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The Actress

The Actress

“The Actress”
By Edgar A. Poe.

I stood before the stage as one stands before an altar, the injured, befouled curtains framing my deity with more kindness and warmth than any celestial light beckoned from Heaven by cathedral glass. The platform bore all the tokens of humanity in its deep impressions, large stains, and a widow’s web of scarring. Around me hung a barrage of rank scents, encompassing those around me ; those that know not the quintessence of this place and the divinity of the precious goddess it housed. A thousand times I have whispered my prayers and benedictions to deserve Her presence. This last time I stood with assurance that I would have Her, for I had finally earned Her favor and love. In the previous enactment, She had recited her words of love, casting Her eyes to the Heavens which so undeservedly accepted Her glance. She then, hearing my prayers, looked to me and smiled—the pinnacle of all exultation and gratuity. Her very heart passed into my bosom and I knew that mine traveled the inverse path to Hers, and we were One, with identical thoughts, feelings, and desires. She turned back to her facsimile lover; I felt empty once more, but with an absolute assurance, a crystalline ordainment for my motives.

I ensured my gift arrived ahead of the crowds so that She could delight in it during a private moment, before the rush of players and hands eager to begin the night’s charades. I’d imagined Her as I travelled the streets toward the theatre, receiving a parcel from such a princely benefactor, a gift clearly full of love and precious thought. Shrouded in black satin tied with golden bows, the elegant candies would be my instruments. I felt Her gratitude, with my face in Her heart as She’d seen it the night before as She swallowed the sweets.Eagerly I stood, awaiting Her entrance to the stage and shuddered with anticipation when the time came. Marvelous, glorious, splendid, and divine was She—every line, every breath, every second encompassing the passion and grace of Heaven’s Angels. She soared across the platform in swirling skirts and radiant light. Even when She began to sway and stutter did She look Heavenly.

Her steadiness failed Her, and Her thoughts escaped Her ; this was the moment—the beginning of a life in which I was Her sole purpose and acknowledgement. I watched Her falter with exhilarating gratification. The audience gasped while I sighed, the players worried as I grinned. How perfect a plan such as this, such precise execution to make Her mine! She fell upon the stage and began shaking violently ; I hoped Her pain was minimal. The red that poured forth from Her gaping mouth was so much darker than that which the players excreted every evening. Some audience members climbed to assist Her, but they would not have Her. I joined them in the spreading redness, speaking the four words that allow access in any chaotic event : “I am a doctor.” Never had I been so close to Her before, never so intoxicated by Her proximity. I knelt beside her and touched Her neck, fragile as glass, with fingers of soft down. Her heart was there, clinging to hope and life and purpose. I leaned down to place my lips upon Her ear, brushing Her hair away.

“I have done this to you, my sweet. You are mine, now.” She fixed a look upon me that chilled my bones, even as She choked and jerked. I shivered with excitement as I saw my plan fulfilled. Her entire being stilled, but still Her eyes remained fixed on mine. It was done. I would have Her. I would have Her for the rest of my life. That piercing look of pure fire—fires of passion and determination that often clouded my own gaze—assured that She would haunt me in death. She would fight off the angels to be with me as I have fought off the devil to be with Her. We would be together forever in the truest of true senses.
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