Gallowed Grove

Updated: Dec 24, 2020



Written By Gabe Gonzalez

Cover Art by Ho Ching Kwok


Chapter One: Origins


Gallowed Grove was a town that existed just as any other, but it was most certainly not

like any other. The town was created by a man known as Doctor Victor Frankenstein, an

eccentric genius who attempted to play God by creating life out of those who have since passed away.


His ideas were not accepted by those around him, which turned into a deadly disdain on one fateful night. As the doctor prepared his patchwork specimen on the table, villagers began to arm themselves with pitchforks, knives, blunt instruments, and torches to finally end the air of unease that the villagers felt with the doctor in their vicinity. Victor rose the specimen on a metallic slab into the cloudy and lightning-brimmed sky with an internalized hope that this would be his final foray into the realm of reincarnation...


He would be correct.


A lighting strike hits the slab, the creature’s chest jolts upwards.


Villagers descend upon Victor’s laboratory chanting statements littered with anger and

holding weapons to cause death and destruction.


A second lightning strike hits the slab and causes electricity to run through the veins of

the deceased.


Victor’s eyes widen at a bright-orange light that illuminates one of his nearby windows

and begins to come closer. He jumps upwards as the crash of that echoes throughout the room and he looks at the cause, it was a torch. He grimaces as he looks outwards from the

newly-opened window.


A group of nearly sixty angry villagers armed to the gods with weapons of bodily

destruction approach Victor’s palace of experimentation. One of them is the obvious leader of the group, he’s a stout man with a thick, handlebar moustache and a wide-brimmed hat.


“Get out here, you FUCKIN’ devil! We know what you’ve been doing with the dead!”


Victor widened his eyes at the violent screams from the man and rushed over to a

rusted-over hand crank and began to use it as a means to bring his specimen down from the

heavens. The villagers quickened their pace as he did so, a deep need to end his disgusting reign of scientific necromancy as the bodies of the ones they loved were being excavated from the town cemetery and being used for whatever nefarious purposes Victor needed. It was time for it to end.


Victor struggled with the final crank as the slab clicked into place upon its normal

position. He lightly smacked his monstrous mixture of men on its cheeks as a plan began to

formulate within his head.


The creature was unresponsive.


“Come on! Come on! Please, wake up! Dammit!”


Victor yelled at this creation and kept attempting maneuvers to try and awaken him,

deeming this new try a failure just like the others.


The villagers made their way to the large wooden doors of the laboratory and the stout

leader tightened his hand around a metal baton. He took the handle of the door and yanked on it to no avail, he grimaced and looked at the crowd behind him.


“BRING THE FUCKIN’ RAM!”


The villagers parted, leaving a fairly large amount of room in the center as a group of

men came through with a large log held within their arms. The leader began to count down.


“THREE!”


The men prepared themselves, ready to strike with the ramming tool. Victor was still trying to get his creation to awaken through screams in an effort to prove he wasn’t as insane as everyone thought.


“TWO!”


The men kept a clear focus on the door.


Victor slumped on the floor ready for whatever hell may come to him, his palms over his

eyes as he began to quietly sob into them.


“ONE!”


The men swung the ram and struck the door, causing it to splinter and burst open. Victor refused to look up and stayed in his position.


The monster opened their eyes.


The villagers angrily swarmed into the room and saw the doctor wailing into his palms,

his aura of sadness had no effect on them.


But, what they didn’t expect was the movement on the slab behind the doctor. A series of

deepened groans coming from the creature on the table as it slowly lumbered off the slab and showcased itself. The creature was a hulking figure of a man with greenish-grey skin flaps that were haphazardly stitched together with staples and twine, electric-blue eyes, a horizontal grouping of staples that lined their forehead, and a full head of raven-coloured hair. However, it was completely nude, and they were completely

sexless because there was no identifiable genitalia as the area was just a smooth layer of skin.


Victor looked up at his shambling creation and a smirk began to grow upon his face.


“My... my monster! It worked! It really worked! THEY’RE ALIVE!”


The creature looked down at his creator with an inquisitive expression and recognized

him as such, giving a small grunt and nod as confirmation of that fact.


The village mob leader widened his eyes at the brutish fiend in front of him and tried to

temper his nerves down to a suitable level.


“WHAT THE FU-”

Before the man could finish his curse, the flesh-festered creature roared and lumbered

quickly towards the man with their arms outstretched in an offensive t-pose, similar to a football player going in for a tackle and slammed the full weight of their body into the man.

Victor smiled as several villagers audibly gasped at the monster’s actions.


The village leader was slammed into the ground and his efforts of defense were

completely futile as the strength of the monstrosity was much more than his own.


“GET THE FUCK OFF ME, YOU FOUL VERMIN!”


“GRAAAGGGHHH!”


The monster pounded both his closed fists down on the leader’s chest, a finishing move

that would end the man’s life in a total instant.


The room was silent.


Well, besides Victor who stood up and clapped his hands in glee, a large toothy grin

adorned his face as he circled around the deceased village leader with a set of skipping-like

motions.

“Hehe! I’ve done it, I’ve finally done it! I’ve made a man! I am God! I am Him! Haha! Hehe!”

The villagers watched the depraved act of joyous commotion.


The monster grunted towards the dead and returned to their creator’s side. One of the women within the villager group steeled herself and walked to the front of the group with a sharpened pitchfork grasped tightly within her right hand and had a stone-cold

demeanor.


“Get out of here, now! Just leave, please. If you do that, we will not hunt you down and

we will not kill you. Take you and your... monster out of here, we want to mourn for our dead

and we do not want any more fighting. Please, go.”


The monster clenched his fists and brought himself towards the woman, but was stopped

by Victor’s outstretched arm.


“We shall leave.”


Victor gathered a few of his things from around the lab as the eyes of the villagers

watched him closely. They parted their bodies to give Victor room to leave as well as his

creation who followed behind.


The villagers cheered loudly as the duo was exiled from the town.



Victor and his monster would travel far and wide by foot for months before finding the

place they would call home. But, during their adventure, the two would closely bond as father

and son, a relationship type that was commonplace and strong throughout the cosmos. The

crafted creature began to understand the words his father would say to him through extensive teaching as his brain was young and needed to be molded into something he could utilize for the rest of his life.


“Me. Father.”


Victor pointed at himself as he enunciated the words.


The monster cocked his head inquisitively and pointed at himself.


“Fa...fath-ah?”


Victor smiled and shook his head.


“No... No, my son.”


He pointed at himself once more.


“Me. Father.”


The creature nodded and pointed his finger at the doctor.


“Fa... Fath-ah.”


Victor smiled and happily shouted, “Yes! Yes, my son!”


The monster made a guttural noise that sounded like a deep chuckle.


The two’s travels would continue on like this for awhile, deepening the bond between

them and establishing a relationship that both of them would have for the rest of their respective lives. The monster’s vocabulary was evolving quickly due to the doctor’s restless teaching, helping the monster establish himself as his own individual rather than just an extension of protection, safety, and companionship for Victor. And, while the monster was loving the freedom of individual expression, the doctor was learning the hardships that come with being a father.


The creature looked on the floor of the grassy valley they were walking within and saw a

few small skittering beetles chasing one another through the blades of grass and reached down to pick them up. He giggled at the tickle sensation that the insects were causing by traveling around on his hand.


Victor looked back to see the source of his child’s amusement and saw that he had a

beetle lightly clutched within his pointer and thumb and was about to drop it into his open

mouth. Victor’s eyes widened as he raced towards his creation.


“No! No! Get that away from there!”


He smacked the beetle out of the monster’s hand, which instinctively made the creature

drop the others he had clutched within his palm. The monster solemnly looked down at the

ground as the beetles scurried away into their respective hiding places and then looked back up at his father who had a serious set of features plastered on his face.


“I’m sorry.”


The monster sniffled and hunched as he kept his eyes to the ground.


Victor felt a sudden rush of remorse flood his body as he looked at his sad son and placed

an open palm on his back.


“No, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have reacted like that. I just didn’t want you to eat something

bad and get sick. Are you okay?”


The monster nodded and wiped his eyes with his arm.


“Those are things we can’t eat. We’ll find something with protein soon, but we’re not

going to resort to eating bugs, okay? Just stick to the good berries and I promise we’ll find

something soon.”


“Okay,” The monster nodded.


As they traveled, the duo found themselves in a small grove littered with blackened trees

with jagged and sprawling branches. It was in the countryside of an old territory known for its

stories of witchhood and old-world sorcery. Victor had heard stories of it when he was a child, but thought that they mainly resided in the arenas of fiction. But, the stories he was told had the same imagery as the real-life areas he was currently in and he found it fascinating.

The monster loved the area and began to heartily chuckle as he ran around in a circle,

Victor watched with joy at his creation’s antics. The monster then grasped two small handfuls of leaves and threw them in the air.


However, the monster’s face slowly morphed into one of terror as a shadowed figure

made their way behind Victor.


Victor gave a look of concern.


“What is it, my son?”


The creature shakily brought up his pointer finger and aimed it at something behind

Victor.


“Father! Father! Look!”


Victor quickly swung his body around and was met with the view of an old, hunched

woman with gray hair, wrinkles for days, and an angry set of features that could’ve been

plastered on her since birth. Her head was adorned with a large pointed cap that had a purple band wrapped just above the incredibly wide brim and she clasped the top of a wooden cane engraved with a series of stylized markings in her left hand.


“Oh, hello!” Victor reached his open hand out in an effort to introduce himself.


The woman continued to stare which visibly made Victor uncomfortable in his

expression.


The creature began to slowly lumber behind his father.


The woman glanced up at the hulking monster but remained unfazed and returned staring

at Victor.


“What makes you come here?” The woman asked in a raspy voice.


“Oh, well, ha! She speaks...” Victor humored before coughing and reverting back to a

normal course of conversation as the woman remained dour, “... I heard stories about this place when I was a child and though I thought it was fiction, I thought it was the only place to seek refuge for me... and my son.”


Victor motioned towards his creation.


The woman raised an eyebrow as she looked at the creature once more.


“If that is true, what is this place known as in the common tongue?” The woman asked.

Victor chuckled.


“Oh, here? Not hard in the slightest. I’ve always been told the name of Gallowed Grove.”


The woman widened her eyes and touched the ground with both her hands, her left

emitted an aura of green energy and her right emitted an aura of crimson. It was like she was sending a message that only Gaia could hear.


Suddenly, an invisible wall dissipated and revealed a series of housing cottages, bakeries,

restaurants, and more that made up a small town. The entryway was adorned with a green sign containing gold lettering that said ‘WELCOME TO GALLOWED GROVE.’ The creature

walked slowly behind Victor as he tried to hide his face from the busy streets of men and women who were adorned with the same pointed caps as the woman they had met.


However, there was something different about this place... They weren’t giving the creature a second glance, he was a normal sight to them.


“You two will be the only non-witchbreed within this town, but I’m sure that won’t

bother you as you seem to have studied some form of necromancy to bring this creature to life.”


“No, just science.” Victor responded.


The woman was taken aback.


“You completed this...” she gestured towards the creature, “... with the tools of man’s

world?!”


Victor nodded.


“Interesting.”


Victor scratched his temple for the moment as his creation waved at the various children

in the town who really seemed to enjoy his physical appearance.


“Hi, little ones!” The monster tugged on his creator’s shirt, “Father, can I go play?”


Victor chuckled.


“Yes son, go play.”


Victor gestured towards the children and watched happily as his son ran over to them.

The creature outstretched his arms and began to let them hang from them, laughing joyously with them.


“I have a question, do you think this town has to remain witchbreed? Because, I have a

few ideas...”


And, with that question, the world of monsters and fiends would change forever as Victor

brought the idea of making it a refuge for all the hellish damnations of the world to escape the persecution of the human world, a safe space that they could call home and live with one another. In harmony, hopefully. A new set of laws would have to be formed and an enforcement of said rules would have to be established, so Victor placed his creature as his recommendation for such a deed and the council, unanimously, approved as the town had come to love Victor’s creation and showered him with gifts and food.


The monster was now designated as the sole investigator and fist of law for the people of Gallowed Grove. To prepare for this role, Victor had his creature study several books on investigative techniques, detective work, combat, and more. And, for

personal amusement along with giving the town something else to call him besides ‘monster’


Victor granted him a new name, Frank N. Stein... Detective Frank N. Stein.



Chapter Two: Meeting at TomTom’s


Many years later...


The heavy footsteps of worn, leather boots echoed throughout the silent and

rain-drenched streets of a town shrouded in complete mystery. The figure who owned the

aforementioned boots could only be described as a hulking figure whose features were enveloped in a long, wide-collar, beige trench coat that stretched down to the top of their knees, a white button-up undershirt, a messily prepared tie, and a fedora stylized with a red band that wrapped around just above the brim. They brought up their hand to their mouth and smoked the last puff on a cigarette before throwing the stub onto the street below and stamping it out with the heel of their boot.


The individual looked up at a lone streetlight whose bulb was blinking erratically

before reaching into their interior jacket pocket and pulling out a small, black leather notebook and flipping to a specific page and studied the writing carefully.



CASE REPORT #000246

Throughout the months of August to November, missing persons reports have begun to

rack up within the law enforcement headquarters of Gallowed Grove coming to an accumulation of around sixteen. A common theme of the kidnappings being that all of the victims were female pixies from the age range of thirteen-to-seventeen. Two separate witnesses of different kidnappings have come to the conclusion of two differently appearing attackers which makes me believe that this may be the work of a group hidden within the walls of Gallowed Grove.


There hasn’t been much in the way of discovering who the culprits are in these acts of tearing familiesapart. But, yesterday, a call came into the office and it seems like one person is willing to speakon these kidnappings, someone who seems to have close contact with whoever is causing these terrifying crimes.


The individual wanted a meeting at TomTom’s, a local diner within Gallowed Grove, hopefully this will give me a break in the case. I really need to solve this, I can’t deal with

any more crying mothers and fathers, I just can’t.


Frank’s eyes lingered on the last sentence before closing the book and placing it back into

its original pocket. His mind going through the logistics of the case and the worry of never

finding the girls culminated into a mixture of anxiety-laden dread. Frank began to breathe

heavily as he found an alleyway and began to whisper himself into a sense of calm. Frank closed his eyes as a memory began to fade in.


***

Frank sat at Victor’s bedside, Victor was now bedridden with a medicinal intravenous

next to him slowly administering life-saving fluid. On the other-side was a slow-beeping screen that showed Victor’s strained heart rate through digital imagery.


Victor smiled as he saw his child.


Frank set their fedora down beside the chair and looked up at Victor with tear-filled eyes.


“They told me today or tomorrow was your last day.”


Victor nodded.


“That is true.”


Frank sniffled and covered their eyes with open palms.


“No, dad. Please, don’t go. You can’t go, not yet.”


Victor gave a small chuckle.


“Frank, Frank, my sweet child. It will all be okay, I promise. I have taught you all you

need to know, you must carve out your own way in life.”


“But, I want you there with me. I don’t want to be without you!”


“It was always going to come to this Frank, you knew this... I knew this. It’s time for me

to go, but before I do... You must promise me one thing.”


Frank nodded as he sobbed.


“You must promise me to always show a true sense of good, to always help those in

need, to be the one that people can count on... no matter the obstacles ahead.”


Frank nodded his head as he listened to his father’s words.


“I promise, I promise.”


Victor smiled and turned his head so he looked at the ceiling, his eyes closed and his

heart rate began to flatline.


Frank wailed into his father’s shoulder.


***


Frank wiped a small tear that began to form within the corner of his right eye and stood

up, his father’s words echoing in his head.


Be the one that people can count on... no matter the obstacles ahead.”


Frank walked out of the alley and continued towards his main objective as he walked up

to the entry door of TomTom’s, a blinking white and green LED sign adorned with the name and the logo of a four-leaf clover illuminated the street and area around Frank. He sighed before opening the door, a small bell rang to signal entry.


The woman behind the diner counter had black hair with a single red streak through the

side, striking green eyes, ruby lipstick, and two small fangs protruding from the sides of her

mouth. She gave a smile to the detective.


“Hey, Frank. Been a while! What can I get for ya?”


Frank waved and gave a smile.


“Hi, Alicia. Just the usual, please.”


“You got it!”


Frank smiled and nodded, his eyes scanning the few patrons within the restaurant as he

attempted to find his contact, realizing that it was probably pointless due to the fact that he didn’t know their face. His attention was soon taken by a trio of knocks from a table behind him, accompanied by a small cough. Frank turned around and saw a headless torso adorned in a black leather motorcycle jacket that had a visible red interior and a red cape strapped onto his shoulders, however the most odd thing about the whole individual was that his right hand was keeping his disembodied head stationary on the table. The head clearly showed that the creature was a sweaty white male with messy blonde hair and a same-coloured goatee whose yellowed teeth nervously chattered as his eyes darted around the room with a frenzied speed as if he was afraid of something or someone.


The torso knocked with its left hand again and the head began signaling with his eyes that

Frank should sit down to which he obliged and sat in the booth on the other side of the table so they could both be in a comfortable, conversational position. Frank removed his fedora and set it down in the center between them.


“I haven’t seen you around before.”


The quick pace of the head’s eyes slowed down as he took deep breaths in an effort to

calm himself before settling his sights on Frank.


“You may not have seen me around, brass. But, you’re a big name around town. I’mma

need something from ya’ though, I’mma need ya’ to make me a promise.”


The detective shook his head.


“No. No. That’s not how we’re doing things. You tell me what’s going on and why

you’ve called me here and I’ll decide if a deal goes through or not.”


The head looked up to the left and ran things through his mind for a few moments.


“Okay, okay. I can’t stand to watch anymore people get hurt.”


Frank reached into his pocket and pulled out his notebook again along with a pencil,

flipping to the next available blank page.


“What’s your name?”


“Nah, I’m not doin’ any names.”


“That’s not how this works. Names.”


“Not if you want what I got...”


Frank slammed his flesh-pieced fist against the table, causing the head to yelp in surprise

and the body to slightly jump.


“If being arrested is something you want to avoid, I suggest you give a name.”


The head groaned.


“Fine, call me Krayne. K-R-A-”


“... Y-N-E. Got it.” Frank scribbled it down in his notebook.


“Ay! No one has ever got that right before. Neat.”


Alici