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The Devil's Pen

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« on: March 11, 2007, 09:12:02 am »

My name is William Hargrove, The year of our Lord 1827, October, the seventeenth, I do solemnly swear upon my honor and before almighty God, that this is a true and accurate account of the events of my life.

I do freely and willingly confess to all the unspeakable acts of villainy and debauchery revealed in this written statement. These acts are largely the result of various defaults in my character, defaults that show me to be a base, and vile creature. You will not hear from me vain justifications for what I have done, or pleas for mercy. What I have done, I have done.

Oh, brothers, dear sweet sisters let not the ravings of the insatiable beast we call emotion get its claws into you too. Lock the ravening beast away that rages with carnal desire. Lock it away in a cage of adamantine will. Then cast away that key forever.

An untamed beast lives and breathes just below the surface of us all, straining against the confines imposed on it by our polite and mannerly society, that beast waits beneath the mask, gentlemen.

Pay heed to the warning in my sad tale, and hereafter build your lives on the rock of reason, and take every advantage from this sure and sound footing. This is both a warning and a plea to those whose lives are ruled by passion.

***

I drift back in my mind now to happier days, when I was filled with youthful innocence. It was less then a year ago today, and yet it seems that it was another man entirely that stood on the steps of the grand and magnificent auditorium at Baneford Academy, waiting to receive my doctorate in the literary arts; in my time there I had made something of a reputation for myself as a writer. The Head Master, Professor Perkins was a dear and gentle soul, but prone to emotional outbursts, just as I was. In this and in our love for the written word we where kindred spirits. The dear old gentleman was so happy it was as if he were receiving the diploma, instead of conferring it upon me.

It seemed to me as if I had waited a dozen eternities for this moment. Unlike most of the other students my parents had not been wealthy or aristocratic, in fact it was something of a miracle that I had been allowed to attend at all. I struggled endlessly with finances, because my parents died when I was quite young and although they had provided for me in their will, it was in the form of monthly allowance, which was not nearly enough for the tuition.


***

But my mind was not on these things, what the diploma meant to me was that at last I could marry my beloved Suzette. We met at her coming out party. I had not been invited to this affair, aristocracy only you understand. But Charles Sterling, a dear friend from the Academy brought me along as his guest. Charles was a noble fellow who never held it against me that I was a commoner, the way most of the other students did.

But I digress, what an unforgettable day it was, from the very first moment I saw her, I adored her, I worshipped her, and I was filled with a glowing love light, my feet disdaining the coarse and crude earth beneath them. My soul enshrined an image of her forever, my dream of love always and forever my sweet Suzette. When my lips met hers for the first time what a rapturous thrill, sharp currents of pleasure coursed through me overwhelming my senses, stirring in me a wild and erotic fascination. It raged inside me like a hurricane at sea, buffeting my emotions about with waves of wild desire.

Her father vehemently disapproved of me, since that very first afternoon at her coming out party. So we met secretly every Sunday evening when she was supposed to be at piano practice. Her piano teacher didn’t mind. She was still being paid; and as Suzette explained to me laughing, she just couldn’t stand the “God awful racket.”


***

With my diploma in hand I would at last be able to face her father and legitimately ask for her hand in marriage. I road to the Brettel Estate, a grand and imposing five story Victorian manor set amidst a lovely eighteenth century style hedged garden and enclosed by an impressively tall and imposing iron gated stonewall. One of the servants took my horse the other led me inside. “I will tell Colonel Brettel you are here sir.” I stood in the grand entrance hall. A winding staircase led to the second floor, above me hung a magnificent golden multi-tiered seventeenth century chandelier. Upon the freshly waxed floors were set busts of some of the great men of British history there was... Wellington, Chamberlain, Cromwell, Shakespeare and many others all waiting there with me. I waited and waited…and waited, I must have stood in that hallway for an over an hour. Finally a servant appeared and said, “The Colonel will see you know.” The servant led me to the library. The colonel sat near the fireplace drinking sherry and smoking one of the biggest cigars I had ever seen. “What can I do for you Mr. Hargrove?” He asked.

“Sir, I have just received my Doctorate from Baneford Academy, your daughter and I are very much in love and I have been assured that I a very promising future, all of my Professor’s recommend me highly. I have come to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage.”

The Colonel jumped from his chair his face flushed, his eyes blazing fiercely. “You little bastard, you have been sneaking around with my Suzette, haven’t you! Is she pregnant? By God I’ll kill you with my own bare hands.” He lunged for my throat, He was built like a bull with huge hands but I was much faster. I blocked his arms and swung around behind him in the same motion grabbing him in a headlock.

“Calm down Colonel. Suzette isn’t pregnant, I haven’t touched her.” I pleaded with him.

“You get the hell out of here, and if I ever see your face again I shall sick the dogs on you!” Now I was consumed with rage myself and sorely tempted to snap his damn neck.

“Be reasonable sir” I said releasing him, restraining myself from further violence.

“Get out now,” he said in a low even tone, he was deadly serious.

I turned and walked slowly out. I was flooded with grief and anger, well that did not go well, I said to myself. As I steeped out of the double doors of the entranceway I heard the Colonel yell, “Grab him!” The two doormen tackled me and held me face down in the entranceway; from here I could see the Colonels boots. Then I heard him say, “This will teach you to keep your damn hands off my daughter!” I felt his hands in my hair, and then he began to slam my face into floor. More of his men must have shown up because I felt them stomping and kicking at me with their heeled and pointed riding boots. I passed out, after the third time my head went into the cold stone floor.

***

I came to in a ditch alongside the road, one eye was swollen shut, I felt my lips, and they were as big lemon wedges. I ran my tongue around inside my mouth and I discovered several of my teeth had been chipped. Well there go my boyish good looks, I thought laughingly. Beside the road stood my horse Uncas, whom I named after the fierce Indian in J. Fenimore Cooper’s “The last of the Mohicans.” I had hell of a time climbing back into the saddle, my mind wouldn’t focus and I was awkward, I couldn’t get my foot into the damn stirrup. Every moment sent sharp pains through me. I think one of my ribs was broken because it always gave me trouble after that. I don’t remember making it back to my flat.

***

I awoke three days later naked atop the sheets that were covered with vomit and stained in blood. I limped around trying to clean it up as best I could. I was starving. But because of my swollen lips I could not eat, it was just too painful. My Mind went racing out to Suzette what would her father do to her? I had to see her. I threw on a long overcoat and headed out the door. I couldn’t ride, but if I could get a message to her, perhaps we could arrange something. As I walked out into the street I saw a thin, taunt and lively gypsy girl with long straight raven black hair falling to her waist, she had the most incredibly intriguing coal black eyes that seemed to peer into your soul. Her mouth was exquisite, ripe, plump and succulent with the most enticing little gap between her top two front teeth.

“Oh you poor man, what happened to you.” she asked

“Well I got knocked around pretty good, it doesn’t matter…My Name is William, would you please do a favor for me, and I’ll give you whatever you ask, within reason.” I replied.

“What do you have in mind, sweetie,” she said as she winked at me.

“Oh no, it’s not that, I need you to get a message to someone, will you help me,” I replied.

“To bad," she said with a wicked little smile. “Sure I’ll do it, ten pounds up front,” she said.

“Five now, five when I get a message back saying the note has been delivered,” I replied.

“All right William, I’ll do it. My name is Myra, a pleasure.”

With Myra’s help I was able to get a message to Elisa, one of Suzette’s old friends from finishing school, and then arrange a rendezvous.

***

I saw Suzette standing in our secret meeting place; It was just beneath an old and distinguished gentleman of an oak, the last surviving member of the forest that once covered these rolling hills, It stood well over a hundred feet tall, its branches forked out at twenty feet above the ground, it stretched one mighty limb across a small stream that ran lazily through the manicured grounds. A dove cooed somewhere in the high grass in the field beyond the stream.

"Oh, William, your face! Did my father do that?"

“Yes, him and a couple of his men.” I said.

“Why did you do it William? Didn’t you realize what he would do? I am practically under house arrest now, he has men watching me night and day, oh I do hope I haven’t led them to this place.”

“I did it because I love you terribly. I want you to be mine forever and always sweet…Suzette. Come away with me tonight, we’ll leave the country. Lets go to America Suzette, we’ll start a new life together.”

“Oh, I am so torn up inside, I can’t marry you now William. He means to marry me to some wealthy and powerful aristocrat it's all business with him. If we ran off together he'd have you killed. I just couldn’t bare that William, I do love you so. I can’t even see you now! He has his spies everywhere.”

“This is not the end Suzette. I shall find a way for us to be together always and forever," I said as I held her gently in my arms.

***

“Well tell!” Myra said poking me in the ribs, which were still sore as hell. “I want to hear all about it, you romantic devil, you.”

“She won’t marry me. She says her father would have me killed, after what happened last week, I think she’s right. I am half out of my mind Myra, I don’t know what to do.” I said.

“Why don’t you just kill the bastard?”

“You’re not serious.”

“No William, I know you don’t have the stomach for that. But maybe I can help.”

***

I saddled up Uncas and we road together to Myra’s camp just as the sun was setting in the sky. It presented us with an amazing display of the maker’s art, broad strokes of smoky deep purple and splashed nonchalantly with a melancholy vermilion, you out did yourself tonight old man. I said to myself as we drew closer to the wagons of her vagabond tribe. A violin played soft and haunting strains somewhere in the night. She made a series of hand signals as we neared, obviously to communicate with men guarding the camp. The campfires were already burning in the fading sunlight and the women folk were cooking the evening meal, in heavy iron pots hung from tripods, over small stone encircled fires. The men were gathered in small groups talking with each other, or were sitting on the steps of the circled wagons enjoying an evening smoke.

She walked up the back steps of a red and yellow painted wagon. It was longer and taller with more elaborate scrollwork then the rest of the wagons in the little caravan. Myra knocked. The round windowed door swung open slowly and there stood an elderly women, her white hair contrasting sharply with the red paisley kerchief she wore about her head. A string of gold necklaces about her withered neck, but what held my attention were the eyes she peered out at the world with, the same coal black knowing eyes that Myra had, “This is Esmeralda…William… Grandmother I have brought this man William to you, he is in need. Will you help him?”

She looked me over carefully, as if weighing my soul on scales in her old head. “Give me your hand, William,” she said finally in a tired, world-weary voice, “Oh you poor man.” She sighed, “Be careful of this one Myra,” she warned. “You are a very passionate man William so very passionate it is killing you, eating you alive inside. Here I shall show you.” She traced a path with her wrinkled finger over my hand as she spoke. “You are unlucky in love your heart line is so deep, so strong, but severed. You are torn between two paths the lifeline diverges, both paths you deeply desire but the paths do not intersect. You shall be offered a choice, I have never seen the like…I cannot help you my boy, but you have my sympathy.”

“Is there no one who can help me?” I asked.

“Perhaps there is one, but I warn you it is very dangerous and foolish.” she said

“I can’t live like this!” I said.

“Very well, come back tomorrow night.”

***

I returned to the Camp the following afternoon, Myra ran out to greet me. “Hello William, It is all arranged. I will take you to the man who is to be your guide.”

“But where am I going Myra?” I asked

“Ha, ha, ha why to see Old Kate of coarse! She knows things William, she maybe able to help you.”

I kissed her cheek and said, “Well, wish me luck.”


***

Black, muck clung thickly to my boots as we trudged through that foul smelling fen. Whopping cranes were calling out in that lonely, long and mournful way of theirs somewhere out there… in the dense rolling fog. Foul shapes seemed to hang and glide just out of the reach of perception on that dim and moonlit moor.

We waded through waist high reeds from stranded hillock to narrow ridge. Stunted and twisted, little sharp-limbed trees took on the aspect of gruesome sentinels, as if guarding some unwholesome secret known only to themselves. Every now and then my guide would lift his lantern high and wave it slowly from side to side reminding me of a lonely lighthouse on the shores of a fog enshrouded sea.

I could see no path at all. How my guide found his way through this, I shall never know. Perhaps it was merely his familiarity with the region, or perhaps this was his natural element, for I never saw anyone who looked so much like they had just stepped out of a penny dreadful.

He was broad shouldered, thick limbed and short legged, perhaps six and a half to seven feet tall, if he had stood upright that is. For he was bent and twisted, one shoulder higher than the other, his back bent as if crouched to spring. His crude and roughly hewn features only added to his apelike appearance, thick lips, a wide-nose, no chin to speak of and a low protruding forehead. Add to this primitive picture of a man, one baleful eye entirely white. A scar stretched over that eye, from the middle of his forehead, to just below the left cheek. His hair was a thick and wiry mop that sat unruly atop his head. He wore a horsehair tunic bound about the middle with thick rope, knotted in front and from which hung a long deadly looking curved dagger.

“What the hell are those? See over there?” I asked.

“Em’s Corpse Candles,” he replied with a grunt.

“What pray tell are corpse candles, my good man,” I asked.

“Hain’t your man, I be Kate’s man. You’s to keep your eye's open, lip's shut.”

***

As the night drew on the scenery began to change we started to encounter more clumps of trees standing on lonely hillocks, the path more rocky. Eventually we came to a wood and after some searching my guide located a trial. At the head of the trail, a totem was set, upon a stake in the earth. It looked as if the bones of various creatures had been cobbled together to form a scarecrow. The head of this scarecrow was a mountain goat with long twisted horns. The torso that of a man’s but from its wrists and ankles hung the claws of what must have been a gigantic vulture, the wings sprouted from its back rising high into the air above us. If the purpose of this twisted scarecrow was to scare away-unwanted visitors this skeletal freak was more than equal to the task; I almost begged my primitive guide to take me back across the moors. I would have but then I considered the deadly looking dagger that hung from his belt.

We walked through this wood for what seemed like hours, several times I was startled by a sudden caw, caw of a crow and the heavy beating of wings as it flew off. Now I began to notice bones strewn along the path, I could not shake the sensation that I was being watched. Finally I saw ahead of us in the clearing a crude thatched hut surrounded by torches burning in the darkness, the ground strewn with bones. Two human skulls were mounted on posts in the ground outside her door. I began to seriously wonder about wisdom of this little excursion.

As we neared the hut she emerged moving with an unnatural slowness and grace. I looked into her eyes, the pupils of which were narrow, not round at all and of a greenish yellow cast. Her head had a peculiar v-shape to it. She wore a long black robe decorated with curiously wrought white symbols around the neck and about the sleeves, the tail of the robe disappearing into the depths of her primitive hut. The hut itself was decorated with shrunken heads, weirdly carved figurines, and candles. Long strings of beads formed a primitive doorway inside the hut before which sat a stack of ancient looking leather bound books. A parrot sat high upon a perch as snakes wound there way across the dirt floor.

“Ah Master Hargrove, I have been expecting you, what a vain and passionate man you are William, just my type,” she said as her eye slowly winked at me. “Ha, ha, ha,” she cackled. A shudder rippled through me as she spoke, for her voice had the sibilant hiss of the crafty serpent.

“Auuugghk, passionate man,” squawked the parrot.

“Quiet Paracelsus,” she said. “He’s always sticking his nose into things that are better left alone, ha, ha, ha” she cackled. “Now where were we?”

“Auuugghk, ****,” squawked the parrot.

“Why have you come to old Kate, William Hargrove, a love potion perhaps? No I see you’re after more, much, much more. I have something that may be of use to you William.” She said in her hissing voice as she lifted a pen up before my astonished eyes. What is it you see William.”

“It is a pen,”

“Yes, it is that and much, much, more, it is also a weapon perhaps the most powerful weapon of all for with it you can sway minds, move armies and crumble empires. I thought that you being a writer, might understand this.”

“I understand,” I said.

“No William, I don’t think you do, but never mind that, you did not come here for a philosophy lesson now did you? You came here because you are obsessed with a woman. This pen produces only masterworks.”

“What do you want for it?”

“Ah, all artists know the sacrifices that must be made for their craft, the power of the pen exacts its own price, William.”

She then presented me with this most exquisite instrument of the writer’s art, long and flowing, gracefully balanced, sharp and golden tipped.

***

The power of the pen I discovered soon enough. I began by writing love poetry, long essays about the wonders and beauties of the natural world, and long epic poems based upon the wondrous complexities and ironies of Greek mythology. My work was hailed as a triumph. I was the new darling of the literary world. Soon I became wealthy man and offers poured into write novels and plays.

Which I produced in short order increasing my wealth enough so that I was able to buy up the majority of stock in Brettel family business and acquire the mortgage on the estate. I was able to do this in part, by writing glowing praises of the Colonel's competitors and stinging criticism of his company, which they richly deserved for labor abuses, bribery and other nefarious practices. This helped lower the cost of the stock and caused more people to sell, further lowing its value in an ever downward spiral. This was a technique that served me well in accumulating wealth.

When the day came that I owned the majority of his company I simply road to the estate with my new band of gypsy body guards and I gave him a choice, either he gave me Suzette’s hand and I gave him back his company or I would ruin him. The Colonel made a very wise decision, I believe.

***

I will never forget that day. Suzette was more beautiful than ever the sun was shining and we decided to visit our secret place. She began torturing me with kisses that flowed warm and sweet like summer wine, intoxicating me with passion.

I then held her from behind, holding her tender waist pulling her slowly against me once more nuzzling my face in the tantalizing sensuousness of her hair. Breathing heavily almost panting, pulsating with pleasure, my mind enthralled by the sinful suggestiveness of this embrace, I begged, “Please Suzette, let me, I love you more than any man has ever loved a woman, I would die a thousand agonizing deaths for you, I would sell my everlasting soul to win your love.”

My heart pumped; my loins ached and my head reeled in delirium. I could stand it no longer. I hiked up the long ankle length gown up over her back reveling the white-gartered stockings beneath. I explored her luscious long flanks with my greedy hands. As she held on to the gentlemanly old oak tree for balance her firm hindquarters were before my hungry eyes taunting me with their ripeness, insane with lust I had to have her.

“My God William stop, what has gotten into you?” I did not stop. I took her then and there, it was not until I finished that I realized what I had done, Oh, I thought my dreams of loves sweet bliss were shattered, like the sparkling glass upon the jagged stone. I thought she would hate me always and forever. I thought my dreams would vanish before my very eyes, all because I was unable to contain my lust for her.

Suzette dropped to her knees before me and put her arms about my legs, “Oh, you are a real man, you are…you do not know how long I have dreamed of this William,” she wept in joy. We were marred two weeks later, and I bought a lovely old three story Victorian.

***

Now my days were filled with the fawning, demanding and angelic Suzette, my nights filled with aggressive and adventurous she-devil Myra, who I hired as “personal advisor” to help with research for my novels, I don’t think anyone ever bought that one. Myra was just too gorgeous to be taken seriously, even though she was smart as a nine-tailed whip.

***

I wanted to visit my old Professor I missed him. I entered the upstairs office of Professor Perkins, Head Master of Baneford Academy, as I entered he got up from behind his desk, rushed over and began shaking my hand vigorously, “We all wondered what had happened to you my boy,” He said excitedly, “locked yourself away in some dingy room some where writing your novel, Eh.”

“Well sort of Professor, I have come to make a donation to the Academy Professor and of coarse to see you.”

“Wonderful, William, I must say I always expected great things from you, your passion showed through in all your works. But your writing now far exceeds anything you have produced in the past, it’s almost as if it were written by another person. Such tremendous style, such elegant phrasing, you have exceeded all my hopes for you, I am so proud of you, son.”

“Thank You, Professor.” I said. It was then that it hit me hard for the first time I was a fraud, a complete and utter fake. My fame, my new home, everything rested on an illusion. It was not I who had produced these works even though it was my hand that held the pen.

***

I slowly began to realize to my horror that the pen had a mind of its own. I could no-longer write dreamy love poems or about nature and the Greek Gods…now my writing turned to the dark side of life. Murder mysteries, horror novels and political tracts for my mind became filled with visions of crime and vice. But not just that, my mind also followed along as armies marched to carry out the brutal business of war; wandered onto bloody battlefields and listened in horror to screams of agony and death.

Now to my everlasting surprise these works were hailed even more highly than my previous works. What wonderful diversity what comprehensive ability and insight into life, the critics raved, each trying to see who could lavish the most praise on me. I was truly disgusted I don’t believe a one of these critics had ever given a decent review to a horror story or murder mystery before.

I began to notice strange things happening… several publishers had committed suicide when they failed to secure the rights to my latest novel. Several businesses that I had criticized where looted and burned. The longer it went on the stranger it got, my name and face were everywhere in the news. People were taking everything I said as gospel; with one word from me in the press I could destroy a man’s life. The Royal family almost insisted that I be knighted in a grand ceremony with a parade, which was unheard of. With my notoriety it became harder and harder to go anywhere in public, I could not even go to my own plays for fear of being ripped to shreds by adoring mobs. All this that damn devil pen had set in motion for it’s own evil designs which I was not to learn of until much later.


***

I was less and less able to control the words that flowed from that monstrous pen. It was always there calling out to me like an addiction. The pen began to seriously intrude upon my mind. I began to drink myself to sleep every night and started up again as soon as I awoke. I was slowly becoming a drunken leach an evil wanton cynic.

I had the means, and a driving compulsion to live out the sick but wildly erotic fantasies inspired by the devil pen. With the ever-wicked Myra on my arm, I strolled into each and every new and more unwholesome escapade. Myra was such a wicked little temptress, “What has gotten into you William, you’re a changed man, I like it,” Myra said giving me that oh… so libidinous little wink of hers.

I tasted each and every vice, every one that struck my depraved and fickle fancy. But I shall not try and recall them all here, all the meaningless nights of drunken debauchery, of the wild and often dangerous search for forbidden and sinful pleasures. Suffice it to say, I have spent many a night in gambling halls, opium dens and the like. I chased every winking barmaid. I fondled every firm, round and tempting bottom. I mercilessly attempted to seduce every female old, young, thin, round, dark or fair, I didn't care.

What purpose would it serve, to recount violent, desperate back alley couplings, or the nights dancing naked as a savage at sabot bonfires, the unholy orgies in the Mortimer Family Crypt, that filled to overflowing with the delightfully degenerate and the irrepressibly depraved. Why should I confess every detail of the nights I spent reveling in strange carnal delights with knowing, warm and willing ladies of the evening? I couldn’t even tell you for sure how much coin I extravagantly, carelessly cast away at Madame Rousseau’s House of Pain. Ah, what a wonderful venue it would have made De Sade himself blush. Suffice it to say, that of these things I am guilty and much, much more. What purpose would it serve to enumerate my arrests for drunken brawling, public indecency and the like? All of these where easily swept under the rug because of my new wealth and fame.

***

One evening returning from a night of drunken debauchery with Myra, I heard a low and piteous moaning coming from the dining hall, “Yes, yes, oh God, yes,” As we rounded the corner I saw Suzette lying on the end of the long formal dining table, her dress rumpled and scattered beneath her. Balancing, one elbow at her side, her hand clawing at the hair of the man that was holding her long shapely legs aloft and feasting hungrily between her gartered thighs.

“Suzette?” I asked quietly, She quickly jumped of the table. It was Charles Sterling my old friend who turned with a shocked and frightened look in his eyes.

“Well, what of it!” My sweet Suzette screamed. “Your always out with your little ****!”

“I am so sorry William, but I love her, I have always loved her,” Charles confessed.

“Then you take her Charles,” they walked out hand in hand together, Suzette crying.

“Well now I got you all to myself,” Myra said smiling with a Cheshire cat grin.

I slapped her ass hard, “Ouch” she said, “you know I like it when you play rough,” she said putting her arms around me.

“Shut up, Myra.”

She mockingly pouted at me.

My will and heart had been broken. I felt like a puppet whose strings had been cut falling to the stage, never to rise again. The last good and wholesome thing had been driven out of my life forever, I knew that under the influence of the devil’s pen I would only end up hurting her, destroying her, perhaps even killing her. I had to let her go while I was still able, for her sake, because of my love for her, Oh...always and forever my sweet Suzette. It had taken her from me, my heart felt as if it was being squeezed in vice. I should have found some other way, if only we had gone to America when I wanted.


***

Here, I sit at my roll-top mahogany desk writing by the warm glow of gaslight lanterns set about the opulence of my personal study, staring at it. The pen; exquisite, long and flowing, gracefully balanced, sharp and golden tipped. It begs to be held, to wind and whip its way across the page, like a ballerina upon the stage and just as fluid, graceful and sure as any prima ballerina. But I shall not hold that wondrous shaft in my hand again, no, for it is the devil’s pen.

***

I awoke this morning my head throbbing my throat parched from God-awful hangover. I went to get a bottle of wine from my desk, when I noticed a stack of papers that I did not remember writing. I began to read them. They were political tracts about the glories of the British Empire, how it was Britain’s destiny to rule not only the waves, but also the world. I have no doubt of the devil's pen ability to sway public opinion and lead the country to war.

This pen is the devil's very own right hand, it contains the will of hell’s master and with me as his instrument, the world will never be safe. In my imagination I see the horrific war playing out, men marching beneath the banner of the pen's true master, as civilizations crumble and fall crushed beneath his heel.

It has taken everything from me, my love, my pride, my honor and my innocence, as its power had grown, my will to resist it has weakened. I have decided that I must die, what is one man’s life to save countless others? No, I haven’t fallen that far yet, not far enough to allow all the suffering and death of war, just so that I might prosper. But it's only a matter of time before that damn pen takes over completely and I become the personification of its evil will. I must end it. I must end it while I still may.

William Hargrove

PS: If you value you lives, leave the pen where it lies.





This is the original, for comparison, and so that all the wonderful commnets I recieved still make sense, to those who may at some point read this.

The Poet’s Pen


William Hargrove
September 16, 1789
Personal Journal

I flew to sweet Suzette, to unfurl my love before her like a glorious banner. To wrap her in the tender folds of love’s sweet embrace forever, as my bride. The moon poured rapturous light upon the heavenly charms of sweet Suzette, for all the world to envy. Warm kisses flowed from her sweet lips like summer wine, intoxicating me with passion. I could wait no longer and fell to my knees before my Goddess, sweet Suzette; then and there, I did propose our engagement.

“But what means this, William?” she says, “I cannot marry you. You know my father cannot abide a poet! He thinks them the lowest sort of man. He is most practical, William. You know you must prove yourself to be a man of station; a man of MEANS before he shall consent to give you my hand.”

Oh, then and there, were my dreams of of love's sweet bliss shattered, like the sparkling glass upon the jagged stone. My hopes raised to the heights of glorious Heaven, then cast to the lowly, barren earth below. If God sees this in his vain and glorious realm and lets such injustice stand… what fouler things shall he bear witness to and yet stay his mighty hand?

Oh strange and cruel fate, that casts its baleful eye upon me. Why have you cast the bright and beautiful light of sweet Suzette into my life? Only to hide it away from me now? Only to wound me! God has no love for me; no for if he did, he could not bear to witness my sorrow, my unhappy shame.

I will do anything to have her, anything foul or fair, I do not care. Sweet Suzette shall be mine, forever.


William Hargrove
September 16, 1789
Personal Journal

I have been to the pub. My head floats in an unruly sea; tempest tossed and lisping from taking on, to much wine. Can I trust these base born and malodorous men? Is there any truth in these commoners who swear by heathen Gods? It does not matter, for I am lost man without her. Lost without my sweet Suzette. I shall seek out the Witch of Derby.


William Hargrove
September 19, 1789
Personal Journal

My guide was as black hearted, a scoundrel of a gypsy, as one would ever hope to meet. One had but to look into his eyes to see, he would cut your throat for a half-pence. The eerie song of the whippoorwill accompanied us upon that long strange journey through the mists, far out upon the moonlight moors. Midnight was long since past when we reached the Witch's thatched and squalid hut. I feared.

“What dost thou seek young master? Why, What bringest thou to ol' Kate, a love potion perhaps? No! I see thy need is greater by far.” Hissed the thin lips of this creature, it chilled me to the bone, shuddering with revulsion. I shall not say woman, for her tongue had the sibilant tones of the scaly serpent, the bridge of her nose far too wide, the pupils of her eyes too narrow, too yellow, to be a daughter of Eve's line, alone.

“It is not me thou seekest, William but another. HE shall be there, waiting for thee at the crossroads, he knows of thy plight and the impotence of thy God.” “Ha, ha, haaa,” she cackled.

How did this thing know my name? I doubted not her powers, an instant after being in her cold presence. She has given me a time and a place where HE maybe found. I have sworn a solemn oath not to reveal this to a living soul, on pain of her vengeance. That vengeance I fear worse than Black Death itself.


William Hargrove
November 1, 1789
Personal Journal

I shall not speak further of the crossroad, nor of whom I met there. Nor of what waits upon the threshold of the void. None shall hear from me of winged and taloned fiends screeching in the halls of outer night, nor of dark shades that ply the chill waters of sulfurous chaos. Nor of the fiendish things that... that crawled, that clawed, that gnashed, that fed upon my tender soul whilst the unholy deal was struck.

No, I shall not share the madness that infests my soul with the world. The madness that feeds upon the dwindling remains of my humanity, like maggots on a dead dog. Let humanity dream, its naive innocent little dreams. For the evil of men is as nothing compared to that which I have witnessed in the nightmarish realms in which I walked, to offer up my soul in trade. The knowledge of which could only shatter their sanity, as it has mine.

In one year, I shall be able to buy Suzette’s father a dozen times over, HE has promised. I shall have more honors and respect than a dozen generals, HE has promised. Here in my hand, I hold the PEN I took from his. From it master works shall flow, HE has promised me.

All this, I have done to win your precious hand, my sweet Suzette.

My soul is doomed for your sake, my sweet Suzette,

All this, I have done because I love you, my sweet Suzette,

More, more would I do, for you, my darling, my beloved, my sweet Suzette.

But what more can a man give than is very soul.

William Hargrove
November 1, 1790
Personal Journal

HE has kept his bargain. I am Poet Laureate, I wear the coveted laurel leaves upon my crown, honored and celebrated throughout the land. I am rich beyond Midas's dreams of avarice. But what matter's this to me now? it matters not at all… not at all. I write out the tale of this day’s tragic events as a warning. A warning to others against letting their passions rule.

I shall use no flowery words, no fancy phrasing, no clever tricks of sound and pacing. For they are the tools by which my life, my unhappy soul has been undone. Only the barest of facts shall I now convey.

I had but one thought, Suzette’s father cannot refuse me. Sweet Suzette would be mine at last.

As I entered her house, her father greeted me thus, “You are most welcome here William. It has been ages, why have you stayed away so long? Suzette has missed you terribly; she cried her eyes out for months and wouldn’t even speak to me! I hear you have become quite a prominent man, I always new you would be. Suzette has been dying to see you. She has some news for you, go to her.”

As I ran up the stairs, I wondered what news she had? Her door was open. There she was my beloved sweet Suzette. My heart leaped with joy, I ran to her and sweep her up into my arms, and she kissed my cheek. “My William, I am so happy to see you again. I have such wonderful news, I am to be married. I want to ask you a favor you, mustn’t say no," she pouted. "Will you be the best man?”

I was bound to an eternity of anguish for the love of sweet Suzette. I would not spend that eternity, thinking of her in the arms of another, no she must die. Sweet Suzette in the arms of another would be worse to me, then all the tortures hells grim master's could ever devise upon my chained and naked soul.

I grabbed her, by her lovely swan like neck and strangled her to death, with these two hateful hands. I calmly walked out of my beloved’s bedroom, out of her house, down the narrow cobbled streets to my own door. I love her yet. I shall walk upon the bright and beautiful earth, I shared with her no more. It is to painful to even contemplate.

I have prepared the noose for myself. I shall simply stand upon a chair and jump.

P.S. If you value your soul leave the PEN where it lies.

The End

« Last Edit: March 24, 2007, 12:03:19 am by unknown » Report Spam   Logged

"There exists an agent, which is natural and divine, material and spiritual, a universal plastic mediator, a common receptical of the fluid vibrations of motion and the images of forms, a fluid, and a force, which can be called the Imagination of Nature..."
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2007, 01:13:35 am »

A new one!

This one was a bit on the depressing side, either that or it needs a bit more irony! Personally, I think this one needs some necrophilia.  He can't have her in life?  Fine, he can have her in death.  So, he still leaves the house, but this time takes her body with him and the two of them live happily everafter.

Gee, isn't that romantic?
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2007, 01:16:20 am »

Hiya Pagan

Oh thats wild...

Really dark and creepy, thats brilliant...

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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2007, 02:55:22 am »

I liked it.   Not that it isn't good already, but the end needs to be either a little more tragic (like Poe) or grisly (like Lovecraft), just to give it that added "punch."
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2007, 03:01:53 am »

Zodiac

I think I'm going a rewrite and do it a little different, A little longer set up with the romance, I think I'll have him gradaute from the university then have him ask her to marry him, a little more about his trip to the witch on the moors. I think I'm gonna go for a little more Poe like fell at the end and have him lure her to his apartment at the end. then see where the writing itself takes me.
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2007, 03:25:38 am »

Zodiac

I just love this line, I think I'll use it as my sig.

My head floats in an unruly sea; tempest tossed and lisping from taking on to much wine.
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2007, 10:25:26 pm »

The Devils Pen...lets try this again



William Hargrove
September 16, 1789
Personal Journal


What a tragic, fateful day this- why must my greatest triumph come upon the same day, the very same hour as

my most bitter defeat! Oh cruel and wicked fate that casts it's baleful eye upon me, that brings me to the

threshold of heaven's glorious gate, then sends me crashing head long into ruin against the muddy mundane

earth.


But wait... Let me recall the events of day, I stood before that plump and pompous, pious, soul Professor

Thadius J. Peacock, as he handed me my long awaited Diploma. He shook my hand with vigor

saying, "Congratulations William, I should say Mr. Hargrove, you are bound for a bright and distinguished future, I

and the other professor's have gathered together our meager resources to buy you this." He then presented me

with the most exquisite instrument of the writers art that I had ever beheld; long and flowing, gracefully

balanced, sharp and golden tipped. "This is for the marvelous outpouring of inspiring and profound works you have

produced while attending this University, and we hope it will remind you of your alma mater when you become

rich and famous! We also hope it will inspire you...to give generously!" he said laughingly. The crowd cheered as

he grabbed me and lifted me from the floor hugging me in his bear-like grip.



When he finally set me back upon my own two happy feet, I blushed profusely, and stammered some words of

thanks and appreciation to my doting professors and the cheering student body. But my mind revolved around

Suzette, always Suzette, sweet, sweet luscious Suzette whose wondrous charms could enchant the devil

himself and that delight me beyond--what even the most noble efforts of the poet's sibilant pen, could ever

hope to paint upon a literary canvas. I could not stand to be away from her another instant, each fleeting

moment a torment, an agony without my sweet Suzette, my mind pleaded, my heart ached-oh, I must be with

her at once. I ran from the auditorium not even stopping to congratulate the other students, who tried to

draw my attention as I ran past, not caring; I flew along the winding narrow streets to her door, the door

that held behind it my hearts ambition, my life’s desire, my dream forever, my sweet Suzette.

***

We stood in the garden beneath a tall and majestic old oak, the moonlight played a rapturous sonata of soft

and soothing light upon the angelic charms of sweet Suzette, Her twirling, dancing, flaming hair capturing

every glint of light and magnifying it a thousand fold in dazzling brilliance. Her eyes of green torturing and

tormenting me with their mischievous sparkle and those lips-oh the sweet lips of Suzette; so full of the

promise of sensual delights and when those lips move to speak; the angels are amazed, to hear the silky

hushed, soft wondrous trebled tones of sweet Suzette, "Congratulations William, I am so proud of you." 


I held her tenderly, "I love you Suzette, I love you more than a man has ever loved a woman or shall ever

again, I would give my soul for you!"



"Oh, my William, you are such a romantic devil!" She laughed playfully. Torturing me with kisses that flowed

warm and sweet like summer wine, intoxicating me with passion, my blood pumped, my loins ached, my head

reeled. I could stand it no longer. Then and There, I fell down groveling at the feet of my Goddess.



"I have graduated from the University with honors, everyone insists I have a bright and promising future.

sweet Suzette will you marry me!"



"William you know I love you, I do. But I cannot marry you without my Father's permission and you know how

he feels about poet's! Why, he thinks they are the lowest type of man, all light headed and dreamy eyed,

practically useless. No you must give up these foolish dreams William, you must go to work as a clerk in my

father's warehouse and in a few years he may give you his consent."



"Suzette, I am nothing if not a poet. Could you marry a man who was nothing, I cannot wait years, I can

hardly wait another day, one more hour is an agony you cannot fathom," I said.



"Hah, William you lying scoundrel! You claim you would give up your soul for me, and you will not even go to

work for my father, to win me. It is but a small thing I ask. You know my Father! He is a very practical man

and you must present yourself here, as a man of station and of MEANS, I don't want to see you again until you

are willing to either go to work for him, or have found some other way to satisfy him."



Oh, then and there, were my dreams of bliss shattered, like the sparkling glass upon the jagged stone, a small

thing, A SMALL THING! to her perhaps. But If I gave up my art, my poetry then what have I to offer her, for I

would only be a hollow reed of a man, a ghostly shell, a puppet from which the strings had been cut falling to the

stage, never to entertain, never to rise again. I knew I could never make her realize that what she asked from

me was more than my soul. What she asked of me was to relinquish the divine spark entirely, to become

nothing forever. I would do anything for Suzette, anything foul or fair. But this, this I can not do, it would

destroy us both in the end. It would turn my all consuming love to burning, cruel, vengeful hate. 


The pain is too bitter, the grief like bile eats at my heart. I fear my soul has already turned sour in this hour of

dismal despair.




William Hargrove
October 1, 1789
Personal Journal


My head swims in an unruly sea, tempest tossed and lisping from taking on too much wine. What matters

it?--What matters it if my soul be stained with vices unnumbered and inequities mounting up so high they

topple over on the astonished moon. I have lost that which gave purpose to my life, that drove my once

ambitious self to strive, to win approval from the world. I have lost all that gave meaning to my life. It has

destroyed my faith. It has revealed the fanciful lies they tell to children, lies of justice ha, and of

righteousness of chastity and purity, for what are they really but coercion. No, the illusory world of honor, no

longer holds any allure for me.



The man without a vice is a man who hasn't given it a decent go yet-. For I have now tasted each and every

vice that stuck my fickle fancy, and I shall do so every BLOODY chance I get.



But I shall not try and recall them all here, all the meaningless nights of drunken debauchery, the search for

forbidden and sinful pleasures. Suffice it to say, I have spent many a night in gambling halls and opium

dens since my graduation, I have chased every winking barmaid. I have fondled every round and tempting

bum within arms reach. I have mercilessly tried to seduce every female old, young, thin, round, dark

or fair, I didn't care, for what matters it?--it matters not at all.


What purpose would it serve? To recount violent, desperate back alley couplings, the nights dancing naked

around bonfires, the orgies in the graveyard. Why should I confess the nights I spent reveling in strange carnal

delights with knowing, warm and wanton, willing ladies of the evening. What matters it?--it matters not at all.



What purpose would it serve to enumerate my arrests for drunken brawling, public indecency, or contributing

to delinquency of minors. I could not even tell you for sure how much coin I spent this evening, at Madame

Rousseau’s House of Pain. But I can say, that the last of my meager inheritance is gone, but what matters

it?--it matters not at all.


Now I shun with a passion all my former associates, all the tall up standing men, all the polite and chaste woman

who used to call me friend. Their world is foreign to me now, it is far to full of cheerfulness and pleasant looks, to

full of dreams and quaint ideals, that turn my stomach so. I prefer the company of base born and

malodorous men, and loose women who sell their charms for good honest coin, stamped by the realm, and not for

a vow and a band of gold to display around a finger.



William Hargrove
October 13, 1789
Personal Journal


I have been evicted from my flat, it was only a matter of time. I gathered up what meager belongings I still

had or could carry with me, and took one last look around. There upon the table lay the pen, the reminder of

another life. I should be able to get quite a bit for this beauty, perhaps I shall get drunk tonight after all. I

made my way out into the streets the pretty little flower girls were pedaling their flowers, the street vendors

shouting out in practiced harmonies to lure the buyer to their wares. As I wandered aimlessly, unbeknownst to

me, my feet chose to tread a familiar coarse and I stumbled upon the old church on Harrington Lane, where I had

spent many a Sunday morn. I saw her, sweet Suzette her father was handing her up into a carriage. Then all

my pain and anguish came flooding back, my head throbbed, my breathing short, my heart squeezed in a vice.

I fell to my knees in an agony indescribable, people gathered round they wanted me to see a doctor, how could

they know how useless a doctor was for what ailed me? I was only fooling myself no matter what depths of

depravity I sunk to, I could never forget her, it wouldn't matter. No it wouldn't matter at all how low I sank.



I knew she would always be there, Her eyes taunting, her lips smiling, her hair dancing in the moonlight. She was

the cause and cure, for my fall from grace. I must have sweet Suzette no matter the cost, no matter the price,

but how? Sweet Suzette shall be mine forever. I swear this by all the God's in the heaven's above and all the

tortured fiends beneath.


To be continued...
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« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2007, 01:39:18 am »

Wow, that version is much better than the first one, which read a little too quick for me!  Remember, the more emotionally invested we are in the characters, the more punch the ending will pack for people.  The second version brings us along just fine.

From a practical standpoint, he should have just gotten a job with the university, preferably the classics section. That way, he wouldn't have had to take her dad's because he would already have one, and still be working in an envirnonment that nurtures creativity.

Bright Blessings!

Heather
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2007, 02:44:03 am »

Heather

Yah, but then I couldn't torment the poor lad, and drag him through the pits of hell and madness Cry
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2007, 03:02:18 am »

Well, it's working just fine now.  Why do I get the feeling this has something to do with your personal experiences?
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« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2007, 03:11:58 am »

Hi Heather

I am not really trying to make it about personal experiences, but I do have a certain affinity with the character. We do have certain things in common.





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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2007, 12:46:33 am »

Great work, Unknown! This one is your most suspenseful so far and the characterization is right on.  Can't wait to read the rest of it!
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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2007, 01:42:56 am »

Hi Gwen

Thank you so much, I have high expections for this one as well. I think I am going to wait till I have it all finished product before I post again.

I am so glad you enjoyed it, I am kinda of in suspence myself to find out what happens, because I never really know! until its actually written.

but I am going to change the original ending, so people a new twist to look forward too.

Thanks Again
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« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2007, 01:52:17 am »

Was this a second draft?  If so, I didn't see the first one!  I'm told by the writers I know that the best stories seem to write themselves and the characters themselves decide what direction they should go.  So I guess the secret is to be instinctive.
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« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2007, 02:12:49 am »

Hi gwen

The one at the very top of the page is the first draft,

I think you must have read the one that says be continued at the bottom right?

I tell you it is weird, I mean you should have total control over it its your story, but sometimes it does seem like they have a mind of their own.

Like in the Obliate, I wasn't going to write about a thousand tentackled monster at all, it was going to be more of a ghost story.
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