Editor’s Note: This gothic short story was originally written for a Deviantart writing challenge when I was in high school. I can’t remember the exact guidelines for the challenge (and I deleted my original DA account out of shame), but I wrote it with the goal of creating fiction in the style of Edgar Allen Poe. It’s reproduced here more or less in its original version. Content warning for ephebophilia.
Perhaps I am twisted for loving this girl as I do. Her delicate porcelain skin looks incredibly frail, as if a mere touch could crumble her to pieces. Her eyes are wide and pale as the moon, but her mouth is always painted with the bright red rouge of a whore. Yes, my dearest Almyra is a mass of contradictions. When she smiles and brushes her lush curves against me, I know the purest bliss and the darkest temptation. This entrancing girl—for at her level of seasoning, she truly is nothing more than a child—holds my heart and everything that goes along with it.
My darling is my world, and anything outside us is something to be cursed and tossed aside. Besides being my lover and the future bearer of my heirs, Almyra is a confidant, a constant source of admiration, my sweet-faced centerpiece, and, most tempting and devastating of all, the daughter of a nobleman for whom I toil. We have always been at odds, he and I, but that is a distasteful matter for which should never be spoken of in the same breath as my sweet. Thus, I will say that he detests me, rightly so, and leave it at that.
Thankfully, Almyra has no notion of my past sins, and I relish in the naive affections she showers upon me. But it often causes my heart to clench as well. Who am I to capture the heart of such a maiden, who, had she been living at Olympus’ base, would’ve been serenaded by the gods themselves? In my mind I obsess over the idea that I am mad beyond redemption, but at this point, my periodic guilt is not enough to restrain me.
One night, many months after our affair first begins—while the city sleeps and the sky is deprived of the gem that so resembles my love’s eyes—I steal up to her bedroom and throw myself upon her bosom, professing my deepest feelings for her in rapid fire. With desperate tears dripping from mine eyes, I ask for her hand in marriage, for I can stand to slink the halls of her castle as a lowly servant no more. And with an enigmatic smile that swipes my breath, she agrees. In minutes my love has packed her essentials and we are descending the trellis beneath her sill, on our way to the friar across town who will set our vows in stone. Her father’s wishes be damned, Almyra and I shall be married this night.
I am still regaining my breath when we come to a halt beneath the great spires of the Catholic Church. The portly friar steps out of the shadows, a tattered leather Bible clenched between his grimy paws. We exchange a nod, and deftly he flips to the proper scripture and begins the ceremony. In the cold night, Almyra presses against me and slips her delicate hand into mine.
My maiden cranes her slim, graceful neck to look into my eyes and recites her eternal promise to me. Even in the dim—no, especially in the dim—she glows like the sun. Her teeth flash as I utter my declaration as well.
“You are married,” the friar says, though his announcement follows in the wake of our first kiss. My chest feels as though it may burst with the intensity of my mirth, and I tell Almyra so. She laughs.
“You flatter me,” she whispers. She tugs me by the hand in the way in which we came, and I follow without a thought or a care. I would follow her to Hell, as long as her eyes continue to proclaim that she is mine. “You are so much older than I…surely this is not the first time you’ve felt love?”
I answer honestly, as those wide gems always compel me to do. “No. I loved once before, but she passed from this world many years ago.”
Curiosity causes Almyra to stop in the center of the street and turn, giving me her undivided attention. “Oh?” Her smile widens. “What was she like? Will you tell me about her?”
I find myself frightened in a way that a newly married man should never be frightened—that is, with an intense despair for the state of his relationship. My saliva forms a thick coating on my tongue, and I struggle to find the words to soothe my anxiety. There aren’t any. “It does not matter!” The words come with more acidity than I intended, but despite this, Almyra stands her ground. She has never seen this side of me—I have made sure of it—and yet she appears to be completely at ease.
“That era of my life is long gone,” I say. “She is no longer the woman I love. You hold my heart now.” I stamp my foot to emphasize my point. “Now and forever!”
“Ssh, I know, my love.” Almyra offers me her embrace, and I slide into her arms. I bury my face into her silken hair, and with the memory of our marriage union fresh in my mind, my loins stir for her like never before. My face heats with shame because of the things I now fantasize of doing with this girl. Even one as pure as she would know what it means when a man’s body responds in such a way.
I feel crushing sorrow for the innocence I soon will seize, but the body of a man is weak, and as such does not relent regardless of circumstances. Despite my sins—past and present—I will take this girl, and I will enjoy it. My consciousness has taken a dark turn, and surely it shines on my visage, but Almyra only looks upon me and giggles.
“You love me here and now.” She holds me tighter still, to the point that she cannot help but feel the reaction I am having to her. “That is all that matters.” Almyra cocks her head, the sight of those full, roguish lips burning me to the core. Sweat breaks out upon my brow.
“I can only wonder, however…” Her thin eyebrows become angry slashes across her forehead. “What my beloved mother would have to say of our union?” The breath in my chest stills, but Almyra quickly steals it away with the sharp, poisoned blade she plunges into my back.
Blood blooms on my overcoat as I retreat from the warmth of her form. Can it be? Has she unveiled me?! Unnecessary inquiries, in the end, for the truth gleams in her eyes and rushes forth from her tongue.
“My mother knows death because of your affair!” she spits, and in this moment she looks more a woman than I have ever seen her. “I have been deprived of love my whole life because you dared to love a married woman, and now you wish to bewitch me? I curse you to Hell, Barnes! I curse you to Hell and back!” Her arms shake with rage as she gathers the hems of her skirt and petticoat and scurries away, puddles of stinking mud and stagnant water splashing under her feet.
I watch her retreat while I slump to the ground, the world growing darker still as the poison works its way through my veins.
The moon appears—only a sliver in the blackened sky—and I smile. It is pale and bright, just like Almyra’s eyes…
Ah, yes—she has the same radiant eyes that I first fell in love with, over sixteen years ago.