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The Devil's Pen

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Question: which version of this story did you prefer?
version 2 - 0 (0%)
version 3 - 9 (100%)
Total Voters: 9

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Author Topic: The Devil's Pen  (Read 1929 times)
unknown
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« Reply #45 on: March 19, 2007, 12:33:43 am »

Hi Heather

Thanks for reading it.

You know I think your right, I should probabably make the closing paragraph kind of a summary of whats happened.

I liked to see who likes the second one better and who likes the third one better?

« Last Edit: March 20, 2007, 03:47:52 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..."
Elphias Levi
unknown
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 1603



« Reply #46 on: March 19, 2007, 10:38:49 pm »

The Devil's Pen 2...revised



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. It is a 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.

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.

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, the beast waits beneath the mask.

This is both a warning and a plea to those whose lives are ruled by passion. 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. Oh, brothers, dear sweet sisters let not the ravings of the insatiable beast we call emotion get its claws into you. 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.

I drift back in my mind now to happier days, when I was filled with youthful exuberance, naiveté and 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 had struggled endlessly with finances, because of my parents death, they died when I was quite young and although they had provided for me in their will, it was in the form of monthly allowance, it was not nearly enough for the tuition.


***

But my mind was not on these things, what the diploma meant to me was, that I would at last be able to 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 a unforgettable day it was, from the very first moment I saw her, I adored her, I worshipped her, I was filled with a glowing light of love, 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 and devastating thrill, sharp currents of pleasure coursed through me overwhelming my senses. Stirring in me a wild and erotic fascination that raged inside me like a hurricane at sea; buffeting my emotions about with waves of desire.

We had been meeting secretly, ever since that first afternoon at her coming out party. We were forced to because her father vehemently disapproved of me. We met every Sunday evening when she should have been 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 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, 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 gentlemanly old 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. I 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 their's 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 path. At the head of the path, 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 his wrists and ankles hung the claws of what must have been a gigantic vulture, the wings of that vulture 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 adequate 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 ever now and then I was startled by a sudden caw, caw of a crow and 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 figuirines, 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, you are a vain and passionate man 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 no 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, exquisite 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 the place were we had met so many times before, our secret trysting 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 degrading 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, wanton, 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 lavish 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.


***

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.

That damn 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 would 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 crumbled and fell crushed beneath his heel.

It has taken everything from me, my love, my pride, my honor and my innocence, as its power has 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 a world war, just so that I might prosper, but it's only a matter of time before that damn Devil 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.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2007, 12:38:46 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..."
Elphias Levi
Gwen Parker
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Posts: 4515



« Reply #47 on: March 20, 2007, 02:10:35 am »

Hi Unknown,

Just read both versions, the second one reads better. There is more character development, and you wrap up more loose ends.

Not sure about the ending, though.  As I see it, he seems to commit suicide a bit capriciously. Papers about the British empire ruling the waves?  I think you might need something a bit horrible than that, maybe something less to do with history, but himself?

What if, in the spirit of his spiritual deterioration, the pen writes something to do with himself some horrible act he is about to commit?  That might make more sense.

Gwen
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« Reply #48 on: March 20, 2007, 03:35:49 am »

Hi Gwen

Thanks for reading them.

Thats a very good idea about him reading something that he is personally going to do.

The history stuff is too unbelevable?

Actually the horror is something he is going to do, the devil pen is going to use him as a propaganda tool to set the masses on fire with passion for war...causing the deaths of millions that is perhaps the ultimate horror the ultimate evil....wars of conquest
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« Reply #49 on: March 20, 2007, 03:49:32 am »

I read the last one, but not the two earlier versions, so I am not going to vote. You're a really good writer, Unknown.

It does seem to me that if you are writing a horror story, you might want to finish it with some kind of a shock ending to sort of leave the reader wondering.  Other than that, everything read great.  Maybe a little more creepiness in it..?

Also, a really nice plot device would be if he uncovered the history of the pen, which also led other writers that held it to ruin - sort of like forehshadowing his own end.  Anyway, nice work!

Rachel
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« Reply #50 on: March 20, 2007, 04:13:11 am »

Hi Rachel

Thanks so much Rachel for those thoughtful comments.

Thats a good idea about the plot device, I actually thought about him, discovering the Pen's history but I was think about how how it infleunced history. But actualy I like your idea better.

I original ended the story with a murder suicide, that didn't seem to go over very well.

 thanks again
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« Reply #51 on: March 20, 2007, 10:35:48 pm »

This one is the best of the three versions.  Don't you feel a little better when you press yourself to come up with new ideas each time?

Personally, I wouldn't make him and Suzette have their difficulties, but rather make her the one thing that keeps him anchored in his success.  Ther relationship just seems to deepen and grow.  As the things he writes begins to happen in real life, he slowly begins to lose his mind. The next thing that happens?  He writes and realizes that the next thing he is to do is to try and kill her.  This is a thing that he cannot bear, and so he kills himself instead.  A dark endng to be true, but you seem to be determined to get hi killed, come what may.  This reason, to me, at least, would be the one that seems to make the most sense. 

Has a certain symmetry and poetry in that, don't you think?

Peace,

Veronica
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« Reply #52 on: March 20, 2007, 10:57:40 pm »

Hi Veronica

The story is better, in one many ways but as other people have pointed out it's not as romantic as the second, or as tragec and shocking as the first.

William needs a rest, hes tired out from all this dancing with the devil.





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« Reply #53 on: March 20, 2007, 11:50:51 pm »

I think that the third one is the most romantic, except for the part where she screws around on him, and he screws around on her. I think the romance would have packed more punch if they were faithful to each other. Then, if one of them dies in the end, it becomes that much more tragic.

Cool story, by the way.  Having a hard time deciding whether I like this one better, or Anna's Tears.
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« Reply #54 on: March 21, 2007, 12:01:32 am »

Hi Jennifer

I will have to write a love story, for you ladies, to make up for William's infidelity...

Yes, it would have been more romantic, but what I was trying to show with his cheating, the infleunce that the Pen had over him. I am so happy you mentioned Anna's tears...

I guess I am not the only one who liked it after all Grin.

Thanks for reading it, and for all your thoughtful comments Jennifer.

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« Reply #55 on: March 21, 2007, 12:14:40 am »

Well, gee, I think that most people who read it liked it, they just had their gripes about what happened to the characters.  That's actually good. If the stories would have been bad, they wouldn't have cared what happened to the characters.

Yeah, you should try to write a love story, bet you would be good at that.
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« Reply #56 on: March 21, 2007, 12:28:25 am »

Hi Jennifer

Thats a really good observation, thanks hon.



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« Reply #57 on: March 22, 2007, 05:40:28 am »

If you have read the above there is no need to read this one, its just been edited for clarity and punctutation...the story hasn't changed.

I want to thank everyone for reading this piece, and all the wonderful insight and inspiration you have given me.
This is the final version, at least for a long while.


The Devil's Pen


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 were 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. I 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 path. At the head of the path, 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 of that vulture 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 adequate 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 ever now and then I was startled by a sudden caw, caw of a crow and 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, you are a vain and passionate man 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, exquisite 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.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2007, 07:28:17 pm 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..."
Elphias Levi
Trent
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« Reply #58 on: March 22, 2007, 03:07:13 pm »

Hi Unknown,

Not sure what is different since the last time you posted it.  It is good, but, as has been mentioned, there's still something a bit off about the ending. 

Hey, if he is going to kill himself over the pen's ability to create a war, how about if he sees World War II in the future and the A Bomb or Dresden?  Either one would be pretty horrific.
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unknown
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« Reply #59 on: March 22, 2007, 07:27:15 pm »

Hi Trent

Thanks for reading it Smiley

World war I is still almost a hundred years away, the time frame I am using the British empire is still the most powerful nation on earth, the rest of europe is quite weak and the fledgling US hasn't grown into its power yet. It is quite probable under the right circumstances that they could have conquered europe stepping into the void caused by the collapse of the Napoleans empire.

The story does have its flaws...to fix it it would probably have to be a much longer story.

This is the same story, its just an edited version for clarity.
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"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..."
Elphias Levi
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