A reimagined Victorian-era ghost story, based in footwork and featuring the sampled storytelling talents of Cori Samuel and Joseph Finkberg.
She sat there in the hot, heavy night, pressing her hand hard against the ebbing heart of the unseen. She did not move. She sat there... sat there as if lost in a dream, plunged in the profoundest grief that can come to the human soul. She was a woman of very few words. She did not see any alternative between screaming and silence, and instinctively she chose the silence. And there was the paralyzing atrocity of the thought which occupied her. She sat there in the hot, heavy night, pressing her hand hard against the ebbing heart of the unseen, and awaited death.
Where was death? She called his name.
With desperate hate she bites her teeth.
"Death! Come. I wish to meet you, vile foe."
But he would creep upon her. He would steal upon his prey. (Silent!) Noiselessly. An invisible, unfair, sneaking enemy with whom no man's strength could grapple.
"Give me swift cunning for a weapon this night. Grant me heart: strong to slay a foe, and mighty to save a friend!"
A mighty power thrills her body; she holds her breath to listen. Her right hand rests on a long knife in her belt. She could scratch, kick, and bite. And stab too, but for stabbing she wanted a knife. Women had been known to reach the hearts of giants with the dagger's point. (Ah, yes!) Suddenly, her strained hearing took note of a sound. She holds her breath. Where WAS Death? Not very far; nearer and nearer. She feared insanity! Her head felt to her as if it were enveloped in flames. She breathed out. She realized that she was horribly frightened.
She gave a hysterical gasp with a spasm of anger: something was creeping over the windowsill, scuttling along on all fours like an evil beast! She started forward at once. Two small green stars glared menacingly at her.
Here the young woman awaits him. As he approaches, she smiles boldly into his eyes. He is pleased with her face and her smile, but her teeth were violently clenched, and her tearless eyes were hot with rage. His lips quivered, before they came widely open.
And her heart was throbbing like that of a captured bird! She opened her lips to call to him: "Come," she whispers. She extended her arms suddenly, then threw herself back in a quiver of agony. He follows with impatient strides. Quick! Quick! Turning on heels firmly planted, she uttered a noise like the low roar of a wild beast. With a howl, he leaped! She steps away, beckoning him with a slender hand. The creature let out another roar, fierce and terrible:
"I WILL DRINK YOUR HEART'S BLOOD!"
"I will drink your heart's blood!" She smiles boldly into his eyes. She laughed outright at his words. The knife was already planted in his breast. It met no resistance on its way.
From her unerring long knife, the enemy falls heavily at her feet.
Lips parted, but nothing more than a gasp escaped them. She stood up. With half-running, triumphant steps, she carries him away into the open night. And the new days shall come!
released October 30, 2016
Readers: Cori Samuel and Joseph Finkberg, courtesy of Librivox.org
Text: Gertrude Atherton, Zitkala-Ša, Joseph Conrad, William Morris, and George Barr McCutcheon, reassembled by Jim Kuemmerle
All text and samples are in the public domain.
All composition, instruments, mixing, and mastering: Jim Kuemmerle
all rights reserved