*Characters and events belong to Joel7th
“No longer mourn for me when I am dead…”
I feel her cool, pale gaze on my skin, peeking through the spidery cracks on the window. Watching me. Smirking at me – I know she is, always is. Ridiculing me. Her little fun to while away her time. She, the everlasting beauty that rises night after night and I, the short-lived, anonymous mortal that will fall tonight. She, who is loved and revered by men and I, who is hated and loathed by them, provided that they knew my name.
Oh wait, I don’t think I have a name. Never have had. Mother called me whatever she pleased – fancy, aristocratic nouns I didn’t think she fully grasped the meaning when she was euphoric and the trashiest, foulest four-letter words she could come up with when she was hopelessly inebriated on cheap bourbon.
Never mind. Even if I did have a name, I would not tell you, liebe.
Barefooted, I skitter on the hardwood floor, avoiding all the rusty nails that jut out. I know the floor as if I know my palm and its treacherous little booby traps could not steal a single drop from me. I do intend to bleed to night, just not this kind of bleeding. Lame.
With a merciless sweep of my arm, I send the various trinkets off the table, sparing not a glance at them. Useless, superfluous objects that have long outlived their charms. A sense of void satisfaction runs through me as I listen to their wails upon meeting their swift end, a litany of vociferous cries resonating between the four moldy walls. My old, attic room moans for them in its silent way, allowing their tiny voices to be heard, ability shortly, before their descend into silent oblivion.
My eyes are on the two sole survivors – my private treasures: the timeless gramophone and the sheathed silver knife. Moonlight penetrates the fine veil of dust to dance on their brass and silver skin, their luster somewhat dulled by years. I lower my face and exhale all the air in my lungs, loving to watch tiny particles of dust flutter in front of my curious eyes. Dust could pass for miniature snowflakes, Mother once told me, and we could fancy ourselves the same as the noble class, privileged to enjoy winter without fears of starvation and freezing to death the likes of us suffered. Her words I have never doubted.
The dust disappears between cracks on the floor, the little show over. Grabbing the knife, I put the needle down and turn the gramophone on for another.
The aging machine comes to life. Smooth as new.
“No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Then you shall hear the surly sullen bell…”
In Herr Makaber’s mellifluous tenor singing his magnum opus inspired by a Shakespeare’s sonnet, I unsheathe the knife, holding it out to inspect the blade. Flawless. Beautiful. I place a soft, moist kiss on its gleaming edge nearest to the hilt. A crimson drop fills the delicate carvings along the blade to its tip. Still sharp as a lover’s chastising, my dearest friend time cannot tame.
“…Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world, with vilest worms to dwell…”
My hand glides the tongue down the row of buttons on my flannel nightshirt. Slowly. Carefully. Why need to rush, love?
“Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it; for I love you so…”
The buttons make pearly sounds when they hit the floor beneath my soles. The fabric slips from my skin like warm spring water and I stand naked as the blade in my hand.
A gush of euphoria fills me from head to toe. My legs ache terribly with the urge to dance.
“…That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot
If thinking on me then should make you woe…”
I go on tiptoe and stretch out my arms as though holding a partner to my chest. I take the lead – always trust the born dancer in me – and together we move, twirling gracefully around and around in the little space my room offers. Never mind the pitiable remains of those I swept off the table moments ago being crushed under our steps.
“…O, if, I say, you look upon this verse
When I perhaps compounded am with clay…”
When the back of my knees touch the edge of the bed, I sink heavily down the straw mattress like my partner has suddenly abandoned me – a marionette without strings – and hear the rusty frame groan with my weight. I smile a sheepish smile, stroking the bed sheet. Just indulge this naughty child for a little while, old friend, and soon you’ll be free of me.
“…Do not so much as my poor name rehearse.
But let your love even with my life decay…”
The blade’s tongue casts a flickering metallic gleam on my skin as I meticulously draw a straight red line along my body, from my abdomen to my chest, and point the tip at the hollow of my throat. All I have to do is press down…
…Not the time yet. I smile, laying down the knife.
“…Lest the wise world should look into your moan
And mock you with me after I am gone…”
The song reaches an end. A short pause before a new, same song begins. This peculiar vinyl record of mine plays one song and one song only.
“No longer mourn for me when I am dead…”
The grandfather clock on the wall tick-tocks, tick-tocks. When it strikes twelve, I know he will come. Like he has done so for the last fifteen years. With absolute accuracy. Without fail.
That should be the time.
It is twenty to midnight still, thus I close my eyes, submerge myself in the haunting, angelic melody and wait…
… wait for Death to arrive.
(To Be Continue)
Note: The song is Shakespeare’s Sonnet 71