Vickie’s second batch of papers ends right here. At the time, she is in the seventh grade, near the end of the school year. And this, of course, causes me to ask all kinds of questions. Vickie, you see, was in my eighth grade English class the next fall—or, at least, seemed to be. Go back and look at my Foreword to her first volume and read how I met her—and how she somehow made no impression on anyone else that fall.
And so I wonder: When did she leave Franconia in southern Ohio and move to the town where I was teaching, at a middle school near Cleveland, Ohio, a city about as far away in Ohio as you can get from Franconia? And what about her father? He’d been editing the local newspaper back in Franconia? Did he lose his job? Quit? Was Vickie still living with him?
And why did Vickie leave our school? And where did she go?
And what about Harriet’s family? Her mother, with whom she lived? And her father, a physician who had most definitely gone over to the Dark Side, if I may steal an image from Star Wars?
And what about “Aunt Claire,” the mysterious woman who was so important in the first installment? She disappeared “with a scream of pure joy,” wrote Vickie, into the funnel of a tornado at the end of that first installment.
And those bodies that supposedly went over Niagara Falls? The creature, Mr. Leon, Blue Boyle—and, of course, Gil. I should tell you that I’ve been able to find no news stories from May 1996 that confirm Vickie’s account. Now, that’s not totally shocking: Tourism is by far the biggest industry in the region, and it’s in no one’s real interest to write bizarre stories about four people going over the Falls within seconds of one another—and about how no bodies were recovered.
And what about Mr. Leon? How could Vickie have seen him, only moments after he’d gone over the Falls, dry, undamaged, standing among the crowd that had gathered along the shore above the Falls?
And the creature? We know from the first installment that Vickie discovered she is a direct descendent of Victor Frankenstein, who created that original creature in Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel. Surely, it couldn’t still be alive? Or even real?
So many questions …
All I can tell you is that in the note enclosed with Vickie’s second packet of papers was a promise to send me the third and final installment.
I’m waiting …
—Mr. Bob Walton, Teacher of 8th Grade English (retired)