The Last Duchess
written by: Siva Wright
“Come inside...I have been waiting for you the whole evening. I expected you earlier. Come, no one has visited me for a long time. I don’t know why…but I am glad that you have come. What are you wondering at? Oh! The lights, I switched them off so that the candle light can spread. Don’t worry if you can’t see properly. Just follow my voice. Sure, it is a big house. It is too tough to maintain it. I do my best but, I don’t have enough time to clean the whole house. The servants of this house died long ago. I could have gotten some new servants but I don’t like to. I like to honour the memory of the old servants. So, some parts of the house will be untidy. But, don’t you worry! We are not going to those parts. Are you following me? Yes, please follow my voice very closely for otherwise you may get lost and it would be a dreadful job for me to search for you in this darkness. Do you like the smell of the candles? It may have fainted as they are old but if I am not wrong, you can still smell the lavender, can’t you? Isn’t it good as it mixes with the fresh air of the evening? I am sure you like it. Don’t lose your path…keep following my voice. You may think why have I lit so few candles. I thought this would set you in the mood. Am I right? I hope I am. So, pardon me for the darkness. We are almost there. Don’t worry. Watch your step. It’s slippery there. The water from the pipe above drips there. Yes, we are here. Let me light the candles. In a few minutes, you can see the room completely. I am sure you will like it. I have made a few changes as you’re coming so you will like it better. Ah! It’s not at all a problem. Don’t move till I light the candles otherwise you may fall on something and everything will be spoiled. Can you hear my voice clearly? Yes, that’s better. Because, I don’t want you to get lost. I will finish this soon. Don’t worry. I think you can already see a half of the room, can't you? Tell me how it is? Why are you screaming? Have you stepped on something in the darkness? Oh! It’s the walls, isn’t it? I have the same reaction from every visitor. For a moment, I thought you had stepped on something sharp. Wait, till you see the whole room. You won’t be able to suppress your cry…of surprise. You know something? My husband never liked me bringing you here. But, we don’t have to worry since he’s long gone. You look surprised! I have already told you, haven’t I? Forgive me for that. He died right here in this room 10 years back. Now, I don’t want to discuss those grisly things in this moment of happiness. Ah! At last, I am finished. I think now you can see the room very well. Where is my cry? Oh! You still don’t see me, do you? Don’t worry, I will help you. Look to your right. A little more…a little left…ah! There you are! What? Still can’t see me? I am staring at you! Why are you looking above? The Painting is on the wall, right in front of you. At last, I have my cry!”.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
Inspired by Robert Browning's dramatic monologue My Last Duchess, this one is kind of a characterless paranormal story.