Hot Cinnamon Sunset
Victor Frankenstein almost regretted the arrival in Russia, because it marked an end to a much needed respite. Of course, there was still the ride back through his much-beloved, scenic landscapes, but going back he dreaded nonetheless. Back at the Chateau Frankenstein there was the constant lurking threat of the daemon, that monster he had left to the world... It was the reason he had gone somewhere besides England, a favorite nation of his, the reminder of that Creature.
Not that he had any illusions of getting away from the monstrous thing with its inexplicable strength and speed, but being on the move allowed for at least the feeling of freedom. Yet the feeling was just that, nothing more, and he was still kept up at night dreaming of William, and Justine... Guilt tormented him, escaping all responsibility was a hard burden to bear, after all. Not that it was his fault, damn fate and all, but conscious and grief are, regrettably, still haunting him despite this...
No one at home understood, not that he had given anyone a chance, with his refusal to mention that a monster existed at all- much less that acknowledge he created it, but he was sure that they wouldn’t understand even if he did start trying. His father Alphonse was too old and frail, his sweet best friend far too, well, sweet and optimistic, his cousin Elizabeth such a gentle woman, and... oh, who was that other brother that wasn’t the late William? What was his name? He was a middle, youngest now, brother, hmmm... Ah! Yes, Ernest. Uhm.... He was rather useless, really. No hope there for understanding.
The Swiss man is lurched from his musings when his carriage comes to a stop. He blinks a few times, really taking in the city of St. Petersburg for the first time.
“This is where the... university is?” Victor asks, his disgust mixing with some surprise. He was not akin to such... well... how to say this- Victor is rich.
“Yes’ir.” The carriage driver confirms.
“Indeed.” Victor comments dryly.
His first reluctant step from the carriage is met with terrible heat, bustle, plaster, and dust, creating a sort of airless feeling. The stench is very unfamiliar to him, one so used to open air. Yet, it not too different from the stench of death: which he remembers very clearly from his work.
Really, his expression of disgust has lost all the elements of surprise. Surely there can be nothing that could redeem this place! Why, the monster dilemma has him so very distracted that he hadn’t bothered to do a... quality check. Fate truly punished him endlessly. Such inescapable misery by whose hand he could only guess!
He’d have to make the best of this... Surely the monster would not bother him here, he’s already terribly miserable. How intelligent could anyone be in this sort of a hell?! He supposed this university would adore him, in that case... perhaps the ride home was not something to dread after all...
At the moment of entering the university he pauses. Not for any real reason, just because he had the oddest feeling... and in that moment he first set eyes upon The Man. An exceptionally handsome young man, with a refined face, just above average height, slim, well-built if on the thin side, with the most beautiful dark eyes, dark hair, and that charmingly pale Russian complexion. Victor is so immediately drawn to this man that he lets go of the door all together. It certainly wasn’t for the man’s dress either, as the rags he was wearing would have made the shabbiest of beggars turn away in shame. Certainty it wasn’t that ridiculous, leaning top hat either...
No. No there was some sort of enlightenment. Some sort of withdrawn angst that Victor immediately recognized.
“You there!” Victor called at first in German, forgetting himself. A confused few turned. The Man did not even glance up. He was in a state of deep thought, and not caring to observe anything, or anyone, around him.
Some peasant asked Victor a question in Russian, and the Swiss man quickly corrected himself, pointing after The Man and repeated some Russian phrases. Too late though, as the strangely nervous Man had already disappeared into the bustle of the city.
No. No! Not too late. Victor had paused at that door for a reason. He had seen and been drawn to that strangely ethereal, and also somewhat filthy and disgusting, vagrant- who had been muttering to himself- for a reason! Now, Victor Frankenstein may have been a man of very little follow through after completion, but he was a man of completion! A man of passion! And a very, very staunch believer of the whiles of fate. He would act upon this man, or he would be haunted by the those beautiful dark eyes and their gleaming madness as he had been haunted by his desires to create life from decay.
“Tell them I may be late,” Victor remarks shortly, flicking a coin to the carriage driver.
He then plunges into the crowds of St. Petersburg undaunted by the prospect of crime, as well-dressed as he is. There is a focus in his mind now, and when he latches onto a target he sees no consequences! (Until they are direct consequences that, which directly affect him.)
“You! You there! With that hat!” Thank goodness for that hat.
The Man is taking no notice at all, it must be such a fascinating thing- whatever is on his mind. Victor weaves through the mobs of rather dirty Russians, dodging beggars who grab for the clearly wealthy man.
His target pauses long enough, thank you destiny, and Victor manages to catch up. Evidently he’ll need to take a direct approach to this problem. So he grabs a hold of the man.
“Good evening!” Victor exclaims, a tad out of breath.
Terror and confusion seem to grab the poor shabby man, who immediately freezes- looking ready to run, or perhaps faint. Hard to tell. Victor isn’t quite sure how to continue...
† † †
Rodion Romanvicth Raskolnikov was supposed to be in bed. He had spent nearly the last two days there, after all. The doctor, his doctor wasn’t he? That damn man...
“Stay in bed?” He scoffs to himself. “As if I were mad after all that would help...”
Another lapse into silence. Mad, is he mad? What makes him mad? Acting upon his impulses? Or failing at those impulses...
No! No, he hadn’t failed yet, had he? He was still free...
“What man has not felt as I have? The greatest of us, they were not mad for doing as I have done... not remembered as being mad, surely... damn if this is madness than I shall endeavor to be mad!”
Well... madness didn’t make him think less of that sock he’d hidden, the one dipped in blood, or that money he’d hidden... He thought of little else really.
Suddenly, as though his thoughts had summoned it, he was seized upon. His heart clenched in fear, and he froze.
There isn’t anything... they can’t know... who would have told them?! What could they have found?!
“...good evening sir.” The well-dressed man who had grabbed him commented.
Raskolnikov squints, confused. What kind of game was this? His accent was decidedly foreign. Was he even real at all- ah, that had become a concern these days.... the grip on his arm felt real enough...
“Are you a beggar?” The foreign man continues after a long pause in which he had been waiting in silence waiting for Raskolnikov to speak.
A beggar? Why do people assume such things...? He did not ask for this sort of intervention in his affairs! Why must people come upon him like this? Wasn’t it clear he needed to be alone...
“I am a student.” Raskolnikov finally comments, rather shortly.
“Oh! A student! Well, I am a guest of the college; I am speaking this week on natural sciences!” The foreigner seems relived to have found something the two can speak about
Raskolnikov’s eyes narrow, what was he doing? Calling him out like that? Why must he take away the one thing...
“I am a beggar then.” Raskolnikov attempts to pull his arm away and is surprised by the other mans strength. Perhaps though, he has just grown immensely weak...
“You just claimed you were a student! Now you turn back on your word?”
“Unhand me!” Raskolnikov replies, again trying to pull free. He is sick of this unprecedented confrontation, he is very sick in general. Certainly this is not what he needs now... No, he just needs more time to think.
“You are more than a beggar or a student, I cannot unhand you! Fate has led me to you, and that much I do know!”
There’s a moment of silence where they both stare at one another. Raskolnikov cannot believe the university would be paying this man to teach! And they believe him to be mad...
“I am not concerned with your ideas of fate, or with whatever other strange beliefs you possess and I am ill and damn you unhand me or... or I shall call the police!”
Yes, he would too. Call down upon them the very people he most feared right now. It was some kind of sick force that continued to draw him to the people that could enslave him... the guilt, the thrill of it...
“Ill?” Is it Raskolnikov’s imagination or does the mad stranger seem pleased? “I can help you with that! Where is it you live?”
... Fine. Fine! Who was he to deny help? Had he not been trying to help himself? Why not give this foreign man, this teacher if he even was, the chance to fulfill some twisted sense of duty or charity?
A dark smile crosses Raskolnikov’s face. Once a man such as this saw the place he lived in he would not stay long. No one wanted to stay long in that miserable hovel... his miserable, tiny room. Why, he imagined that the richer man wouldn’t even come inside!
“Follow me...” He finally yanks his arm back and turns abruptly. Back towards the Hay Market, back to his home.