The music filled the room and my heart with joy as I listened to its melody and sat with my hands placed on my chest and their fingers interlocking. It was evening and the room’s lighting was a perfect balance between light and dark as the sun’s light went through the window to my right and across the furniture, carpet, a fireplace filled with ash, bookshelves, and the collection I had worked on over many years. Through the panes in the doors of a bookshelf to my left were a dozen dolls resting on its shelves who wore garments varying from exotic kimonos to the eloquent suits of a gentleman. As I sat, I remembered my first addition to this collection, which was a nice young gentleman of a doll that wore a black suit with white cuffs and had golden blond hair. I received him when I was almost five years of age from my long deceased aunt who always wrote to me and visited from time to time while filling me with kind words. Oh, how I missed her dearly...
At the present moment I was waiting for a guest who was supposedly a distant cousin of mine and of whom I had discovered from a letter of introduction from my great-uncle Henry. Uncle Henry was a shabby old fellow with long white hair and a well-cut beard who I hadn't talked with in such a great while that this letter gave me a dose of surprise and intrigue. The doorknob turned and then the door flew open as Charlie strode into the room and greeted me with:
“Good Evening Edwin! How goes it?”
“Splendid! Thank you for your curiosity. To be quite honest, I’m waiting for that guest to arrive and then to have a little chat to welcome her to the area.”
“Well, that sounds nice. I think I’ll stay to keep you company and then have the chance to meet her myself. As long as that wouldn’t bother you?”
“Why of course it wouldn’t! Please have a seat and enjoy one of the cookies I bought to home the other day, if it pleases you.”
“Thank you!” His hand reached for the platter of cookies before him, grabbed one, and took it to his mouth without ever making a sound from his fingers hitting on the silver of the platter. His eloquence was something that he had built up from countless practice and careful attention to lessons in etiquette from one of his many teachers of the past. He had paid closer attention to all of his teachers and excelled in his studies significantly faster than I and many others of our social class. His intelligence had been tested to that of almost a genius and he spoke more than six different languages. Sure he was someone you could feel jealousy towards, but it was his good heart, timid nature, and that we had known eachother since we were little kids, that made him my best friend.
A knock came from the door as we sat musing over simple topics, and we, of course, stopped as I got up to open the door and greet whomever was at it. I swung my hand forward to unlock the door and then turned the handle, pushing my arm back afterwards to allow the door to open. Before me on the step closest to the entryway was a beautiful young woman with lovely hair in a black dress that shone with an element of likeness with the macabre. Her mouth was curved down and her eyes cut into the air at the right of me with a sort of melancholy. Her face turned and formed a smile that attempted to mask her feelings, but failed so horribly that even a fool could tell it was fake.
“Salutations, Mr. White!”
“Good evening! You must be Elizabeth! Yes, I have heard quite a bit about you from the letter of introduction I received from Henry!”
“Yes.. Well, about that. He’s-”
“Oh, no time for that right now! Come in! Have a seat and a cookie, if it pleases you!”
“Oh, why thank you.” She moved passed me and took a seat on my fine fauteuil that was patterned with depictions of leaves and flowers. The room was filled with light that danced gaily across the room and warmed it, but her face filled with no emotion that casually scanning the room in innocent repose didn’t fit. She didn’t fit...
“What a lovely living room you have here. Is that one of Bach’s pieces playing in the background?”
“Yes, no. 1. It is truly one of his finer pieces” I lunged my body forward and took a seat where I had previously sat for most of the evening so far. My arm twisted allowing for a resting place for my chin that seemed simply for display and did not really seem to serve it’s purpose, while my other arm laid itself on the left arm of the chair and appeared far more consumed with the pleasantries of casual lassitude most often found in upper-class men than my right arm.
“I must concur to a degree with that. So who’s this?”
“Oh! Why pardon me. That’s my good friend Charlie. He, also, lives here.”
“It’s nice to meet your acquaintance, Ms. Smith.” Her eyes widened and she gave a sort of shocked expression at this, but with all due yet slightly lacking manner replied with:
“Oh... Greetings Charles.”
“Please, call me Charlie,” he interjected as one of the white cuffs of his jacket flashed forward with his arm in a gesture of openness. She took a fork set in front of her and a bite of a slice of cake I had set out for her with her name on a piece of paper next to it beforehand. She was being disrespectful, for she was more concerned with the reasons she had come here to be proper.
“I am sorry to have to disclose this to you, but Henry has fallen ill with a dreadful sickness. He sent me here so as to announce to you beforehand of his will so that you could thank him. What a kind and loving old man he is, and yet he has included me and my husband in such a smaller amount of his will even though we, in desperation, need the money to pay a large amount of debt that we have so sadly gotten ourselves caught in. Actually, that’s why I came here. We were curious, since he gave you such a large sum, if you could help us out.” I turned my head and looked to the side at these words. I didn’t want to make eye contact...
“Oh... Well, that’s unsettling. Why didn’t he just tell me directly?”
“He thought it would be more polite and help you deal with news if someone told you in person.” I looked uneasy at this and Charlie turned his head to look at me and as he did so his blonde hair danced on his face, resting uneven on it and clearly showing he felt distress.
“Don’t worry Edwin. He was just thinking about you..” I ignored him, brought my arm up and let my fingers rub my forehead as my head turned to it, where then I lifted my head so to look at her with my face filled with melancholy.
“Well, then he was wrong.” She looked a little hurt at this and Charlie gave me a glare that made him look both annoyed and concerned. Elizabeth fidgeted with the fork for the piece of cake in her hand and looked slightly offended at this remark.
“You don’t even care, do you? You just came so you could get your god forsaken money and nothing more!” Her eyes widened with shock and I started to hear the beat of her heart; it thumped almost as if it wanted out of the prison that was her chest. It thumped and thumped, and my thoughts raced in my head as I started to feel a little uneasy. I wanted the sound to stop, but it just kept beating and beating loudly afore me as if it thought this was some sort of game of taunting me.
“Edwin! You need some help! I mean, look at this!” She grabbed ahold of Charlie’s arm and pulled, and at that moment we knew there was something wrong with her. Yes, you see, it wasn’t me that was causing the dismay in this room, but instead her! She did not fit! Charlie screamed in agony and called for me to help him in shock and panic.
“STOP! LET GO OF HIM!” My throat felt sore from yelling and I lunged forward with all my strength, grabbed her, and pulled her arm off of him. She screamed and struggled as I held her arms behind her back while on the ground, and with her arm free, she managed to drive the knife towards my leg. She would have stabbed my leg, but I had too good of reflexes and simply dodged it. She then twisted the knife in her hand and with skill attempted to stab my throat. She was trying to kill me! However, sadly for her, I was stronger. I slipped my hand down her arm and clasped her hand and the knife in it with all my strength, bringing it towards her chest. She screamed so intensely that my ears almost bled and then she tried to resist, but I brought it down to her chest in a forceful motion. Crimson splattered the room and all over my body, but I hadn't the slightest care, for I was filled with joy. I let go and relaxed as I fell into a well deserved sleep.
KNOCK! KNOCK! “Is this the residence of Mr. Edwin Simone White?!”
I did not reply, so repeated the question. I got up and concurred with him, but then I saw it. A mess of blood had splattered the floor and I thought to myself: what have I done? The question repeated in my mind and I couldn't think to open the door.
“Open the door, please.” I did not reply.
“OPEN THE DOOR!” His voice roared with rage, but I was lost. He kept repeating himself and even warned me of what would happen next, but I just stood there in shock. A tear ran down my eye and the door was slammed down onto the floor, but I just stood there.
“WHAT DID YOU DO?”
“Shut up! Just shut up and listen to the music as I explain! I was trying to defend my friend Charlie! Right Charlie?!” He looked around the room in dismay and said something with all the conviction he needed. He said something that haunts me to this day. Something that struck a hammer against me and left me lost standing on nothing.
“What music?! Charlie who?!.. What?! The doll?” The music had stopped... It had stopped a long time ago...