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From the Journal of William Pratt – 1880
5th April 1880– Have just returned from a most uncomfortable supper with the Smythe family. At Mother’s insistence, I accepted their invitation, knowing full well that they were hoping to spark a connection between myself and their spinster daughter. Said daughter is thin to the point of emaciation, not very accomplished or intellectually gifted, and clearly was as embarrassed and uninterested as I. An uncomfortable evening all around as the older Smythes hovered hopefully while Beatrice and I endeavored to find a mutually interesting subject about which to converse. She knows nothing of poetry or poets, only as much about music and the theatre as is required of a woman of her background and, of course, I have no knowledge of what sort of things a spinster might find amusing.
In any case, my heart is taken already. In no way could that boring bag of bones match the elegant form and proud beauty of my beloved Cecily. I will take myself to my lonely bed and hope to dream of a future that provides for the companionship that I long for. Not that my thoughts of my beloved are anything but chaste! But the body does what it will when one’s control is loosened by Morpheus - and, alas, it often betrays the aching need I feel for my beloved’s affection.
To sleep, perchance to dream…
6th April 1880– Reading the above words inspires more than a bit of a shiver. I did, indeed, dream last night. Repeatedly – although about what, I am at a loss to express. I suppose that thinking so much about Cecily and Beatrice before I went to sleep may have had some influence on my dreams. And yet, neither woman was present. Rather, I dreamt of an alluring stranger, dark of hair like my beloved, but most different from her. She was delicate and childlike in her demeanor, even though she wore the form of a fully-grown woman.
I blush to recall the way she danced around me, singing nonsense rhymes and leading me deeper and deeper into a darkness that was both frightening and exhilarating. I confess to enjoying her attentions, even though they were most obviously too practiced to be those of a respectable woman. Her gentle touches, the taste of her lips….but, enough! It was only a dream and one that I must put out of my mind lest it sully my thoughts of my beloved. No doubt it is the frustration of being alone that makes me susceptible to such fantasies. I must be strong and resist tonight. No dreams unless they include marriage to Cecily Addams.
9th April 1880– for two nights I was able to resist my baser urges, but, alas, last night I once again succumbed to dreams of the dark-haired beauty. There, I’ve admitted it. She is beautiful in her own childlike way. Such an intriguing mixture of siren and delicate flower she is. I can imagine myself becoming entrapped in the sweet web she spins as she twirls around me, singing and sliding her hands over my body in gentle caresses that grew bolder throughout the night. By morning it was clear that my body had once again taken its own path to relief and I was forced to quickly hide the bed linens.
I suppose it is impossible to keep such things a secret from the servants. I’m not sure what would be the bigger scandal – that I was washing my own linens, or that I sometimes have dreams that cause me to soil them with my spendings. Perhaps tonight, if I drink a sufficient amount of brandy before bed, I can numb myself into more appropriate dreams.
12th April 1880– Once again my precautions against becoming lost in the dark woman’s world were for naught. After two nights of blissfully dream-free sleep, she was back and this time she lured me completely into her sinful desires. I will not waste my ink on recounting our depraved activities – only to say that I am deeply ashamed, and yet, deeply envious of my subconscious and its wanton ways.
More brandy tonight – and in the future until I am certain that this temptation has been removed from me.
18th April 1880– I have been remiss in my journal entries, but I’ve been unsure what to put down on paper. The dark-haired temptress continues to plague – no, I must be honest – to fill my sleeping hours with her depraved and debauched attentions. Activities of which I am sure no reasonable person would approve continue to fill my sleep – leaving me wrapped in linens soaked in sweat and other fluids.
And yet, this last evening there was a difference. Just as the dark-haired temptress approached my weak-willed self, a small blonde woman stepped in between us, clutching a sharpened piece of wood in her little fist. My nightly companion recoiled in obvious fear and loathing, making strange hissing and snarling noises as she backed away. Her face, never quite clear anyway, became incredibly distorted as she retreated from the much smaller and more delicate-seeming girl in front of me.
I caught only a glimpse of the new arrival’s face as she cast a sorrowful look over her shoulder and then disappeared, running into the darkness with a most unfeminine athleticism.
23rd April 1880 – I know not whether to be pleased or bereft. Since the small woman’s appearance, my nightly temptress has not returned. My sleep is quiet and untroubled by either woman.
24th April1880 – I was too optimistic. Last night I once again dreamed – this time of only the new arrival. She doesn’t speak, nor sing or touch me as did her rival. She only stares at me wistfully, shaking her head when I try to engage her in conversation. She is not at all my type – being small and delicate, her form too slender and childlike for my taste. Nothing like my beauteous Cecily – about whom I find my dreams empty, despite the presence of this other woman. Girl, really. She seems quite young, although there is a weariness about her eyes sometimes…I hope she is not going to haunt my nights as the first one did.
29th April 1880– And yet, she does. Haunt my nights. Every night she is there, wooden stake – for that is what it seems – clenched in her little fist. She stands between me and the darkness, a tiny sentry keeping at bay I know not what. Surely she does not haunt my sleep simply to prevent me from indulging my baser instincts with the other? I try to speak with her, but she just gazes upon me sadly, then turns to face the darkness again.
30th April 1880– I think she is growing on me. Not that I find her physically attractive – with her strangely arranged blonde hair, fitted clothing that shows too much of her delicate form and painted lips – but her wistful eyes and her stout determination to stand between myself and whatever lurks in the darkness has earned my interest and my gratitude. If only she would speak to me.
3rd May 1880– My mysterious bodyguard has proven her worth – at least as far as my subconscious is concerned. Last night, after two nights of dreamless sleep, both women returned. My dark temptress was first to arrive, taking my hand and pulling me toward the familiar darkness behind her. When I hesitated, she crooned to me that she was going to make me effulgent, that I was to be her dark knight and she my princess. I was soon entrapped in her decadent charms and confess to following the least obedient parts of my body into her arms.
I was lost in her lushness, unaware of anything but the sensations she was creating, when, without warning, my small blonde warrior was there. She pulled the other away, flinging her aside and then rushing to me to study my neck. She sighed with relief; then, giving me a small smile (the first smile!) she whirled to face…a monster. My dark temptress had turned into a monster before my eyes. She growled and hissed, slashing at the other woman with taloned hands and gnashing teeth that were never found on anything human.
They came together in a swirl of blows, kicks, slashes and unnatural sounds. When the warrior had thrown the monster on its back and was preparing to stab it with her small wooden weapon, suddenly my mysterious seductress was back and she turned sad eyes to me, begging for help. I could not prevent an involuntary movement in their direction; a movement which distracted the victor long enough for the monster to throw her off and escape into the still unknown dark.
Once again, my savior was sad, her beautiful eyes brimming with tears as she whispered, “I’m sorry.” So happy was I to finally hear her speak that I did not at first understand that she was apologizing for allowing the other to run away. Before I could ask her anything, she stood up and shook her golden locks back from her face.
“Maybe next time,” she whispered to herself as she turned to face the darkness.
4th May 1880– Exhausted from the events of the previous night’s dreams, I fully anticipated I would sleep like the dead last night. However, my little golden warrior was there, once again placing her slender body between mine and the oppressive darkness just beyond. From the inky morass I could hear a mix of snarls, hisses, growls and other inhuman noises, mixed with the occasional whisper of more appealing suggestions. But, the warrior, as I have come to think of her, was there, keeping the darkness at bay.
She remained until almost dawn, casting, as always, wistful eyes at me as she prepared to leave. I’ve been watching her for so long now, that I can tell from the way she looks at me when she is preparing to return from whence she comes. Something of my desire to speak to her must have showed in my face as she approached and smiled sadly at me.
“You’re not ready for me,” she said with great finality. “Just try to remember that I wasn’t lying.” With a gentle caress of my face, she said her farewell and disappeared from my sight. I have no earthly idea to what she is referring. She has hardly spoken enough for me to have accused her of lying to me.
10th May 1880 – My sleep has been untroubled for a week now. No sign of the monster nor of my protectress. In spite of my body’s enjoyment of the dark-haired temptress’s attentions, I find that I am missing the silent presence of my golden warrior more than the carnal skills of the monster.
Perhaps they have both gone from my life. My attention and my nightly visions can return to where they belong – to my beloved Cecily, to whose house I am invited for a party on the morrow. And now, to sleep.
11th May 1880– Ah, not quite done with me, it seems, is my subconscious. Just before dawn, after a night of tossing and turning in anticipation of the evening’s festivities at the Addams’ home, my little bodyguard crept into my quiet mind. Without preliminary and with a total disregard for anything around us (although the darkness was clearly visible and looming uncomfortably close) she came to me and leaned over my recumbent form to whisper in my ear.
“She’s not what you deserve. She’s beneath you. You are worth so much more. Please. For me. Try to remember that and don’t let her break your heart. Please….” She brushed warm lips against mine, retreating before I could force my body into action. “I love you, William.” Her voice was barely audible as she faded from my sight, but I was sure that I heard correctly.
It matters not. As lovely and fierce as she is, this dream guardian sent to protect me from my improper and unclean thoughts is no more real than the inhuman temptress that she banishes. I am not so desperate for affection as to indulge in thoughts of her when my very real and beautiful Cecily awaits. I am determined to make my feelings known to her before the evening is over.
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