George: “Now, to find respite for my soul. I have a heavy task ahead, and my brother will no doubt make it as heavy as he dares.”
George: “Your best mead, barmaid! I have a long journey ahead.”
Barmaid: “It is best you order that, kind sir, what with that madman on loose.”
George: “Mad man, you say? What madman?”
Barmaid: “Well, I really don’t know what I’m saying, sir, I’m only a humble barmaid, but a day or more ago a young man was arrested for adultery with the woodcutter’s wife, there yonder. He’s said to be a rather unruly man, and a useless drunk. He was arrested by officer Kevin Mayburn and placed in jail.”
George: “Arrested, you say? What rotten luck! Poor fellow!”
Barmaid: “Indeed, kind sir. Now, you seek mead—shall I add to that order?”
George: “Only mead, barmaid.”
Act 1; Scene 4
Stranger: “I have walked for days and I have had no luck as of yet. What hole could this man be buried in?”
A wanderer crosses his path…
Stranger: “Fellow traveller!”
Wanderer: “Pardon, stranger? How may I assist you?”
Stranger: “Perchance, there is a town nearby?”
Wanderer: “There is a simple town a mere day’s travel from here. How long have you been lost in this desert, dear friend?”
Stranger: “It feels as though I have been walking in this wasteland since birth.”
Wanderer: “Ho! Is life not a wasteland in itself, friend? But, pray, tell me for what cause you find yourself in this place?”
Stranger: “I am in pursuit of a villain.”
Wanderer: “A villain! Nay, can’t be so!”
Stranger: “It is so, friend! He has abandoned his widowed mother and left her with nought to sustain herself.”
Wanderer: “Villain, he is! How could a son do such a thing to his tender mother? The woman who brought him into this world; yet bore him upon her knees! Villain!”
Stranger: “You see I have cause to pursue such a man.”
Wanderer: “Cause you have, my dear friend. Would that I could help you, but I myself am in pursuit of a villain of my own.”
Stranger: “Pray tell.”
Wanderer: “Nay. I shan’t; I have sworn an oath.”
Stranger: “A man’s word is his bond. You are an honourable man, friend.”
Wanderer: “And you an apt traveller. I see you have prepared for a long sojourn in this land.”
Stranger: “Only as long as need permit, but I do seek shelter in this wasteland.”
Wanderer: “Do not we all?”
Stranger: “Indeed. Do you know of a place where a traveller may rest his weary head?”
Wanderer: “You are heading towards the small town Merin. There you will find an inn. In such an inn ask for Lady Magdalin, she will attend to thee.”
Stranger: “Great thanks, friend! I will do as you say!”
Wanderer: “Good luck and may the winds of fate guide you to your destination!”
Below I have attached a segment of my book “The Stranger” which originally was meant to be a screenplay, but well, it turned into a full book. You can find the book chapter for chapter on my Patreon page. I may even put them on my Ko-fi page (find the link on the right). Anyways, here’s the screen play…
A stranger is walking through the rain when he comes across an inn…
Meanwhile inside the inn-keeper is plagued by a certain circumstance….
*The Stranger knocks.*
Inn-keeper: “And what seekest thou at such an hour as this?”
Stranger: “My dear lady, I seek only refuge, meat and drink with which to sustain myself.”
Inn-keeper: “And what art thou willing to give for such a service as this?”
Stranger: “Whatsoever seemeth fair to thee, my lady.”
Inn-keeper ponders on her current predicament and an idea occurs to her…
Inn-keeper: “ ‘Whatsoever’ sayest thou? What I will require is a lofty price, art thou sure thou canst pay it?”
Stranger: “My Lady, name it only.”
Inn-keeper: “Promise me that what corresponds between yourself and I shall never see daylight?”
Stranger: “My Lady, pray ask! It is cold and I wish for this transaction to take place.”
Inn-keeper: “Sir, hold your peace and come in. We must talk in secret.”
Stranger: “I begin to doubt the honour or integrity of your request, my lady.”
Inn-keeper: “Do not doubt what does not exist. Let us no longer delay. My request is simple: Kill my son.”
Stranger: “Canst thou ask such a thing so coldly of a stranger? And require no name of him?”
Inn-keeper: “Would you give it so freely? Is it fit to know the name of thy son’s murderer?”
Stranger: “If it is of your request, then perhaps so?”
Inn-keeper: “I do not wish to know. That is for you to keep. No one need know your name.”
Stranger: “My Lady, how is it you come to ask a man such as I to murder your own flesh and blood?”
Inn-keeper: “He has dishonoured our name and has dragged my family so low that I am now a lowly inn-keeper. Not even an inn-keeper’s wife. As my ass of an husband was so ashamed of our son that he drank himself into his own grave! I was a great Lady, but for my son’s own lust for drink and women we lost our home and title. Our only chance is through my son’s grave and so it shall be!”
Stranger: “Although, I am of your shared opinion, I am of the mind that murder is a most precarious and secretive task. I need assurances that if I do so, no blame will ever be cast on me.”
Inn-keeper: “This I may not be able to grant, but I will do everything in my power to insure no harm comes to you…under one condition: My name or location must never be mentioned.”
Stranger: “You know not mine, nor shall I share yours. It is only just, is it not?”
Inn-keeper: “It is. I care not how you conduct your work, only find him and complete your assignment.”
Stranger: “It will be as we agreed. Only I need some assurance that you will not betray me under the event of your capture, if such a thing occurs.”
Inn-keeper: “We will talk further in the morning. Right now you eat and drink, and I will arrange a room for your rest.”
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore— While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. “’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door— Only this and nothing more.”
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December; And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore— For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore— Nameless here for evermore.
And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating “’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door— Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;— This it is and nothing more.”
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, “Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;— Darkness there and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?” This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”— Merely this and nothing more.
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before. “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore— Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;— ’Tis the wind and nothing more!”
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore; Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door— Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door— Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, “Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore— Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!” Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door— Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as “Nevermore.”
But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered— Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before— On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.” Then the bird said “Nevermore.”
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, “Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore— Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of ‘Never—nevermore’.”
But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door; Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore— What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core; This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er, But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er, She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. “Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore; Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!” Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!— Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted— On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore— Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!” Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil! By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore— Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore— Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.” Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting— “Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!” Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted—nevermore!
We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass or rats’ feet over broken glass In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without colour, Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed With direct eyes, to death’s other kingdom Remember us – if at all – not as lost Violent souls, but only As the hollow men The stuffed men.
Eyes I dare not meet in dreams In death’s dream kingdom These do not appear: There, the eyes are Sunlight on a broken column There, is a tree swinging And voices are In the wind’s singing More distant and more solemn Than a fading star.
Let me be no nearer In death’s dream kingdom Let me also wear Such deliberate disguises Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves In a field Behaving as the wind behaves No nearer –
Not that final meeting In the twilight kingdom
This is the dead land This is cactus land Here the stone images Are raised, here they receive The supplication of a dead man’s hand Under the twinkle of a fading star.
Is it like this In death’s other kingdom Waking alone At the hour when we are Trembling with tenderness Lips that would kiss Form prayers to broken stone.
The eyes are not here There are no eyes here In this valley of dying stars In this hollow valley This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms
In this last of meeting places We grope together And avoid speech Gathered on this beach of this tumid river
Sightless, unless The eyes reappear As the perpetual star Multifoliate rose Of death’s twilight kingdom The hope only Of empty men.
Here we go round the prickly pear Prickly pear prickly pear Here we go round the prickly pear At five o’clock in the morning.
Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
Between the conception And the creation Between the emotion And the response Falls the Shadow
Life is very long
Between the desire And the spasm Between the potency And the existence Between the essence And the descent Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
For Thine is Life is For Thine is the
This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but with a whimper.
This is the poem I mentioned in yesterday’s article. One of my favourites.