Oh misery…straight from the bottom of the pits, it was dragging me down into abyss. Grieving thoughts haunted Ed Morton, staring into his now empty beer mug.
A veil of haze settled into his eyes, patches of dark blurs swam around and around faster and once more, he dared not to raise his eyes or attempt any movement; he knew the dizziness would win this battle if he dared.
“Hopeless” a whisper in his ear, voice so cold it reached his shattered soul. Startled he turned, oh so sharply around in his chair to see who. Who could reach within and provoke such discomfort with a single word?
Peoples laughter and chatter grew louder overbearing own thoughts. Stale stench of beer evading his lungs, flipping his stomach upside down, pushing the foul-smelling liquid back up.
Two tables with the two identical sets of four construction workers, dirty faces, worn out, torn clothes, they even had the same teeth missing. Ed rubbed his face with his hand but they did not disappear.
The chandeliers light spun, slowly multiplying, tiny flickering lights, dancing like fire flames in the sky. Twirling and spinning on and on. Ed’s body tried to repeat their gracious movement. The pain split his brain as he stared upon the cracked wooden floor boards.
His stomach reacted, he squeezed his eyes shut “Go away torment.” He felt miserable.
A board next to Ed’s left ear creaked and cracked breaking into tiny splinters.
A foot! Yes definitely that was a noise of feet what his ears heard, he slowly blinked and saw two feet right at his noise, he looked up, the feet belonged to the bartender Mr. Tudby. A round man with a potato noise, dressed in his finest closes for every evening, he looked at Morton with a frown on his brow.
“Go home Morton, you had enough ale for the evening.” He said as he reached down to help him on his wobbly feet, which did not wish to be facing the ground. Mr. Tudby had the strength of three men and somehow he managed to get Ed outside.
Wind blew sharp, shards of piercing frost. Ed shivered, pulling his coat tighter around his body. The snow was falling so gracefully, tiny little snowflakes floating down thought the air. Swirling and falling, they cowered the streets of London with a cold, white blanket.
Mist of air escaped his lungs. Ed looked back there was no sight of Mr. Tudby, he could not see any other person around. The heavy oak door was shut, light from under the bottom only glimmering in the snow.
Even thou Morton enjoyed solitude; tonight he could not shake the feeling of a presence of gloom leading him closer to a doom at the bottom of a dark grave tomb.
He turned his gaze back to the sky, how magnificent it was, vast and bigger than worries. Oh how he would love to write a sonnet about it. But he couldn’t…
Ed hung his head down, looking at the slippery ice patches in his way. Slowly he began to put one foot in front of the other.
Ed swore he will weep not, as he entered through the screeching cemetery gates. He stopped walking in front of a headstone. An angel sat on it, looking up at the sky, tear drop forever frozen on her gray cheek.
Ed’s knees gave out, he fell placing a hand upon engraving in the cool stone. With a quiet sob escaping his lips. “Merry. “
A simple cold had stolen her away, leaving Ed completely unbearably alone. Grieving his tormented spirit could never rest anymore, he was not dreaming the sweetest dreams. Alive but not truly living, suffering in agony of a lost soul.
Cold ice slid across his face, then another and yet another; those were the tears he wasn’t going to shed. Freezing on his face in the dark. Dark and cold, cursed to be alone. He stayed there like he does each time, frozen like a statue, empty but yet still weeping.
A flickered of light in the corner of his eye. Ed tilted his head sideways to see behind the grave stone, his vision blurred up, as wet mist escaped his eyes. What is that he wondered? And wiped his face.
“Show yourself.” Ed said firmly in his mind, but a noise which traveled out from his lungs were a mere faint whisper.
The light brightened up and moved closer. From a ball of white floating light a shape formed in front of him.
Ed rubbed his eyes with his numb finger tips and exiled a cloud of warm breath. The mist had taken the form of himself, all the way to the frozen ice tears on his cheeks. It frowned at him. Something beneath the dark brows was not quite right. The eyes! The eyes! Shouted his mind. They were back as night.
“What tricks do you play spirit?” Ed’s vocal cords cracked from the freeze.
“What have you become?” the spirit questioned.
This cannot possibly be real. He shook his head.
Ed rubbed his tired eyes and once more looked at himself, he was dirty, his suit had grease spots, ale spots, it was torn in multiple places, his coat had huge tears, his dark short hair was a complete mess, and his fingers were gloveless, turning purple from the frost. His eyes swollen from drinks and ice tears, his eyes.
The eyes of the spirit were empty, the pool of darkness, reflecting the deep void from within.
“You will catch your death on the streets. Go home warm up.” The spirit said.
“Sweet death I await patiently. The end of my unfortunate waste of existence.” He stated proudly. But still unsure of dying he was.
“How can you await death when you failed at life? Don’t you the slightest hope or desire to live?” The spirit leaned and moved his head from side to side, looking at Ed. The movements of ease and the flow were more so like wind than a person of flesh and blood.
“None at all spirit, now leave me be.” Truly? From within his own voice questioned him.
The spirit jerked back in a move, which looked just like smoke leaving the flame. “I will come back in hope you abandon the darkest demons and chose life. But if not, I will take you with me on a path through a grave beyond.”
“Who are you?” Ed took a step forward on a patch of ice, which must have been the slickest in all London. Ed felt the air lifting him up, just to be faced by the force of gravity demanding the breath right out of his lungs. With a struggle he regained his breath, now just to wait for the pain in his back to cease from the fall.
He faced now the never-ending sky, where snow was gliding down upon the earth and his own face. Ed lifted his head but the spirit was gone now, and the cemetery was dark once again.
Silent tombstones all around him lay.
Oh misery how cruel can you be? The lives that were are no longer… Would it soon be me? Do I really wish it to be? His mind puzzled.
Slowly he sat up and turned his head as a cold chilly breeze swept over his shoulder. A grave stone with the name that was his loomed over.
Edwin Philip Morton the third
Born May 27 1784 Died December 3 1823
“No.” the same chill entered his lungs as the worm breath left his lips. The ground beneath him became hollow, as he fell into his grave. Bony arms broke through the frozen earth reaching for him, one grabbed his collar holding him down, the others his legs. The sculls and chest reached out of the earth.
“Join us.” Speaking with chattering teeth, jaws dropped limply from their sculls. They pulled on his hair and clothes.
“No.” he grabbed one of the skull next to his ear and threw it at the other dirty, partially flesh covered, rotting bones. Rushing to find his balance he clawed his way up to the surface. A bony hand tightened around his ankle, dragging him into pits of darkness. Ed looked down more corpses reached out from the ground.
“Come back you must.” The voices from below called out to him.
Ed kicked at the hand, scattering the bones, they fell unto the other corpses. More bony fingers grabbed his legs. Ed slipped.
Shaky hands, clawing at the chilly snow, they won’t let go he realized as he stared at his red, cold, numb hands. My life is not over yet.
Ed looked back down into the faces of the dead “It is not my time, not just yet.”
The bones disappeared as fast as they had appeared, his grave vanished. Ed lay on the cold ground besides Merry’s grave.
Was it a dream? I do want to breathe, Ed admitted to himself in an astonished surprise. But why? What do I have to live for?
He tried to get up but slipped, slipped once more…Scrambling on all fours away from the cemetery gate. Not a glance backwards.
As the gate slammed shut, and eerie quiet settled upon the night, silently he wondered. How I gone mad?
Ed slowly dragged his feet around the streets of London. On his way a caught appeared; followed by a shiver so cold it got inside of his bones. Suddenly he felt it; the coldest being that walked the earth was behind him. He stopped standing right at the top of the bridge, he turned. And there it was.
It was no scary bones rattling the chains, no horsemen of apocalypse. No! It was much crueller and most hurtful. His Merry right before him, her bare feet inches away from the ground. Blood on her dress from the fewer she had, just as he had seen her last.
“No.” he took a step back. Heart racing, threatening to jump out from his chest. Dark dread seized his whole body, immobilizing it.
“You live, but alive you are not.” Death spoke in a hollow voice, the sound vibrating with thousands of echoes.
“You are not my Merry.” Ed shouted at the apparition.
“No.” she replied slowly. “I am not.”
“Be gone spirit.”
“I cannot…your time is up, now with me you must go.” She stretched her hand out to him, her delicate white hand. How Ed longed to hold it again, but he must not it was no Marry.
But wasn’t that what he wanted? Looked for? Would I be together with her in death? He asked himself once again.
Death. To be free from this torments and loneliness, but then again will he finally be free or tormented for all eternity?
Fear choked him like a noose. He turned and slipped, falling into the soft cold snow. He rolled over, sinking in the snow. It crunched under his weight.
Merry was there in front of him “You have wasted a chance you been given to live. Why resist me so?”
And it was. Oh so hard for Ed not to reach out to the image of his lovely Marry. How he missed her, the grief alone was enough to kill him.
“No.” was his reply, he was shaking his head and repeating one word no. A heavy weight on his shoulders lay. A feeling holding him back. There was something he still must do. But what could that be?
“A waste of air.” The spirit said. “Once you had dreams bigger than this world.” The spirit floated away from him in the air above the frozen river. “I will be back.” It said was gone with a blink.
A little boy no more or less than 10, wearing a ragged hat, his right hand holding shut his thin brown jacket against the cold, the other stretched out gloveless and red. Ed stopped in the middle of the street looking at the beggar boy sitting on the huddled up to the doors of the bakery.
His eyes locked with Ed. The sadness burned in boys eyes. The sorrow, the hunger familiar feelings, he knew pierced as sharp as a dagger, the misery, loss and helplessness. Oh cruel world? How could I possibly pass by?
Ed put his hand in his pocket and pulled out two shillings, it was all he had left. The death said his hour had struck, he won’t be needing them no more. He placed the shillings into the boy’s cold, numb hand and folded it. The boy nodded in thanks. He tried to open his closing eyelids wider looking at Ed, exiling a heavy breath.
Ed stood up and took off his coat, leaning back down he wrapped it around his small frame. Startling the child out of sleep.
“Sir.” Astonishment lit in the boys eyes.
“There is a bakery a block away, I think they are in need of a kitchen help.” Ed said.
“I know nothing of baking.” The boy said, his shoulders slumped down.
“A smart young lad could always learn.” Ed smiled.
He seemed to consider the idea and a smile spread across his freckled face. “Thank you kind sir.” The boy got up.
“Go now, tell Mrs. Ashford, Ed Morton sent you.”
The boy smiled at him hopeful as he dashed down the dark street. Ed had helped Misses Ashford at the bakery as a payment when he could not afford to pay his rent. She was a kind old lady, he was sure she would take care of the boy.
Ed opened the door to his attic apartment, it was cold, damp and dark. He did not have the money for fire wood, the only warmth there was coming from the bakery below. He had his blankets on the floor by the far wall where the neighbor’s fire place was, but it wasn’t that warm.
The rest was a pile of dirty clothes, followed by a pile of dead memories, pictures, proses and poems written centuries ago. The last he had his desk with stacks of empty paper lying on it, waiting for him to write one last poem or a story. He was saving the last candle for writing. It has been years now and nothing. He did as he always does, stared at the empty paper wishing for a miracle to happen. It never did.
A caught built up in his lungs pushing its way up. Once it began it seemed it will never stop. Ed sat down and leaned back in his chair, taking a deep breath after it was finally over. It was a struggle for air. How would his lungs have any room for air with the amount of liquid in them he could fill the whole pond. He thought.
Ed looked down at the paper before him. “Why?” He shook his head. Where has my soul gone?
His inspirations and his vast imagination were from the very deepest parts of his soul. But that had all faded away.
“You didn’t need me no more, remember?!” his own voice replied.
He jumped up and looked around the room, no one there.
“Show yourself.” He had enough spirits for one night.
A mist appeared by the window, shapeless, it was more gases than anything with some white light.
“The night Merry died, you told me I was banished, you opened doors to the misery and darkness which consumed your mind. You gave me up, you did this to yourself.”
“No, no it’s a lie!” Ed shouted, balling up his fists at his sides.
“You chose to cling to torment and that left no more room for me.”
“You lie.” He took a step back, raining an eyebrow. Have I gone mad?
“Then why are these pages still blank?”
The paper from his desk rose up and floated in the air around him. Blank, no words, none.
Ed coughed and coughed till blood was upon his hands. He looked at the crimson in the faint light, still he was not sure how he felt about death. Would he be free or domed to oblivion?
He looked at the mist; it had taken the shape of a little boy, himself when he was not more but eight. Barefoot, shirt sleeves rolled up and his father’s big hat over his eyebrows.
“I want to discover new worlds.” Said the little boy in front of him. A sentence familiar, he used to have dreams and was full of life, he could never have imagined ending up like this.
“But I never did.” The smile disappeared from his face and the room went dark.
Ed woke up feeling like he was burning alive. He groaned with pain as he turned on his other side. His eyes were misty, his throat dry, his lungs wheezing barely getting enough air to be alive. He was dying and there was nothing he could do to stop it. He lay there on the floor accepting his cruel fate.
If I die today what did I accomplish in this life time? The spirits were right, nothing…
Ed slowly sat upright and crawled to the window to look at his last day. The storm clouds lingered above the city; people below were rushing about their day. He looked away.
Pile of the scattered paper and book caught his eyes. What is it? Something important that must be, he reached over and pulled a piece of the paper from underneath a book. It was not just any piece of paper.
In black and white Merry was smiling at him, so sweet and young. That day, that time, he smiled. He remembered it well, the spring they meet. Sharp pain pierced through his heart, tears welled up in his eyes. He didn’t want to remember, memories were a torment. Pressure built up in his lungs, he coughed and coughed till his hands and the picture were soaked in red blood.
“NO.NO.NO!” Ed wiped frantically the picture with the edge of his blanket, binding it and crumpling it. It will never be as it was.
He got up, wiping sweat from his forehead he sat at his desk.
“If I die today I want to be with you.” He said looking at her picture. “But I won’t be if I remain soul less.” He added quietly.
Ed picked up the quill and laid her picture by the empty page. Fresh, black ink touched the faded paper. “Don’t think.” He told himself.
He closed his eyes took a breath. The agony, despair, it had no words, they held on to Ed with thorn of darkness. Clawing at his mind, ripping away at everything that once was. Creating a cold whisper, vibrating through every cell of his body “give up”. It was a dark, terrifying emptiness that drained the life out of him, leaving the mind hollow and dreadfully painful. Death of the living, as Ed called it.
His hand began to move. It wrote a single word that said Breathe. For the next few hours in-between coughing up blood, he did nothing, wrote nothing, felt nothing. But he never left his desk like he used to.
I want you back
Where ever you have gone?
Come back to me
Come back one last time
Let’s go to places never seen before
Create never-ending stories
With happy ending and sad beginnings
Where there are no limits
No lingering sorrows
Where darkness can be defeated
And death is not feared
If that place does not exist,
I can create it
Let’s take one last adventure before the time
Of sands that are so few for me…
He did write something but then it was hours of nothing. Ed did not leave his desk, coughing and aching he was not yet ready to go.
Spirit how you can betray me so
It has been my mind
My worst enemy all along
The destroyer of my soul
Ruins of a wasted life
Torment in agony
My poor soul departed this world
Oh so long ago
Such shame to live in a shell of what there used to be
But is no more
Grief the bitterest choked my heart
Void the deepest settled into my mind
Pain the ever not so bearable I felt
Fear used me
Darkness imprisoned me
By design of a key
I made on my own will
Weakness the one of a fool
Blood spilt to decay what’s felt
Of a sad
Sad broken men…
Why were the fates so cruel?
To take thy away from me
A beautiful angel
So full of life
Extinguished by the winter
Her beauty forever
Take me away with you
Fate was much crueller than that
Our life died within cold December snow…
That night Ed Morton did not stop writing, he wrote countless poems, most of his pain, he put everything he felt and went thought and hopes and dreams all on paper as much as he could. He wrote stories of worlds much alike but different in many ways.
When he ran out of ink he used his blood, when he ran out of light, he used the moon light to see. He wrote three long stories of worlds that never were but in his own mind. He never read what he wrote, when he put the last blood drop on his last story his breath finally ran out.
That night off all nights Ed Morton dreamed as he never before, he lived more than ever before. And with that single night he will live forever on.
Quietly, everything was so quiet, not even the rustle of a tiny mouse. Ed blinked the snow filled his room, but it was very unusual snow. It went upwards, to the great big sky above, his roof was missing. No it was just gone. How could it be?
He stared at the sky above.
A cold hand, a fragile hand laid, gently on his shoulder.
“I waited so long.” A soft voice familiar and dear spoke. He froze, could not believe.
“Is it you this time?” he asked, afraid to turn and look.
“Yes.” Her voice full of warmth and love. He turned, heart filling so full of love and joy seeing her besides him, her beautiful face lit up in a smiled. Merry’s skin pale and cold as the snow, her lips blood-red and her golden hair falling around her in curls of brightest light.
“Let’s go, you have so much wonders to see in this big universe.” She took a hold of his hand and waited.
“But my soul…” he bitterly replied, siting still as a rock.
“Silly.” She giggled. “This is you, your soul.” She smiled and pulled him by his arm up, he willingly followed. Looking back he saw himself sitting at his desk; quill still in his hands, papers full of words lay everywhere, as well as blood.
“Thy body is dead, only thing that lives after the death is thy soul.” Lightly her cold lips touched his cheek.
Ed looked at Merry “Then death, it isn’t the end.” He smiled “Transition into another life.”
She smiled back at him.
“What are we waiting let’s go see the stars and worlds far away.” He smiled and took
her hand. Together they walked into eternity.
A life wasted in agonizing torment, but it wasn’t all for nothing Ed found his soul back. The soul of a poet, it has never-ending life. It will always rise above darkest pains, and even in times of hopelessness it will inspire from it rather than get consumed by ugliness, and in the end it will find its way no matter how many hardships.
The very next morning his lifeless body and his last work was discovered by the next door neighbor Mrs. Sally. And he was never forgotten; his work lived one and became the hope in misery of others. With his very last breath Ed Morton said it is never too late to be alive.