Hopes of Madness Abandoned Them: The Story of Ygor Fritz

Submitted into Contest #195 in response to: Write a story from the point of view of a sidekick, or someone who is happy to stay away from the limelight.... view prompt


Horror Suspense

To Ms. Elga Fritz, Hull, England.

Ingolstadt, Mar. 15th, 17—

My dearest sister,

I apologize for the late arrival of my first correspondence. How you must have worried. Fear not, I have arrived unharmed, yet weary from travel. Ingolstadt is truly a mecca of knowledge and learning. 

I was received warmly by Dr Umholtz and his staff of metallurgists. Our quarters are quite pristine, not exactly the spartan accommodations I had pictured while imagining my boardings during my long journey. We are truly a cohort of gentleman blacksmiths. 

My first week promises to be as inspiring as anything I have ever discovered before. Our professor has immediately taken to me, as my skills have surpassed even his greatest expectations. Alas, I fear I may have raised a note of jealousy in my contemporaries, as they choose not to include me in their extracurricular activities. A fact that, in itself, I do not mind. I’ve never shared the predilections of the night-owl, as you well know. Still, I hope, through time, to ingratiate myself to the others.

What a long way I have come from the years in our father’s butcher shop. And although I took to the skills of the blade and flesh as a bird to the sky, I can feel my intuition for metallurgic manipulation guiding my hand and mind as naturally as the days learning the knife and cut when I was a boy.

I plan to write soon and hope the bog harvest this year is a merciful season. Please send my love to my niece and nephew, and the rest.

Your loving brother, 

Y. Fritz

To Ms. Elga Fritz, Hull, England.

Ingolstadt, May 6th, 17—

My dearest sister,

I am again regretful and apologetic that my correspondences have been so far and few between. I find that there is no way to break the news of my current state to you without worrying you and the rest of the family. And so, I will tear the bandage off.

I fear that this may be my last letter, for I have been wrongly accused of theft and scheduled to hang from my neck in a week's time. Despite my ardent insistence of my innocence, my pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

I suspect I may be the victim of an elaborate framing. As I have earned the admiration of our professor, I have also garnered the contempt of my peers. One of them, Bilke, has ties to wealth and stature that elevate him above suspicion. I had thought us friends, but I now see that he had not been an ally, but a predator in wait.

The court has ruled that my alibi, as there were no witnesses to my scholastic doings during the night in question, is inadmissible. Professor Umholtz visited me during my detainment and informed me that Bilke has testified that he witnessed me entering the faculty building just before the crime took place, which, I assure you, is an impossibility. I fear that Umholtz may not believe my innocence. He quietly listened to my protests and after a solemn moment of reflection, asked me if I would consider confessing. My heart sank. I not only hold Dr. Umholtz in the highest regard, I had hoped that he might consider me a friend. I fear that if he cannot believe my innocence then I am doomed to the scrutiny of those who have already decided my fate.

I am truly sorry. Please send my love to the children and the rest. I will hold you all in my heart and know that, someday, we will all be reunited in God’s kingdom.

Your loving brother,


To Ms. Elga Fritz, Hull, England.

Ingolstadt, Oct. 29th, 17—

Dearest sister,

Do not fear, this is not a posthumous letter from the grave. I have been both blessed and cursed. I was tried and hanged and pronounced dead. Because of a legal precedent set almost eighty years ago, I can no longer be hanged for my crime, as the official death pronouncement ties the hands of my prosecutors. Oh sister, you should have heard them ravenously calling for my rehanging, when, by the grace of god, I was spared by a worn rope and a senile doctor.

Although I still live, my body has been mangled. During the hanging my neck was broken and my back twisted into gross deformity. I fear you may not recognize me when you see me next. 

Despite the survival of my execution and the pronouncement that my societal debt had been fulfilled, the Metallurgical Society still found it paramount to denounce all affiliations with me. I spent a short while destitute, turned into a vagrant and beggar, until I met a savior. A true gentleman and visionary who saw the remaining potential in me. I have taken a new vocation; A scientist’s assistant. 

My new patron, Victor, believes he may be on the verge of discovering the elixir of life. He is truly on the vanguard of our time. What nobler station can there be than to rid the world of death and disease. At first I held a natural skepticism that the knowledge of life and death was to be understood only by a higher power, not to be learned by man. But, as Victor and I toiled tirelessly, night after night, I began to believe that he may hold the answer to the greatest question of human existence. 

Please know that, although I have suffered greatly, I am well and hope to see all of you again. Please send my love to the children and the rest.

Your brother,


To Ms. Elga Fritz, Hull, England.

Ingolstadt, Feb. 12th, 17—

Oh, sister, the horrors I have seen. I fear my master Frankenstein has doomed all of humanity. In our blind pursuit of the fountain, we have created a scourge. I cannot sleep, my dreams filled with the nightmares of the wrongs we have committed. I should have known from the zeal of madness in the doctor’s countenance. 

The beginnings of our experiments started benignly enough. We reanimated small rodents and birds. It was a sight to behold. Their bodies, lifeless and limp, or even in states of rigor mortis, sprang to life under our induced electrical surges. Had we not been so filled with excitement we may have been able to foresee our inevitable folly. Only after the creation of our monstrous magnus opus did I notice the signs of malevolence in our previous subjects. 

We have blasphemed in the face of God and for this I believe that we may not meet again in his kingdom. I fear I have secured my admission to a hell that awaits my arrival with bated breath. We have done the unspeakable. We have raised the dead. We have raised an abomination of creation. A sight of horror. We barely escaped with our lives. 

Please believe that I had no intention of setting this monster on my fellow man, despite what you may hear to the contrary. The municipalities have come to believe that I, and Dr. Frankenstein, have set the beast on them as an execution of revenge, and although I must admit to harboring feelings of resentment for my mistreatment at the hands of the village-folk, I would never have wished such a terrible fate as this upon them.

The monster has claimed thirteen lives now. I have resolved, despite my limited capabilities, to capture and destroy the creature. Victor and I have laid a plan that we believe may work. It may be our last chance, and spell our peril, but we must atone for our crimes.

Please pray for me, sister. Pray that I may find a path toward absolution. I hope to see your faces once again, if not on this terrestrial plane, then on the next.


To Ms. Elga Fritz, Hull, England.

Ingolstadt, Aug. 4th, 17—

Hello, Elga,

The winds of fate are an enigmatic and dark mistress. Only months ago I feared for my life and now I see that mortality is only an illusion. I have stared into the eye of God and found the light that lives there is infinite and all knowing, and I am now one with it. 

We thought the creature a monster. He was anything but. I still don’t fully grasp the source of his awareness, or who the identity of the soul that once inhabited him might have been. Maybe an amalgamation of the parts that constituted his form. 

We talked with it at length after its capture. It lamented for the lives it had taken and spoke of the torment that haunted it. The torment that was so great, it begged for its annihilation. We were more than happy to oblige. 

Although we have committed unspeakable atrocities, we have also run our hands along the curtain of the divine. The secrets of creation. And so, the doctor and I concluded that this great work, this wondrous creation, and the lives that had been sacrificed to know its existence, could not be turned away from. 

You may believe I have gone insane. I assure you that I am of sound mind. I would not have volunteered for such a reckless undertaking, had I not believed that there was any other way to continue the work. It would have been a great loss to the progress of man to simply destroy the monster. 

As you know my body had been mangled and disfigured. Every day of my life was a battle against suffering and ineptitude. I could not have wished for anything more than to escape that terrestrial form, and so it was with great consideration that the doctor and I came upon the decision to replace the monster’s brain with my own.

The procedure was as successful as we could have ever hoped. I feel I have been elevated to the stature of a demi-god. My strength is immeasurable and my fortitude, seemingly unlimited. I regret my haste in dispatching the good doctor, but it had to be done. He had lost his will and I could not afford for his indecision to inhibit the work that I now see to be the greatest discovery to ever be told.

As I mail this I have embarked home. I feel the sleepy villages of Hull may be the perfect environment for my research to continue. Tell the children and the rest that I will be seeing you all soon. 



Elga’s hand trembled in the fire light of her hovel’s hearth as her eyes darted along the final passage of her brother’s letter. She read the letter over. And then over again. She cast a gaze into the crackling embers of the dying fire and held the letter to her heart. Her poor brother. He had been through so much and now this cryptic letter. Had he truly lost his mind? Would he ever make it home? Or had he become deranged, and at this very moment was roaming the streets of the western villages of Ingolstadt.

Elga fell back into her seat, the straw stuffing whispering a hushing crunch as she settled. She let her hand fall to her lap, holding the letter loosely. She gazed into the distance as the sleepy embers glowed. Elga took a deep breath and turned to her children, all three fast asleep. Her oldest, using his textbook as a blanket. She traced the features of his face in the evening glow with her eyes, and huffed a small laugh—only a rumble in her throat, really— through her nose. 

She read the letter a final time, her eyes running along the lines, in the dim glow of the dying fire. She mumbled the words to herself, came to the end, and felt a shiver run through her home. The fire sparked, flared, and murmured a lullaby. Elga breathed deep again and folded the letter. She slipped it into its envelope and tucked it into the pocket of her blouse. She brought her hands to her sides with a groan and after a bout of sways, managed to push herself to her feet. She crept to the fireplace and stirred the embers. They flared up in a final dance. Elga tipped a candle and lit it against the fading flame as the embers laid themselves to sleep. She crossed the room and held the candlelight on them, her fist hitched into her hip as she regarded her children. 

Her eldest was first to stir. “Mother?” He stretched with a yawn, unconsciously catching his book as it fell from his lap.

She smiled a waned simper, “Time for bed, August.” and roused the younger children with gentle shakes. They slowly began to wake with bleary half opened eyes. 

Her eldest gathered their texts and set them carefully on a table before turning to his mother. “What of the news of Uncle Ygor?” He gazed hopefully at his mother as she gathered the children and gently guided them to their quarters with a coaxing hand.

She did not respond, only flashing him a wary eye as she disappeared into the bedroom, they all shared. August watched them go before turning to the dying embers in the hearth. He stirred them, exposing their deep bright heat, and laid a small log across them. He knelt and blew softly until the embers kindled a young flame in the fresh timber. The flame grew and cast the living quarters in a warm glow. After a few moments his mother returned and stood next to him. Both of them gazed into the languid ribbons of light.

The boy regarded his mother from the corner of his eye. Her countenance worried him. The deep lines of age were exaggerated by the dim light and profound lament. He turned his boyish face, made that much more youthful by the fire light, up to his mother and grasped her hand. “Is he alright, mother?”

She brought her other hand to her face, her shoulders shuddering as she suppressed her sorrow, allowing only muted sobs to eek between her fingers.

“Is he dead?” the boy asked in a hush.

His mother breathed deep, wiped her eyes free of tears, and relaxed into her seat with a heavy relief. The boy appraised her as she produced the letter she had tucked away in her night blouse. She unfolded the correspondence and read it again before turning a sorrowful eye on her son. “He lives.”

The boy’s face glowed with hope. His mother had confided only in him the truth of Uncle Ygor’s doings, worried that the gravity of her brother’s station would be too terrible for the younger ones to have knowledge of. “Is he coming home? Will we see our beloved uncle again?”

Elga breathed deep, searching for the words, and found none. She turned to behold the watchful appraisal of her eldest, and in defeat, held the letter out to him.

He took it with trepidatious fingers, and as he leaned toward the firelight began to read. His mother watched him with concern, as his eyes grew first excited and then slowly began to reflect a confused disquiet. She continued to watch him as he reread the letter and eventually turned an eye of bewilderment toward her as he spoke in a whisper. “Has he gone mad?”

She sighed with relief, the burden of knowledge not only hers to carry, and held her head in her hands as she slowly shook it. After a moment of consideration she leaned back in her seat and nodded. “I believe he has. You’re uncl—.”

“Will we see him again?” her son interrupted.

She breathed deep, preparing to calmly express her doubt at the prospect. “I don't’ think we should cling too firmly to the hope that Ygor—”

Knock Knock Knock

The heavy-handed thumps at the front door muted the sensations of the room. Mother and son froze with fixed stares on the darkened entry. They listened, suddenly aware of the sounds outside of the hut. The wind whispered, kissing the window shutters, which in turn fluttered lightly against the sills. They slowly turned to stare into each other's wide eyes.

Knock Knock Knock

They jumped stiffly, as a corpse with rigor mortis might scare. The boy rose to his feet and crept to the door, listening as he approached. His mother followed closely behind, a hand laid on his shoulder. He reached for the door. She stopped his hand, clasping a vice-like grasp around his wrist, and tucked him behind her, bringing her ear closer to the door. Only the whistling wind. She gave a quick glance to her son who stared back with frightened bewilderment. He opened his mouth to speak. Elga raised a finger to her lips before whispering, “Wait. they may move on if—”

Knock Knock Knock

They both gasped and took a step back as Elga clutched her son. In a shaking voice she called through the door. “Who’s there?”

The wind continued to whisper as Elga and the boy began to relax, thinking themselves only mad and not, in reality, set upon by an unknown menace. After another short moment, hopes of madness abandoned them. The voice was of mammoth depth and resonance. It seemed to boom through the timber of the entry.

“It’s me, Elga.”

She furrowed her brow. She had never heard a voice in the quality of this timbre. She took a step toward the door and braced a hand against its surface. “Who are you?” Her query, only a faint hush.

“It is Ygor. Your brother.”

She trembled and whispered to herself. “Ygor?”

“Yes, sister. It is I, your long lost brother.” Then after a moment the unfamiliar voice posed a request. “Let me in, Elga. Let me in.”

Her hand shook, tremorous, as she laid it on the clasp of the door, and with a muted squeal of metal, lifted the catch.

April 27, 2023 20:50

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


V. S. Rose
00:04 May 02, 2023

Hi Levi! I really enjoyed the attention to detail in your descriptions. Personally, I haven't read Frankenstein. For someone who hasn't, I recognized that this story was about Victor's assistant in the third letter to Elga as soon as he mentions Viktor. (Not sure if this was the intent or not, just trying to give you something from the reader's perspective). I thought this story had a nice solid build in suspense, the graver letters painting a progressively scarier situation for Ygor. And then there is the final letter, on which Ygor's brai...


Levi Michael
18:39 May 03, 2023

Hey V.S.! That's awesome that you picked up on who he was at the first mention of Victor. I was worried it was too subtle. yes, the pacing here was very intentional. Great note on the dip in the arc of suspense when meeting Elga. As I reread and reflect, I feel like I was maybe more concerned with creating a clear setting than maintaining pacing. The momentum of the story fell into my blind spot. This is great actionable feedback. Thank you. What advice might you give me in a rewrite of this story? Maybe elaborating the letters a bit and c...


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.