Read by Greg Vaughan

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"Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley

"They called me a madman; they called me a dreamer!" Victor said to himself. All throughout school, Victor had craved knowledge. He'd torn through books like a wolf, but it had never been enough for him. There were still mysteries of the universe he did not understand and things he did not know. These were the questions that kept him awake at night, and what forced him to shut himself away in his laboratory, working late into the night.

All those long hours spent in isolation were about to pay off as he stood over his newest creation. There, on a cold operating table, lay the pale-green rotten fruit of his labors. Dr. Victor Frankenstein had stitched together bits and pieces of various dead bodies he had dug up at the local cemetery and had sewn them together into a giant, ghastly form. So obsessed was he with his project to reanimate the dead that he could not see what form his madness was taking. The creature stood at least seven feet tall if it was an inch, with bulging muscles and black lips covering its yellow teeth.

It was only after Victor had flipped the switch that brought the creature to life with a shower of sparks and lightning did he see the true face of his mistake. He screamed and ran out of the room, leaving his creation to sit up and take its first bleary-eyed look at the world alone and scared. It roared in fear and Victor ran faster, locking himself in a closet and waiting for the monster to just go away. After what seemed like hours huddled in the dark, he opened the door and peeked outside. The window was broken and the monster was gone.

"What have I done?" Victor said, slumping over at his desk. He cleaned up the mess and tried to force the whole event from his mind. For a little while, it was easy, but soon there were rumors in town of a horrible giant creature living in the nearby woods. Victor knew this was none other than his creature. If anyone ever found out that it he who made that beast, it would spell doom for his career and his family. He had no choice but to hunt his creature down and destroy it for good.

Meanwhile, the creature learned the basics of life on its own in the woods: how to eat, how to sleep, how to survive. He learned to speak and write by hiding in the shadows of the trees while he followed along with a little girl who was receiving private tutoring out in her garden. He stole books while her back was turned until he was as well-read and well-spoken as any gentleman.

Knees knocking, Victor stalked the city streets late one night. He held a heavy shovel as a weapon, but he was unsure what he would actually do if he happened upon the monster. He looked up and down the foggy, lantern-lit streets and completely missed a large shadow that came out from a dark corner behind him.

"Father," the creature called out.

Victor went pale and he gripped his shovel with sweaty palms. He turned around slowly and saw the all-too familiar frame of his mistake. "Stay back!" He swung the shovel at no one in particular.

"Put that down, you'll hurt yourself. Besides, you look ridiculous," the creature smiled humorlessly.

"What would you know about that? Nothing!"

"And whose fault is that? You made me this way, and then you abandoned me, forcing me to live in the shadows like a monster!"

"You are a monster!" Victor shouted.

"No, Father. A monster is something you must choose to be, not something based on your appearance. You, Father, are the real monster. But don't worry, you will not see me again. I have decided to live far away in the woods, away from the unfair judgments of mankind."

And then he was gone. Victor returned home, at first feeling that he had been lucky. However, as he thought on what the creature had said, he realized the world around him was still full of monsters, but was now without its only purely decent man.