BDB Presents Poe: The Black Cat

 

Wrath: *For the wild story which I am about to tell, I neither expect nor solicit belief*

Wrath: *Mad indeed would I be to expect it, since my very senses reject their own evidence*

Wrath: *Yet, mad am I not—and very surely this is not dream. But tomorrow I die, and today I will unburden my soul.*

Wrath: *My immediate purpose is to place before you a series of mere household events.*

Wrath: *In their consequences, these events have terrified—have tortured—have destroyed me. Yet I will not attempt to expound them.*

Wrath: *To me, they have presented little but horror—to many they will seem less terrible*

Wrath: *Someday, perhaps, some intellect will be found which reduce what I have seen as commonplace*

Wrath: *Some intellect more calm, more logical, and far less excitable than my own has become*

Wrath: *I never had pets, until I met and married my one true love, @BethR_BDB*

Wrath: *Her cat is a remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely black, and intelligent to an astonishing degree*

Wrath: *@BethR_BDB often comments on the notion of all black cats being witches in disguise. However, she was never serious*

Wrath: *@Boo_BDB—this was the cat’s name— Follows me wherever I go about the house*

Wrath:  *I often have difficulty preventing him from following me out on patrol*

Wrath: *Over time my general temperament and character have been taking on a radical alteration for the worse*

Wrath: *Day by day I grow more moody, more irritable, more regardless of the feelings of others*

Beth: *Noticing the change in @Wrath_BDB. His intemperate language, his violent moods.*

Beth: *His mood foul, but he still retains sufficient regard which restrains him from mistreating @Boo_BDB.*

Beth: *But as time wears on, @Wrath_BDB’s mood, like a disease, grows worse*

Beth: *Until even @Boo_BDB, who is now becoming old, and consequently somewhat peevish—is experiencing the effects of his ill temper.*

Wrath: *One night, returning home, angry, from one of my patrols about town, I wanted the cat to stay the fuck away*

Wrath: *Seizing @Boo_BDB by his neck*

Boo: *Inflicting a slight wound upon @Wrath_BDB’s hand, frightening at his violence*

Wrath: *Instantly, the fury of a demon possesses me. I am no longer myself, My original soul seems, at once, to take flight from my body*

Wrath: *A more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrills every fibre of my frame*

Wrath: *Pulling a dagger from my leathers, grasping the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cuts one of its eyes from the socket*

Wrath: *When reason returns in the morning I blush, I burn, I shudder at the memories*

Wrath: *Experiencing a sentiment half of horror, half of remorse, for the crime I am guilty of*

Wrath: *But it is, at best, a feeble and equivocal feeling, and my soul remains untouched*

Wrath: *Once again plunging into excess, and soon drowned in drink all memory of the deed*

Beth: *Nursing @Boo_BDB back to health.*

Beth: *The socket of the lost eye presents, it is true, a frightful appearance, but @Boo_BDB no longer appears to suffer any pain.*

Beth: *@Boo_BDB goes about the house as usual, but, as might be expected, flees in extreme terror at @Wrath_BDB’s approach*

Beth: *Wishing at times to follow suit, no longer knowing who my hellren has become*

Wrath: *I still have enough heart left to be grieved at the site of the poor creature who had once so loved me*

Wrath: *But this feeling soon gives way to irritation*

Wrath: *And then hits, my final and irrevocable overthrow, the spirit of violence*

Wrath: *Unsure that the soul lives. Sure that violence is one of the primitive impulses of the heart*

Wrath: *Who has not, a hundred times, found himself committing a vile or a stupid action, for no other reason than because he knows he should not?*

Wrath: *This spirit of violence becoming my final overthrow.*

Wrath: *It was this unfathomable longing to offer violence to its own nature—To do wrong for the wrong’s sake only—*

Wrath: *Urging me to continue and finally, to consummate the injury I had inflicted upon the unoffending brute*

Wrath: *One morning, in cold blood, slipping a noose about @Boo_BDB’s neck, hanging it to the limb of a tree*

Wrath: *Tears stream from my eyes, and with bitterest remorse in my heart*

Wrath: *Hanging it because I know that it loves me, and because I feel it has given me no reason for offence*

Wrath: *Hanging it because I know that in so doing I am committing a sin—a deadly sin that will so jeopardize my immortal soul*

Wrath: *If such a thing were possible—even beyond the reach of the infinite mercy of the Scribe Virgin*

Beth: *Hours later, waking @Wrath_BDB with a scream* FIRE!! *The house blazing around us*

Beth: *The household barely escaping the inferno. The destruction of the house complete. Our entire wealth swallowed up.*

Wrath: *Resigning myself to wallow in despair*

Wrath: *I am above the weakness of attempting to establish a sequence of cause and effect, between the disaster and the atrocity*

Wrath:  *But I am detailing a chain of facts—and wish not to leave even a detail out*

Beth: *Visiting the ruins on the day succeeding the fire. The walls, with one exception, have fallen in.*

Beth: *This exception is found in a compartment wall, not very thick, which stands about the middle of the house.*

Beth: *Where the head of our bed had been.*

Beth: *The plastering had here resisted the action of the fire—a fact which I attributed to its having been recently placed and not yet set.*

Beth: *About this wall a dense crowd collects, and many persons seemed to be examining a particular portion of it with very minute and eager attention*

Beth: *Watching @Wrath_BDB as one watches a mad man lose his mind. Slowly, and with much caution.*

Wrath: *The words “strange!” “singular!” and other similar expressions making me curious*

Wrath:  *Approaching and seeing the figure of a gigantic cat. A truly marvelous impression.There is a rope around it’s neck*

Wrath: *When I first see this apparition—for I can hardly regard it as anything else—my wonder and my terror are extreme*

Wrath: *But then relief finds me. The cat, I remembered, had been hung in a garden adjacent to the house*

Wrath: *This garden had been immediately filled by the crowd during the fire*

Wrath: *Someone must have thrown the animal into the open window, meaning to wake us*

Wrath: *The falling of other walls had compressed the victim of my cruelty into the substance of the freshly-spread plaster*

Wrath: *It did not fail to make a deep impression upon my me. For months I could not rid myself of the phantasm of the cat*

Wrath: *During this time a half-sentiment that seemed, but is not, remorse came over me*

Wrath: *I even went so far as to regret the loss of the animal, and to look around me, among the vile haunts which I now habitually frequented*

Wrath: *For another pet of the same species, and of somewhat similar appearance, to take Boo’s place*

Wrath: *One night as I sat, half stupefied, in a bar, my attention was suddenly drawn to some black object*

Wrath: *Sitting upon the head of one of the immense bar, which was the main furniture of the place. I stared at it for some time*

Wrath: *Surprised that I did not notice it sooner. Reaching out, touching it. It is a black cat—a very large one—fully as large as Boo*

Wrath: *And closely resembling him in every respect but one. Boo had not a white hair upon any portion of his body;*

Wrath: *But this cat has a large, although indefinite splotch of white, covering nearly the whole region of the breast*

Wrath: *As I touch him, he rises immediately, purrs loudly, rubs against my hand, appearing delighted with the attention*

Wrath: *This is the very creature I have been in searching for. I offered to purchase it at once but the landlord knew nothing of the cat*

Wrath: *The animal followed me home, occasionally stopping and patting it*

Beth: *Immediately falling for the cat. So much like poor @Boo_BDB.*

Wrath: *But soon I find a dislike to the cat arising within me. This is just the opposite of what I anticipated*

Wrath: *But—I know not how or why it was—its evident fondness for me rather disgusts and annoys me. Pisses me the fuck off actually*

Beth: *By slow degrees, I see @Wrath_BDB’s feelings of disgust and annoyance rising into the bitterness of hatred.*

Wrath: *Avoiding the creature; a certain sense of shame, remembering my former deed of cruelty, preventing me from physically abusing it*

Wrath: *Gradually—very gradually—looking upon it with utter loathing, fleeing silently from its odious presence, as from the breath of pestilence*

Wrath: *The day after bringing it home I realize that like Boo, the creature also has only one eye. This only drives my hatred of it*

Wrath: *This circumstance, however, only endearing it to @BethR_BDB who has a very high degree of humanity*

Wrath: *The source of many of my simplest and purest pleasures*

Beth: *@Wrath_BDB’s aversion to the cat increasing. The cat, however, following him around to a degree difficult to comprehend.*

Beth: *When @Wrath_BDB sits, the cat crouches beneath the chair or springs upon his knees, covering him in caresses.*

Beth: *If @Wrath_BDB arises to walk, the cat gets between his feet and thus nearly throws him down, fastening its long, sharp claws in his shirt*

Beth: *Clambering, in this manner, to @Wrath_BDB’s breast.*

Wrath: *Although I long to destroy it with a blow, I refrain from so doing, partly due to the memory of my former crime*

Wrath: *But chiefly—let me confess—my absolute dread of the beast. This dread is not exactly a dread of physical evil*

Wrath: *And yet I don’t know any other way to describe it. I am almost ashamed to admit—yes, even in this felon’s cell*

Wrath: *The terror and horror with which the animal inspires in me heightened by something so mundane, it’s hard to conceive*

Beth: *Calling @Wrath_BDB’s attention, once again, to the patch of white hair.*

Beth: *Which constitutes the sole visible difference between the strange beast, and the one @Wrath_BDB destroyed.*

Wrath: *This mark, although large, had been originally very indefinite; but, by slow degrees—degrees nearly imperceptible*

Wrath: *Has grown to be quite large and defined. For a long time I rejected the notion until it was unavoidable*

Wrath: *It is now the representation of an object that I shudder to name—and for this, above all, I loathe, and dread,*

Wrath: *I would rid myself of the monster if I dared—it is now the image of a hideous ghastly thing- An image of the Gallows*

Wrath: *I am now wretched beyond all humanity. A brute beast I had contemptuously destroyed.*

Wrath: I never rest anymore. *Neither by day nor by night. The creature gives me no rest. No time alone for fucks sake*

Wrath:  *I wake hourly from dreams of unutterable fear to find the hot breath of the thing upon my face*

Wrath: *Its heavy weight—an incarnate nightmare that I lack the power to shake off—incumbent eternally upon me*

Wrath: *The pressure of these torments chipping away at the good with in me until all good is gone*

Wrath: *Evil thoughts become my sole intimates—the darkest and most evil of thoughts*

Wrath: *The moodiness of my usual temper increases to hatred of all things and of all mankind*

Beth: *Suffering @Wrath_BDB’s sudden, frequent, and ungovernable outbursts of a fury without complaint.*

Beth: *Accompanying @Wrath_BDB into the cellar of the old building we inhabit. The cat following behind us.*

Beth: *The cat nearly throwing @Wrath_BDB headlong into the wall.*

Wrath: *The cat finally exasperating me to madness*

Wrath: *Uplifting an axe, and forgetting, in my wrath, the childish dread which has until now stayed my hand*

Wrath: *Aiming a blow at the animal, which, of course, would have proved instantly fatal had it descended as I wished*

Beth: *Reaching out to stop @Wrath_BDB before he strikes the cat.*

Wrath: *Goaded by the interference into a rage more than demoniacal, withdrawing my arm from @BethR_BDB’s grasp*

Wrath: *Burying the axe into @BethR_BDB’s brain*

Beth: *Falling dead on the spot without so much as a groan.*

Wrath: *With this hideous murder done, I set out immediately to conceal the body*

Wrath: *After considering many options I decide to wall it up in the cellar, as the monks of Middle Ages did*

Wrath: *Insert the corpse, and wall it up as  before, so that no eye can detect any thing suspicious*

Wrath: *Carefully placing the corpse within the wall. Re-laying the entire structure as it had been*

Wrath: *Feeling that all is right when I finish. The wall does not present the slightest appearance of having been disturbed*

Wrath: *Picking up rubbish on the floor with the minutest care. Looking around triumphantly* At least, my labor has not been in vain.

Wrath: *My next step is to look for the beast which has been the cause of so much wretchedness*

Wrath: *For I have, at length, firmly resolved to put the damn thing to death and would of done so immediately but it seemed to be gone*

Wrath: *It is impossible to describe the deep, the blissful sense of relief I felt because of the absence of the detested creature*

Wrath: *It did not make its appearance during the night; and so for one night, at least, since its introduction into the house*

Wrath: *I soundly and tranquilly sleep; even with the burden of murder on my soul*

Wrath: *The second and the third day pass, and still my tormentor does not come. Once again I breathe as a free man*

Wrath: *The monster, in terror, has fled the premises for ever! I should behold it no more! Happiness fills me*

Wrath: *The guilt of my dark deed disturbs me a little. Some few inquiries have been made, but these have been readily answered*

Wrath: *Upon the fourth day of the assassination, a party of the police comes, very unexpectedly*

Wrath: *They descended into the cellar but I show no signs of nervousness. My heart beats calmly as that of one who slumbers in innocence*

Wrath: *Just as the police are thoroughly satisfied and prepared to depart I rap heavily with a cane which I held in my hand*

Wrath: *Upon that very portion of the brickwork behind which stood the corpse of shellan mine*

Wrath: *No sooner had the reverberation of my blows sunk into silence, than I was answered by a voice from within the tomb*

Wrath: *By a cry, at first muffled and broken, like the sobbing of a child, and then quickly swelling into one long, loud, and continuous scream*

Wrath: *Utterly anomalous and inhuman—a howl—a wailing shriek, half of horror and half of triumph*

Wrath: *A cry that might have arisen only out of hell,  from the throats of the dammed in their agony and of the demons that exult in the damnation**

Wrath: *Swooning, staggering to the opposite wall. For one instant the party on the stairs remains motionless*

Wrath: *Through extremity of terror and awe. In the next a dozen stout arms are toiling at the wall. It falls bodily.*

Wrath: *The corpse, already greatly decayed and clotted with gore, stands erect before the eyes of the spectators*

Wrath: *Upon its head, with red extended mouth and solitary eye of fire, sat the hideous beast whose craft had seduced me into murder*

Wrath: *Whose informing voice had consigned me to the hangman*

Wrath: * I had walled the monster up within the tomb*

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