead?”
“You just have to slap him a bit, Elizabeth. Oi! Come on! Drink up!”
“I told you. He’s not going to do it. Victor would rather die than become a vampire.”
“That’s what they all say until they’re actually dying—Oh! He’s coming to! Yes, there you go…have some nice, sweet blood—“
“Oops. He’s spit it out.”
“Come on—Elizabeth, hold him down—Ow! He bit me! And he’s—oh come on! Stop spitting it out!”
“Looks like I win, Fritz. I’ll take cash or check.”
“HOLD ON! Be reasonable, Mr. Frankenstein. Being a vampire is fun, honest!”
“You’ll never have had so much fun in your life!”
“Think of us as enablers. Enablers for a new world of parties, drink, and supernatural powers.”
“He’s giving you the look.”
“I can see that, Eliza, thanks.”
“You know, I used to be scared of that look when I worked for him. Made me think he’d shoot me if I so much as came to work with my hair still wet.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah. …I really don’t think he’s going to drink, Fritz.”
“We just need more blood is all. Enough to, like, flush it down him. Sit on him while I go get a knife from the kitchen.”
“Hah…you should see the face he’s giving me. You wouldn’t think he’d be nervous about the knife, given the state of his neck. Okay…hurry up, Fritz, he’s making me uncomfortable. Like he’s about to bolt. Or break my nose.”
“Figure it out, yeah? He’s your brother, after all. We’ve only one sharp knife and I’ve got to wash it.”
“It’s okay, Victor. The knife’s not for you, it’s for Fritz.”
“…you’re a traitor…Elizabeth…a bloody traitor…you have betrayed your country, your species, and…by compromising me…you have doomed us all…”
“Don’t give me that, Victor. You became the traitor when you started sacrificing children for your agenda!”
“Hey now, Elizabeth, curb that negativity. This is supposed to be fun! Right, Mr. Frankenstein? Fun! Now hold his mouth open while I slice up my arm.”
I’m cold. I’m sick.
And I’m thirsty.
God, am I thirsty.
I’m in a water closet, I think. It’s the only place I can think of to be so cramped and dark with a large porcelain projectile in the center of it.
My hands are tied to the base of this cold, porcelain object. Probably a toilet. I shudder at the smell. It hasn’t been cleaned in quite some time.
I pull at the handcuffs. They screech against the porcelain. I try again. And again. And again. But it’s no use. The water closet is too narrow to get any leverage or momentum.
There must be another way out.
I hold one of the handcuffs still and try to squeeze out of it. It skins my knuckles. But it’s hopeless.
I sit back against the wall and breathe.
I feel sick.
I feel like the Victor I was has been taken out and replaced with a poor imitation. One that is aggressive and jittery.
I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.
The house is quiet. No clues as to where I am. Last thing I remember, Eliza and Fritz had attacked me and…I think Eliza had been trying to get me to drink her blood? I’m not quite sure. Things got hazy once they started feeding.
Frankly, I’m amazed they had the restraint to resist killing me. Although they hadn’t been particularly tidy or conscientious about their meal, either.
I don’t understand why they didn’t just finish me off. I don’t understand how Elizabeth got into this mess.
I don’t think I swallowed any of Elizabeth’s blood, but maybe I did. This thought keeps me busy during my unending occupancy in the water closet.
Did I or didn’t I drink in the end? I wish I could remember.
The thought crosses my mind: what if I did drink?
That would make me something I cannot abide. If this is true, if my worst fear has indeed been realized, then I must put an end to myself immediately.
But where would that leave humanity? Abraham is gone. Ahab is gone. I am the last person standing between peace and total chaos. Can I still be that person, even if the unthinkable has happened?
Surely a compromised savior is better than no savior at all.
A knock. Two. Then a “We’re comin’ in!”
The scrape of a chair being removed, then the door is opened and the light is turned on.
I squint because I have gotten so used to the dark. Standing in the light are Elizabeth and Fritz.
“How’re you feeling?” asks Elizabeth as if it’s routine.
I keep my mouth shut and assess the situation.
“Sorry for the rough treatment,” says Fritz, “but we didn’t want you causing trouble.”
Questions barrel through my head but I ask none, except for the only one that’s important.
“What do you want from me?”
They look at each other like this whole situation is a joke. I fail to see the humor in it.
Elizabeth shrugs. “From you, from Fritz… I don’t really want anything, Victor.”
She crouches to my level. I resist the urge to scoot further underneath the toilet.
“It’s like having kids, yeah? What makes people want to have kids? I don’t know personally, and I’d bet my teeth you don’t either, but I imagine it has something to do with leaving a legacy.”
She leans forward; I remain motionless and watch her eyes carefully.
“That’s what I’m doing, Victor. Making my family bigger.”
“It’s fun as well,” Fritz chimes in. “Having mates to hang out with.”
“Sure is,” Elizabeth agrees, smiling back at him. “It’s no fun being a vampire alone.”
I clench my jaw. I am so thirsty I think I might pass out. I am so angry I want to tear their heads off.
I swallow instead. “So let me see if I understand you correctly. The only reason you are doing this is to expand your friend group—“
“Nah it’s not just—“
“—and out of the hundreds of people in your collective pools of acquaintances, you chose…me.”
They look at each other again. Maybe a bit sheepishly, but it’s hard to tell.
“Well, you, Mr. Frankenstein, were actually more of an experiment,” explains Fritz.
I blink once. “Experiment?”
“Yeah, um,” Elizabeth gets to her feet. “we wondered what you’d be like if you were a vampire. And if you would even let us do it. And there was no small amount of revenge in there, as well, if we’re honest.”
The panic is creeping in but I force my face to stay serene. “And did I?”
Fritz shrugs. “We think so? You’re covered in so much human blood it’s hard to tell, but we think so.”
A/N: The worst thing about this whole situation is that Victor was chained to a toilet, of all things. A TOILET.
This is a little concept I’ve been playing with where Victor Frankenstein, Abraham Van Helsing, and Captain Ahab are all part of a monster-hunting group, except for whatever reason, there’s just Frankenstein left. It’s still in its super early stage. Its play-with-no-consequences-or-direction stage.
The title is from the song, “Long Way Down” by Robert DeLong.