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It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee.
~ Edgar Allen Poe
He kept her arm in a bruising grip as he dragged her out of the carriage. The salty sea wind stung her eyes and hair that had come loose in her struggles lashed across her cheeks. She continued to fight him through the castle and up the winding staircase. He flung her into the tower room with such force that she fell painfully to the stone floor.
Defiant words died on her lips when she saw the gleam in his eyes as he looked at her disheveled figure. She scrambled to her feet, fear burning in her breast as her captor backed her into the wall.
“You will be my wife at dawn. Your poet,” he spat the word, “can’t save you.”
His fingers dug into her pale neck as his mouth came down on hers. Straining away from his touch, she tasted blood when her teeth succeeded in finding his lip. With a curse, the back of his hand exploded across her face and she found herself on the floor again. She heard the door slam behind him as she cradled her injured cheek in her hands.
Night fell, but she didn’t sleep. She stood gazing out through the narrow slit of a window, watching a ray of moonlight play across the sea.
“Oh, my love, I will miss you,” she whispered, her heart breaking, before she turned to the heavens. The stars were shining brighter than she had ever seen them before as she prayed. She prayed for freedom. She prayed for death. She prayed and begged until her voice was hoarse and the first hint of light showed over the water. She bowed her head in defeat; her tormentor would be there soon. A single tear slid down her cheek - then stopped. She touched it, only to find that it was frozen to her skin. A wind so cold it stole her breath rushed through the chamber. She smiled even as her lips turned blue.
Her abductor came at dawn to find her dead on the floor. There was a sparkle of frost in her raven hair and her garments were crusted with ice despite the warm sun streaming through the window. Weeping at what he had done, he built her a sepulchre of pure white marble, there beside her beloved sea.
As dark fell the night after her passing, her lover crept to her side and lay down with her, closing his eyes and listening to the waves as he imagined her eyes laughing at him. And, if you listened very carefully, you could hear the angels singing, welcoming Annabel Lee.
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Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.
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For, I could not love thee, Dear, so much,
Loved I not honour more.
-- Richard Lovelace, quoted often by Baroness Emmuska Orczy in The Scarlet Pimpernel
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“Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow...”
"Promise me you'll always remember: You are braver then you believe, stronger then you seem, and smarter then you think."
(Christiphor Robin to Pooh)