11:55 PM

It is nearly that dreadful hour.

Why does it continue to haunt me every night?

The seconds tick, cacophonous like thunder. The only sound that permeates the walls of my desolate home.

I stand from my chair, and pace the floors of what once was a place of solace, not the suffering I am damned to bear.

Formerly, this emotional tomb had been awash with the sounds of merriment, laughter, and love.

My wife; from the moment I saw her, I was enthralled by her beauty and it gave the world a reason for its seemingly arbitrary existence.

We would express our youthful passions many times. The simplicity of the feeling was only matched by our ferocity.

We soon wed and built our life, and this home for us to be together, forever more.

She kept her garden well tended, the flowers blossomed well. I told her our love made the soil fertile.

Our love made her fertile. I remember the moment I knew.

I remember watching it grow and thinking, "Now we could call ourselves a family."

The day came. What a beautiful day it seemed to be.

What a naïve fool I was.

Her screams of agony were as painful to bear as the ticking of the damned clock.

I ascended the stairs, in hopes to escape that wretched sound.

Looking upon the doors of the hall, I walk past without a glance, the room she was in.

Last time I stepped foot in that room, I looked into her infinitely deep beautiful eyes, as she spoke the last words I would ever hear that had any value to me.

"I love you."

Her eyes closed, and like Heaven's gate slamming shut with the force to rock the Earth and Hell below, I felt an immeasurable shudder in my body.

The midwife wordlessly handed me a child.

No, not a child. It looked like a child. My naïvete blinded me.

With stoicism I simply commanded the midwife, "Leave this place, and never return."

I buried my wife, in her beloved garden. Where the flowers have grown in resplendent beauty, and ethereal fancy, I know not possible without the spirit of my love nourishing them.

I had them to keep me cognizant. The days were incessant. I was punished to heed the shrieks and screeches of that infernal banshee.

The memory of my spouse, slowly faded and each moment of euphoria was replaced with thoughts of longing while I stared at her garden and resting place.

I no longer remembered her charming laugh, only the wails of a being I soon began to realize was a monster.

I shake my head and pound the walls, trying to push my recollections away. This existence is meaningless, and even a deprivation of consciousness and feeling would be euphoric to me.

I walk to the bath and run the water, filling the tub. The sounds of the water drowning out the revolting noises of this place.

I reach my arms into the water, scalding myself but indifferent to the pain. I splashed the water onto my face to clear my mind.

How disappointed I was that I was still conscious.

Again, I reached into the water. I felt a shock as if a revelation hit me.

I looked at my hands in the water, as their form morphed in front of my eyes.

The clock rang out, and I could see it in my hands.

It was the beast that took my wife, my love, my life.

Immense fury overtook me. I gritted my teeth. I saw it move and convulse under the water.

It was a vain attempt to manipulate me into believing it felt pain. I knew better.

I had learned. I was ignorant before, but I knew now the form was just a phantasm.

With each chime of the clock, I held the demon tighter. I bit my lips until my blood stained the water that was cleansing my sanctum.

My hands burning, my body shaking with a boundless rage I continued to fight it.

Then on the twelfth chime, it was done. This house was purged of the imp.

I rose from the water. Awoken from my remembrance, I removed myself from the room and contemplated my present stage.

I return to the parlor and rest once again in my chair.

I buried it in her garden the same as her. I felt it fitting, that her murderer share the same resting place.

There was some loveliness to be redeemed from the monster's ugly form. When the flowers flourished, I wondered facetiously about the quantum of malice, and innocence to the aesthetic of the flowers.

Soon, I will only think of her, and no longer of the torture I was forced to endure.

Soon, her form will be truly a part of the earth.

Soon, its corporeal shell will no longer remain.

Soon its existence would not even be validated by my memories.

I sigh deeply and check the clock once more.

11:55 PM

It is nearly that dreadful hour.

Why does it continue to haunt me every night?