The brief earlier encounter at midwinter was regrettably not the last I saw of her father, or the man I had presumed to be her brother, whom I later discovered was her husband to be. I had but one day to live in the joy of our night together, one short day until any chance of seeing my Elizabeth again was taken from me. I was abruptly awoken by a harsh word at the foot of my bed. On opening my eyes I saw that it came from the mouth of none other than Elizabeth’s father, who was standing at the foot of my bed. How had he gotten into my house? How had he found his way into my bedchamber? How had he found out about Elizabeth and me? So many unanswered questions that will plague me for the rest of my life, if you can call this a life, this cruel prison he pushed me into. I tried to ask him what he was doing in my manor, but I found myself unable to speak, I was left to simply listen. This great moustached man was shouting down at me, his booming voice echoing around my room, I was not fully paying attention but I remember him bellowing.
“You who have disgraced my family by drawing my daughter into your filthy ways. You who have execrated her to a life banished from her future, and her marriage. You, who have been tainted by the devil, will never again lay harmful finger on my line” Somewhere in the back of my mind I recall thinking that I had laid more than a simple finger on her, but such thoughts are wicked and should never be verbalised.
I experienced then a pain the like of which I had never felt before, it was as if my very essence was being ripped away from my body while at the same time I was being compressed and squeezed somewhere very small; far too small for me to logically or physically fit into. My initial reaction was to try and cry out, but once again there was something hindering the sound, though I could feel nothing on my face or neck. I could neither make sound nor move to stand from the bed and defend myself. Strange though that they were not holding me down at all, I could feel no restraints on ankle or wrist. I should have been free to move and talk as I wished, and yet I was not. Was this some kind of magic? I chided myself for thinking such things. I hadn’t believed in magic since I was a child, as bad as the situation was there was no need to start thinking like a fool. I tried to clear my mind, and think of a way to escape my apparent restraints. I imagined that he was killing me, Elizabeth’s father that is, if only that had been the case. Death would have been a painless fate, one that he felt I was undeserving of. I could see in his eyes that he wanted me to suffer, as he seemed to feel his family would suffer because of my actions. Both men had begun chanting in some booming ancient language that I could not even attempt to comprehend; it was harsh and guttural with no compassion or softness. It was a language born out of pure unholy hatred, and it was directed straight at me.
It was all burning, unbearable suffering, and then nothing. Nothing at all. My world was dark. Numb. “Is this death?” I pondered to myself. Surely there should be heaven as the preacher claims, or the fires of purgatory, even oblivion, but not merely darkness. Eerie consciousness in emptiness. I let my mind float in that empty space, remembering all that had gone before those moments that had lead me to where I was. It seemed that I was to be that way forever; I wondered if this was hell after all, being forced to spend an eternity with nothing but your own thoughts. Endlessly being made to examine every flaw and mistake of your life. Yes, it seemed like that would he hell. It was only when dawn broke that I found, quite to my surprise, that I was not dead at all. I began to see the light from an early morning sunrise and the faint song of birds in the distance drifted to my ears. How could this be? I was certain that Elizabeth’s father had killed me. All seemed well until I tried to rise from my bed. I could not move, I could not roll or even reach up an arm; I could not even look down to see what had become of my body. I was frozen…or maybe immobilised somehow? Was it magic? I could not tell. I could see the velvet top curtain hanging above my bed but no matter how I tried I could not turn my head so much as an inch to look at the grand oak posts. As my mind descended once again into panic and mayhem my only hope was that somebody would come across me soon.