Source: Creating my version and borrowing some words from Clement Clarke Moore who wrote the original, "A Visit from St. Nicholas" from the 1983 version of The Random House Book of Poetry for Children. 'Twas the night before Poemas, and all through the House of Usher All the creatures were stirring, and even a tell-tale heart to flutter. The black cat was hung by the tree with care In hopes he will come back with anger to bear. The Masquerade guests were settled in their rooms While Prince Prospero had visions of “Red” gloom. Annabel Lee in her sepulchre and I in my neckerchief Will just settle in our kingdom by the sea for a chilling wind to meet our death. When out in the cemetery there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my grave to see what was the matter. Away to the mortuary door I ran. Rousing it open, hoping not to be jammed. Seeing Montresor beaming with a brick in hand Gave me the knowledge Fortunato was left in the catacombs walled up very grand. To what my clouded eye should appear, But a rather large carriage with eight corpses so dear. With a dark somber driver just so, I knew quickly it must be Edgar Allan Poe. More rapid than ravens his corpses they came. He rang the bells, yelled, and called them by name: Now, Morella! Now, Berenice! Now, Helen and Lenore! On Glendinning! On Roderick! On Madeline and M. Valdemar! To the ominous gates! To each gravestone! Let Poe be! Let Poe be! Let Poe be known! As a fog arose in the early morning dew Swarming around them entering the carriage they flew. So up to the drive the horses clopped in tow With the carriage full of books and Edgar Allan Poe. And then, as the moon beamed, I heard on the porch Each step as they climbed not even a lurch. As I pulled away from the window, I turned around Through the front door Poe came in as mysterious as a cat not making a sound. He was dressed all in black from his head to his toe. And his clothes were all dirty as if he was walled up by a foe. A ton of books he flung on his back. He looked like a literary peddler opening his sack. His eyes – how they darkened! His face, how morbid! His eyebrows were winced like he had to tell us something to forbid. His mouth was drawn almost like a frown And his mustache was black serving as his facial crown. The candle he carried cast an amber glow. The ominous light encircled his head’s features to show. His eyes began to brighten, and he nodded his head Allowing me to know I had nothing to dread. He recited a poem as he started to work And filled all the stockings with his books not wanting to linger or lurk. And placing his hand upon his heart He bid me a Dupin “adieu” and walked to the door to part. He jumped on the carriage with his corpses around As he was rapping and tapping on the door to count all eight to be found. As the horses moved the carriage away from the house’s door I heard him exclaim, “Have a Macabre Holiday” with his raven uttering, “Nevermore!”
Rising early on this crisp December morn, I participated in my usual routine before my constitution into town. Leaving, I felt an inkling to turn left instead of right. So, I went. Visited on rare occasions, I was no stranger to the shops I passed. Up to the left was a haberdashery, which I had frequented before. I felt another urge as if to go in. I moved to the corner where I could cross the street.
Entering, I simply looked around, no one to greet me. Fine silk top hats with a few in beaver felt. Fifteen minutes passed with no haberdasher. This was bad form, so I left. Something compelled me to look back at the window display. As I looked in, a man came from the back with a Gibus hat in hand. This could not be. We looked just alike. Startled, I quickly began my journey home in utter confusion.
Upon arrival, sitting down, my thoughts raced through my mind. “Who was he? I felt I could not breath.” I said aloud.
“I must not confront him until I find out who he is. I will wait in secret close to the haberdashery until closing, and follow him home. I will get his address, then inquire around town his name.” Feeling more at ease, I waited by reading the paper laid out on the table and walking around the house, until I knew it was time to leave.
I hid across the street where I could see the entrance. Promptly at five, the haberdasher came out, locked the door, and turned left with the same hat in hand I saw him with earlier. I paused before following with my coat collar turned up hiding my face. His journey was short, and he turned into a dwelling. “Was this his home? Wait…” pausing, watching. It appeared several people were entering the house, so I decided to do the same.
A crowd was in the parlor. It was odd no one greeted me at the door. Perusing the scene, the haberdasher was at the front of the room with a sobbing lady, looking as if he was bent over doing something. As I approached closer, I could see the haberdasher was placing the hat on someone lying down. Seeing the coffin, I moved closer. My doppelganger spoke to the crying lady, “I still cannot believe my brother is gone, but that Gibus hat looks so fine on him for burial. Just to think, he had just finished making it when he was killed by that intruder. My dear, I love you as much as he did. I will assume his engagement and marry you. You will have no worries. We can even live in the flat above the haberdashery.”
As I looked down at the face of the man in the coffin, and heard the haberdasher’s words, my mind went into a tornado of realization. “The haberdasher who was my doppelganger was the so-called intruder, as well as my twin brother! He killed me to be with my fiancé!” I screamed with no one to hear me as I was an apparition. I used every ounce of energy I could muster slamming the coffin shut startling everyone in the room. “Even though I am dead, the haberdasher will not be rid of me. I will make my way back down to the haberdashery and remain there forever, reminding my twin, the haberdasher, every single day I am still lingering in his life.”
The Hovering Air
Snow and fog seem so eerie on Christmas Eve; however, sitting by your grave is fitting. “I know we argued before the accident, but we were about to commit for the rest of our lives,” I said aloud. I pondered watching the icy air thicken as floating icicles sparkled in the air. “If only…” I paused. I felt a cold, lingering air hover over me and a whisp on the back of the neck like a brush of a hand. I shivered and quickly exited the cemetery. Every week visiting, I never felt like this before. I turned and said softly, “I’ll be back tomorrow.” With no one around, I felt as if I was being watched.
As I drove away, I was remembering the day you died one year ago tomorrow. We were fighting over dumb stuff with wedding planning being the mire of our disagreements. We were getting ready to go to your parents and I needed an ingredient for my pumpkin pie. I cannot believe we argued over who could run to the store. I won, but that victory proved later to be devastating to my soul. When you did not return quickly, I knew something awful happened. I felt it in my bones. After the police and ambulance came and they told me the brakes on my car gave out, I was in dismay. The car was only a year old. How could that be? I miss you so much…
I spent the rest of the evening alone in my thoughts and watching our favorite Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. As I watched the movie, I questioned myself as to whether Jude and I have, or would have had a wonderful life. The lights were down for the movie, but a desk lamp suddenly came on. It was not remote controlled or on a timer. I freaked out, “What?” I jumped, ran to my bedroom, pulled the covers over my head, and eventually fell asleep.
The next morning, the tv remained on, but the lamp was off. “Hmm, must have been a short.” I mused as I got ready to leave for the cemetery. I stopped at my mailbox. I had a forwarded letter, but the original postmark was about eleven months ago. My mechanic sent me a report about my totaled car. “No, this cannot be!” The brake lines had been cut.
The ominous fog still lingered as I arrived at Jude’s grave. Sitting down on the ground, I said, “I love you, but I am questioning why my brake lines were cut. We would be married by now if you were…” Like yesterday, the cold feeling came over my neck, but stronger this time, as I jerked around to nothing. However, I felt my scarf tighten around my neck where I could hardly breathe. No one was there! “Jude, help me!”
Gasping my last breath, a voice sinisterly whispered, “I’ll help finish the job I planned a year ago…”