Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

Eliza By Tammy Intrasena

If beauty were a sound it would be the syllables of your name, Eliza.

Eliza. Have you ever heard a word so divine? E-li-za.

I can still smell the dampness of the night we met; close my eyes and there I am, back in London, at that grotty tavern on that one fateful autumn night after a raging storm.

And there you were. Skin pale as moonlight, hair the shade of the freshly turned autumn leaves; a poet’s muse, a blessing from the Angels. You sat nursing a glass of what I would soon learn to be Brandy.

We spoke of the unfortunate weather, then endlessly of music and literature, as though time was ours to waste and the world could wait.

Lest you assume me ignorant Eliza, I inform you now that I understood it was not the Angels that blessed you, but something else entirely. Something I still do not dare to speak of to this day. I had known from the moment our gaze met, the way your eyes caught the dim light like that of an amethyst held to a burning sunset. An arcane beauty like that…

Yet I could not care for the danger. I was too enraptured, my soul enthralled—inexplicably bewitched. I hadn’t swallowed a single swill of alcohol and yet you had thoroughly intoxicated me with your bashful charm and alluring ambiguity. You’d spoken with a shadow behind your vivacity, unabashed yet guarded.

The tavern emptied, the workers made us leave when the storm tamed. We strolled the moonlit streets and spoke until daybreak.

Your demon did not like the light, did it, Eliza? You became quiet, your hand fell still. You made painful expressions and tried to leave in sudden haste.

I held you back. No, let us keep talking. Let God stop time for us just a moment longer.

You said that I did not understand and called me a fool. I remember your eyes shifting from sunsets to hellfire, remember the vicious marks that appeared against your cheeks before my very eyes.

Yet I still didn’t care what thing resided in you, Eliza, only that you were with me—my sweet, please, let me hold you, or at least return to me the part of my heart you so heinously stole or so—God help me—make your demon counterpart tear it out of my chest!

But you ran from me, Eliza. And letting you go that day equated the pain of severing a limb. I was not the same since.

Oh how I envied musicians from that day forth. To transcribe your existence into a melody and lull myself into blissful sleep each night with you in my ears is all I ask and pray for to this day, Eliza. Remembering you is suicide to my soul. But if being a fool meant killing myself at every daybreak to relive the moments you tainted then a fool I shall be.

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