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The Cask of Amontillado Prelude
It was fifty years ago to-day that the wretched Fortunato stole my dear, sweet, Emery from my grasp taking also my heart from the depths of the cage that it laid in. Fortunato-- what a simple minded, ludicrous name. After I plant my revenge on him, the real man will remain standing.
I first laid eyes on the young maiden as I walked through the town which was quite dull as if it was merely a mirror-image of the sky. I remember clearly her pronounced exquisiteness weaving in and out of the shadows that draped gloomily around her. Her golden hair tumbled in gentle curls infinitely down her slender body and found a way to shimmer even in the drab conditions that were to-day. Amongst the skeletal outlines of the buildings that were surrounded in grey, she seemed colorful and out of place-- as if she was in the wrong painting of an artist.
Blending in with the grey, I was of a stalker with my intense and far-gone pursuit of her. She floated to the edge of town and still I trailed behind her as if I was the train on a wedding dress. She walked for what seemed like ages, until she reached a meadow. Forthwith, she halted and I too did.
“My dear, why are following me?”
Her voice sang across the immense meadow, so lovely that I nearly lost my balance in my feeble attempt to walk toward her.
“Madame, please forgive me. I-”
I faltered mid sentence for the woman had turned to face me. Her eyes were stunning, as if she was the one who had taken the blue sky and placed the colors into her eyes.
She sauntered towards me and, smiling, took my hand, “I am Emery Caswell. You need not explain my dear Montresor.” With that she turned, hair blowing gently across my face, and made her way back to town.
Each day was the same. I followed her through town and met her in the meadow. We laid upon the loam and among the wildflowers that I would occasionally pick and place in her hair. Being in her presence finally gave me a reason to why my heart continued to beat in the stark world that wanted to ruin it. I’d never felt more alive.
It took me some time to truly put to words how I felt. I loved her-- and she too felt the same about me for she told me one day as we sat.
“Dear, I felt this way about no one before. It is love, my darling Montresor, for thee.”
I took her small hand in mine and gazed into her eyes-- the eyes of an angel, and I knew what I wanted.
That very day I went to her father, Lord Caswell, and I asked for her hand in marriage. He was of respected class, as was I, so he willingly agreed. He shook my hand and told me of her whereabouts in the meadow.
I floated there, dancing on air, never knowing until then that a man could feel this way. She turned to the sound of my nearing footsteps and giggled as I lifted her up and spun her around.
I took her hand and knelt down, “Emery Caswell, will you marry me?”
She nodded happily, tears magnifying her sparkling eyes. I lifted myself off the ground and embraced my bride-to-be. We went into town to spread the news of our engagement.
It was merely one week before the wedding that he arrived. A man of high, wealthy class-- Fortunato.
I was going about my way to the house of the Caswells when I first saw him talking to my dear Emery and her father. He was dressed in a blouse of ebony that glinted in the fading sunlight. As I neared, I saw the man kiss her delicate hand. He turned with a kind face but I saw through that nonsense. I sensed a sort of evil about him.
His eyes bore into mine and he grinned wickedly, sarcastically, “Good day Lord Caswell.”
Lord Caswell spoke in whispers to Emery and then made his way indoors. Her back was facing me as I cautiously took to the steps.
“Emery?” I placed my hand on her trembling shoulder.
She faced me, tears trickling down her face, “My darling, I cannot marry you.”
My heart increased speed so very quickly that I thought it might have fallen right out of my chest.
“My lady, why?” I questioned.
“Fortunato has asked for my hand. He is the wealthiest man in the village now, and my father has given me no choice but to marry him.”
Her words became toxic and began to suffocate my heart, my lungs, my soul. Fortunato’s smile remained plastered in my head, haunting me.
“I am so terribly sorry, Montresor.” she whispered.
That wicked grin.
I walked swiftly down the steps.
That wicked, sarcastic grin.
I turned, taking one last glance at my life-- at my Emery.
The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge.