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A horror pastiche of Edgar Allan Poe’s 'The Tell-Tale Heart'. Alone in his house, a man is tormented by his own guilt and the supernatural because of a heinous crime he committed.

Submitted:Mar 19, 2012    Reads: 42    Comments: 5    Likes: 3   

I sit alone in the room - the watch on my wrist ticks in the background - I am the only living presence yet I am not alone. The lingering silence alters my hearing and elevates my awareness - not to perfection - enough to pick up the finest of acute sounds, even those that are seemingly not there. A single candle sits opposite me upon my desk. It has been burning for quite some time and seeps upon itself in a depraved dissolution with its once perfect waxy form warped and excreted down its sides. I make up my mind and hastily grab a pen and parchment to begin a letter to my friend; it is of the utmost importance. My body twitches at the sound of looming voices that resonate beyond the safety of my bedroom door. They speak in noiseless whispers that beckon me from my roost and attempt to coerce me away from a fate that I am most deserving of.

I scribble furiously; the scratching of metal on wood combined with the dim glow of the candle offer me solace and safety in my room. I stop writing - maybe, just maybe there is a way out. All of a sudden there comes a knock at the front door. I burst from my seat, and like a confused mongrel, spin around the room chasing my tail in panic. I stop, and wait, without releasing so much as a breath and listen at the height of my capabilities for another knock at the door. My heart thrashes wildly against my chest and the ends of my ears lobes burn with fear - still waiting. Can it have been a figment of my imagination? Has my mind finally turned against me along with the rest of the world? I dare to open my bedroom door. I push it slowly, inch by inch, being careful not to let the door creak and alert the unwelcome visitor to my presence. Once there is a large enough space between the frame and the door I tentatively poke my head through and peer out into the gloom. Never has a corridor been so still, nothing living dwells there but the supernatural shadows that occasionally frolic into the streaks of moonlight that float on the walls. There is no movement outside that I can fathom so I return to the confines of my room and continue my writing quickly before my time runs out.

My ears scream in agony at the stillness surrounding the room - this dreaded room where my darkest secret lies. I hunch over my desk and continue scrawling the vital note; the letter to my friend. He has to know the truth, they all have to know. Then, like a glass dropped upon a marble floor, the silence shatters with another pounding knock at my front door.

I refrain and keep still. I scarcely breathe. I hold the pen motionless. Who can it be at this hour? It is impossible that they know. I put down the pen once more and scuttle over to my bedroom door and peer out into the deep darkness, to the entrance to my home. Again, stillness descends on the house. There is no sound but the ringing in my ears and the sticky sweat that layers itself over my shuddering body. Then it comes - another knock. Somebody is entreating entrance at my front door. I panic. I slam my bedroom door shut and go back to my desk. The dim quivering light of the candle sitting upon my desk mocks my delusions. I glare at the dancing, mincing light that I only tolerate to finish my letter. The candle has witnessed the entire thing - yet does nothing and I trust it to never tell a soul of the foulness it has seen. My body shakes even harder now as I struggle to regain my composure and finish my letter. The pen wobbles erratically in my hand, even this inanimate object cannot bear to touch me, I can take its life too but what will that accomplish? Suddenly it resounds again - the dreadful pounding to my front door. I want to scream as my body seizes up with a mortal terror that spawns from the guilt of what I have done. The only thing to do is ignore my aggressor; I focus hard on the parchment containing my prose and scribble everything I have to say down as fast as I can. The pounding increases - louder -louder -louder! Tears flood down my cheeks carving salty trenches that land on my magnum opus. Finished - that will have to do, I take my raven seal and stamp its black form at the bottom of my letter, there is no more time for pondering over words; no carefully constructed sentences can ever explain the depths of my depravity.

Another series of knocks echo through the corridor and land in my ear--will they never cease? Is it necessary to continue to torment me?! At that thought I smile - I relax in my chair and begin to laugh. It starts as a chuckle but under duress it soon mutates into a howling roar that melts the icy silence in my home. Fresh tears sprout from my accepting eyes as I feel a comfort in my consciousness. I leap up from my chair assuredly and bound over to my bed, fling back the covers and stop - and stare. There she lies; the reason for my dismay. Her naked body is a block of dead meat. Her once vibrant eyes made up of a million strands every shade of blue are set in stone; glazed over by a light film. Her once soft, comforting skin is now tight and cold - the twisted expression of horror is now eternally etched upon her face. She still stares at me, questioning why. Why did I do it? Why did I wrap my hands around her neck, and crush away her existence? Her mortal coil still stains my hands. A foul sobering stench floats up my nostrils. The mess her bowels released as her muscles died smother the mattress, it is as the raven seal on my letter; a final signature to what I have done, an awakening to the reality of how wrong my divine decision has been. I barely have a moment to ponder when the crashing at my front door returns. What hideous manner of vengeance lashes at my entrance? Once again the monstrous noise steadily increases, louder -louder -louder!

That is it I cannot bear the contemptible burden any more, I cry out and in a mad frenzy I run to the kitchen and grab a knife from the side drawer. Like a hero I set about slaying a murderer.

"Please forgive me!" I shriek and begin to hack at my body to the beat of the banging on the door -boom, cut -boom, cut -boom, cut. My tainted blood sprays out across the pristine tiled floor which grows warm as my temperature drops. I slash away at my vile body, removing segments of flesh from my festering chest as I desperately try to remove my black heart. As I dig the screeching in my ears rises and the searing sharp of the knife racks my body until it finally surrenders. I choose to take the easy way out like the coward I am and cleanly eviscerate the arteries in my both my wrists. I lie slumped against some drawers, a bloody wretched pulp watching the thick maroon sludge flow from my arms like slow, spewing lava. The knocking at my front door fades, it is finally over, they have gone - I have gone.

My next door neighbour - a lovely old lady she is - assumes I must be out so places the package I have ordered, that she has collected on my behalf, upon my front doorstep and hobbles back to her house secure in the knowledge that she has done her good deed for the day.


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