[Historical Fiction] Edgar and an Eye At the time, there was no one I could tell, for the simple spread of this information would bring upon harm to others or myself. Witnessing an act I should not have witnessed has put me in terrible spirits. Solely, for my memory, and yours, I shall recollect the events that have presented me with such distress. I traveled overseas on an assignment for the Newcastle Courant. It had been days walking about London before I had discovered anything worthy of publishing. One late evening in the pub after only a few pints, amongst the shenanigans my gaze fell upon two men at a table by the door. The one closest to me appeared to be quite youthful, in his airs for such a place. His golden hair ruffled slightly beyond his ears. For the other man, the sole recognizable trait I still call to mind was his eye. An eye that resembled that of a diseased fish, blue, and coated by film. My glare had somehow summoned him, as his head moved ever so slightly in my direction. There within that cold moment, entranced by its hideousness, I was lost ever frozen, until I became aware of his other eye. As dark as dirt, it pierced through my stillness, forcing me to divert my vision, though I had not maintained its distraction for long. For a few fleeting moments I glanced about them only to see them rise from their chairs and leave. In the corner a couple lads bickering over spilt drinks and loves lost, it struck me. It mightâ€™ve been in their antics or their lush tongues, maybe even that hideous eye, but I came upon a story to write. Without haste I fled the pub dashing over the cobblestones and through cobwebbed fog to my flat. But before I arrived, a sound of murmuring struck my ears. Approaching the dim alley the sounds became altered and terse like one would hear in an argument. In the clearing of the empty path, passed a street lamp, two dark figures were engaged in a scuffle. What resembled shadows dancing in the twilight were only men struggling to overcome one another. I shifted into the darkness close by fixing my eyes on the act. One man flung the other upon the ground pinning him stiffly. He peeled off his coat and smothered the manâ€™s face with it. Sprawled on the wet stones his body thrashed about and bucked back as did my conscious, which tore at me to run. But I could not. Frozen still I watched on. What a hideous and cold thing murder can be, and yet I was compelled to see what
[Historical Fiction] would follow. Once the victimâ€™s body became limp the figure looked about furiously. His heavy breaths were that of a bull in rage. I trailed him as he carried the lifeless body toward the pier. On separate occasions he propped the dead man against the wall to convince straggling passersby that his victim was too drunk to walk. When we got nearer to the water he resorted to dragging the empty man. Rolling him over twice, he then tossed him over the edge of the dock. With a large splash and a quick silence his burden was gone. Again the figure glared about in a fury, then scurried away. I waited many hours into the morning before heading back, afraid he was nearby watching for the body to be discovered. All the while I could hear the knocking beneath the belly of the pier. Like a clock it ticked away the minutes. Single minutes of life stolen from the dead man. The very steps I took, on the way to my flat, sounded in echo, not of a man scampering about, but of a stead trotting a carriage along. With every attempt to deafen my strides I frantically stopped to turn about, before proceeding. When I neared my door, there was a greeting of tremendous unease, for the man with the hideous eye strolled by. My nerves became stiff, similar to a knot in a noose. When his face emerged from the darkness, his cheekbones protruded and that eye! That grotesque eye of his glowed almost white. Yet, he spoke not a word and continued on. As composed as ever, I scaled the steps to my door. For the preceding days I never left my flat. I wrote a letter to the courant resigning. I could not shake any part of it from my memory. My previous conceptualization of a story was lost and substituted with this brutal scene. Without a single soul to confide in, I began to write, for hours and hours. First, telling of what had happened, of what I thought took place beforehand. I put down in my journal what it felt like to strangle a man, to feel his heart slow in pulse. Increasing tension in the muscles as fingers clawed blindly, frantically reaching to peel back another breath. I kept hearing it beating, the water slapping at the pier, the murmuring of voices, and that eye. I felt myself going mad, paranoid, thinking to myself that I had been the murderer, that I had taken a life. Constantly Iâ€™d douse my face with cold water in order to ground my senses.
[Historical Fiction] It was not long before I returned to the pub, against my better judgment. I ordered up a pint, and there by the door, in solitude, was the man with the hideous eye facing me. Without doing so suspiciously, I shifted myself from the table and left. A week had passed and I hardly slept with my tea all through the night, night after night. I circled my desk that I had pulled from the wall beside the door in preparation to block it if needed. My final night, I awoke to a creak upon the floorboards. It began lightly by the farthest corner of the room. Opening the lantern door I forced the light out. And out the light went, as the tip of the wick hissed. I heard the creak once more. From the dusk moonlight, white curtains ruffled slightly for the window hung open. The latch locked tight, sealed the door. My ears rang with alarm, while these eyes blindly swelled in emptiness. Boards below my bed creaked. Creak. The room felt cold for a moment as my lungs ceased to take in air. Layers of sweat rose from my forehead and palms sticking to the sheets. In a flash, I leapt from my bed and turned it over, with a thud, only to find naught a thing. A soft breeze brushed the window open further, and I rushed to close it, just as a giant owl cooed, and flew away. There was a rapping at the door. I fell silent, hoping it was the breeze again or the owl, when there was another rapping. “He… Hello?” The words faded from my lips. “May I have a word?” The voice was stern and unmoved. “I am an officer.” “Ye…yes, one moment.” As I released the latch my hands trembled. Once opened enough the officer abruptly thrust his head in. “I had been strolling by and heard a crash.” Opening the door wider, I showed him my bed. “I had tossed in my slumber and fell right off.” He looked at me questionably, than smirked. “Well, seems you should strap yourself in next time.” He tipped his hat politely and retreated down the steps. The day that followed, I left the flat to catch my boat home, back to the states. With every stop on the way I discovered I was being followed. There, standing on deck surveying the shore I saw him, and that hideous eye, fixed upon me. I turned away to glance further down the boat, that is when I found the man with the golden hair looking off to shore as well. Had I convinced myself of this terrible act,
[Historical Fiction] could it have been a hellish dream? I could not decide what was true, but what I was certain was it would be some time before returning to London.
Published on Jul 12, 2012
A murder mystery torn from the pages of Edgar Allen Poe’s unread journal. This story depicts a series of events that took place in London, w...