By: Jared Lord

Do not pass judgment upon me. I have been accused of an atrocity I did not commit. But they will not listen to me.
They did not experience what I have experienced; they have not seen the sights I have. Sadly, they do not know what I
know. Forgive me, you do not know that of which I speak of. Well, I shall explain, though my remaining time is brief. It
is off to the gallows’ pole for me. No more dilly-dallying. I shall explain.

I was but a simple Fletcher’s assistant. I worked hard for Monsieur Damrosche for all of three years. Never did we have
any problems, or a harsh word spoken between us. But I knew, yes, I knew he was not fond of me. It was not my work
ethic that displeased him, but rather my affections towards his daughter. She was, for lack of better words, perfection.

I spent my days working for Monsieur Damrosche and my evenings thinking about his daughter. Oh, just to run my
fingers through her ebony hair, or to gaze upon her angelic features. But it was not meant to be, for I could not bring
myself to confess my affections to her. It was during these evenings that I would drown my longing in wine, hoping that
someday I may be courageous enough to speak to her. Therein lay the problem. After a year of dreaming and drinking,
I took it upon myself to visit a nearby brothel. It was there that I met another beautiful woman. She resembled
Damrosche’s daughter in many ways, but I was not afraid to speak to her. In fact, love making was not my purpose for
visiting her. She became my confidant, and a dear friend. After much time, I eventually told her of my secret affections
and she bade me to stay away from the daughter of Damrosche. She told me tales involving Damrosche, in which he
deemed no suitor good enough for his daughter. In said tales, she told me that several men tried to secretly woo his
daughter and that once they were discovered, the suitor would not be seen again.

I told my dear lady-friend that these tales were utter nonsense and that Damrosche could not be the monster she
described. Still, she forbade me from confessing my affections. I listened, and together we would drink wine and
converse during my visits. My mind would be addled each night, but each morning it would be cleared and off to work I
would go, assisting Monsieur Damrosche. One fateful morn, I arrived to work to find a note from my employer, stating
that he had other pressing matters to attend to, and he would not be arriving at the workshop. He left a detailed list of
tasks for me to complete and I took to them post haste.

By mid-day, I had all but finished my tasks, when lo and behold; the beautiful Angelina Damrosche entered the small
shop in which her father and I worked. My heart fluttered, my stomach churned. Here I was, in the presence of sheer
beauty and I could not move. She saw my nervousness, and giggled as young women oft do.

“Am I so horrifying that you cannot greet me?” she asked, a coy smile upon her lips.

“Good day to you, Miss Angelina,” I finally managed to say.

I could not get over my nervousness around her, but I was also becoming lost within her gaze. Soon, my nerves settled
slightly and I was able to converse with her. We talked of weather, the political state of our country, even of the
currently popular poets we enjoyed.

“I see the way you look at me,” she finally said. “Why do you not propose the question of courtship?”

I pondered the thought and decided, tales of Damrosche or not, I would do just that. We bid each other adieu, and I
closed the shop and went to speak with my lady-friend. I could not wait to tell her of what just transpired. Upon hearing
the news, however, she did not share in my joy as I hoped she would. Instead, she beseeched me to not ask Damrosche
to court his daughter. She told me she was concerned with my welfare and could not bear to lose me to a devil like him.
I then grabbed a half-emptied bottle of wine, downing the contents in two large gulps. I was upset with my friend for
trying to dissuade me from doing what my heart felt to be the right thing.

I began an argument with her, telling her how I felt, but it was all for naught. She would not hear me out and
subsequently demanded that I leave her chamber. I did so and took myself to a tavern to contemplate what should be
done next. I muddied my thoughts with rum and then went to my home to regain my senses and retire for the evening.
The next morning, I went to work early so that I could speak with Monsieur Damrosche about his daughter. I
approached him just as he was opening the door to the workshop. I proceeded to converse with him about the weather
and if he had taken care of his matters of the day before. When I felt it was safe enough, I proposed my question of his
daughter to him. He was quite silent for some minutes and then he gently placed his hand upon my shoulder.

“Young William, “he began, “you…will…never court Angelina.”

With each pause, his grip tightened until my shoulder screamed with pain. It was clear to me I erred in my judgment
and I told him so. He released my shoulder and demanded I leave his presence. I returned to work the following day
and every day after, not speaking a word of the incident to Damrosche and soon things seemed to return to normal.

Now on one particular night, I went to the local tavern for some spirits and after several drinks, my head was
swimming. I contemplated leaving and as I was about to do so, I saw a familiar face enter the tavern. It was Damrosche
himself, come for a game of cards with his fellow shop owners. He looked at me and I could swear I saw a sneer form
across his lips, but before I could tell, he turned to his fellows and smiled. Due to my drunken condition, I saw this as a
moment of opportunity. I left my seat and started for home. I then detoured and proceeded toward the home of
Damrosche, hoping that sweet Angelina would be there. On the way, I kept feeling as though I was being followed. Each
time I looked back for my pursuer, nothing was there. I attributed my fear to the alcohol and kept on my path. I
henceforth arrived at Angelina’s home and looked for what would most likely be her window. I knocked upon what I
felt was hers and found I was correct in my assumption. She opened the window and smiled at my presence. She then
invited me in and so I started to climb through the window when, from the corner of my eye, I thought I caught a
glimpse of someone standing in the shadows, but I blinked and the figure was gone. I thought nothing more of the
matter after entering Angelina’s chamber.

We sat in candle light and pined over each other, gazing into each other’s eyes. Several hours passed and I decided that
I must go, before her father came home. We said our goodbyes and I left her chamber. As I was walking, I again felt the
presence of someone following me, but again each time I looked back, nothing was there.

Homeward I travelled, holding in my mind the time spent with Angelina. I suddenly felt that I must let my lady-friend
know about what transpired. Surely she would share my joy, was she not one of my dearest friends? I strayed from my
path and headed to the brothel in which she resided. I still felt I was being followed, but did not bother looking back. It
was just the still night causing my paranoia, nothing more. When I arrived, I was offered wine and I could not decline a
gift from my dear friend. I could not contain my joy and soon after my arrival she asked what made me so ecstatic. I
recalled to her my evening, up to the point of my arrival to her chamber. When I told her about the feeling of being
followed and seeing a figure that turned out to be my imagination, she went pale and set her wine down.

“You must leave now,” she told me after I finished my tale of the events from earlier.

I became quite upset at this. Should not a friend share in my happiness? Should she not congratulate me? When I
expressed this to her she became quite agitated.

“If you cannot see what you have done, then you are more the fool than I previously believed. You have doomed
yourself by seeking the love of one to whom love is forbidden. Now leave and do not come back.”

She turned her back to me, so I left.

I exited the brothel and noticed the sky had clouded over. No longer were the stars shining like bright jewels in the sky.
I heard a carriage behind me, so I turned my head to see who could be travelling at such a late hour. As I turned to look
behind me, the moon was uncovered briefly, illuminating the night. What I saw stopped me dead in my tracks. Standing
by the alley of the brothel appeared to be Monsieur Damrosche, with stains of crimson upon his cheek and brow.

The moonlight was gone just as quickly as it had come and I was again in almost utter darkness. I turned to run, but
tripped upon my own feet. I fell into the street, striking my head upon the rear of the carriage as it passed by me. When
I awoke, my poor head pounded as though it were a nail and a large hammer was trying to drive it through the bed in
which I lay. I tried to sit up, but my first attempt was a failure. I tried again, grasping the edge of the bed and my hand
brushed up against something. The attempt was successful, so I looked to see what my hand discovered, finding that it
was a bloody knife. Fear struck me and I gazed around at my surroundings, only to see that I was in my lady-friend’s
brothel chamber, her bloody corpse lying next to me. I dropped the knife and attempted to flee, not knowing what
happened. I opened the door and was greeted by two policemen. They grabbed me and arrested me, stating that I was a
murderer. I told them that I had not committed such an atrocious crime, but it was all in vain. They would not listen to
my words. It wasn’t until I was imprisoned that I found out not only was my lady-friend murdered, but my dear sweet
Angelina had been sent to the grave as well. The grief caused by this horrible news sent me into a rage and I screamed
that I would find their killer, if only they would release me from the cell I was occupying, but to no avail.

It is here that I must stop. The hangman has come. I have asked him for an extra moment to finish this journal entry,
but he has ref…