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Creature and the maiden chapter 35. Enjoy!

There was a moment of stunned silence on both sides, and it was in that moment that Victor realized he had not truly expected to see his creation alive - truly alive!

"Y-y-you?!" Victor gasped, backing into the wall. His heart pounded against his rib-cage.

The pale, grey face; the shoulder black hair and sharp features staring directly back at him, utterly confused. It was nearly the same expression Victor recalled from that fateful time in the attic, so many months ago.

For a heartbeat, Victor hoped this was all a dream. A horrible, horrible dream. The thing he hoped to never see again, either in the light of day or black of night, and most especially: in this dirty inn. Of all the inns' in the world, they shared this very roof.

No foreboding, nor dark signs, rumors or peasant superstition, could have ever prepared him for this.

Sensing the upcoming scream that would probably wake the whole inn up, John rushed to cover Victor's gaping mouth, dragging the paralyzed former scientist into the bedroom and quickly closing the door.

Feeling like a prison door was shutting behind him, the only sensible thing Victor could think to do was take a large bite of John's hand, causing the monster to remove the appendage from Victor's face and giving Victor the opportunity to back away.

Trying to find any weapon he could use to protect himself, Victor saw a small dagger laying on the floor; quickly, he picked it up and pointed it with trembling hands at John, trying to aim at his heart.

"S-stay away, do you hear?!" Victor said with all the sharpness he could muster, but his voice wavered.

"Put the knife down!" John exclaimed, edging himself as far away from Victor and the dagger as possible, and covering the door so Victor wouldn't make an attempt to escape. "I can't deny that I'm greatly surprised myself. Of all places in the world, that I could meet my creator here."

Victor stared at him for a moment, before he began to laugh hysterically. "You-you can talk?!" This is crazy, utterly crazy. "I must be dreaming."

"You're not dreaming, I'm afraid." John smiled bitterly. "I'm flesh and blood just like yourself, and let me assure you – even when you abandoned me in that dark, lonely attic so many months ago, forced me to survive in this cruel world on my own – I do not wish you harm."

"I was angry!" Victor's laughter died abruptly, and he stared at John. "I didn't know what I was doing. You were- you were-"

"A mistake? A failure? Something you bitterly regret ever creating?" John walked closer to Victor, ignoring the still-shaking dagger. He was almost twice Victor's size, so there was no problem for him to prove who really was the true master here.

"No. I am certain God hates me now," Victor again gave a bitter laugh. Realizing how tiny and weak he was compared to the towering grandeur he once imaged would be his masterpiece.

A perfect Adam.

"I wanted to cure the world from death and misery." Victor said as he sagged against the wall, overwhelmed with utter despair. "When I held that key of life, I thought I finally could be a god. An immortal. What a naive fool I was."

"Is the life of immortality really worth it? You should have known your Greek mythology better." John sneered down at Victor. "Titan Prometheus gave fire to the humans, but in return for disobeying the gods, he had to pay the price, and was chained for his gall. An eagle came to pluck his liver every day. Is immortality really worth the price?"

Intimidated, Victor quickly moved up from the floor, standing in front of his creation.

"Of course! But back then," he let out a bitter laugh, shaking his head. "I was too naive to think; to give something so precious – like fire – to the poor human beings, you know that in return they would evolve something much greater. It was worth the pain."

Victor closed his eyes as he turned around; partly because John's ugly face seemed to make his stomach roll, but mostly because he was frightened to now see this situation wasn't one of his crazy hallucinations. This was real, and he had finally met his nightmare. No matter how much he wanted to pretend otherwise.

John heaved a small, bitter sigh, and moved to sit down on the bed that barely stood his immense weight.

"You really hoped that I was dead?"

"No. Yes … I don't know. I tried not to think … I hoped …" Victor muttered, opening and closing his shaking fists on each side of his stiff body. Then he shook his head quickly. "I hoped it was a bad dream, first, something that I created in my imagination," Victor laughed nervously. Again, he was drawing out some of the secrets he hadn't even admitted to Mr. Dubois – or to himself, for that matter. "But be sure that I received a fair share of nightmares, because of my ignorance and stupidity. Are you happy, that I suffered? That I could not forget, even if I wanted to?"

He didn't dare to look at John's face; he was too afraid of his reaction. Too afraid to see his creation's satisfaction of the misery and upcoming payment of his creator's crimes.

"What do you want?" Victor muttered, when the silence grew long.

John had anticipated the question and had a ready response.

"I need you to confess openly what you have done. To your family. So they will know what you have done – and that way, they will easily understand what I want is reasonable. They can fear me, pity me, love me – but I want justice."

Victor was silent.

John moved closer, taking care to appear as nonthreatening as possible, despite his immense frame. "I don't care what you think of me, nor do I have any wish to be a part of your life. The only thing I demand is that you and your family help me and Laura."

Hearing Laura's name made Victor jolt with bewilderment and look up at John.

"Laura? Is she here?"

"Yes: did you not wonder how I came here? It was with thanks to your cousin, Laura Dubois. She saved my life."

Victor stared at John with disbelief. "But then it must be – the boy! The boy! The redhead who came out from this room! Was that Laura?"

"Yes."

He was so surprised that for a moment, he forgot all his other worries. "How did you manage to escape from that Rochester? Is he after you? Is she alright? How did you escape?"

"It's a long story, but in brief: it was Laura who saved my life, in the very last minute. One of her friends helped us to escape with nothing more than what we could carry on our backs. We were trying to reach Geneva. To you and your family."

Astonishment danced across Victor's face as John explained, before at last, relaxing into one of near-relief and a small smile appeared on his face.

"Then the goddess of fortune has finally reached us, because Mr. Dubois is actually here, in the same building. We were traveling to find and rescue you from that Rochester. I didn't know if you were the … creation, but now we are here! Mr. Dubois can finally meet his daughter and we can finally reach a happy ending in this mis-"

But then, there was a moment of silence. A cold, freezing silence.

Victor had interrupted his speech as his eyes spotted the set of small, crimson stains upon the bedsheets. Staring down at the scattered fabrics, he hadn't noticed earlier, from his bewilderment and fear of John's presence.

Until now.

To check his eyes weren't deceiving him, Victor quickly moved towards the bed and removed the linen, and saw the clear, small, red spots covering the white sheets. The pieces of the puzzle were suddenly arranging themselves alarmingly quick. Confused at the rapidly reddening expression on Victor's face, John followed the line of his creator's gaze, and his features darkened.

"Do you know what you've done?" Victor pointed down at the bed accusingly with his finger. "Do you know what you've done!?"

It was embarrassing and John couldn't help but flush. Quickly he moved and covered the blanket over what Laura have given him during their precious night.

He had wished to kept this special night between just him and Laura. A secret only they would share, something memorable, pure and beautiful. But the way Victor was looking at him – like John had done something ultimately unforgivable. A horrific, sinful crime, and perhaps John alone was the criminal.

"We know what we have done and it's not your business!" John blustered, and moved closer to Victor, trying to quell the storm of rage and fear building inside of him.

"He's going to kill you! Oh, my god, do you have any regards for him or Laura!?Victor yelled at him. "Do you know what sort of misery you will put her through?!"

"We both know the consequences. We are facing it, and not backing away like you did."

"To provide for you financially, I will do happily – but what will Mr. Dubois think you marrying his only daughter? Ever thought of his reaction to his son-in-law?"

"I love her and she loves me!"

"A monster? She really loves a monster? Or have your forced her?"

This was too much for John: he strode forward, grabbed Victor's shirt. lifted him up from the ground, and started to shake him like a ragdoll. "Don't. Call. Me. A. MONSTER!"

"Do you want to force her to choose between you and her own father?" Victor gasped, struggling to free himself from John's great grip. "Is that what you want?"

John stopped shaking and stared down at him. "That would never happen."

"How do you know?" Victor snapped, still locked in his unfortunate position.

"I just know." Uncomfortably, he let Victor go from his grasp, sending the man staggering to his feet. As Victor adjusted his shirt, a tight smile strained his lips.

"You think so? Think carefully! This is a cruel world. I promise you, I will never leave you again because you're my responsibility, but the consequences over what you and Laura have done -"

"It was out of pure love!"

"Sometimes love is not enough! Did you hope that this was never to come? It's now or never." Victor smiled grimly. "Face it, then, and bring Laura and Mr. Dubois together. The only solution is to find out and let us see how is going to end."

John bowed his head, with a sigh of resignation. "I don't have much of a choice, in this matter. Where is he?"

"Probably in his room, or downstairs," Victor moved toward the door and opened it. "Let us find out," he remarked, and with an oddly triumphant smile, moved into the hallway. When he turned, John wasn't behind him, but was still standing in the room, looking for the first time nervous and uncertain.

"It's now or never."

John nodded and went out, avoiding the door-frame with a tilt of his head.

Of course, he was happy that Laura would finally meet her father after so many years, and be able to find an end to their dramatic journey. But could Victor be right? That just taking a look at him, Mr. Dubois would be frightened, angry, demanding John leave his daughter alone? That she deserved someone better? The doubt was eating him alive, but for the single thought that, perhaps, it would still be alright. There was a chance for a happy ending, if he only believed in it. To show Mr. Dubois that there was a man behind this hideous form. That both he and Laura's deserved each other. They were meant for each other.

He must be brave, he must have courage, he must believe in Laura. He must have -

Just before he reached the stairs, his gaze flicked to the tiny, cramped window on the landing. Immediately, he grabbed Victor by the arm.

"Lie down, now!" He hissed.

"What?" Victor said confused, "What is -?"

"Now!" John dragged Victor to the floor, who was looking at him fearfully, as if the monster had turned insane. Carefully, John creeped closer to look through the window again.

What he saw chilled and angered him to the very bone. There were horses outside - a great many horses, and a crowd of armed men.

"Did you bring any men with you?" John demanded.

"No." Victor whispered, his face pale. "What's going on?"

Lingering silently in the hallway they heard voices downstairs, but they couldn't make out what they were saying.

Then suddenly they heard something ascending the steps. It was several people by the sound of it, and they were in hurry. Moving up to the corridor they were standing in.

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