Re-Take on Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe

February 18, 2012
I’ll never forget that morning. It haunts me everyday and it will keep on haunting me till the day I die. I only wish my death will not be as horrific as Steven Douglas’s. How I pity that family after what had happened. I suppose they had it the worst. I also supposed you would like to know what I’m talking about. Well here’s what happened....
It was 3:00 in the morning in Bowers, Delaware on November 16th, 1952. Bowers is a very small town, population- 350. It’s the kind of place that when something actually does happen, it’s nothing good. I got stuck with night duty that day, so I was sitting at my desk doing the weekly crossword puzzle and working on my fifth cup of coffee. I had a feeling that it was going to be a long night. Or should I say morning... Oh well, you get my point. There was one other officer in the station with me- Officer Brickman. He was sitting in a big, red chair down the hall nodding off to sleep.

Right as I finished writing down the word redundant into the puzzle, the phone rang. Probably the teenagers, I thought to myself considering no one else would call at this hour, but I picked it up anyways. “Officer Hobbs here, how can I help?” I was surprised to hear a man’s voice on the other end going on about some shriek his wife heard heard from a house nearby. I could hear the frantic voice of a women in the background. Must be the wife. “Would you like us to check it out, sir?” I asked. “Okay we’ll be right over. The address is 7893 Burnwood road, correct? Okay we’ll be there as soon as we can.” I put the phone back in the holder and stood up to go wake Officer Brickman. I tapped him on the shoulder a few times before he bolted up right saying, “ Ahh! What? Who? Oh it’s you, Hobbs.”

“I got a call from...” I looked down at the piece of paper I scribbled the address on. I never had a good memory for things like this. “7893 Burnwood road. I told them we would be right over.”

After a few minutes of Officer Brickman snapping himself awake and getting a quick cup of coffee, we finally left. It was cold and very dark outside. When we stepped outside the car at 7893 Burnwood road, it was four o’clock in the morning and I didn’t hear a single sound except the wind in the trees and the crackling of leaves underneath our feet. We easily identified 7893 because it was the only house that had it’s lights on. It was a nice house, medium sized, blue, 2 stories. The fireplace sure looked nice right now too, considering how cold it was. Officer Brickman knocked on the door and a man almost immediately opened it.

“Ah, thank you for coming officers,” the man said as he ushered us into the house. “My wife is especially thankful, she’s been worrying her head off since she heard the shriek.”

“Well we’re here now, ma'am,” I said, nodding to the lady in the corner of the room. “May we ask which house this came from so we can go check it out?”

“Oh, yes, of course,” the man must be pretty darned tired. “its the brown one across the street.”

Surely enough, there it was. Officer Brickman and I had bid our farewells and been greatly thanked by the woman, and we were now standing outside the house. It was a quaint, little house with grey shutters over the two windows in the front. The door was red and looked as if it had been newly painted.

“So do you wanna knock or should I?” Officer Brickman asked in a shaky voice. No doubt he was scared- it was the first assignment he’d had since he started a month ago. He was also probably very tired.

“I’ll save you the trouble,” I said with a smile and a wink. Knock knock. There was no sound in the house and looked like there was no movement to get the door either. I was about to knock again till the door suddenly opened very quickly and out came a young man. He was in his early twenties or so and had short, messy, brown hair.

“Is anything wrong officers?” The man asked. Officer Brickman’s breathing was starting to slow down now.

“We got a report that someone heard a scream coming from this house,” I informed the man.

“Ah it must have been one of my night terrors again. Usually my uncle, Steven Douglas, would’ve taken care of it but he is currently out of town. But by all means, search the house! I have nothing to hide,” the man said. I’m not sure why he was smiling (there were two police officers investigating his house) but he was most definitely grinning and looking very pleased iwth himself. “Oh and I’m Timothy Douglas, pleased to meet you two fine officers.”

“Um, yes I’m Officer Hobbs and this is Officer Brickman,” I said, as I glanced at Officer Brickman. He gave a quick nod and continued to look down. We stepped inside and immediately felt warmer. Timothy flicked on a light and then started to lead us all around the house. I noticed nothing suspicious except the bathroom, especially the bathtub, had a very odd smell. Probably just ate something bad I thought to myself.

When we had searched the entire house, even Steven Douglas’s bedroom and possessions, we had ended up back downstairs where we started.

“Well I suppose we’ll be on our way then,” I said, as I started towards the door.

“Oh no! Please stay for a while, have a cup of coffee! Rest from your fatigues.” Timothy had already pulled up three chairs.

“Well I suppose we could stay just for a while,” I told him as I walked over to one of the chairs. Officer Brickman shot me a look of pure terror. Poor, poor guy. I did feel bad for him, but what else were we going to do at the station? Staying here for a bit wouldn’t make the slighest difference. He took the chair next to me and Timothy took the one across from us. As he sat down I noticed a crooked nail in the plank below him. He might want to get that fixed. “Did ya listen to the game last night?” I asked, not to anyone in particular.

“Oh yes, that was a great pass that Jim Brown made, wasn’t it?” This subject sure got Officer Brickman talking.

For about 15 minutes we chit-chatted about the game and which teams are going to make it to the Superbowl- normal guy talk. Timothy suddenly started to get pale. Maybe it was the lack of sleep. He seemed fine otherwise. I shook it off and listened to Officer Brickman going on about his favorite play. Another 5 minutes went by when Timothy started to talk very quickly and grew even more pale. I’m pretty sure Officer Brickman could tell how pale he was now too because he stopped talking and raised an eyebrow at me and nodded towards Timothy. As if it couldn’t get any weirder, Timothy’s voice changed and went high and low- it couldn’t keep a same pitch. The wild gestures to every word he said didn’t really help. This is when he started to worry me. Was it from a lack of sleep? Maybe to much coffee. But Officer Brickman and I kept of smiling and talking. Now I’m a police officer not a psychiatrist, so don’t expect me to know what was wrong with him.

Just when it looked like he was starting to calm down, he jumped right out of his chair and paced the floors madly now talking about how the shape of a heart originated from the actual living, beating organ in your body. Strange topic, but I went along with it. Apparently this topic was very important to him because he started to swear, and yell. Even my heart was beating abnormally fast- imagine how Officer Brickman’s was! We were about to bolt out the door until Timothy swung the chair he was sitting on at the floor and dragged it across it. It made an awful screeching sound- like nails on a chalkboard. Underneath all of his yelling I leaned over and whispered to Officer Brickman, “We should stay calm and keep chatting quietly to try to calm him down a bit.” He gave a quick nod and started to ask Timothy if he does the crossword puzzles. Before he got a response, Timothy bent down and let out a scream and ripped up the floorboards with is bare hands. At this point I jumped up and went to stop him. I was surprised I could even move because I was so stunned.

“Villains! Dissemble no more! I admit the deed!” I stopped dead in my tracks. All I could do was stare. “Here!” He shrieked as he reached down into the hole the ripped up floor boards made. “It is the beating of his hideous heart!” He grabbed a bag and held it up to show us. I could see red stains in it. Oh god, I thought to myself.

“Brickman! Call in reinforcements!” I yelled. I could hear him scrambling up and running out the door to do just as I told him. I pulled out the gun I kept in my holster and pointed it at Timothy while grabbing my handcuffs. I ran over to him as quickly as I could and handcuffed him twice as fast. My breathing was very heavy and my heart was beating a mile per second. All Timothy did was sit there sobbing and screeching that he really did love the old man except for the cursed vulture eye.

I’m sitting back at my desk now. It’s another night shift. My first in a year and since the night of Timothy Douglas, or as I like to call it, The Tell- Tale Heart.





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