This is the story of my death — and yet not mine at all. Perhaps it was merely the unraveling of my mortal coils. These stocks of flesh and bone that coerce us into cages of fear are so very fragile. We speak much of autonomy and freedom, but this, our master, we cannot escape. His name is coldly whispered behind our tender ears: “It is I, Fate.” With flecks of ice upon his tongue we shiver until we are brought low. With bleeding hearts we cry for mercy, and still he stands against the cackling cacophony of an acute paranoia.

There! Do you not see? At his feet is curled the harlot maiden, Time — ear ever bent for his behest.

“So subtly she spins a tale sung sweetly as the nightingale, ‘Come to my quarters, and thou shalt see, bliss unbalanced by eternity.’”

The appeal of poetry at one time seemed a worthwhile venture to my unstudied ego. I did not know the carnage that her sultry halls would bring. I had no sense of what might come should I taste of her apricot lips. And she ravished me still.

Now here I lay,

Beneath the dust

Of the shadowy grave;

Mine is death,

And death is mine,

And now I perish

At the proper time.

How does it taste my fiend, my foe,

My blood apace the ivory floors?

Fanged venom devoured souls,

She rests alight your reddened jaws.

But I did not write to tell of my miserable state. What Time has weaved cannot be unwoven. If there be any joys to recollect they have long since perished with me. Wait!

Did you hear that?

It was his voice

Like dragged chains beneath the floors

Look here again!

That is his breath,

That smell of smoke upon your neck.

Think no more of it, child, think no more. The ghosts of my past deeds need not haunt you. The cawing raven, the howling wind, the chill of dark, are all my familiar friends. Long I sought to escape them and evermore they crept nearer still. My head and heart plunged deep into truth and myth long since forgotten. Storehouses of knowledge unspoken by men laid at my fingertips. Keep your smokes and bells, the life hereafter is one of eternal dark. Creatures alike we seek relief from our creatureliness as bones clawing from their skin. What I sought I found in abundance.

You need not worry. You will soon hear my tale.