Monday, October 24, 2016

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 The room was warm and clean, the curtains drawn, the two table lamps alight-hers and the one by the empty chair opposite. On the sideboard behind her, two tall glasses, soda water, whiskey. Fresh ice cubes in the Thermos bucket.
Mary Maloney was waiting for her husband to come home from work.
Now and again she would glance up at the clock, but without anxiety, merely to please herself with the thought that each minute gone by made it nearer the time when he would come. There was a slow smiling air about her, and about everything she did. The drop of a head as she bent over her sewing was curiously tranquil. Her skin--for this was her sixth month with child--had acquired a wonderful translucent quality, the mouth was soft, and the eyes, with their new placid look, seemed larger darker than before. When the clock said ten minutes to five, she began to listen, and a few moments later, punctually as always, she heard the tires on the gravel outside, and the car door slamming, the footsteps passing the window, the key turning in the lock. She laid aside her sewing, stood up, and went forward to kiss him as he came in.
"Hullo darling," she said.
"Hullo darling," he answered.
She took his coat and hung it in the closet. Then she walked over and made the drinks, a strongish one for him, a weak one for herself; and soon she was back again in her chair with the sewing, and he in the other, opposite, holding the tall glass with both hands, rocking it so the ice cubes tinkled against the side.
For her, this was always a blissful time of day. She knew he didn't want to speak much until the first drink was finished, and she, on her side, was content to sit quietly, enjoying his company after the long hours alone in the house. She loved to luxuriate in the presence of this man, and to feel-almost as a sunbather feels the sun-that warm male glow that came out of him to her when they were alone together. She loved him for the way he sat loosely in a chair, for the way he came in a door, or moved slowly across the room with long strides. She loved intent, far look in his eyes when they rested in her, the funny shape of the mouth, and especially the way he remained silent about his tiredness, sitting still with himself until the whiskey had taken some of it away.
"Tired darling?"
"Yes," he said. "I'm tired," And as he spoke, he did an unusual thing. He lifted his glass and drained it in one swallow although there was still half of it, at least half of it left.. She wasn't really watching him, but she knew what he had done because she heard the ice cubes falling back against the bottom of the empty glass when he lowered his arm. He paused a moment, leaning forward in the chair, then he got up and went slowly over to fetch himself another.
"I'll get it!" she cried, jumping up.
"Sit down," he said.
When he came back, she noticed that the new drink was dark amber with the quantity of whiskey in it.
"Darling, shall I get your slippers?"
She watched him as he began to sip the dark yellow drink, and she could see little oily swirls in the liquid because it was so strong.
"I think it's a shame," she said, "that when a policeman gets to be as senior as you, they keep him walking about on his feet all day long."
He didn't answer, so she bent her head again and went on with her sewing; but each time he lifted the drink to his lips, she heard the ice cubes clinking against the side of the glass.
"Darling," she said. "Would you like me to get you some cheese? I haven't made any supper because it's Thursday."
"No," he said.
"If you're too tired to eat out," she went on, "it's still not too late. There's plenty of meat and stuff in the freezer, and you can have it right here and not even move out of the chair."
Her eyes waited on him for an answer, a smile, a little nod, but he made no sign.
"Anyway," she went on, "I'll get you some cheese and crackers first."
"I don't want it," he said.
She moved uneasily in her chair, the large eyes still watching his face. "But you must eat! I'll fix it anyway, and then you can have it or not, as you like."
She stood up and placed her sewing on the table by the lamp.
"Sit down," he said. "Just for a minute, sit down."
It wasn't till then that she began to get frightened.
"Go on," he said. "Sit down."
She lowered herself back slowly into the chair, watching him all the time with those large, bewildered eyes. He had finished the second drink and was staring down into the glass, frowning.
"Listen," he said. "I've got something to tell you."
"What is it, darling? What's the matter?"
He had now become absolutely motionless, and he kept his head down so that the light from the lamp beside him fell across the upper part of his face, leaving the chin and mouth in shadow. She noticed there was a little muscle moving near the corner of his left eye.
"This is going to be a bit of a shock to you, I'm afraid," he said. "But I've thought about it a good deal and I've decided the only thing to do is tell you right away. I hope you won't blame me too much."
And he told her. It didn't take long, four or five minutes at most, and she say very still through it all, watching him with a kind of dazed horror as he went further and further away from her with each word.
"So there it is," he added. "And I know it's kind of a bad time to be telling you, bet there simply wasn't any other way. Of course I'll give you money and see you're looked after. But there needn't really be any fuss. I hope not anyway. It wouldn't be very good for my job."
Her first instinct was not to believe any of it, to reject it all. It occurred to her that perhaps he hadn't even spoken, that she herself had imagined the whole thing. Maybe, if she went about her business and acted as though she hadn't been listening, then later, when she sort of woke up again, she might find none of it had ever happened.
"I'll get the supper," she managed to whisper, and this time he didn't stop her.
When she walked across the room she couldn't feel her feet touching the floor. She couldn't feel anything at all- except a slight nausea and a desire to vomit. Everything was automatic now-down the steps to the cellar, the light switch, the deep freeze, the hand inside the cabinet taking hold of the first object it met. She lifted it out, and looked at it. It was wrapped in paper, so she took off the paper and looked at it again.
A leg of lamb.
All right then, they would have lamb for supper. She carried it upstairs, holding the thin bone-end of it with both her hands, and as she went through the living-room, she saw him standing over by the window with his back to her, and she stopped.
"For God's sake," he said, hearing her, but not turning round. "Don't make supper for me. I'm going out."
At that point, Mary Maloney simply walked up behind him and without any pause she swung the big frozen leg of lamb high in the air and brought it down as hard as she could on the back of his head.
She might just as well have hit him with a steel club.
She stepped back a pace, waiting, and the funny thing was that he remained standing there for at least four or five seconds, gently swaying. Then he crashed to the carpet.
The violence of the crash, the noise, the small table overturning, helped bring her out of he shock. She came out slowly, feeling cold and surprised, and she stood for a while blinking at the body, still holding the ridiculous piece of meat tight with both hands.
All right, she told herself. So I've killed him.
It was extraordinary, now, how clear her mind became all of a sudden. She began thinking very fast. As the wife of a detective, she knew quite well what the penalty would be. That was fine. It made no difference to her. In fact, it would be a relief. On the other hand, what about the child? What were the laws about murderers with unborn children? Did they kill then both-mother and child? Or did they wait until the tenth month? What did they do?
Mary Maloney didn't know. And she certainly wasn't prepared to take a chance.
She carried the meat into the kitchen, placed it in a pan, turned the oven on high, and shoved t inside. Then she washed her hands and ran upstairs to the bedroom. She sat down before the mirror, tidied her hair, touched up her lops and face. She tried a smile. It came out rather peculiar. She tried again.
"Hullo Sam," she said brightly, aloud.
The voice sounded peculiar too.
"I want some potatoes please, Sam. Yes, and I think a can of peas."
That was better. Both the smile and the voice were coming out better now. She rehearsed it several times more. Then she ran downstairs, took her coat, went out the back door, down the garden, into the street.
It wasn't six o'clock yet and the lights were still on in the grocery shop.
"Hullo Sam," she said brightly, smiling at the man behind the counter.
"Why, good evening, Mrs. Maloney. How're you?"
"I want some potatoes please, Sam. Yes, and I think a can of peas."
The man turned and reached up behind him on the shelf for the peas.
"Patrick's decided he's tired and doesn't want to eat out tonight," she told him. "We usually go out Thursdays, you know, and now he's caught me without any vegetables in the house."
"Then how about meat, Mrs. Maloney?"
"No, I've got meat, thanks. I got a nice leg of lamb from the freezer."
"I don't know much like cooking it frozen, Sam, but I'm taking a chance on it this time. You think it'll be all right?"
"Personally," the grocer said, "I don't believe it makes any difference. You want these Idaho potatoes?"
"Oh yes, that'll be fine. Two of those."
"Anything else?" The grocer cocked his head on one side, looking at her pleasantly. "How about afterwards? What you going to give him for afterwards?"
"Well-what would you suggest, Sam?"
The man glanced around his shop. "How about a nice big slice of cheesecake? I know he likes that."
"Perfect," she said. "He loves it."
And when it was all wrapped and she had paid, she put on her brightest smile and said, "Thank you, Sam. Goodnight."
"Goodnight, Mrs. Maloney. And thank you."
And now, she told herself as she hurried back, all she was doing now, she was returning home to her husband and he was waiting for his supper; and she must cook it good, and make it as tasty as possible because the poor man was tired; and if, when she entered the house, she happened to find anything unusual, or tragic, or terrible, then naturally it would be a shock and she'd become frantic with grief and horror. Mind you, she wasn't expecting to find anything. She was just going home with the vegetables. Mrs. Patrick Maloney going home with the vegetables on Thursday evening to cook supper for her husband.
That's the way, she told herself. Do everything right and natural. Keep things absolutely natural and there'll be no need for any acting at all.
Therefore, when she entered the kitchen by the back door, she was humming a little tune to herself and smiling.
"Patrick!" she called. "How are you, darling?"
She put the parcel down on the table and went through into the living room; and when she saw him lying there on the floor with his legs doubled up and one arm twisted back underneath his body, it really was rather a shock. All the old love and longing for him welled up inside her, and she ran over to him, knelt down beside him, and began to cry her heart out. It was easy. No acting was necessary.
A few minutes later she got up and went to the phone. She know the number of the police station, and when the man at the other end answered, she cried to him, "Quick! Come quick! Patrick's dead!"
"Who's speaking?"
"Mrs. Maloney. Mrs. Patrick Maloney."
"You mean Patrick Maloney's dead?"
"I think so," she sobbed. "He's lying on the floor and I think he's dead."
"Be right over," the man said.
The car came very quickly, and when she opened the front door, two policeman walked in. She know them both-she know nearly all the man at that precinct-and she fell right into a chair, then went over to join the other one, who was called O'Malley, kneeling by the body.
"Is he dead?" she cried.
"I'm afraid he is. What happened?"
Briefly, she told her story about going out to the grocer and coming back to find him on the floor. While she was talking, crying and talking, Noonan discovered a small patch of congealed blood on the dead man's head. He showed it to O'Malley who got up at once and hurried to the phone.
Soon, other men began to come into the house. First a doctor, then two detectives, one of whom she know by name. Later, a police photographer arrived and took pictures, and a man who know about fingerprints. There was a great deal of whispering and muttering beside the corpse, and the detectives kept asking her a lot of questions. But they always treated her kindly. She told her story again, this time right from the beginning, when Patrick had come in, and she was sewing, and he was tired, so tired he hadn't wanted to go out for supper. She told how she'd put the meat in the oven-"it's there now, cooking"- and how she'd slopped out to the grocer for vegetables, and come back to find him lying on the floor.
Which grocer?" one of the detectives asked.
She told him, and he turned and whispered something to the other detective who immediately went outside into the street.
In fifteen minutes he was back with a page of notes, and there was more whispering, and through her sobbing she heard a few of the whispered phrases-"...acted quite normal...very cheerful...wanted to give him a good supper...peas...cheesecake...impossible that she..."
After a while, the photographer and the doctor departed and two other men came in and took the corpse away on a stretcher. Then the fingerprint man went away. The two detectives remained, and so did the two policeman. They were exceptionally nice to her, and Jack Noonan asked if she wouldn't rather go somewhere else, to her sister's house perhaps, or to his own wife who would take care of her and put her up for the night.
No, she said. She didn't feel she could move even a yard at the moment. Would they mind awfully of she stayed just where she was until she felt better. She didn't feel too good at the moment, she really didn't.
Then hadn't she better lie down on the bed? Jack Noonan asked.
No, she said. She'd like to stay right where she was, in this chair. A little later, perhaps, when she felt better, she would move.
So they left her there while they went about their business, searching the house. Occasionally on of the detectives asked her another question. Sometimes Jack Noonan spoke at her gently as he passed by. Her husband, he told her, had been killed by a blow on the back of the head administered with a heavy blunt instrument, almost certainly a large piece of metal. They were looking for the weapon. The murderer may have taken it with him, but on the other hand he may have thrown it away or hidden it somewhere on the premises.
"It's the old story," he said. "Get the weapon, and you've got the man."
Later, one of the detectives came up and sat beside her. Did she know, he asked, of anything in the house that could've been used as the weapon? Would she mind having a look around to see if anything was missing-a very big spanner, for example, or a heavy metal vase.
They didn't have any heavy metal vases, she said.
"Or a big spanner?"
She didn't think they had a big spanner. But there might be some things like that in the garage.
The search went on. She knew that there were other policemen in the garden all around the house. She could hear their footsteps on the gravel outside, and sometimes she saw a flash of a torch through a chink in the curtains. It began to get late, nearly nine she noticed by the clock on the mantle. The four men searching the rooms seemed to be growing weary, a trifle exasperated.
"Jack," she said, the next tome Sergeant Noonan went by. "Would you mind giving me a drink?"
"Sure I'll give you a drink. You mean this whiskey?"
"Yes please. But just a small one. It might make me feel better."
He handed her the glass.
"Why don't you have one yourself," she said. "You must be awfully tired. Please do. You've been very good to me."
"Well," he answered. "It's not strictly allowed, but I might take just a drop to keep me going."
One by one the others came in and were persuaded to take a little nip of whiskey. They stood around rather awkwardly with the drinks in their hands, uncomfortable in her presence, trying to say consoling things to her. Sergeant Noonan wandered into the kitchen, come out quickly and said, "Look, Mrs. Maloney. You know that oven of yours is still on, and the meat still inside."
"Oh dear me!" she cried. "So it is!"
"I better turn it off for you, hadn't I?"
"Will you do that, Jack. Thank you so much."
When the sergeant returned the second time, she looked at him with her large, dark tearful eyes. "Jack Noonan," she said.
"Would you do me a small favor-you and these others?"
"We can try, Mrs. Maloney."
"Well," she said. "Here you all are, and good friends of dear Patrick's too, and helping to catch the man who killed him. You must be terrible hungry by now because it's long past your suppertime, and I know Patrick would never forgive me, God bless his soul, if I allowed you to remain in his house without offering you decent hospitality. Why don't you eat up that lamb that's in the oven. It'll be cooked just right by now."
"Wouldn't dream of it," Sergeant Noonan said.
"Please," she begged. "Please eat it. Personally I couldn't tough a thing, certainly not what's been in the house when he was here. But it's all right for you. It'd be a favor to me if you'd eat it up. Then you can go on with your work again afterwards."
There was a good deal of hesitating among the four policemen, but they were clearly hungry, and in the end they were persuaded to go into the kitchen and help themselves. The woman stayed where she was, listening to them speaking among themselves, their voices thick and sloppy because their mouths were full of meat.
"Have some more, Charlie?"
"No. Better not finish it."
"She wants us to finish it. She said so. Be doing her a favor."
"Okay then. Give me some more."
"That's the hell of a big club the gut must've used to hit poor Patrick," one of them was saying. "The doc says his skull was smashed all to pieces just like from a sledgehammer."
"That's why it ought to be easy to find."
"Exactly what I say."
"Whoever done it, they're not going to be carrying a thing like that around with them longer than they need."
One of them belched.
"Personally, I think it's right here on the premises."
"Probably right under our very noses. What you think, Jack?"
And in the other room, Mary Maloney began to giggle.



by Edgar Allan Poe
THE "Red Death" had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal --the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.
But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys. This was an extensive and magnificent structure, the creation of the prince's own eccentric yet august taste. A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. This wall had gates of iron. The courtiers, having entered, brought furnaces and massy hammers and welded the bolts. They resolved to leave means neither of ingress or egress to the sudden impulses of despair or of frenzy from within. The abbey was amply provisioned. With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the "Red Death."
It was toward the close of the fifth or sixth month of his seclusion, and while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad, that the Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence.
It was a voluptuous scene, that masquerade. But first let me tell of the rooms in which it was held. There were seven --an imperial suite. In many palaces, however, such suites form a long and straight vista, while the folding doors slide back nearly to the walls on either hand, so that the view of the whole extent is scarcely impeded. Here the case was very different; as might have been expected from the duke's love of the bizarre. The apartments were so irregularly disposed that the vision embraced but little more than one at a time. There was a sharp turn at every twenty or thirty yards, and at each turn a novel effect. To the right and left, in the middle of each wall, a tall and narrow Gothic window looked out upon a closed corridor which pursued the windings of the suite. These windows were of stained glass whose color varied in accordance with the prevailing hue of the decorations of the chamber into which it opened. That at the eastern extremity was hung, for example, in blue --and vividly blue were its windows. The second chamber was purple in its ornaments and tapestries, and here the panes were purple. The third was green throughout, and so were the casements. The fourth was furnished and lighted with orange --the fifth with white --the sixth with violet. The seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls, falling in heavy folds upon a carpet of the same material and hue. But in this chamber only, the color of the windows failed to correspond with the decorations. The panes here were scarlet --a deep blood color. Now in no one of the seven apartments was there any lamp or candelabrum, amid the profusion of golden ornaments that lay scattered to and fro or depended from the roof. There was no light of any kind emanating from lamp or candle within the suite of chambers. But in the corridors that followed the suite, there stood, opposite to each window, a heavy tripod, bearing a brazier of fire that protected its rays through the tinted glass and so glaringly illumined the room. And thus were produced a multitude of gaudy and fantastic appearances. But in the western or black chamber the effect of the fire-light that streamed upon the dark hangings through the blood-tinted panes, was ghastly in the extreme, and produced so wild a look upon the countenances of those who entered, that there were few of the company bold enough to set foot within its precincts at all.
It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to hearken to the sound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and, while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused reverie or meditation. But when the echoes had fully ceased, a light laughter at once pervaded the assembly; the musicians looked at each other and smiled as if at their own nervousness and folly, and made whispering vows, each to the other, that the next chiming of the clock should produce in them no similar emotion; and then, after the lapse of sixty minutes, (which embrace three thousand and six hundred seconds of the Time that flies,) there came yet another chiming of the clock, and then were the same disconcert and tremulousness and meditation as before.
But, in spite of these things, it was a gay and magnificent revel. The tastes of the duke were peculiar. He had a fine eye for colors and effects. He disregarded the decora of mere fashion. His plans were bold and fiery, and his conceptions glowed with barbaric lustre. There are some who would have thought him mad. His followers felt that he was not. It was necessary to hear and see and touch him to be sure that he was not.
He had directed, in great part, the moveable embellishments of the seven chambers, upon occasion of this great fete; and it was his own guiding taste which had given character to the masqueraders. Be sure they were grotesque. There were much glare and glitter and piquancy and phantasm --much of what has been since seen in "Hernani." There were arabesque figures with unsuited limbs and appointments. There were delirious fancies such as the madman fashions. There was much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which might have excited disgust. To and fro in the seven chambers there stalked, in fact, a multitude of dreams. And these --the dreams --writhed in and about, taking hue from the rooms, and causing the wild music of the orchestra to seem as the echo of their steps. And, anon, there strikes the ebony clock which stands in the hall of the velvet. And then, for a moment, all is still, and all is silent save the voice of the clock. The dreams are stiff-frozen as they stand. But the echoes of the chime die away --they have endured but an instant --and a light, half-subdued laughter floats after them as they depart. And now again the music swells, and the dreams live, and writhe to and fro more merrily than ever, taking hue from the many-tinted windows through which stream the rays from the tripods. But to the chamber which lies most westwardly of the seven, there are now none of the maskers who venture; for the night is waning away; and there flows a ruddier light through the blood-colored panes; and the blackness of the sable drapery appals; and to him whose foot falls upon the sable carpet, there comes from the near clock of ebony a muffled peal more solemnly emphatic than any which reaches their ears who indulge in the more remote gaieties of the other apartments.
But these other apartments were densely crowded, and in them beat feverishly the heart of life. And the revel went whirlingly on, until at length there commenced the sounding of midnight upon the clock. And then the music ceased, as I have told; and the evolutions of the waltzers were quieted; and there was an uneasy cessation of all things as before. But now there were twelve strokes to be sounded by the bell of the clock; and thus it happened, perhaps, that more of thought crept, with more of time, into the meditations of the thoughtful among those who revelled. And thus, too, it happened, perhaps, that before the last echoes of the last chime had utterly sunk into silence, there were many individuals in the crowd who had found leisure to become aware of the presence of a masked figure which had arrested the attention of no single individual before. And the rumor of this new presence having spread itself whisperingly around, there arose at length from the whole company a buzz, or murmur, expressive of disapprobation and surprise --then, finally, of terror, of horror, and of disgust.
In an assembly of phantasms such as I have painted, it may well be supposed that no ordinary appearance could have excited such sensation. In truth the masquerade license of the night was nearly unlimited; but the figure in question had out-Heroded Herod, and gone beyond the bounds of even the prince's indefinite decorum. There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion. Even with the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made. The whole company, indeed, seemed now deeply to feel that in the costume and bearing of the stranger neither wit nor propriety existed. The figure was tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave. The mask which concealed the visage was made so nearly to resemble the countenance of a stiffened corpse that the closest scrutiny must have had difficulty in detecting the cheat. And yet all this might have been endured, if not approved, by the mad revellers around. But the mummer had gone so far as to assume the type of the Red Death. His vesture was dabbled in blood --and his broad brow, with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror.
When the eyes of Prince Prospero fell upon this spectral image (which with a slow and solemn movement, as if more fully to sustain its role, stalked to and fro among the waltzers) he was seen to be convulsed, in the first moment with a strong shudder either of terror or distaste; but, in the next, his brow reddened with rage.
"Who dares?" he demanded hoarsely of the courtiers who stood near him --"who dares insult us with this blasphemous mockery? Seize him and unmask him --that we may know whom we have to hang at sunrise, from the battlements!"
It was in the eastern or blue chamber in which stood the Prince Prospero as he uttered these words. They rang throughout the seven rooms loudly and clearly --for the prince was a bold and robust man, and the music had become hushed at the waving of his hand.
It was in the blue room where stood the prince, with a group of pale courtiers by his side. At first, as he spoke, there was a slight rushing movement of this group in the direction of the intruder, who at the moment was also near at hand, and now, with deliberate and stately step, made closer approach to the speaker. But from a certain nameless awe with which the mad assumptions of the mummer had inspired the whole party, there were found none who put forth hand to seize him; so that, unimpeded, he passed within a yard of the prince's person; and, while the vast assembly, as if with one impulse, shrank from the centres of the rooms to the walls, he made his way uninterruptedly, but with the same solemn and measured step which had distinguished him from the first, through the blue chamber to the purple --through the purple to the green --through the green to the orange --through this again to the white --and even thence to the violet, ere a decided movement had been made to arrest him. It was then, however, that the Prince Prospero, maddening with rage and the shame of his own momentary cowardice, rushed hurriedly through the six chambers, while none followed him on account of a deadly terror that had seized upon all. He bore aloft a drawn dagger, and had approached, in rapid impetuosity, to within three or four feet of the retreating figure, when the latter, having attained the extremity of the velvet apartment, turned suddenly and confronted his pursuer. There was a sharp cry --and the dagger dropped gleaming upon the sable carpet, upon which, instantly afterwards, fell prostrate in death the Prince Prospero. Then, summoning the wild courage of despair, a throng of the revellers at once threw themselves into the black apartment, and, seizing the mummer, whose tall figure stood erect and motionless within the shadow of the ebony clock, gasped in unutterable horror at finding the grave-cerements and corpse-like mask which they handled with so violent a rudeness, untenanted by any tangible form.
And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Alida's Tree

From the beginning of time came the god of the sun of an ancient civilization, located in present day Netherlands . The name of Zon shook mountains and tore through earth, only for his own satisfaction of destroying. Zon was created out of nothing, but he only ruled everything because he generated a mass amount of fear within people. Zon’s twin brother, Maan, presided over the moon. The brothers watched over humankind on the planet Earth. Zon and Maan were polar opposites, Zon known for being boastful and arrogant, while Maan was more withdrawn.
For thousands of years, Maan thought Zon to be an unfit ruler. It troubled him to think the Earth’s fate resided in such a loathsome leader. Anger steamed and boiled within Maan. One day, he developed a plan to rid the world of Zon forever. Maan knew if he made a direct attack, Zon would defeat him. So he did something unexpected.
     About five thousand years ago from today, an ordinary human was having an extraordinary dream. Alida could have sworn the moon was talking in her dream. She heard him say, “I grant you the powers of a sorceress, to overthrow the tyrant Zon. Do this and be showered with riches beyond imagination. Fail, and receive a fate worse than death.”
    When Alida awoke, she soon found the message in the dream to be true. Alida had the power of a great sorceress and was able to manipulate anything to her will.
    For several weeks she taught herself how to use her new powers. Through her training, she learned from many suitable teachers who specialized in magic. As it seemed she was exceptionally gifted when using magic, it was not long until she became a powerful sorceress and was well known throughout the country. Every night she would receive a dream from Maan urging her to destroy Zon but her response was always, “When I am ready, I will fight him.”
    She was kindhearted and fair to the people of the Netherlands and she only used her magic for the benefit of the people, but after many seasons, her kindness turned into bitterness. Alida began to wonder why she should be so kind and helpful to these people when they had done nothing for her in return. Paired with the insistence from the moon god to kill Zon, she was driven over the edge.
    At first, it was small things. Ignoring distress calls of failing crops or letting the sick die. Villagers pestered and begged for Alida to help, but she was compelled indoors and kept to herself. The dilemma of wanting to lash out at every person she met or to assist the public was a constant storm within her mind. Eventually, one side won, and she began to attack at the most insignificant of things. She caused a few injuries to the villagers when they wouldn’t stop knocking on her wooden door. As time passed, Alida eventually burned houses, destroyed villages, and made it storm for days on end. Maan began to notice and confronted her in a dream.
    “Why are you destroying trees when you could be destroying my brother instead?” He asked. Something in Alida’s brain snapped. “Do not tell me what to do, you lazy oaf! With all my power, I could destroy you instead!”
    Maan roared, “Fool! Did you fail to heed my warning? Fear tomorrow, for it will be the first in eternal suffering.”
    When Alida woke to find she was all in one piece, she brushed off Maan’s threat and continued her day. While terrorizing locals, she began to feel nauseous.
    “That’s odd,” She remarked, “I do not get sick. I am certainly the most powerful being in the world! In fact, most might consider me a god.” She smirked and bellowed for all to hear, “Fear me, humans! For I am the goddess Alida of the Earth.”
    With this remark, thunder came rolling ahead in the sky and a violent flash of bright lightning struck the crown of her head. The voltage ran down to her feet and into the ground.
    “Who could have done such a thing?” She shrieked, her angry outburst echoing throughout the village.
    When there was no reply, Alida picked up her foot to walk and continue to pester the villagers, but her foot did not budge. She glanced down and noticed roots wrapping around her feet. She screeched and tried using bursts of magic to tear through the growing roots, but it persisted in wrapping around her. Bark and wood piled up against her skin and climbed up to her neck. A crowd began to gather around Alida to see what all the commotion was about.
    “Help me foolish mortals!” Alida wailed, “Help me or be tortured and destroyed!”
    The villagers murmured amongst themselves, but no one moved. Her cries of protest were soon muffled when the bark was fastened over her mouth. When Alida was covered completely, she began to grow branches and leaves. A voiced carried by the wind whispered through the villagers’ ears, “And here you will stay in eternal consciousness, incapable of breathing but forever unable to die. Here you will reside until the end of time.”
    The growing of the roots stopped and in place of Alida was a full grown English Oak tree. A still silence fell over the village.
    To this day, Alida’s tree still stands in the heart of the town. Legend states if you press an ear to the trunk of the tree, you can hear her wail, still screaming for somebody to help her.

How to replace "To Be" Verbs within your writings.

I am. You are. She is. Obviously, being is essential to existence, so it’s no surprise that to be verbs are essential in writing. (In fact, the previous sentence used three to be verbs. Can you spot them?) We’re the first to admit that it is nearly impossible to write without using an occasional are or is. (In fact, we just used two more!) However, most of us rely too heavily on to be verbs or use them unconsciously. To be verbs lack the vigor and power offered by stronger, more-action packed verbs. As a result, our writing suffers. Try the techniques below to invigorate your prose.

Here are the "to be" verbs you should try and change from passive to action packed verbs.

To Be, Is, Are, Was, Were, Been, and Being

More on how to replace "To Be" verbs located within this link.

Socratic Seminar - Story and The Storyteller

The Window Questions:  These should be the primary focus of your discussion and preparation.

What does the story say about the storyteller?

How are oral stories different from written ones?  Video?

Why do we read this story?

How does this story explain the world around us?


Just some of the other ideas you may consider:

What is the most important word in this story?
How does this story remind me of another story?
What is the theme of this story?
Which character can you most easily identify with?
If you were the director of the film, whom would you choose as the actors?  Why?


Prepare for the seminar by reading the text, preparing your notes, and thinking about connections between this story, other stories we have read in class and other stories you, or your classmates, researched during the project.


The Setup


The Rubric

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Dr Seuss - The Butter Battle Book.pdf | BetterLesson

Dr Seuss - The Butter Battle Book.pdf | BetterLesson:

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Allegory - Examples and Definition of Allegory

Allegory Definition from

Allegory is a figure of speech in which abstract ideas and principles are described in terms of characters, figures and events. It can be employed in prose and poetry to tell a story with a purpose of teaching an idea and a principle or explaining an idea or a principle. The objective of its use is to preach some kind of a moral lesson.

Although an allegory uses symbols, it is different from symbolism. An allegory is a complete narrativewhich involves characters, and events that stand for an abstract idea or an event. A symbol, on the other hand, is an object that stands for another object giving it a particular meaning. Unlike allegory,symbolism does not tell a story. For example, Plato in his “Allegory of Cave” tells a story of how some people are ignorant and at the same time, some people “see the light” – stands for an idea and does not tell a story.

Examples of Allegory in Everyday Life

Allegory is an archaic term and used specifically in literary works. It is difficult to spot its occurrence in everyday life, although recently, we do find example of allegory in political debates. The declaration of an ex-US president G.W Bush was allegorical when he used the term “Axis of Evil” for three countries and later the term “allies” for those countries that would wage war against the “Axis”.

Allegory Examples in Literature

Below are some famous examples of Allegory in Literature:

1. “Animal Farm”, written by George Orwell, is an allegory that uses animals on a farm to describe the overthrow of the last of the Russian Tsar Nicholas II and the Communist Revolution of Russia before WW II. The actions of the animals on the farm are used to expose the greed and corruption of the revolution. It also describes how powerful people can change the ideology of a society. One of the cardinal rules on the farm for the animals is:

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Friday, October 7, 2016

The Voices

The Voices

By: Hannah Bowman

The voices.

They taunt me,

With their continuous laughter.

The voices.

They tell me,

Things that aren’t true.

The voices.

They help me,

Suppress feelings with a smile.

The voices.

They lead me,

To have bad intentions.

The voices.

They protect me,

From shedding a tear.

The voices.

They soothe me,

Singing words of hope.

The voices.

They keep me,

From letting it all out.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Personal Narrative

July 5th, 2016
Ramstein Air Force Base, Ramstein, Germany

7:30 am 3 hours before we had to leave
“Time to wake up, Ashlynn,” my mom said while opening the door to my room.
As I opened my eyes, I realized today was the day. The day my whole life changes, again. I didn’t want to move, but I had to. Leaving behind a life I was familiar with was always hard. I could feel it swiftly building up in the pit of my stomach. The panic always came with this feeling. I didn’t want to cry. Crying didn’t change the fact of what was happening. Sitting up to get ready I just went through the motions.

Walking into the dinky kitchen in our tiny TLF housing my mom said 2 hours and 30 minutes before we had to leave “Your dad went and got Dunkin Donuts for everyone”
All I could do was nod my head and walk past. The donuts only put more heaviness into my heart. The Dunkin Donuts place in the Exchange just opened. I mean I’m probably going to get it in America, but it just reminded me of the experiences I could’ve had with my friends there. My brother and sister were sitting on the couch watching Teen Titans Go. Looks like they had everything they needed. Nobody was at the table, so I sat there enjoying my donuts the best I could.
“Ash you have 15 minutes to get the rest of your stuff together hurry up” my dad expressed.

“I know, dad,” I exclaimed, getting up to throw away the rest of my trash.

I left my phone and kindle plugged in for a few more minutes. The time flew by; next thing I know I’m walking outside to where our friends are standing. Mr. Andrew and Ms.  Kim the parents of one of my best friends.

“Hey Ashlynn,” Ms.Kim said in her overly happy voice.

Chucking my bags in the back her car I walked over to Mr.  Andrew’s car to hop in. I waited and waited. Every second that passed the feeling would keep growing. Hate is a strong word, but I used it for these feelings. I felt anxious, sad, stressed. “Finally,” I thought as my dad and Mr.  Andrew rushed into the car. I looked at all the familiar things as we passed by. All the houses were exactly the same color, but each had its own unique feel to it. Kind of like a million different stars in the sky, each one looks the same when you look at it from the ground, but when you got closer you could see the difference . The dancing and karate studio were exactly the same color as the houses.Next door,  the grass of the soccer field was as green as Mike Wazowski, you know that green guy from Monsters Inc. Donnelly Park was right next to the soccer field, and it was a couple of blocks down from my house. This park wasn’t any fun anymore after they took out the slides on the hill. The streets were all named after a state form the US. Mine was Vermont Circle, the street I lived on for the past 4 years. My house 1063 B was right across from Mr.  Andrew’s and Ms.  Kim’s.

Gabby and her sisters were waiting outside on the porch to say goodbye. Even though I’ve only known Gabby for a year and a half, it feels like I’ve known her my whole life.

“Hey Ashlynn,” Gabby said while I got out of the car.

“Hey Gabby,” I tried my best to fake a smile but I couldn’t.

“I guess this is goodbye.” Gabby exclaimed.

“I guess so,” I said.

Hugging her family was easier than hugging her. Blinking the tears back I pulled away. I smiled one more time at my best friend,  a person who I’ve grown close to in the past year and a half.
By the time we got to the airport we had an 1 hour and 30 minutes. Walking towards the front I saw Jaycee and her family standing there. Before walking in, my parents wanted a picture of all the kids.

“Say goodbye Germany,” Mrs. Jennifer said while taking her picture.

Reaching the stairs we had to find our gate. Stopping by another gate we said goodbye. I saved hugging Jaycee for last. As I hugged her she started crying.

“ You're gonna make me cry,” I said.

“ I can’t help it,” she exclaimed between each heart wrenching sob.

“This isn’t a goodbye though this is just a see you later,”  I told her trying to hold back my own  tears.

As we waved goodbye one last time we turned to walk up the stairs. Waiting in the long line at security was hard. 1 hour and 30 minutes turned to 1 hour. By the time we sat down in the waiting area we only had to wait 15 minutes. The time finally hit 11:00; we could board now. The past 4 years were the best of my life. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I met friends I’ll have for the rest of my life. As I sat on the seat when the plane started to take off I realized it was time to let go. So I did. A new adventure was going to start when this plane landed. Who knows what it would bring? It was finally time for a new start.

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