by C. L. Werner
“There now, good as new.” The gray- hared man looked down at the small brown body strapped on the operating table. He ran a withered, claw-like finger down the wide scar upon the child’s chest and smiled. “Better than before, actually. God constructs such fragile things.” The old man’s words echoed in the large laboratory as he strode to a section of the rear wall devoted to small wire cages. He bent toward the cages until his hawkish nose nearly touched the wire mesh. His blue eyes studied the cages’ occupants.
“This epidemic of sleeping sickness has been so wonderfully beneficial to my work. We must have another one quite soon.” The man’s shrunken, skull-like head broke into an even wider grin as he turned from the cages and the plague-carrying tse-tse flies within. He walked to a large mahogany desk, removed a thick leather-bound volume and began to read. He did not seem to notice as a black figure entered the laboratory and crept toward the desk, fear and hate warring for mastery over the African’s features.
“Mahiba”, the tribesman addressed the scientist seated behind the desk, bowing low as he spoke. The gray-hared doctor allowed the African to remain kneeling while he finished the page that he had been reading. Then, slowly, he turned and took notice of the dark-skinned man, looking down his nose with evident annoyance.
“Ah, Balu, I was wondering when you would see fit to grace me with your presence. I expected you quite some time ago. I was beginning to suspect that you did not care about Rawana or her boy.” The German raised his pale hand and indicated the operating table in the middle of the room. “There he is. Why don’t you take him home to his mother.”
Balu rose and nervously walked toward the table, already knowing what he could expect to find yet turning pale and cringing away in horror none-the-less when his eyes beheld the small body strapped upon the table. The white man seated behind the desk laughed.
“What is wrong, Balu? I can assure you that the boy is much better. Quite over the sleeping sickness. Not even the remotest chance of anyone contracting the disease from him”, the gray-hared man mocked in a soothing voice.
“Please, Mahiba, do not make me take him back to Rawana”, pleaded the African, falling to his knees. The doctor laughed.
“Whatever do you mean, Balu? The boy is cured and his mother will be ever so happy to see him again.”
“Not like this, Mahiba! The shock of seeing her son like this…Mahiba, it would kill her!”
The smile faded from the withered face, the mocking softness left the voice. The German replied in a whisper, “That is something I can easily remedy.”
Suddenly, a second African rushed into the laboratory, bowing low before the now standing scientist. “Mahiba”, the tribesman gasped between breaths, “Outsiders are coming…Coming here!”
A suggestion of fear entered the German’s icy eyes. He grasped the African’s bone necklace and pulled the brown face into his own with strength seemingly beyond his ancient, gaunt form.
“Schweinhund!” the German’s voice hissed. “How far away are they?”
“Very near, at the edge of the termite mounds”, the African almost whispered, being careful to keep his eyes from meeting those of the man who held him.
“And why were they not discovered before they penetrated so far into my domain?” the doctor considered his own question for a moment before answering it himself. “Perhaps you think that they might be able to kill your Mahiba/ Yes, it has been nearly twenty years since outsiders last visited your village. Perhaps there are too few of you left now who remember what happened then?”
“No, Mahiba! No! The men, we did not see them before because they fell from a giant bird which flew over the jungle!” The African winced as the pale features before him cracked into a snarl of hatred.
“These men! Describe them!” ordered the doctor, twisting the necklace into a garrote with his skeletal hand.
“They are like none I have ever seen, Mahiba. Their skin is like the yellow of the cheetah’s fur and they wear clothes like the Mahiba’s only the color of the lion’s back.” The African gasped in relief as the German released his grip and the brown man fell to the floor.
“Then they are not the Israelis”, stated the doctor. “Then who?” Turning his attention again to the winded tribesman upon the floor, the German gave his orders. “I would see these men. Go to them and bring their leader to me.”
The tribesman rose and threw his right arm forward, all his fingers pointing outward, in the manner in which his Mahiba had instructed him. Then he was off, racing through the jungle, lest he incur the scientist’s displeasure.
“You”, the German turned to regard Balu. “Forget about Rawana’s boy. It is my will that you go to the swamp and awaken the Ginko. I may have need of it.” The German paused, studying the black man’s face. “I do not need to remind you of what the Ginko would do to your people should any harm come to me”, he warned.
The African rose and ran to the door of the laboratory. In the doorway he paused, throwing his arm forward in the direction of the old scientist. But to this gesture he added the strange sounding words that he had been taught to say. “Heil Frankenstein!”
The two men sat facing one another across the elegantly set table, the one-eyed Japanese and the aged German. Silence filled the dark dining hall as the German savored his glass of wine.
The Japanese eyed his host with supreme interest. The name of Frankenstein was one of the most infamous and despised in all the world, as much for the misdeeds of this man as for the hideous experiments of his ancestor, the Baron Victor Von Frankenstein.
Frankenstein was a gaunt, elderly man, his head of gray hair being little more than short fuzz upon his pate. His blue eyes were sunken deep in his sockets, his nose sharp and hawk-like, his high cheekbones nearly showing through his drawn skin and sunken jowls. His lips were thin and cruel, without the slightest suggestion of mercy. Frankenstein’s was a face alien to humanity and compassion.
The scientist was seated upon a throne-like seat of mahogany, one claw-like hand grasping the armrest with its fingers spread. He wore a gray uniform adorned with badges and insignias upon its lapels and breast. Black leather boots rose to the German’s shins. Beside Frankenstein’s dinner plate rested a gray peaked cap, silver emblems of an eagle and a skull staring at the Japanese across the table. Behind Frankenstein, upon the wall, hung a mammoth flag, a field of red broken by a circle of white within which lurked a broken cross of black.
The Japanese was tall for his race, though not so tall as the withered German. He was dressed in a tan uniform, devoid of markings save the golden ropes upon his shoulders and the symbols upon his lapels. A black eyepatch embossed with a golden dragon covered the man’s left eye. His own peaked cap rested upon the table beside him, its badge of a red bamboo shoot flanked by twisting golden ropes faced the German’s eagle and skull in silence.
The Japanese was General Yamoto of the Red Bamboo and he continued to eye the flag behind his host with loathing. Here was an evil long banished from the world of men, an evil which had been hunted into extinction as though it were some species of virulent disease. And here he was seeking to return that evil to the world. A communist begging his ideological arch-foe for assistance. Yet, there was no other way.
“So”, Frankenstein spoke, setting his glass upon the table. “You have come to me. Yes, I imagine it has been most difficult for an organization of Japanese communists now that the Soviet Union has collapsed into the pathetic ruin it so rightly deserves. I imagine that you relied rather heavily upon their aid.” The German smiled in contempt at the one-eyed Japanese.
“Yes, Herr Doktor Heinrich Von Frankenstein, it is even as you have said”, answered General Yamoto. “The Red Bamboo has been struggling to remove the shackles of capitalism from the Japanese people for over forty years. We came closest on the island of Letchi in 1966. We had just developed our own heavy water manufacturing facility and the Red Bamboo was on the verge of becoming a nuclear power. But the monster Godzilla appeared and destroyed the Letchi base and all that we had accomplished. The Red Bamboo has never again been so close to total victory and, now, without the Soviets’ gifts of material and technology, it is doubtful if we ever shall.” Frankenstein interrupted the General.
“I fear that I fail to understand what it is that you would have of me. I am certainly not in a position to finance the overthrow of Japan’s democratic government.” Frankenstein smiled at the thought of accomplishing just such a feat.
“While on Letchi, we developed something other than heavy water. Our scientists created a form of radioactive elixir, a sort of super growth serum. I do not pretend to understand its workings, but when administered to ordinary animals, it caused them to double in size with each treatment. Our first experiment was with a sea eagle, but the bird proved unmanageable and escaped our facility before we had finished administering the serum to it.
“Our next experiment was only slightly more of a success. We gave the serum to an ordinary lobster, transforming it over time into Ebirah, the sea monster. Ebirah was also uncontrollable, though we discovered a mixture that repelled the monster. When it was released to guard the waters around Letchi, our ships would spray this mixture into the sea to prevent the monster from attacking them. In the end, however, Ebirah overcame its revulsion and attacked our ship as we attempted to escape Godzilla’s attack. I alone survived the sea monster’s sinking of the ship.”
“I still fail to understand what you want of me”, again interrupted Frankenstein, becoming bored with his guest. The doctor wondered if the Ginko would like the taste of Japanese flesh. Then he smiled. The Ginko needed no sustenance; Frankenstein had not given the creature that failing.
“Though we have not been able to manufacture heavy water since the Letchi disaster, we have been able to recreate the growth serum”, General Yamoto continued. “After Ebirah’s example, we feel that natural creatures are too unpredictable to be trusted to perform as we desire them to. The creation of monsters is the only weapon left in the arsenal of the Red Bamboo. Natural creatures cannot be controlled enough; we need an unnatural creature, a creature without animal instincts and urges. We need an artificial creature.” General Yamoto paused to allow the German to absorb his words. At length, Frankenstein responded.
“And you have come to me to provide you with such a creature…”
“We learned of the report of an American Peace Corps worker from 1955. It seems that his group was on their way to help administer medicines to a tribe deep in the Congo when a giant monster attacked them. It was his description of this monster that made me recall the experiments attributed to Doctor Heinrich Von Frankenstein, a Nazi war criminal who had never been brought to justice.” General Yamoto laughed. “Fortunately for you, the Red Bamboo made the connection before the government of Israel.”
“Ah, you have learned of my Ginko and wish to buy it from me”, laughed Frankenstein contemptuously. “I am afraid not, my Japanese friend. The natives here address me as ‘Mahiba’, their word for god. But behind my back they call me ‘Mahiba-palu’ or ‘god of cruelty’. Without the threat of the Ginko’s power the savages would rise up and tear me to shreds with their bare hands. No, I think that I shall hold onto the Ginko… and my life.” General Yamoto shook his head from side to side emphatically.
“No, no, you misunderstand. It is not wealth alone, which we offer you. You are a hunted man, a man without a country. Despite your monster’s protection, you live in constant fear of your enemies. Join the Red Bamboo and help us achieve our victory and you will live like a king and again be a man with a country.”
Frankenstein looked into Yamoto’s eye. “Your offer does indeed appeal to me. To live in splendor and safety, to continue my research in a modern facility, to be rid of this thrice-damned jungle, these are dreams I thought to be forever denied and dead.” Frankenstein rose, wiping his mouth with a cloth napkin. “Come, I will show you my pet.”
General Yamoto stared in horror and disbelief at the towering obscenity that stood before him. He had read the American’s report; he had known what he could expect to find but nothing could prepare him for the actual horror of meeting the monster face to face.
It stood fifty feet tall, its short arms dangling at its sides. Its thick, elephantine legs rose like two gray tree trunks from the jungle floor. These had been attached to the massive, flabby, buoyant bulk of a hippopotamus, rolls of the blackish flesh falling about the gray thighs. From the hippopotamus body emerged white-gray arms, thick and protected by the armor-like hide of their source, the white rhinoceros. Upon the horror’s shoulders, the creature’s head hung forward. It was the horned head of a white rhinoceros but with certain hideous alterations for from beneath its armored lips jutted dagger-like fangs, each several inches long. It was the Ginko, Frankenstein’s monstrous guardian and slave, cobbled together from the giant animals of Africa.
“It was necessary to perform quite a bit of reconstructive bone work to get its arms and shoulders right”, Frankenstein boasted proudly, caressing the Ginko’s mammoth leg with a withered hand. “Fortunately, bone, like all tissue, can be manipulated in any manner one should desire given time and the proper procedures. I hoped to make it capable of performing various tasks for me. I suppose that it would have been easier to work on a smaller scale and employed a gorilla’s arms. The ape never lived that would have been large enough to match my Ginko’s frame.” Frankenstein looked with pride at the dangling arms with their three thick fingers and then at the beast’s head and its fanged maw. “The teeth are from a crocodile. I felt that a carnivore’s dentitia would make my Ginko look even more fearsome.”
“Marvelous”, gasped Yamoto. “With your Ginko and our serum, we shall bring Japan to its knees.” Yamoto bowed before the beaming scientist. “We shall arrange to transport your monster to our base in the Kuiri Islands at once.”
Frankenstein picked up an axe which was lying nearby and handed it to General Yamoto. “I think you may find this will make it easier to transport my Ginko.” The Japanese looked at the scientist, bewildered by his words.
“The Ginko, like all of my creations, is immortal. It can never die. Every atom, every molecule, will live forever. What I have constructed, I can rebuild and each piece will remain living and inanimate until I decide that it shall become whole once more.” General Yamoto gasped in astonishment. It was hideous, but he did not for an instant doubt the doctor’s words.
“Oh, and I shall maintain sole control over the Ginko”, added Frankenstein. “It is not that I do not trust you, but I would prefer that I had something beside your assurances that the Red Bamboo will honor its part of our agreement. If I keep control of my monster, you will remember that as easily as I unleash the Ginko on Japan, I can just as easily turn it upon the Red Bamboo.”
Frankenstein began to walk away, giving orders to several onlooking Africans to pack his belongings. Before returning to his laboratory, Frankenstein called to General Yamoto over his shoulder.
“I should also be most pleased if you would have your soldiers shoot all of these savages when we leave.” The scientist paused and then added, “Men who have worshipped Frankenstein should never serve lesser gods.”
Seven months later, on the southernmost of the Kuiri Islands, in a secret subterranean base, General Yamoto angrily stormed into the sterile white domain of Dr. Heinrich Von Frankenstein. The scientist turned down the volume of his phonograph recording of Wagner’s “Flying Dutchman Overture” and swiveled in his chair to face the irate communist.
“It has been two months! The Ginko has grown over four times its original size! What are you waiting for? Send it to attack Japan now!” the one-eyed general shouted in rage, pointing the end of his riding crop at the seated German. Frankenstein smiled, seeming to take no notice of the general’s rage.
“Did you wonder why I demanded all this computer tracking equipment?” Frankenstein asked in a soft voice as his arm swept the room.
“To keep track of the Ginko”, stated General Yamoto, taken unawares by the doctor’s odd question. The German laughed.
“That is what I wished you to think.” Frankenstein looked at a screen at his side, a map of the Kuiri Islands, a glowing red dot drawing ever nearer. The German smiled coldly and looked at Yamoto.
“What would you say if I told you that Godzilla is coming here?”
General Yamoto turned pale. “Godzilla! Here! But why?”
“It was simply a matter of time. Waiting long enough for the monster to become aware of the Ginko’s presence. I knew that Godzilla would view the Ginko as an enemy and be drawn here to attack my creature.”
“You…you want Godzilla to come here?” asked General Yamoto in disbelief.
“The Ginko will kill Godzilla and then, then I shall destroy the Ginko and reconstruct it, adding to it portions of Godzilla’s body. Then I shall unleash a new, more powerful Ginko upon the world. The world will soon experience the vengeance of Frankenstein!”
General Yamoto grabbed the scientist’s arm. “But what of our agreement? What of Japan?” Frankenstein brushed him away.
“You’re far too trusting”, stated the German, looking again at the map.
“Behold, Godzilla has arrived! Witness the power of my Ginko as it kills the mighty beast and leaves its bones at my feet!” shrieked Frankenstein, turning to a large television screen. General Yamoto followed the scientist’s gaze.
A black mountain rose from the sea off the shore of the small island. Dark scales glistened in the sun as rings of white foam sped away from the gigantic body. Silver spines which ran down the leviathan’s back caught the sun’s rays with even greater a brilliance than the wet scales. The reptilian horror, the elemental force known as Godzilla, waded through the deep waters toward the barren, rocky beach.
There was another here, Godzilla’s instincts told him. He would meet that challenge as he had done before, as he would do again. His rival would flee his territory or it would acknowledge his dominance…or it would die. Godzilla shrieked across the waters, the sound vibrating the rocks of the far-off hillsides. Let his rival flee while it may.
The tremendous monster continued to wade through the deep waters. His head and shoulders rose above the waves like the summit of an undersea mountain. Then his chest and powerful, clawed arms rose out of the water. Soon, the sea covered only the monster’s thighs, the top of Godzilla’s long tail following behind the monster like a half-submerged reef. At last, the titan’s feet sank into the mud of the isle’s shore.
The small nasal openings above Godzilla’s fang-filled maw palpitated with anticipation. The monster’s thick neck slowly craned from side-to-side. Eyes as red and demonic as the flames of the Pit narrowed and widened. Godzilla lifted his head back and again the high-pitched shriek echoed across the beach. The long tail rose into the air and crashed down into the surf in an expression of agitation. Godzilla could sense his foe, but he could not see it. The monster shrieked his challenge once more, exhaling noisily through his fanged jaws as the sound echoed unanswered.
“Look at the beast!” gloated Frankenstein from within the hidden laboratory. The shaken General Yamoto could do nothing more than comply, memories of Letchi rising unbidden as he gazed upon the monster that had haunted his nightmares for thirty years.
“It is looking for my monster. Very well then, Godzilla, I shall not postpone your death any longer.” Frankenstein’s hand held a small metal box, a box with a single red button, a button now depressed by a talon-like finger.
Great doors crafted to ape the natural rock of the island slowly parted. Godzilla looked in bewilderment as one of the beachside hills opened, revealing a mammoth cavern within. But it was no such cave as he could remember. It was not dark, nor dank, nor empty. The cavern was lit by a thousand floodlights, its floors and walls constructed of steel and concrete, and striding forth from this giant cell came a creature as horrible as any which the reptilian titan had ever faced.
The Ginko had grown into a hideous colossus, a mockery of life transformed into an effigy of death. Massive scars ran all across the monster’s frame, the result of the butchery that had been employed to transport the creature across two oceans, each scar bearing the crude cross-stitch surgery of the monster’s creator. The impossible chimera raised its rhinoceros head and bellowed at the startled Godzilla with a gurgling noise like the death rattle of a giant.
The sound alerted Godzilla and his head reared backwards as the Ginko lowered its own and charged. Blue-white radioactive fire lit the beach as Godzilla’s atomic breath struck the charging monster. The Ginko’s flesh burned under the flame, a loathsome patch of charred skin running along the creature’s back where Godzilla’s flame had struck it. But still the Ginko charged on, heedless of the terrible wound inflicted upon it.
Godzilla had expected to stagger his foe with his powerful attack and was unprepared for the Ginko’s unchecked charge. The reptile dodged to the right as the Ginko rammed into him. The long black horn tore a crimson stripe along Godzilla’s left side just beneath the monster’s arm. Had the reptile not moved at the last instant, the horn should have pierced his heart.
The Ginko’s charge carried it far into the surf. Unable to run back through the resisting water, the Ginko began to slowly wade back to shore. Godzilla turned to face the creature as it did so, again breathing forth radioactive fire. This time the flame was not directed against the Ginko but at the water in front of it. The sea boiled into pillars of steam upon the flame’s impact, scalding the Ginko’s body as it waded through the holocaust. Welts appeared where steam burned the monster’s body and the legs that were caught beneath the boiling waves turned from gray to red. Still, the Ginko advanced, once again heedless of its wounds.
“You see! Godzilla cannot harm my Ginko. It is immortal!” laughed Frankenstein in demonic glee. General Yamoto remained silent as the battle continued.
The Ginko had reached the beach again; there to be greeted by the massive tail of Godzilla which struck Frankenstein’s creature like a titan’s bludgeon. Rather than being staggered by the tremendous blow, the Ginko seized the tail in both its three-fingered hands, attempting to pull the tail’s owner within its reach. Rather than continue to resist the Ginko’s attack, which must result in falling before the tireless monster, after a moment of shrieking and stamping, Godzilla raced into the monster with his full weight causing the Ginko to stumble backwards and release its grip upon the tail.
Instantly the Ginko recovered, however, and again lowered its head, charging into Godzilla, This time, the reptile avoided the deadly horn, but not the powerful shoulder beside it. The Ginko’s immense mass bowled into Godzilla like an avalanche of flesh and bone and both monsters fell to the earth in a fog of dust.
Godzilla was the first to rise from the fall, roaring and shaking his head drunkenly. He recovered his bearings just as the Ginko gained its own feet. Attacking Frankenstein’s creation before it could mount another charge, Godzilla’s fangs sank into the Ginko’s left forearm along the jagged cross-stitches of one of the monster’s scars.
Godzilla and the Ginko struggled together, the Ginko’s free hand battering the reptile’s head like a titan’s maul, Godzilla’s fore claws scratching the Ginko’s body like a legion of swordsmen. At last, Godzilla, with an incredible exertion of brute force, tore away from his antagonist, ripping the steel wire that Frankenstein had employed in reconstructing his monster and removing the Ginko’s forearm from its body. Godzilla let the dismembered limb fall from his jaws to lie on the sand between the reptilian titan and the bellowing Ginko.
“Your monster is finished, Frankenstein!” declared General Yamoto, moving away to the laboratory door. “Godzilla will soon kill it!” Frankenstein’s face turned into a mask of hate as he looked at the departing communist.
“My Ginko cannot die!” he screamed. “It is immortal! Nothing can destroy it!” General Yamoto closed the door behind him as he left Frankenstein to his madness. Yamoto had seen Godzilla’s wrath before. The Japanese had no desire to repeat the experience.
“Bah! Go then!” spat Frankenstein, returning his gaze to the battle. “After the Ginko kills Godzilla, I shall send the monster after you. It will be amusing to restore life to what the Ginko leaves.”
But the Ginko was beyond assisting its master’s visions of revenge. It had charged Godzilla once more, with disastrous results … for the Ginko. Knowing the method now to defeat his tireless foe, Godzilla grasped the Ginko’s remaining arm as the creature passed him. The combination of Godzilla’s strength and the Ginko’s momentum left Frankenstein’s champion armless.
With the mindlessness of an automaton, the Ginko charged again. This time Godzilla tripped the monster with his long tail, sending the Ginko nose-first into the sand. Godzilla watched the armless beast attempt to rise for a time before he was upon it, straining with all his reptilian strength at the steel stitches which held the monster’s discordant pieces together.
Frankenstein watched the Ginko’s dismemberment with horror. His supreme creation was being destroyed by this inferior creation of an inferior Creator. This must not be! Frankenstein would not be mocked! After the battle, he would repair the Ginko, for even dismembered, it would not die. He would rebuild it, stronger than before! Then Godzilla would die and all the world would worship Heinrich Von Frankenstein, the god!
Frankenstein’s attention had turned from the view screen, lost was he in dreams of artificial divinity. He did not see the reptilian shape rise from the scattered remains of the Ginko, dropping the detached rhinoceros head. He did not see the black mountain that walked with malevolent purpose toward a cavern of steel and concrete. Though there was no reason, no rationale, Godzilla knew that the Ginko was not his only enemy on this barren island.
Frankenstein turned toward a second view screen to see the silver spines along Godzilla’s back sparking and glowing with a blue flame. He watched as the titanic maw opened and the blue fire grew from a pin-point at the back of the monster’s throat to a wave of annihilation which vomited from Godzilla’s jaws. He watched as the fire sped toward the glass screen, the screen which was the window of his laboratory.
Godzilla walked sluggishly back into the sea. His battle had tired him, he would sleep for a very long time now.
Behind him, Godzilla had left a beach littered with the torn, burnt, and scalded remains of Frankenstein’s monster. Each piece of the Ginko yet lived, for the creature was truly immortal. But the man who could make the piece a whole once more was gone forever. Like the character of a child’s nursery rhyme, no one could put the Ginko together again.