Letters to My Beloved.
How fine the line between love & insanity...
A Collaborative Endeavor by Spyder Collins & Cassandra Thompson
My Dearest Evangeline,
How I miss your engaging eyes, your comforting embrace, and the slight scent of lilacs upon your porcelain skin. It is quite peculiar, but it strikes me that a lifetime has passed since I have tasted you. I know it is daft to think this way. Perhaps it is because you possess my heart and it aches whenever we are apart. It seems darkness takes me into her bosom and the thoughts she brings are not agreeable.
I recall, of last, when you and I attended the Carnival. Though small, it was quite extraordinary. The looks we received as we rode on the ride meant for children. It took all the lads’ strength to push us, and the looks the other patrons gave us, fantastic. I cared not. Your smile set my heart ablaze. Your laughter completed me that day. My soul smiled. Do you remember the stuffed bear I won for you at the dart and balloon station? I hope you still cherish it as you said you would.
To think of the evening at the park, after we left the carnival. The picnic you packed was exquisite. It was the lovemaking in the park, however, that stays with me. You discreetly over me with your skirts spread. I don't think anyone knew, but I did. From the spark in those verdant eyes of yours, I dare say you as well, shared the spark. To have you again, right here and now, what I would give.
Evangeline, I write once more to you and send this message through Raven, in the hopes you will return a note in kind. I do miss you, all of you, and want nothing but to spend what time I can with you, my beloved. You know I have my commitments. However, when allowed, my time is meant to be yours.
My Dearest Thomas,
It has been far too long since our last meeting and my heart aches to hear your voice, my skin longs to feel the press of your fingertips upon it. I look forward each day to your letter by raven, and when it does not arrive, I must admit, my soul feels as though it is being torn from my very chest.
You have left me with only my memories, dreams of our passionate rendezvous at the Carnival. No man has ever made me feel as you do, and not only does my heart and soul scream for you, but my body aches for you, as well. To be separated from you is the most dreadful form of torture, one I cannot bear for much longer. I must be wrapped in your arms again, inhaling the woodsy scent of your hair, tasting your lips, salty like the sea.
I know our circumstances prevent it, but I will find solace in your words. Let me hear that you yearn for me as I yearn for you, and I promise to bear your absence with the patience of a dutiful wife, with her husband at war.
I cherish you always and forever,
Evangeline, my Love,
Sitting here alone and in a conundrum. I feel so lost without you. If at least we could speak or share our love through the ink of letters. Raven returned to me this morning with only ash on his feathers. I wondered for a moment where he could have gotten off to put him in such a filthy manner. However, my thoughts turned to you. Are you well, I wondered.
Your tattered picture that I keep in my breast pocket, you should know I hold it in my hand no matter what I am doing. As I pace about my manor, I look at it. The darkness of the picture makes your eyes pop like emeralds in a dark sea. I trace your face and lips with my fingers like I used to when we kissed. I long for those crimson painted lips. I long for your voice and hearing my name flowing from your melodious lungs. Your smile, Evangeline, I yearn to see it.
I want to come and collect you, but I know I cannot without your consent. Your refusal to return my notes is disconcerting. I think to myself, could I have upset her? Our last rendezvous at the carnival, perhaps? Then I recall the time we had and the goodnight kiss. So passionate it was. A kiss that spoke to me, it told me that you wanted my love forever. Not a goodbye kiss, by any means.
The frustration, it builds. I am sad at the moment. You are everything, Evangeline. You are my soul, so real that I feel you in me every moment of every single day. Please return my letter straightaway. I do know you do not like to be told what to do, but I hope you will forgive my request under the circumstances.
Lonely in love,
My Dear Thomas,
A dark cloud has descended upon me, the shadow of your prolonged absence, stealing my breath with its heaviness. Only the mourning doves crooning out my window understands. Father thinks me mad, threatening to send me away since I refuse each suitor he arranges me to meet. I ache to tell him I have already found the man deserving of my heart, but you first must ask him for my hand. You promised me you would - do you remember, the night we first met, when you took one look in my eyes and knew I was the mate to your soul? When you told me, between ravenous kisses and passionate hands, that I am your entire world?
I cannot imagine why you have neglected to respond. The raven’s beak is empty, his wings sprinkled with ash. Have I upset you in some way? Has another woman’s eyes captured your attention? I could not bear it if this was true. I would rather die than know you’ve given your heart to another. I will try my best not to think such morbid thoughts, but this loneliness is maddening.
Please, my dear sweet love, write back to me. Tell me you still love me as I love you. Tell me I am still your beloved.
Once more Raven sits on my window sill without so much as a scrap of paper in his beak. I dispatched him to take my love letters to you, and my return is soot over black-heedless feathers. It would seem out of place, but I wonder if perhaps you scare him away with discharge from your fireplace. Then, of course, I realize the nonsense of such a notion, but how to explain the emptiness returned to me?
I won't ask of you any longer, I will draw a conclusion based on how this makes me feel. As ridiculous as it may seem, last night I dreamt of you. It was flattering in one way and displeasing in quite another. You arrived at a café, and you sat much as a lady. However, when you set your parasol down, you leaned forward in an exaggerated manner, showing off your bosom to a gentleman who watched your every move. That gentleman was not I, Evangeline. Who was he, I wonder, as I write you.
You know how I can be when you do things to make me jealous. I pondered when I woke if the dream was part of an allegory or a memory back to you that should have raised my morning interest. Instead, much anger brewed beneath my normal agreeable manner. If you choose to share your affections elsewhere, to allow other hands to drape your precious body or lips to wander your lust, it is your decision, but know that I disapprove, and as this silence and brooding curiosity grows, so does my discontent.
Discouraged in love,
I have succumbed to madness and it is no fault of my own. Your absence speaks volumes, the lone raven reveals your true nature. I have lost all hope in our love, all hope in this life.
Last week, I stared out the parlor window, waiting for you to come with such stillness, the maid thought I’d died sitting upright. She cried out when she saw pieces of hair that I’d torn out of my head, scattered around me in clumps. I paid her for her silence, but Father still grows concerned. He does not know that I tease the blade against my own skin - skin that used to feel your lips - hoping for the courage to press down - and failing utterly.
Oh, but my dear Thomas, I will grow strong enough one day. The letterless raven demands it!
I tell you now of my madness because perhaps it will provoke one letter - one simple damned letter - even one to condemn me to the institution or the convent! One letter, is that so much to ask of he who once promised me the world?
You have left me - abandoned me here to rot, mad and despairing!
I curse you, Thomas. I curse you for what you have done to me. I hope the raven tears out your eyes.
Evangeline, once my love,
How you devour my heart, callous, and with intent. Always, Raven comes to me with his beak empty of gifts. This day Raven comes to me with blood on his talon. I pray to what useless God haunts me that it is your blood. Perhaps you are dead, after all. Perhaps consumption, or your life snuffed by a suitor. No matter, hope for just returns.
Evangeline, what I have done so terrible that makes you slight me so? You told me that I was your muse and music meant nothing to you without me. Damn my soul for believing you and for trusting you. Loneliness riddles my heart, pushing emptiness throughout. Anger runs up my spine like fireworks. I thought I could hold in the growing agony, but I was wrong. My love for you is everything, and without you everything is nothing.
You should know after I came home from the Carnival, that wonderful day we spent together, seemed our last. Julia came to me, insisting I tell her who I was with. She found a spot of your crimson lips on my neck. She would not let it go. She followed me upstairs and badgered me to no end. She sits now in the basement of the manor, fodder for the rats. She is dead, you see, rotting. Her smell lingers. This is why I need you, damn you, Evangeline. When I see you again, and I will, you will accompany her in the basement of this manor. But your eyes, those verdant eyes will be mine to keep.
My hate lingers, for you.
It has been quite long since I’ve penned you a letter, but it is no matter. I know this is a letter you will receive.
You see, my love, I have just returned from a spell at St. Helen’s Sanitarium. Father eventually found drops of blood on my stays, revealing the self-inflicted cuts on my legs. But I do not tell you this so that you pity me. I tell you, because while I was tortured, starved, and beaten, I could think of nothing else but you. I saw your handsome face and your kind eyes, a beacon of light for me to hold onto as I fell asleep to the sounds of wailing and scurrying rats - when they tied down and fed me gruel, when the doctors forced me into baths of ice.
Your face, your smell, your touch kept me alive for those long weeks until the day my father came to collect me, his freshly obedient little girl.
Back home, I relinquished my perch at the window to work on my needlepoint and take guests, like a young lady should. One guest of particular interest to me was a woman named Miss Belle Havern. Do you recognize the name? You should, for she is a dear friend of your wife’s. You read correctly, Miss Belle intimated to me all - your penchant for young women with bright eyes and dark hair, how you use them up and spit them out, all under your poor wife’s nose.
Well, my dear Thomas, I took a letter opener to Miss Belle’s heart and lit the family manor aflame, my poor Father trapped inside. I reside now in the home of a dear friend, dressed in my mourning attire, pretending to weep for the family I have killed.
I lie here in patient wait because I know I will see you again. Miss Belle confirmed your residence and soon, after I gather my strength, I will make physical what has been only in my memory, your sweet, handsome face...
and I will nail this letter to your forehead.
Evangeline, Hell's Mistress,
There will be no more flights for Raven. He returned one too many times empty-handed. I grabbed him from my window this day and wrung his neck. Ash scattered off his feathers like spiders born from their mother's back. Oddly, Raven lives, and he flies about the manor now, mocking me. I cannot explain it, but he does. I've chased him, striking him down with my bare hands. I've stomped him into dust, yet he returns. Devilish, I tell you, and I am without doubt that you are at play here, wicked enchantress.
I continue to write, and frankly, I have no sane reason for my action. I write, however, not with a pen as I did previous, but with a feather from Raven. Part away to, the thought I would waste my Stark's ink on such a strumpet. No, I have created a new brew for you, Evangeline. One to match those crimson painted lips of yours that I crave so all over my body. Damn you, your lovely smile and pleasing demeanor that I now despise. Where did I get such a rich crimson ink, you may wonder? I have sliced my arm from the fold at my elbow to my wrist. The gapping gash makes for a wonderful inkwell.