I would not visit this dread place again, but duty drives the carriage in which I quake. Every jarring bend threatens to destroy the fragile calm I strive to portray to these grim, rebuking relatives who surround me; resenting my every breath.
I squirm in this padded discomfort, my clammy white gloves covering even paler skin.
Is it always this way with the passing of one's distant kin?
But I cannot think, the horses shoddy stride distracts me, pounding nails of sweat into my brow.
Soon, too soon, the driver slows and my stomach falls through the soles of my feet.
Gods, can we have arrives so soon?
The creaking door and the shifting of disapproval confirms my fear.
More skittish than the foaming steeds that drove me here I follow, forcing my face towards the monstrous pile before me.
How I hate this place.
Sixteen huge, blank, dead eyes stare sightlessly back at me from within blackened frames of rotting wood; shrinking me, mocking me.
Despite myself I still stumble up and over the damp, mottled teeth that lead me reluctantly through that gaping mouth, to be swallowed alive.
'Just let your will be straight and true' I pray.
'Leave them everything, they're your blood after all. I don't want your money, I just want to leave.'
But twisted corridors breed twisted minds, and none more twisted than the grimly mocking corpse that dominates this gathering.
This sorry mausoleum belongs to me.
Every sickening grain of dust, every coin, everything.
Choking, I try to flee, but it is too late.
The jealous knife gouges between my ribs, twisting fire into my heart.
Blows rain down upon my head, driving me to the ground, yet I watch my life's blood pass between my fingers with surprising calm. She moves so swiftly, my assassin; all I can see of her is the royal silk of her skirts as the stiletto pricks the last of my life from my breast, and I die.
But now I can see she who killed me; too well I know the green heart that coveted this place.
I see her daily, though her pitiless gaze passes right though me.
Oh, but I have patience.
And I will have her.
When she sleeps.
When she dreams.
I will have her.
I am a black dove to steal her soul.
Sleep well, sister.