Sunday, February 28, 2010

Brother and Sister

I haven't posted since December. It's enough to say that I've been overwhelmed with work and with a continuing lack of privacy and time to think of something worth saying. So I had decided to simply put up a humorous post saying I was still alive. I've done it before, about a year ago, with a picture of Madeline Usher from Roger Corman's House of Usher. I just spent a fruitless half hour looking for another picture of Madeline and didn't find one that suited my fancy. As I was looking, though, I began to wonder why I'm fixated upon this particular story. Hmmm...

An artsy but ineffectual male has a twin sister who is rendered ineffectual by her lapses into catalepsy. She appears to succumb, and he puts her into a coffin which is placed deep within the bowels of their ancestral mansion (read consciousness). This coffined-up sister comes to, and with superhuman strength pushes off the coffin lid and forces open the huge oaken door of the dungeon to which she has been consigned.

"Oh whither shall I fly? Will she not be here anon? Is she not hurrying to upbraid me for my haste? Have I not heard her footstep on the stair? Do I not distinguish that heavy and horrible beating of her heart? Madman!” — here he sprang furiously to his feet, and shrieked out his syllables, as if in the effort he were giving up his soul — “Madman! I tell you that she now stands without the door!"

As if in the superhuman energy of his utterance there had been found the potency of a spell — the huge antique panels to which the speaker pointed, threw slowly back, upon the instant, their ponderous and ebony jaws. It was the work of the rushing gust — but then without those doors there did stand the lofty and enshrouded figure of the lady Madeline of Usher. There was blood upon her white robes, and the evidence of some bitter struggle upon every portion of her emaciated frame. For a moment she remained trembling and reeling to and fro upon the threshold — then, with a low moaning cry, fell heavily inward upon the person of her brother, and in her violent and now final death-agonies, bore him to the floor a corpse, and a victim to the terrors he had anticipated.

I keep coming back to this story -- have done so since I first read it decades ago.

I wonder why.

I wonder if my alter-ego, who is so protective of me and of whom I am so fond, has anything to worry about.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get out of this bloody nightgown and take a shower.