BPAL Halloweenies 2009

I’ve fallen obscenely behind on this blog with Real Life (TM) taking up way too much of my time. However, I’m trying out the iPod Touch/iPhone WordPress app to see if the draft feature works, and typing this while in the car (no, I’m not the driver.)

I should have posted these when they were first released, but they’re still available until November 5th:

It’s August… and you know what that means at BPAL –


Well, we *are* doing a vampire update finally.

Croquembouche with almond silk and a drizzle of caramel.

Eerie billows of spun sugar, fluttering white cotton, and sheets of cream.

The Spirit of the Eve of Samhain, an aspect of Cailleach, the Divine Hag, in her Destroyer aspect.

While Brìghde rules the time between Beltane and Sahmain, Cailleach rules the Dark of the Year. On the night of Samhain, she transforms into Carlin, harbingering the death of the land and the onset of the snows. On Beltane, the Great Crone is slain by Brìghde so springtime can reinvigorate the land.

Black sage, ivy-twined rowan, thistle, snapdragon, heather, gorse, fumitory, and anise.

A return of 2006’s Ridiculous Scent! As creepy as Spooky was spooky, this is the scent of butterscotch-kissed, caramel-smothered red apples spiked with a blast of coconut rum.

Devil’s Eve, Devil’s Night, Gate Night, Trick Night, Mischief Night; whatever your name for it might be, the chaos is still the same. Contrary to popular belief, this festival of pandemonium isn’t unique to Detroit. Falling on October 30th, it is an evening of mayhem and destruction. On the gentler side, it may be celebrated by practical jokes, an egging, Ding-Dong-Ditch, or enthusiastic TP’ing of your most hated neighbor’s trees, and on the more violent side, arson and vandalism.

This is the scent of autumn night, fires in the distance, with a touch of boozy swoon, playful sugar and thuggish musk.

A joyous celebration of La Catarina, La Flaca, La Muerte… Glorious, Beautiful Death. In Mexico, death is not something to be feared or hated; She is embraced, loved, and adored. La Muerte is fêted, as the celebrant “…chases after it, mocks it, courts it, hugs it, sleeps with it; it is his favorite plaything and his most lasting love.”

This is a Mexican paean to La Huesuda: dry, crackling leaves, the incense smoke of altars honoring Death and the Dead, funeral bouquets, the candies, chocolates, foods and tobacco of the ofrenda, amaranth, sweet cactus blossom and desert cereus.

A barrel of beer, a pyramid of cakes, and three sticks of incense.

The Cave of Cruachan in Connaught, a province that was given to the Formorians after the Battle of Mag Tuired. On the first of November, a flock of malevolent copper-colored birds bursts forth from the mouth of the cave, ushering a host of restless ghosts and wicked goblins that torment the living by blighting crops, killing livestock, stealing away brides-to-be, and replacing infants with changelings.

Smoldering brimstone, bitter labdanum, clove, black musk, and copper-colored feathers.

According to William Shepard Walsh, the Gentleman’s Magazine for May of 1784 stated, “this is a constant ingredient at merrymaking on Holy Eve.” He also quotes Vallancey’s etymological speculation: “The first day of November was dedicated to the angel presiding over fruits, seeds, etc., and was therefore named La Mas Ubhal, — that is, the day of the apple fruit, — and being pronounced Lamasool, the English have corrupted the name to Lambs-wool.”

A popular holy day beverage in 18th century Ireland: roasted apples mashed into warmed milk and ale, with nutmeg, sugar, ginger, and clove.

I am the ancient apple-queen.
As once I was so am I now —
For evermore a hope unseen
Betwixt the blossom and the bough.

Ah, where’s the river’s hidden gold!
And where’s the windy grave of Troy?
Yet come I as I came of old,
From out the heart of summer’s joy.

The Roman festival for Pomona, Goddess of fruit, orchards, and gardens, was celebrated on November 1. On this day, the stores amassed during summer were opened for winter.

Azaroles, nuts, and apple blossoms with red apple pulp, mulberry, blackberry, and pomegranate juice.

Truly the scent of autumn itself — damp woods, fir needle, and black patchouli with the gentlest touches of warm pumpkin, clove, nutmeg, allspice, sweet red apple and mullein.

A companion to Bite Me. Layers well with Lick It. Hee!

Sexy and suckable: black cherry brandy.

The sticky sweet scent of candy corn! Even cornier for 2009! – cuz corny is how we roll at BPAL.

(Sorry to be a spoilsport, but please don’t suck Suck Me or bite Bite Me. Don’t lick them, drink them, or put them where your bathing suit covers.)

And the Pumpkin Patch is back! —

The ‘Patch is back, and there are five new pumpkin blends to choose from. Pick individual pumpkins from the field, or snatch up the whole shebang!

Pumpkin Patch I
Pumpkin, almond, brown musk, and honey.

Pumpkin Patch II
Pumpkin, rosewood, red sandalwood, and tea rose.

Pumpkin Patch III
Pumpkin, fir needle, pitch, rosemary, and tomato.

Pumpkin Patch IV
Pumpkin, black musk, tobacco, myrrh, and clove.

Pumpkin Patch V
Pumpkin, chocolate, coffee bean, vanilla bean, and hazelnut.

If you purchase Pumpkin Booty, you will receive an imp of Tattie Bogle: a scent created to compliment and complete the collection.

Alane upon the field she stood,
The tattie-bogle, tall an’ prood.
But certie, she wis smairt an’ braw,
A bonnie lass, tho’ made o’ straw.

Her gowden hair wis made o’ oo.
Her dentie goon when it wis new
Langsyne, hid been the guidwife’s best.
Sae trigly wis the bogle drest!

The beasts they cam’ frae a’ the airts.
(The tod ran tours frae furrin’ pairts.)
They cam’ by day, they cam’ by nicht,
To see a maist byordnar sicht.

An’ craws an sparras by the score,
A wale o’ burds, mair nor afore.
The fermer roared an’ raged aboot.
‘A’ll cast yon tattie-bogle oot!’

Pair tattie-bogle, she wis wae.
‘Eh!’ said the houlet, ‘Whits a dae?’
He flew doon frae the elder tree.
‘Noo, dry yer e’en an’ herk tae me.

‘See, lassie, tak ma guid advice.
There is nae yiss ye bein’ nice.
Can ye nae glower an’ skreich an’ a’
Tae sen’ thae cooardie burds awa’?’

The bogle grat nae mair: instead
‘A’m much obleeged tae ye,’ she said
‘Ma voice is lood – jist like the craik!’
‘Then sing,’ he said, ‘ for ony sake!’

It chilled the verra bluid tae hear
The bogle’s sang : frae far an’ near
The burds rose up, a’ frichtit sair
An’ nivver cam back ony mair.

Sae should ye pass at skreich o’ day
Alang the road frae Auchenblae,
An’ hear a strange uncanny soun,
That scares the burds for miles aroon,

A soon like pincils on a sclate,
Be on yer way an’ dinna wait.
Ye can be shair as onything
Ye’ve heard the tattie-bogle sing.

Hay, gunpowder, patchouli, autumn herbs, and sun-baked wood.

The next part of our Halloween LE update was spoilered a bit by Bite Me and Suck It. Ah, well –

A cypress-bough, and a rose-wreath sweet
A wedding-robe, and a winding-sheet,
A bridal-bed and a bier.
Thine be the kisses, maid,
And smiling Love’s alarms;
And thou, pale youth, be laid
In the grave’s cold arms.
Each in his own charms,
Death and Hymen both are here;
So up with scythe and torch,
And to the old church porch,
While all the bells ring clear:
And rosy, rosy the bed shall bloom,
And earthy, earthy heap up the tomb.

Now tremble dimples on your cheek,
Sweet be your lips to taste and speak,
For he who kisses is near:
By her the bridegod fair,
In youthful power and force;
By him the grizard bare,
Pale knight on a pale horse,
To woo him to a corpse.
Death and Hymen both are here;
So up with scythe and torch,
And to the old church porch,
While all the bells ring clear:
And rosy, rosy the bed shall bloom,
And earthy, earthy heap up the tomb.

— Songs from “Death’s Jest-Book”, Athulf’s Death Song, Thomas Lovell Beddoes

(The Vampire Maid, Hume Nisbet)
This contact seemed also to have affected her as it did me; a clear flush, like a white flame, lighted up her face, so that it glowed as if an alabaster lamp had been lit; her black eyes became softer and more humid as our glances crossed, and her scarlet lips grew moist. She was a living woman now, while before she had seemed half a corpse.

She permitted her white slender hand to remain in mine longer than most people do at an introduction, and then she slowly withdrew it, still regarding me with steadfast eyes for a second or two afterwards.

Fathomless velvety eyes these were, yet before they were shifted from mine they appeared to have absorbed all my willpower and made me her abject slave. They looked like deep dark pools of clear water, yet they filled me with fire and deprived me of strength. I sank into my chair almost as languidly as I had risen from my bed that morning.

Yet I made a good breakfast, and although she hardly tasted anything, this strange girl rose much refreshed and with a slight glow of colour on her cheeks, which improved her so greatly that she appeared younger and almost beautiful.

I had come here seeking solitude, but since I had seen Ariadne it seemed as if I had come for her only. She was not very lively; indeed, thinking back, I cannot recall any spontaneous remark of hers; she answered my questions by monosyllables and left me to lead in words; yet she was insinuating and appeared to lead my thoughts in her direction and speak to me with her eyes. I cannot describe her minutely, I only know that from the first glance and touch she gave me I was bewitched and could think of nothing else.

It was a rapid, distracting, and devouring infatuation that possessed me; all day long I followed her about like a dog, every night I dreamed of that white glowing face, those steadfast black eyes, those moist scarlet lips, and each morning I rose more languid than I had been the day before. Sometimes I dreamt that she was kissing me with those red lips, while I shivered at the contact of her silky black tresses as they covered my throat; sometimes that we were floating in the air, her arms about me and her long hair enveloping us both like an inky cloud, while I lay supine and helpless.

Poppy flowers, peat, sphagnum moss, gardenia, and white water lily.

(La Morte Amoureuse, Theophile Gautier)
I do not know whether it was an illusion or a reflection of the lamplight, but it seemed to me that the blood was again commencing to circulate under that lifeless pallor, although she remained all motionless. I laid my hand lightly on her arm; it was cold, but not colder than her hand on the day when it touched mine at the portals of the church. I resumed my position, bending my face above her, and bathing her cheeks with the warm dew of my tears. Ah, what bitter feelings of despair and helplessness, what agonies unutterable did I endure in that long watch! Vainly did I wish that I could have gathered all my life into one mass that I might give it all to her, and breathe into her chill remains the flame which devoured me. The night advanced, and feeling the moment of eternal separation approach, I could not deny myself the last sad sweet pleasure of imprinting a kiss upon the dead lips of her who had been my only love. . . . Oh, miracle! A faint breath mingled itself with my breath, and the mouth of Clarimonde responded to the passionate pressure of mine. Her eyes unclosed, and lighted up with something of their former brilliancy; she uttered a long sigh, and uncrossing her arms, passed them around my neck with a look of ineffable delight. “Ah, it is thou, Romuald!” she murmured in a voice languishingly sweet as the last vibrations of a harp. “What ailed thee, dearest? I waited so long for thee that I am dead; but we are now betrothed; I can see thee and visit thee. Adieu, Romuald, adieu! I love thee. That is all I wished to tell thee, and I give thee back the life which thy kiss for a moment recalled. We shall soon meet again.”

Her head fell back, but her arms yet encircled me, as though to retain me still. A furious whirlwind suddenly burst in the window, and entered the chamber. The last remaining leaf of the white rose for a moment palpitated at the extremity of the stalk like a butterfly’s wing, then it detached itself and flew forth through the open casement, bearing with it the soul of Clarimonde. The lamp was extinguished, and I fell insensible upon the bosom of the beautiful dead.

Pallid skin musk, white roses, and a languorous vapor of Oriental perfume.

(For the Blood is the Life, F. Marion Crawford)
He was near the village now; it was half an hour since the sun had set, and the cracked church bell sent little discordant echoes across the rocks and ravines to tell all good people that the day was done. Angelo stood still a moment where the path forked, where it led toward the village on the left, and down to the gorge on the right, where a clump of chestnut trees overhung the narrow way. He stood still a minute, lifting his battered hat from his head and gazing at the fast-fading sea westward, and his lips moved as he silently repeated the familiar evening prayer. His lips moved, but the words that followed them in his brain lost their meaning and turned into others, and ended in a name that he spoke aloud — Cristina!

With the name, the tension of his will relaxed suddenly, reality went out and the dream took him again, and bore him on swiftly and surely like a man walking in his sleep, down, down, by the steep path in the gathering darkness. And as she glided beside him, Cristina whispered strange, sweet things in his ear, which somehow, if he had been awake, he knew that he could not quite have understood; but now they were the most wonderful words he had ever heard in his life. And she kissed him also, but not upon his mouth. He felt her sharp kisses upon his white throat, and he knew that her lips were red.

So the wild dream sped on through twilight and darkness and moonrise, and all the glory of the summer’s night. But in the chilly dawn he lay as one half dead upon the mound down there, recalling and not recalling, drained of his blood, yet strangely longing to give those red lips more. Then came the fear, the awful nameless panic, the mortal horror that guards the confines of the world we see not, neither know of as we know of other things, but which we feel when its icy chill freezes our bones and stirs our hair with the touch of a ghostly hand. Once more Angelo sprang from the mound and fled up the gorge in the breaking day, but his step was less sure this time, and he panted for breath as he ran; and when he came to the bright spring of water that rises half way up the hillside, he dropped upon his knees and hands and plunged his whole face in and drank as he had never drunk before — for it was the thirst of the wounded man who has lain bleeding all night upon the battle-field.

She had him fast now, and he could not escape her, but would come to her every evening at dusk until she had drained him of his last drop of blood. It was in vain that when the day was done he tried to take another turning and to go home by a path that did not lead near the gorge. It was in vain that he made promises to himself each morning at dawn when he climbed the lonely way up from the shore to the village. It was all in vain, for when the sun sank burning into the sea, and the coolness of the evening stole out as from a hiding-place to delight the weary world, his feet turned toward the old way, and she was waiting for him in the shadow under the chestnut trees; and then all happened as before, and she fell to kissing his white throat even as she flitted lightly down the way, winding one arm about him.

Chestnut trees, juniper berries, violet leaf, labdanum, dazzling, moonlit white musk, and night-blooming summer flowers.

(Dracula’s Guest, the omitted introduction to Bram Stoker’s Dracula)
Now and again, through the black mass of drifting cloud, came a straggling ray of moonlight, which lit up the expanse, and showed me that I was at the edge of a dense mass of cypress and yew trees. As the snow had ceased to fall, I walked out from the shelter and began to investigate more closely. It appeared to me that, amongst so many old foundations as I had passed, there might be still standing a house in which, though in ruins, I could find some sort of shelter for a while. As I skirted the edge of the copse, I found that a low wall encircled it, and following this I presently found an opening. Here the cypresses formed an alley leading up to a square mass of some kind of building. Just as I caught sight of this, however, the drifting clouds obscured the moon, and I passed up the path in darkness. The wind must have grown colder, for I felt myself shiver as I walked; but there was hope of shelter, and I groped my way blindly on.

I stopped, for there was a sudden stillness. The storm had passed; and, perhaps in sympathy with nature’s silence, my heart seemed to cease to beat. But this was only momentarily; for suddenly the moonlight broke through the clouds, showing me that I was in a graveyard, and that the square object before me was a great massive tomb of marble, as white as the snow that lay on and all around it. With the moonlight there came a fierce sigh of the storm, which appeared to resume its course with a long, low howl, as of many dogs or wolves. I was awed and shocked, and felt the cold perceptibly grow upon me till it seemed to grip me by the heart. Then while the flood of moonlight still fell on the marble tomb, the storm gave further evidence of renewing, as though it was returning on its track. Impelled by some sort of fascination, I approached the sepulchre to see what it was, and why such a thing stood alone in such a place. I walked around it, and read, over the Doric door, in German:


On the top of the tomb, seemingly driven through the solid marble-for the structure was composed of a few vast blocks of stone-was a great iron spike or stake. On going to the back I saw, graven in great Russian letters:

‘The dead travel fast.’

There was something so weird and uncanny about the whole thing that it gave me a turn and made me feel quite faint. I began to wish, for the first time, that I had taken Johann’s advice. Here a thought struck me, which came under almost mysterious circumstances and with a terrible shock. This was Walpurgis Night!

Walpurgis Night, when, according to the belief of millions of people, the devil was abroad-when the graves were opened and the dead came forth and walked. When all evil things of earth and air and water held revel. This very place the driver had specially shunned. This was the depopulated village of centuries ago. This was where the suicide lay; and this was the place where I was alone-unmanned, shivering with cold in a shroud of snow with a wild storm gathering again upon me! It took all my philosophy, all the religion I had been taught, all my courage, not to collapse in a paroxysm of fright.

And now a perfect tornado burst upon me. The ground shook as though thousands of horses thundered across it; and this time the storm bore on its icy wings, not snow, but great hailstones which drove with such violence that they might have come from the thongs of Balearic slingers-hailstones that beat down leaf and branch and made the shelter of the cypresses of no more avail than though their stems were standing-corn. At the first I had rushed to the nearest tree; but I was soon fain to leave it and seek the only spot that seemed to afford refuge, the deep Doric doorway of the marble tomb. There, crouching against the massive bronze door, I gained a certain amount of protection from the beating of the hailstones, for now they only drove against me as they ricocheted from the ground and the side of the marble.

As I leaned against the door, it moved slightly and opened inwards. The shelter of even a tomb was welcome in that pitiless tempest, and I was about to enter it when there came a flash of forked-lightning that lit up the whole expanse of the heavens. In the instant, as I am a living man, I saw, as my eyes were turned into the darkness of the tomb, a beautiful woman, with rounded cheeks and red lips, seemingly sleeping on a bier. As the thunder broke overhead, I was grasped as by the hand of a giant and hurled out into the storm. The whole thing was so sudden that, before I could realise the shock, moral as well as physical, I found the hailstones beating me down. At the same time I had a strange, dominating feeling that I was not alone. I looked towards the tomb. Just then there came another blinding flash, which seemed to strike the iron stake that surmounted the tomb and to pour through to the earth, blasting and crumbling the marble, as in a burst of flame. The dead woman rose for a moment of agony, while she was lapped in the flame, and her bitter scream of pain was drowned in the thundercrash. The last thing I heard was this mingling of dreadful sound, as again I was seized in the giant-grasp and dragged away, while the hailstones beat on me, and the air around seemed reverberant with the howling of wolves. The last sight that I remembered was a vague, white, moving mass, as if all the graves around me had sent out the phantoms of their sheeted-dead, and that they were closing in on me through the white cloudiness of the driving hail.

Hailstone-pounded cypress boughs, olibanum, and an ozone blast of lightning.

(The Singular Death of Morton, Algernon Blackwood)
Then, suddenly, as they had turned to go, after much vain shouting and knocking at the door, a face appeared for an instant at a window, the shutter of which was half open. His friend saw it first, and called aloud. The face nodded in reply, and presently a young girl came round the corner of the house, apparently by a back door, and stood staring at them both from a little distance.

And from that very instant, so far as he could remember, these queer feelings had entered his heart-fear, distrust, misgiving. The thought of it now, as he lay in bed in the darkness, made his hair rise. There was something about that girl that struck cold into the soul. Yet she was a mere slip of a thing, very pretty, seductive even, with a certain serpent-like fascination about her eyes and movements; and although she only replied to their questions as to refreshment with a smile, uttering no single word, she managed to convey the impression that she was a managing little person who might make herself very disagreeable if she chose. In spite of her undeniable charm there was about her an atmosphere of something sinister. He himself did most of the questioning, but it was his older friend who had the benefit of her smile. Her eyes hardly ever left his face, and once she had slipped quite close to him and touched his arm.

The strange part of it now seemed to him that he could not remember in the least how she was dressed, or what was the colouring of her eyes and hair. It was almost as though he had felt, rather than seen, her presence.

A seductive, serpentine white scent, elusive, crystalline, and spellbinding: white amber, silver birch, immortelle, davana, pale musk, star jasmine, and ylang ylang.

(Carmilla, Sheridan LeFanu)
Sometimes after an hour of apathy, my strange and beautiful companion would take my hand and hold it with a fond pressure, renewed again and again; blushing softly, gazing in my face with languid and burning eyes, and breathing so fast that her dress rose and fell with the tumultuous respiration. It was like the ardor of a lover; it embarrassed me; it was hateful and yet over-powering; and with gloating eyes she drew me to her, and her hot lips traveled along my cheek in kisses; and she would whisper, almost in sobs, “You are mine, you shall be mine, you and I are one for ever.” Then she had thrown herself back in her chair, with her small hands over her eyes, leaving me trembling.

Languid, melancholy fire: red musk, purple orchid, frankincense, smoky vanilla, Styrian herbs, peru balsam, tonka, Zanzibar clove, and patchouli.

(the Vampyre, John Polidori)
It happened that in the midst of the dissipations attendant upon London winter, there appeared at the various parties of the leaders of the ton a nobleman more remarkable for his singularities, than his rank. He gazed upon the mirth around him, as if he could not participate therein. Apparently, the light laughter of the fair only attracted his attention, that he might by a look quell it and throw fear into those breasts where thoughtlessness reigned. Those who felt this sensation of awe, could not explain whence it arose: some attributed it to the dead grey eye, which, fixing upon the object’s face, did not seem to penetrate, and at one glance to pierce through to the inward workings of the heart; but fell upon the cheek with a leaden ray that weighed upon the skin it could not pass. His peculiarities caused him to be invited to every house; all wished to see him, and those who had been accustomed to violent excitement, and now felt the weight of ennui, were pleased at having something in their presence capable of engaging their attention. In spite of the deadly hue of his face, which never gained a wanner tint, either from the blush of modesty, or from the strong emotion of passion, though its form and outline were beautiful, many of the female hunters after notoriety attempted to win his attentions, and gain, at least, some marks of what they might term affection: Lady Mercer, who had been the mockery of every monster shewn in drawing-rooms since her marriage, threw herself in his way, and did all but put on the dress of a mountebank, to attract his notice — though in vain; — when she stood before him, though his eyes were apparently fixed upon hers, still it seemed as if they were unperceived; — even her unappalled impudence was baffled, and she left the field. But though the common adultress could not influence even the guidance of his eyes, it was not that the female sex was indifferent to him: yet such was the apparent caution with which he spoke to the virtuous wife and innocent daughter, that few knewhenever addressed himself to females. He had, however, the reputation of a winning tongue; and whether it was that it even overcame the dread of his singular character, or that they were moved by his apparent hatred of vice, he was as often among those females who form the boast of their sex from their domestic virtues, as among those who sully it by their vices.

The father of all dandy aristocrat vampires: Aqua Admirabilis with polished boot leather and blood.

(The Tomb of Sarah, F.G. Loring)
By half-past ten we were both getting very tired, and I began to think that perhaps after all we should see nothing that night. However, soon after eleven we observed a light mist rising from the ‘Sarah Tomb’. It seemed to scintillate and sparkle as it rose, and curled in a sort of pillar or spiral.

I said nothing, but I heard the Rector give a sort of gasp as he clutched my arm feverishly.

‘Great Heaven!’ he whispered, ‘it is taking shape.’

And, true enough, in a very few moments we saw standing erect by the tomb the ghastly figure of the Countess Sarah!

She looked thin and haggard still, and her face was deadly white; but the crimson lips looked like a hideous gash in the pale cheeks, and her eyes glared like red coals in the gloom of the church.

Unholy mist congealing into soft, white flesh, with black marble, remnants of liturgical incense, wolf’s fur, and black flecks of froth.

(The Room in the Tower, E.F. Benson.)
And then, with a sudden start of unexplained dismay, I saw that there were two rather conspicuous objects which I had not seen before in my dreams: one a life-sized oil painting of Mrs. Stone, the other a black-and-white sketch of Jack Stone, representing him as he had appeared to me only a week before in the last of the series of these repeated dreams, a rather secret and evil-looking man of about thirty. His picture hung between the windows, looking straight across the room to the other portrait, which hung at the side of the bed. At that I looked next, and as I looked I felt once more the horror of nightmare seize me.

It represented Mrs. Stone as I had seen her last in my dreams: old and withered and white-haired. But in spite of the evident feebleness of body, a dreadful exuberance and vitality shone through the envelope of flesh, an exuberance wholly malign, a vitality that foamed and frothed with unimaginable evil. Evil beamed from the narrow, leering eyes; it laughed in the demon-like mouth. The whole face was instinct with some secret and appalling mirth; the hands, clasped together on the knee, seemed shaking with suppressed and nameless glee. Then I saw also that it was signed in the left-hand bottom corner, and wondering who the artist could be, I looked more closely, and read the inscription, “Julia Stone by Julia Stone.”

Rotting once-white fabric, spotted with mold.

(Revelations in Black by Carl Jacobi)
I stumbled forward, my eyes quickly accustoming themselves to the half-light from the almost opaque windows.

At the end of the corridor a second door barred my passage. I thrust it open – and stood swaying there on the sill staring inward.

Beyond was a small room, barely ten feet square, with a low-raftered ceiling. And by the light of the open door I saw side by side in the center of the floor – two white wood coffins.

How long I stood there leaning weakly against the stone wall I don’t know. There was an odor drifting from out of that chamber. Heliotrope! But heliotrope defiled by the rotting smell of an ancient grave.

Then suddenly I leaped to the nearest coffin, seized its cover and ripped it open.

Would to heaven I could forget that sight that met my eyes. There the woman in black – unveiled.

That face – it was divinely beautiful, the hair black as sable, the cheeks a classic white. But the lips – ! I grew suddenly sick as I looked upon them. They were scarlet…. and sticky with human blood.

Heliotrope, grave soil, and blood.


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