The Devil's Pen

The Devil's Pen

A Story by Wayne Peake
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Gothic Horror A tale of obsession, debauchery and despair

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My name is William Hargrove. The year of our Lord 1829, 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 villany and debauchery revealed in this written statement. These acts are largely the result of various faults in my character. You will not hear from me vain justifications for what I have done nor 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 upon it by our polite and mannerly society. That beast waits beneath the mask, gentlemen.
Oh brothers, dear sweet sisters, let not the insatiable beast we call emotion get its claws into you. Lock the ravaging beast away that rages with carnal desire. Lock it away in a cage of adamantine will and then cast that key away forever.
Pay heed to the warning in my sad tale and hereafter build your lives on the solid rock of reason, so that you may take every advantage from that sure and sound footing.
* * *
Here I sit at my roll-top mahogany desk, writing by the warm glow of gaslight lanterns, 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 drift back in my mind now to happier days, when I was filled with youthful innocence and exuberance. It was less than two years ago today and yet it seems like it was another man entirely that stood on the steps of the magnificent auditorium at Baneford Academy. I was waiting there to receive my doctorate in the literary arts. In my time at the Academy I had made something of a reputation for myself as a writer.
The Headmaster, Professor Perkins, was a dear and gentle soul who was prone to emotional outbursts, just as I was.
In this and in our love for the written word we were 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 an eternity 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. My parents died when I was quite young and although they provided for me in their will, it was in the form of a monthly allowance that 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. He 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. 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. 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. She stirred 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.
Suzette’s father had made it very clear that he disapproved of me. So we met secretly every Sunday when she was supposed to be at piano practice. Suzette explained it to me, laughing. She said her piano teacher didn’t mind; she was still being paid and she just couldn’t stand the “God-awful racket,” anyway.
* * *
With my diploma in hand, I would at last be able to face her father and legitimately ask for her hand in marriage. I rode to the Brettel Estate, a grand five-story Victorian manor. It was surrounded by a lovely eighteenth-century style hedged garden and enclosed by a tall and imposing iron-gated stone wall. One of the servants took my horse as 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 and above me hung a magnificent golden multi-tiered chandelier. Set upon the freshly waxed marble floors were busts of some of the great men of British history: Wellington, Chamberlain, Cromwell, Shakespeare, all waiting there impatiently with me. I waited and I waited... and waited. I must have stood in that hallway for over an hour.
Finally, a servant appeared and said, “The colonel will see you now.”
He led me to the library. The colonel sat near the fireplace drinking brandy and smoking one of the biggest cigars that 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. I have been assured that I have a very promising future. All of my professors 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 b*****d! 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 was built like a bull with huge hands, but I was much faster. He lunged for my throat. 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. If I ever see your face again, I shall sic the dogs on you!” he bellowed.
Now I was consumed with rage myself and sorely tempted to break his 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 filled with grief and anger. That did not go well, I thought. As I stepped 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. I could see the colonel’s black boots from my undignified position on the floor. I heard him snarl, “This will teach you to keep your damn hands off my daughter!”
I felt his hands in my hair, and then he began slamming my face into it. More of his men must have come, because I could feel them stomping and kicking me with their heeled riding boots. I passed out the third time my head went into the cold stone floor.
* * *
I came to in a ditch alongside the road. One of my eyes was swollen shut and my lips were thick and rubbery. I could taste the iron flavor of blood in my mouth. A couple of my teeth had been broken. Well, there go my boyish good looks, I thought, laughing at myself.
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 a 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 bloody stirrup. Every movement sent sharp pains shooting through me. I think one of my ribs was broken, because it always gave me trouble after that. I don’t remember how I made it back to Baneford.
I awoke two 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 I could not eat much because of my painfully swollen lips.
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, taut, and lively gypsy girl. Her mouth was exquisite, ripe, plump and succulent with the most enticing little gap between her top two front teeth. She had raven-black hair falling to her waist and the most intriguing coal-black eyes. Her eyes seemed to peer into the secret depths of my soul.
“Oh you poor man! What happened?” she asked.
“Well, I got knocked around pretty good,” I replied. “It doesn’t really matter. My name is William. Would you please do a favor for me? I’ll give you whatever you ask, within reason.”
“What do you have in mind, darling?” she asked, winking at me.
“Oh no, it’s not that! I need you to get a message to someone. Will you help me?”
“Too bad,” she said, with a wicked little smile. “Sure I’ll do it, ten pounds up front.”
“Five now, five when I get a message back saying the note has been delivered.”
“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. Elisa and I were able to arrange a rendezvous soon after that.
* * *
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. The oak’s 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 softly somewhere in the high grass of the field beyond the stream.
“Oh... William, your face! Did my father do that?” Suzette said.
“Yes, he and a couple of his men.”
“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, always and forever, my sweet Suzette. Come away with me tonight,” I said, putting my hands around her waist and losing myself in the bright-green orbs that were her eyes. “We’ll leave the country. Let’s go to America, Suzette. We’ll start a new life together.”
“I’m so torn up inside! I can’t marry you now, William. My father means to marry me to some wealthy and powerful aristocrat. It’s all business with him,” she fumed. “If we ran off together, he’d have you killed, I just know it!” She gently brushed my hair back from my face with delicate wave of her tiny hand. “I just couldn’t bear 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,” I said, nearly crying.
* * *
“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!” I blurted out, hurt and angry. “She says her father would have me killed. After what happened last week, I think she is right. I am half out of my mind, Myra. I don’t know what to do.”
Myra cocked her head to the side, looked me in the eye and asked, “Why don’t you just kill the b*****d?”
“You’re not serious,” I said, startled by the brutality of her suggestion.
“No, William,” she laughed. “I see you don’t have the stomach for that. But maybe I can help.”
* * *
I saddled up Uncas. Myra and I rode together to her camp just as the sun was setting in the sky. The sunset presented us with an amazing display of the maker’s art. The canvas of the sky was painted with broad strokes of smoky deep purple, splashed nonchalantly with a melancholy vermilion. You outdid yourself tonight, old man, I remember thinking 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. Quite obviously, she was communicating with the men set about the perimeter of the camp to guard it. The campfires were already burning in the fading sunlight. The womenfolk were cooking the evening meal in heavy iron pots, hung from tripods, over small stone-encircled fires. The men were gathered in groups talking with one another, or sitting on the steps of their circled wagons enjoying an evening smoke.
She walked up the back steps of a warm-yellow wagon, its elaborate scrollwork painted in a dark, sultry red. It was longer and taller than the rest of the wagons in the little caravan.
Myra knocked. The round-windowed door swung open slowly. An elderly woman stood there in the doorway. Her white hair contrasted sharply with the red paisley kerchief she wore about her head. Around her withered neck hung strings of gold necklaces. But what held my attention were her eyes. She had the same knowing, coal-black eyes as Myra.
“This is Esmeralda, William. Grandmother, I have brought this man, William, to you. He is in need. Will you help him?” Myra asked respectfully.
She looked me over carefully. Like an earthly incarnation of Anubis, she seemed to weigh my soul on scales in her ancient head. “Give me your hand, William,” she said 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 eating you alive inside. Here, I shall show you what I mean.” 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.”
“Can no one help me?” I asked.
“Perhaps, but I warn you! It is very foolish, very dangerous!”
“I don’t care. I’ve got to do something. I can’t live without her!” I pleaded.
“Very well, come back tomorrow night.”
* * *
I returned to the camp the following evening. Myra ran out to greet me, her long, black hair flowing gracefully behind her. “Hello William!” she beamed. “It is all arranged. I will take you to your guide.”
“But where am I going, Myra?” I asked.
“Ha, ha, ha!” Myra laughed, slapping me on the back. “Why, to see Old Kate, of course! She knows things, William. She may be able to help you.”
I kissed Myra’s cheek and said, “Well, wish me luck.”
“Good Luck, William, and for God’s sake be respectful to Old Kate!”
* * *
Black muck clung thickly to my boots as we trudged through the foul-smelling fen. Whooping 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.
 
Part 2
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 from the pages 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. 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. He had thick lips, a wide-nose 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. It was knotted in front and from it hung a long, deadly-looking dagger.
“What the hell are those? See over there?” I asked.
“Corpse candles,” he grumbled.
“What, pray tell, are corpse candles, my good man?”
“Not your man. I be Old Kate’s man. Keep your eyes open, lips 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 became rockier. Eventually, we came to a wood and after some searching, my guide located a trail.
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 was that of a man, but from its wrists and ankles hung the claws of what must have been a gigantic vulture. Its wings sprouted from its back rising high into the air above us.
If the purpose of this twisted scarecrow was to keep unwanted visitors away, 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 crude belt.
We walked through this wood for what seemed like hours. I was startled several times by the sudden caw-cawing of crows and the heavy beating of their wings as they flew off. I began to notice bones scattered 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 was strewn with bones. Two human skulls were mounted on posts outside the door. I began to wonder seriously about the wisdom of this little excursion.
As we neared the hut, Old Kate emerged, moving with an unnatural slowness and grace. I looked into the pupils of her eyes, which were far too narrow 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 that flowed and twisted around the neck and about the sleeves. The tail of her robe disappeared into the depths of her hut.
The interior of the hut was decorated with shrunken heads, weirdly-carved figurines and candles. Long strings of beads formed a sort of doorway before which sat a stack of ancient looking, leather-bound books. A parrot sat preening itself, high upon a perch while snakes wound and curled about the dirt floor.
“Ah, Master Hargrove, I have been expecting you,” said Old Kate. “What a passionate man you are William; just my type.” 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, b***h,” squawked the parrot.
“Why have you come to Old Kate? A love potion perhaps? No! I see you’re after 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?” she asked.
“It is a pen,” I said.
“Ah! It is that and much, much, more, for it is also a weapon. Perhaps it is the most powerful weapon of all. For with the pen 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.”
“What do you want for it?” I asked.
“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 the most exquisite instrument of the writer’s art, long and flowing, gracefully-balanced, sharp and golden-tipped.
* * *
I discovered the power of the pen soon enough. I began by writing love poetry, long essays about the wondrous beauty of the natural world and long epic poems based upon Greek mythology. My work was hailed as a triumph. I was the new darling of the literary world. Offers poured in for me to write novels and plays.
Eventually, I bought up the majority of stock in the Brettel family business. I was able to do this in part by writing glowing praises of the colonel's competitors and stinging criticism of his company — criticism the company richly deserved for labor abuses, bribery and other nefarious practices. This lowered the value of the stock, causing more people to sell. The price fell lower and lower in a dramatic downward spiral. This technique served me, quite well, in accumulating wealth and influence.
When the day finally came that I owned the majority of the colonel's company, I simply rode to the estate with a few bodyguards and gave him an ultimatum.
He would either give me Suzette’s hand and I would give him back his company, or I would ruin him. The colonel made a very wise decision, I believe.
* * *
Suzette and I returned to our secret meeting place to celebrate the triumph of our love. She was more beautiful than ever. She began torturing me with kisses that flowed warm and sweet like summer wine, intoxicating me with passion.
I held her tender waist from behind, pulling her slowly against me, nuzzling my face in her soft, strawberry blonde hair. My mind enthralled by this warm, sinfully suggestive 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 quickly hiked her gown up, revealing the white-gartered stockings beneath. I felt her long, shapely legs with my hands. As she bent to grab the oak for balance her firm bottom was before my hungry eyes. Like a juicy peach, it tempted me with its mouth-watering ripeness.
“My God, William! Stop!” I did not stop. I took her then and there. It was not until I finished that I realized what I had done. I thought she would hate me. I thought my dreams of love's sweet bliss had been shattered forever, like the sparkling glass against the jagged stone.
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 married two weeks later in a small private ceremony.
* * *
I really wanted to see my old professor. I missed him. As I entered his office, 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 somewhere writing your novel, aye?”
“Well, sort of, professor. I have come to make a donation to the academy and of course to see you.”
“Wonderful, William! He said excitedly. “I must say, I always expected great things from you. Your remarkable passion was clearly evident in all your literary works. But what you are writing now far exceeds anything you have produced in the past. It’s almost as if they 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 slowly. It was then that it hit me hard for the first time. I was a fraud, a charlatan. 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 began to realize to my horror that the pen had a mind and will of its own. I could no longer write dreamy love poems or about nature and the Greek gods. My thoughts turned to the dark side of life. I began writing murder mysteries, horror stories and political essays. My mind was filled with visions of crime and vice. It followed along as armies marched to carry out the brutal business of war. It wandered onto bloody battlefields and listened in horror to the screams of anguish and agony.
To my surprise these works were hailed even more highly than my previous works. The critics raved: what wonderful diversity, what comprehensive ability and insight into life! I don’t believe a single 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 businesses that I criticized were looted and burned to the ground. 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. This placed a terrible burden of responsibility squarely upon my shoulders.
* * *
That monstrous pen was always there, calling out to me. I reached for it again and again. The pen began to seriously affect my mind. I could not escape its evil seductive influence. I was becoming a drunken leech, an evil, wanton cynic. I hardly recognized myself in the mirror. I had an unquenchable thirst for the unholy acts inspired by the Devil’s pen. I tasted every vice, drinking heavily from the cup of sinful pleasure.
I shall not recount all those nights of shameful debauchery here, all those desperate back-alley couplings. Nor shall I describe the nights I spent with warm and willing, wanton ladies of the evening. Suffice it to say that I 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.
I began to experience blackouts. I was mortified when I learned of the things that I had done. Even the tolerant and amoral Myra began to fear me. The look on her face had changed from naughty playfulness to a watchful, uneasy caution.
I shunned my old friends like the plague. I could not bear for them to see what I had become. I feared the consequences of using the pen more every day. I never knew where its unholy power would lead me. But, try as I may, I could not keep my hands off it.
More than once I awoke in a jail cell or back alley, never knowing why I was there or what I had done. With my new position in society, the authorities always chose to look the other way.
* * *
Suzette was no longer the happy, fun-loving girl, I had known. She must have felt that I no longer loved her. She pleaded with me not to leave her alone. I would lie awake at night beside her, listening to her soft, tender sobs. Oh, how that lonely, lullaby of tears haunted me.
I could never tell Suzette what I had done to win her hand. There was absolutely no way to explain the power of the pen and the disastrous consequences of its use. Fate had led me down a lonely, lightless path and I could not find my way back in the darkness.
I loved her more than anything and yet she ended up suffering for my sins. I couldn't bear the thought of corrupting her innocence. Nothing could compel me to share my sordid world with her. She was my anchor, my rock, the only thing that kept me from being swept over the edge of the world into the waiting abyss.
 
Then one evening as I entered my home, I heard a low moan coming from the dining hall. As I rounded the corner, I saw Suzette lying on the end of our long formal dining table, her dress rumpled and scattered beneath her. She was balancing on one hand; the other was in the hair of the man nestled between her thighs.
“Suzette?” I asked. She jumped quickly off the table. It was Charles Sterling, who was having his way with my dear wife. He turned with a guilty, frightened look in his eyes.
My Suzette screamed, “Well, what of it? You're always out with your w****s!”
“I am so sorry, William, but I love her! I have always loved her,” Charles confessed, his eyes pleading for understanding and forgiveness.
My heart pounded unmercifully in my ears. I was tempted to murderous vengeance. My mind clouded in a red haze. I saw a vision of Suzette begging upon her knees... blood spurting from her in hot crimson streams. I knew if she were in my presence another instant, I would succumb to the evil passion that tore at my sanity with ravenous claws. I would kill them both. My will was tested to its utmost. I let her go.
“Take her and get out,” I said, in a cold, even tone. Suzette was crying as Charles pulled her wrap gently over her shoulders. He put his arm about her and led her out, quietly. Charles was an intelligent man; he never said another bloody word.
* * *
I awoke this morning, my head throbbing, my throat parched from a God-awful hangover. I went to get a bottle of wine from my desk, when I noticed a stack of papers that I hadn‘t seen before. I began to read them. They were political essays about the glories of the British Empire. These essays extolled the virtues of the British Empire and the superiority of its people, claiming Britannia’s divine right to rule not only the waves, but the world itself.
I know the Devil's monstrous pen is quite capable of stirring old resentments, of preying upon every ancient prejudice, magnifying the primal fears of the common folk tenfold. It will inevitably incite a drunken mob mentality with its own brew of rotgut propaganda. The anxieties of the people will be relentlessly exploited until a tidal wave of public sentiment washes away every last bit of opposition and reason in its path.
In my imagination, I can see the horrific war. I watch the masses swarming eagerly to answer the siren call of the Devil's pen. Beneath its gory heel, civilization will be ground into ruin. I hear the Devil’s malignant laughter at the triumphant march of death and destruction. Its terrible aftermath leaves children starving, women screaming. The earth is covered in wet and crimson fields, hideously sprouting the mangled limbs and stiffening corpses of the fallen.
That bloody pen has taken everything from me: my love, my pride, and my honor. I will no longer be an unwitting tool. I feel like a puppet whose heartstrings have been cut one by one, falling to the stage, never to perform, never to rise again.
My last hope, my rock, my only anchor in this lonely sea of despair is gone forever. Oh, my sweet Suzette, you were the only good and wholesome thing left in my life and now you are gone. I should have found some other way. If only we had gone to America when I wanted!
It is only a matter of time now before the 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. Oh — always and forever, my sweet Suzette.
I have prepared the rope. I shall simply stand upon a parlor chair, slip it about my neck and jump. May God have mercy on my troubled soul.
If you value your life, leave the pen where it lies.
William Hargrove
 

 

© 2008 Wayne Peake


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This was enthralling and visual. I felt like I was in the room with your main character-walking through the haunted woods and feeling the horrors of what could happen to one who lives for his obsession. I enjoyed reading this immensly.

Posted 11 Years Ago


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Wayne Peake
Wayne Peake

pontiac, MI



About
Wayne Peake spent his early childhood in the small town of Trout Lake on the edge of the Hiawatha National Park. It was and is -- a beautiful place, surrounded by cedar swamp and dense forest. Moss gr.. more..

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