Obscure Despondency

A/n: Hey everyone! OhmyGod...I'm so sorry I haven't updated Cursed in THREE months....no worries the next chaptershould beoutin the next hour or day or so. Really, I swear! Anyways, this is my story I wrote yesterday, from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m, because I wanted to write something with an Edgar Allen Poe edge to it. (Plus, I kind of wanted to write a story that explored the darkness of the human psyche. Sounds technical...but really, I'm just in a Halloween mood.) Hope you guys enjoy this while waiting for Cursed!

(ps...Happy HALLOWEEN!! )

Stay safe and don't eat unwrapped candy people!

Orient Fox

I begin my tale now, with the hope that you do believe me. I am not mad. Yet they stare and stare at me, as though scrutinizing darkness for psychosomatic cracks.

I am an ordinary man. I work… and I toil… and I pull and rend my heart to serve my loving wife. I hoarded every penny for her so she could obtain her extravagant amusements, and every dollar that passed and blistered her hands ripped and tore at mine, and stretched the very patchwork of my heart. The money would buy whimsical dresses, fine trinkets, and unusual goods from abroad. My dear wife once spent an entire fortune upon a cobwebbed, jeweled trunk. I found that late acquisition in our room after stumbling exhaustedly home one night. She merely smiled and murmured, "It reminds me of something my mother once had, stored at the foot of her bed." Shortly after, she laid fine onyx-tasseled pillows and solid books of old into the coffer, and told me that it would be an heirloom for our children.

Truly, I am a kind man. I loved her for her long, graceful neck and aesthetic frame of mind. Her small peculiarities had endeared her to me during and after our courtship, and I ever so lovingly tended her every fancy and whim. She had only to swing a small, black bell, that hung on a ribbon at her neck, and I would rush forward as fast as a dark gale to care take her small peculiarities. And not a day went by when she wouldn't ring that bell.

Our home was a loving one. Although deep in a marshy peat land, the house was a hard-wearing one, and the water around it could not rot it, and the fallow land merely tainted the foundation a slight earthy red color. Our mansion rose above the damp swamp, a hard-wearing tower amidst crooked vines and creeping foliage.

Buried under a blanket next to her one night, I had closed my eyes, awaiting sleep to ensnare my mind. Unconscientiously lethargic, I suddenly heard the light ting. What was that sound? I stirred beneath the weighty warmth above, yet brushed the thought aside as easily as a hushed whisper – or a cloud of dirt.

I laid there, and looked at the silhouetted form of my wife, and murmured to myself, "It's nothing. Merely a distant church bell knocked softly by the wind." I stared at her hair, the softness and smell suddenly dear to me. And that neck – oh, how long and narrow it was! Ever so thin and delicate. Suddenly, a shadow moved from the corner of my eye. I twisted my head ever so slightly, and saw the silver moonlight spilling across the floor. The window was the entryway to the moonlight flood, and the hoary light glittered like hard diamonds. So enthralled was I that when I heard the second ting, I could hear a sudden thump; the sound of my heart knocking against the chamber of my chest. I cried out, and shouted, "Who's there?"

Oh, but no one replied.

What was it?

I turned and faced my wife once more. She had stirred slightly and mumbled incoherent words, and had suddenly rolled over to face me. Her earnest face was lifted towards me, and her hair was falling slightly over one eye. I gazed at her face, that looked so beautiful in the darkness. I murmured, half to myself and half to her, "T'is nothing but the light swinging of the bell on someone's door knocker." And suddenly, I heard the ting thriceI felt cold frisson prick through my body.

Oh, what was that sound in the darkness? In the shadows, reality was only slightly veiled surrealism. What shadowy force had brushed aside the thin, wispy veil that divided the natural and unnatural? And that awful ting – it sounded ever closer. A trapped, claustrophobic sensation gripped my chest. I felt as though I'd been thrown into the throes of slow suffocation.

Darkness whirled, a mad dance amid the room, and there it was again! That dreaded sound echoed in my ears, and I began to hear it in my head. My heart pounded and I could feel my breathing quicken and my shudders! Oh, how I trembled in the darkness, sensing a dark, stirring sensation within me. And that god-awful ting! They repeated in the abyss of my mind, one echoing the other, and I closed my eyes. Oh, how I wanted the ringing to stop! My maddened mind grasped but one thought; I could only stop the ringing if I just found out what it was! I writhed and twisted, fearful and losing myself to the grip of fear. Panic, oh, it gripped my heart so suddenly, and I could feel my mind lose control. Thoughts heaped into a messy jumble, one indistinguishable from the other. But, oh, how the fear prevailed over my thoughts and senses! And my eyes! My eyes gazed back and fourth at the darkness, striving to see what was creating that sound! But blind! I'd suddenly been struck blind. My mind lost, my body surrendered, it was then fear overcame me, and I lost control. Suddenly my wife stirred, and opened her eyes.

They looked so unnaturally bright in the darkness, like cat eyes, and she stared at me. And that stare! The black of her eyes looked almost calm to me. Didn't she hear the tings? Why had she not woken up earlier? She softly said, "Water. I need water." Water? Dear God! Was she deaf? And then, there came the dreaded ting.

Suddenly, I felt a fear and dread grip me. She glared at me in the darkness, and rang the black bell again – oh, the appalling tings! It had been her all along! My mind lost, fear overcame me, and I lunged at her with a hoarse cry. And as I shook her small form, the tinging refused to stop. They came from the cursed, black bell that hung in the crook of her throat! I shook her, and stared down at her face. Her eyes were wide with horror, and her mouth opened and closed as she gasped for air. But the cursed tinging went on! Her delicate hands suddenly lifted up to her throat as she struggled to breathe, and I noticed the ribbon. I scratched and clawed and bit in my attempt to get the tinging to stop! Oh, you do not understand the very dreaded apprehension the cursed black bell struck in me! I had to get it to stop! I reached back, and with madness in my eyes, reached forward as quick as a snake, and my nails ripped into her skin as I tore the ribbon off! The cursed black bell fell to the ground as the ribbon tore apart in my hands.

Choking and gasping, blood trickled lightly down her throat from the scratches I had rented, as though creating her a red ribbon to replace the one I had ripped from her throat. And that thin neck! The gaping hole was a wound that marred her long neck! And her face – the shocked look of disbelief! My beloved! What had I done? And suddenly, there was the tinging sound! I shrieked out loud. What was that sound? I glanced down, and there it was. It was coming from her chest! Hoarsely crying out in horror, I lifted her weak form from the bed and rushed to the foot of it. There, I kicked the bejeweled chest open. Horror of horrors!The tinging wouldn't stop!! Suddenly, she started swinging her arms and legs at me, struggling to escape. No! She could not escape me so easily! I threw her to the ground, and grabbed a onyx-tasseled pillow from the trunk, and smothered her with her decorative throw pillow. She struggled for quite a time, and it was with great difficulty that I suffocated her. Oh, how I cried out hoarsely and felt a choked sensation in my throat. What horror had caused her to possess such a tinging sound? Finally, she was still. I slowly let go of the pillow and looked at her still, waxen form. How could I have done that? What supernatural force bent my mind so? I reached into the open chest, and took out the solid books, and arranged the pillows as best as I could for the dead. The last pillow I placed in the coffer was the one that I had covered her face with. The care I took placing it in! I wept as I laid her into the jeweled chest – a decorated coffin. A bed fit for the extravagant dead. Crying bitterly, I closed the lid, and being the sole pall-bearer, carried it outside. Then, I buried it in the swamp. A customary funeral.

Never did I expect you to unearth it. The secret lay between my dead wife and I, and never did I expect her soft whispers to reach the ears of living men! But know this – I loved her… were it not for the black bell!