The Tell Tale Hum

2007-04-20_086

This is a “Cover” of the Tell Tale Heart

Insane?! You know nothing! I have control. CONTROL. Could I be insane and be a rational man? And, I AM a rational man. I’ve read Darwin’s treatise. I know what we are. We are all just monsters who wear the skins of our greatest victims, ourselves. It’s a thin film of civility that disgusts me. If we are not divine beings, then we have only our rational minds to protect us from madness. If I were mad, I wouldn’t feel this ichor of politeness when I talk to you.

I’ll tell you what happened because I didn’t do it, but I know who did. I don’t mind seeing him disappear, if You know my meaning. He has tormented me as long as I can recall. He slips into my house while I slumber. Despite the most elaborate security that I can devise, He enters my bed chamber . In my dreams, I feel a sharp pain. I can only assume that He injects some serum into me before I can rouse myself. I always awaken perched on His back, looking over His shoulder. The drug clouds my eyes, because I can never see colors, and movements are blurry to the point of incomprehension. It’s effect is paralyzing to my limbs as well. I can do naught but lift my head a bit for a better view when He carries me on His nightly hunt.

It IS a hunt, too. He carries me through darkest alleys, searching, always searching. Most nights, He returns me to my bed moments before the dawn, frustrated by a futile night of running. I awake in racking pain those mornings. He must express His outrage on me before departing.

Occasionally, He would find one who had wandered too far from the close cover of civility. In those dark spaces was where He moved. Any relief I felt upon waking free of the pain would quickly succumb to Horror, as I remembered the life that had bought my reprieve.

You see I cannot be the one, don’t you? These are the acts of a madman, and my control is exemplary. I am the rational man you see before you. He is the one, the one without reason, who murders.

A fortnight past, she took up residence above my flat. I was amicable, she was simply another neighbor, after all. He quickly became obsessed with her, though. Each night, he ignored his usual haunts and carried me to her door. There we would spend hours straining for the barest breath from within. Each morning, the pain I felt upon waking grew worse. It centered upon my head, and beat on my forehead with a deafening pace that even my clenched hands could not contain. I decided that I must learn what his method of entry was. I gathered tools to examine my locks for weaknesses. I fell asleep with my back against the door. I felt that old familiar pain. Even in my dream, I felt despair that he had found me despite my efforts.

He crept up the stairs. His villainy knew no limit, he deftly sidestepped the loose board near the top of the flight. As we reached the landing, I saw him draw my tool from his belt. I raged at him silently as he slipped it into her lock. He paused for a moment, as if he had finally decided to recognize my presence. When he turned his head, it wasn’t towards me, but rather, into the room ahead. The door was slightly ajar. I couldn’t make out any features of the room, but I could HEAR the faintest breath. Then again. She was nearby, and asleep.

He surprised me by the quick manner in which he dispatched her. It was a moment before I realized the true nature of his purpose. He hummed a tune that I couldn’t quite place. I concentrated on it fiercely so that I might distract myself from his work. He took her, piece from piece, arranging the parts in a pattern that only he understood. He wallowed in a sanguine nightmare that still sends a tremor of fear through me, even now.

I awoke, momentarily oblivious of all that had transpired. I luxuriated in the bright sunlight streaming onto my bed. Slowly, I realized that there was a knocking at the door. This is what had roused me from slumber. I opened the door and found the frame completely filled by a constable. A madman would have wilted before this monster, but I have exquisite control, as I’ve said. I ushered him into my apartment, and gathered chairs so we could speak. He inquired as to my whereabouts the previous night. I lied with such skill that I saw the instant that curious suspicion changed to humorous approval. He would not suspect me in this crime. He began to tell me a story. I suddenly found myself wanting him gone from my home. I laughed manically, scoffed, and insulted him. He seemed to speak to me, but all I heard was a strange humming of a tune that I couldn’t quite place. It came from the floorboards in a steady drum that pounded in my head until I grasped my temples in pain. The constable reached for my shoulder, but I spun away, glaring at him. Couldn’t he hear that humming? It reverberated through the floor, shaking the apartment until I screamed and fell to my knees. I pulled at the floorboards, wrenching them up. The constable stood over me as I threw the board away to reveal her face.

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