Edgar Allan Poe, “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Part Three

A sense of impending death pervaded the old stone mansion where I was paying an old friend of mine, Roderick Usher, a visit. I observed the weight of fear on his thoughts and heart. Now that his only sister, the lady Madeline, had passed away, we had buried her remains in a room inside the chilly palace walls—a dank, dark vault that was unsettling. I saw that we had a striking resemblance when we peered down at her face. “Yeah, we were born on the same day, and our bond has always been strong,” Usher replied.

Our emotions were filled with terror and awe, so we didn’t stay up long staring at her. Her face still had a hint of color, and a grin appeared to be on her lips. The chambers upstairs were no less dreary than the vault, so we shut the heavy iron door behind us. And my friend’s mental illness started to change at this point. He made a quick walk from room to room. There was no longer any light in his eyes, and his face appeared, if possible, whiter and more horrifying than before. His voice appeared to tremble with the utmost anxiety. Occasionally, he would spend hours staring at nothing, as though he was listening to a noise that eluded my senses.

 

I felt the full force of those emotions as I was heading to bed late on the seventh or eighth day after we had placed the lady Madeline inside the vault. The hours went by without any sleep. The anxiety pushed back against my thinking. I attempted to accept that the moody atmosphere and the black wall coverings, which shifted against the walls in the rising wind, were mostly, if not entirely, to blame for how I felt. However, my efforts were in vain. My body began to tremble uncontrollably, and an unfounded panic gripped my heart. I sat up, staring into my room’s darkness and listening to some low sounds that appeared during the quiet moments of the storm.

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