A Deceased Shriek (Epilogue Of "The Tell-Tale Heart")

Oh, how did it come to this? I had been careful, oh so careful - more careful than any sane man could ever be. So why will you say that I am mad? Was it because of the disease? No! It could not be! The disease had sharpened my senses, that it did. Sharpened them right up. So how then am I mad?

Why I admitted the deed, I do not know, But the roaring of the heart, it hadn’t ceased! No! It grew louder - louder- louder! If only you had listened to it, the beating of his hideous heart. Even in death, he would not leave me alone. Why - oh why - would he not leave me alone?

Now they had taken me - that they had. Taken me far away - oh so far away - farther than I had ever been. They cocooned me in their piercing grip, their burly arms bumping into my skinny ones. Policemen - they were. Dressed in a blinding blue, they marched me onwards. A madman would have been panicking by now, but not me. For I am no madman, I am so clever, so calm, so patient, so sane.

We had approached a building - an oh so plain - building. What it contained, I do not know. But in we went, all the way in. Neither I nor my escorts uttered a word - it was better that way. They must not know of the plan I was forming. Now you fancy me mad. A madman would have never thought of something so cunning. Only a sane man could; only I could.

They dragged me through the milky hallways, their fingers digging into my arms. Still, I said nothing - not a single word. Pushed me into the cell now before us, they did. Turned the key and locked me in. Now trapped was I.

Was I worried? No! With my sagacity, I knew I would escape - nothing would prevent me. But I had to wait. Patiently - oh so patiently - in that dark cell, I waited. Twilight was when I would make my escape. No madman would be so patient. But me? I am no madman. I am so clever, so calm, so patient, so sane.

All night I did not shutter my eyes and so by degrees - very gradually- twilight arrived. This was my time! To work I went, drilling the door with my makeshift nail. Those foolish policemen had not even bothered to pat me down. No madman would have thought to keep a weapon on him. So why would you think me mad?

I worked hard but ere long, I felt myself getting pale and a faint ringing began in my ears. Frozen, my hands now were. It could not be! - yet there was no mistaking it. Almighty God! - no, no! Agony enveloped me - it shook me. It was here - it was here! What could I do? Why would it not leave me alone? I had been so careful, so cunning. The lengths I had gone to - turned in my very self so I would never have to hear it again. But it was back - back for me! I could not - I must rid myself of this torment. Anything but this wretched sound!

My hand tightened around the nail - the nail! An idea, I conceived in my head. Yes, this was it! I knew - I knew what must be done! I angled the nail and with a yell that would be heard by even the dead, I drove it in.

A madman would have never thought to do this. But I am no madman. I am so clever, so calm, so patient, so sane. Now fell to the floor I did, the nail embedded in my core. And at last, it came to a halt- the shrieking of the old man’s heart.


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