The Tell Tale Heart, West's Retelling of Poe's Story.
Writter: Invader Johnny.
Summary: the title says it all, Jade's version is told, a twist at the very end, as always Jori.
Disclaimer: I don't own Victorious or the Tell Tale Heart, they are both property of Dan and Poe respectively.
Author Notes: this is my second time doing something within the realm of the world of Edgar Allan Poe, my first was years ago when I wrote a crossover of sorts between Johnny The Homicidal Maniac and The Raven.
to be honest, I'm surprised this hasn't been done before and if it has then I haven't been looking hard enough, well as most of you probably already guessed by now Edgar Allan Poe was one of my favourite writers as a kid and the Tell Tale Heart has always been my favourite of his work so I made my own Victorious version of it, originally I was going to make it into my first Carmilla fic but by the end of it all an idea hit me and a new scene was added at the very end, thus Jade became the protagonist of the story rather than Carmilla, so do enjoy and tell me what you think.
In the dim reaches of the early Nineteenth Century a macabre creative genius spoke darkly in the language of literature, of things and shapes horrid encountered in the labyrinthine ways of the soul.
Generations past and present who have read Edgar Allan Poe wondered as they closed the covers of his books whether they would ever be done with his masked and misty visitors.
The answer of course is obvious…
"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 someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door
Only this and nothing more."
"Yes, it's true...I am nervous...I am very nervous... I have been and I am because of her."
"But why do you say that I am mad? Oh no what you mistake for madness it's only the extreme sharpness of my senses."
"Yes, I, Jadelyn West, possess senses now even sharper than ever before. Now I can hear all things in heaven and earth. And I can hear many things in hell. How then am I mad? Just observe how calmly I can tell the whole story."
"Could a madwoman do that?"
"It's impossible to say how the idea first entered my brain...but once conceived it haunted me...It haunted me day and night... Motive? I had no motive. No, I loved Victoria. She had never wronged me. I felt sorry for her after she took that bullet to the head for her father."
"Poor, sick, Victoria. She could not make one move without me, her private nurse...And I had to carry her ...And feed her...and bathe her...I always had to wait on her...like a dog! You know, I didn't want her fortune from the insurance settlement. No, I think it was her eyes."
Yes, it was her evil eyes.
"Both of them were like that of a vulture's, those dark brown yet, see through your soul eyes. And whenever they fell upon me, my blood ran cold! Then I knew what I must do... I must kill her and get rid of those terrible eyes forever!"
But every night at midnight, I turned the latch of her door and opened it oh, so gently!
And then, when I had made an opening for my head, I put in a small flashlight with the narrowest of beams, so that no light shone outside of that beam, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I used that flashlight! I moved it slowly very slowly, so that I would not wake Victoria. Ha! would a madwoman have been so clever as this? I don't think so!
And then I adjusted the flashlight's beam cautiously oh, so cautiously.
I opened the beam up just so much that one single thin ray fell upon the vulture eyes. And this I did for seven long nights, but I found the eyes always closed; and so it was impossible for me to do the deed; for it was not Victoria who vexed me, but her Evil Eyes!
And then came my opportunity on the eighth night. The latch on the door quietly turned and the door creaked slightly as I opened it. I heard Her breath heavily for awhile…then stop and gasp. Startled she called out, "Who's there?"
That brought great pleasure to my face.
"She's awake, goddamn it finally! She is awake!"
"Now you may think that I drew back but no. Never!"
Never before had I felt the extent of my own powers. For one whole hour I did not move a muscle. I knew she was listening indeed, listening to the death watches in the wall as I had done night after night.
My heart was so grateful, as Victoria finally groaned at her inability to do anything and I surmised that she tried to drift back to sleep hoping to have happier dreams of days long since forgotten… But her groan wasn't a groan of pain or grief, no that was the cry of terror that came from the depths of her soul.
I know well what she felt...I know exactly what she feels, and so we waited and waited both of us in the blackness of the room and I paused as if to see if she was watching me.
There was no reason for Victoria to know that something was wrong I knew she could feel something in the room. But, I also knew that she would try to reason it away - try to reassure herself. I could hear it in my mind with her sweet voice saying, "No - no - it's nothing - nothing but the wind in the chimney nothing but a mouse running across the floor."
Wind, mouse, But I waited and waited and finally sneered in delight as I knew she was asleep once again. And then I turned on the flashlight and narrowed the beam just a little oh, so little, until one single dim ray shone out - it fell right upon her vulture eyes! They were open - like the threads of a spider - wide open, and I grew furious as I gazed upon them. I saw them with perfect distinctness – those cold dark brown eyes, penetrating into my soul that chilled the very marrow of my bones. I couldn't even see her fucking face - I could not see her perfect body - nothing, nothing but those terrible eyes for I had directed the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon those terrible spots. I did not move a muscle...I held the ray direct upon her eyes. See - I can hold it there forever.
Suddenly to my surprise I heard the sound of her softly beating heart. It was the most dreadful thing I have ever heard and I began to feel something, her fear reaching out at me. Oh, I told you what you mistake for madness is but the extreme sharpness of my senses. Yes, I could hear and feel it! - the low, dull quick sound, the sound a watch makes when covered with cotton. I knew that sound, and it beat me into a rage like a drum beating a soldier into courage!
I tried to keep quiet, tried not to move, to keep the ray of the flashlight on those evil eyes but her fears grew worse and her heart beat faster and louder, faster and louder...louder...louder...they will hear it beyond the walls - the neighbors will hear his heart beat beyond the walls! I must stop it...stop it...stop it!
Victoria screeched as she knew I was taking her life as the last bits of her soul ebbed from her body.
Her heart beat slowed…slower…fainter…fainter…almost stopped…picked up beating once more…twice…then…nothing. She is dead and her terrible eyes will trouble me no more... no more.
I heard the clock strike four and the sound was sweet music to my ears. Almost dawn and it is done. See It was so easy to put him under the three planks in the floor. No eyes not even her vulture eyes could find her now! I laughed softly at the thought. Mad? Me? Oh, no, I was clever I even pulled Victoria's chair over the spot see even the dust is sprinkled back on the floor. Yes It is done and now, I am free I am free forevermore.
My laughter filled the room with so much joy that it was overwhelming to my senses.
But then what is that other new sound besides the ticking of the clock? I listened sharply and heard the sound of Victoria's heart again…beating softly…slowly but increasing in sound and tempo.
Within our dark, shuttered, ancient house on the old cobbled and pavement street, I saw faint light and the coming dawn cast pale shadows upon the ancient staircase and the only sound was the creak of its elderly boards under my shoes as I am now the house's only living occupant. Still I heard against the morning wind that accursed beating.
Oh, I'm tired so very tired. Yes but now I'm free. I'm alone and I don't have to get up in the morning. Yes, it's nice to go up these stairs slowly, so slowly, because there's nobody waiting...nobody asking...wanting...waiting! I'll lie on my bed and I'll sleep and sleep and sleep. But look I don't need this flashlight it's day and the sun is coming and soon it will be bright and warm and...there was the sound of knocking at the door which set off a thousand different images which flashed through my already weary mind.
I paused as I heard the repeated accursed knocking and started fearing for the worse. My heart sped up and my adrenaline rushed throughout my body as a ragging river after a storm…someone was indeed, at the door!
I ran headlong down the stairs at breakneck speed and halted suddenly at the landing entry to the door. But why must I be afraid now?
Again the sound of footsteps and repeated knocking continued…I tried to reassure myself that there is nothing to be afraid of. I'll open the door. I'll open it - and let them in.
As I opened the door, I greeted my visitors putting on my most content face as I had no time for makeup or new dress.
Good morning good morning. It is a beautiful morning to be up and on your way. I don't believe I know you gentlemen and lady? The sun is in my eyes and I cannot see your face OHHH! of course of course the man who lives next door, Mr. Shapiro my neighbor, you others must be his friends and of course Victoria's sister Katrina, come in come in come in.
My visitors quietly stepped in and I gently closed the door behind them. Would they hear what I heard? Would they know what I had done? No! The fear that was building in my heart was nothing more than the fantasies of my mind playing tricks on my free but tortured soul.
Come this way, good people Sit down sit down, please I will sit in the old chair see? It is rickety and uncertain. Katrina you sit there and gentlemen take the wooden chairs they are stout oak and you are all so big. My confidence begins to grow bold as everyone followed my suggestion and took their seats.
Katrina was all proper and prim asked if I knew who everyone was and I skillfully replied.
"I do not but I know the man sitting next to you. He's my next door neighbor, Mr. Shappiro and of course I know you, Victoria's older sister."
"It is strange that you don't recognize the others, Jadelyn they're members of the Neighborhood Watch they patrol this street every night."
"Oh, of course, gentlemen of the Watch. Yes such good men who keep us safe. At night when I can't sleep I hear your boots on the cobbles and the sound of your truncheons on the pavement and your cries of 'All's Well.' How stupid of me not to know who you were you are my friends."
Katrina asked if I was alone here. And I replied, "Oh, yes yes. But, I do not mind it. I am used to being alone."
She became more inquisitive almost pressing for answers. Her arrogance bothered my poor tortured soul for she sought for answers that I alone would have.
"Were you awake last night, Jadelyn ?"
"Oh, no no I was sleeping sleeping like a baby,"
"You heard nothing?"
"No how could I hear anything?"
"Because sometimes we are awakened by loud cries"
"You know, like the cry of a cat."
"Oh, no, cats never bother me, I like cats."
Mr. Shappiro shook his head at me and said, "But I was awakened last night by a loud cry it was more of a shriek."
"That's why we're here Jade. Robert came to us and told us of what he had heard." Katrina said, the accusation in her eyes unmistakable.
Mr. Shappiro spoke with confidence. "It was a shriek and it came from close by !itseemed to come from here."
"From here? But, how could it come from here?" There was a slight quiver in my voice, but they could not tell. I am much to clever for them.
"Then you heard nothing?"
"I Well, I but wait a minute maybe it was me."
"Yes, that must be it. It was me that screamed I must have been dreaming I have terrible dreams. No one else could have screamed - who else could have screamed? Victoria isn't here. Did you think She was here? She went to the country; she's been gone for what seems like weeks and weeks. But it was only yesterday. It was me that you heard screaming. Don't you see it was me. Don't you believe me? Don't you But that's so silly how could anything have happened to him!"
I paused and laughed softly to lighten the mood. "How could ... Why are you looking at me?" Again I and laughed a little more to appear light headed. "You can search the house nothing has been disturbed everything is the same and if someone had screamed like that they must have had some reason, something was happening to them, something terrible...Of course ...of course and if it was me...If I should be guilty of something I should not be so calm."
"I'm afraid we've made a mistake, and we are very sorry to have disturbed you over nothing." One of the gentlemen said
"Miss West she is pale look at her face," replied Robert as they all turned to leave.
"Pale..? Am I pale?"
"You don't look well"
"I... don't feel as well as I did when you came."
Mr. Shappiro and the gentlemen all noticed something peculiar in that I did not rise to show them to the door.
"Why does she sit there...while we have stood?" questioned Mr Shappiro.
"Sit here? Gentlemen, why shouldn't I sit here in this old chair? I like this chair I like to sit in this chair. What are you all looking at? There is nothing wrong, nothing has been disturbed...See...the dust is still on the floor."
"Well Jadelyn, we're quite satisfied and we shall be going now."
Katrina, Mr. Shappiro and the gentlemen of the watch moved slowly, deliberately across the room. Heard only by myself were heartbeats softly but building ever so slowly…as the sound increased my voice sought to rise above it.
"So you're satisfied now. You see if I was guilty of something, I should not be so calm, I should not be here at all, should I? It is very funny, is it not?" My laugh was nervous but not telling. No I could hide the truth from them. It was only a matter of time.
Time... The fire in which we burn... and right now time was on my side. The predator that stalks us all our lives would not possess me this day.
Katrina felt there was something wrong. For I knew she felt that a gracious hostess would again see them to the door. "Wait, please wait my friends. There is something about this woman that…"
"No," I replied, "No there is nothing... It is my head, I was shaking my head because I've got kind of a headache. It's too bad you had to come today I'm sorry I can't see you to the door but there's something in my head... a ringing... a ringing. And you are staring at me, looking at me and you can hear it, too.
You can hear it and you are laughing at me shaking your heads in time with it, mocking me, hearing it louder... louder...louder and you are laughing ... laughing at my horror ...you can hear it beat..beat..beat...beat!"
I started to sob within my soul, tears ran freely down my face and I screamed out sharply. "Stop it... stop it is true , true, I admit it. Tear up the planks under this chair. It is the beating, the beating of her hideous heart!"
Tori puts the script back on the table, she was not amused.
"Well Vega, what did you think?"
"You killed me" She uttered.
"You write a story about us and the first thing you do is kill me!"
"Come on Vega, it's only a script I'm summiting for a play! Jade snapped back "No harm done"
"No...harm... done?" Tori hissed.
"So you write a script that you hope gets accepted and if it does you want me to star in it so then you can rip my heart out?!"
"Actually Edgar Allan Poe wrote it... I just made my own version of it so..."
the glare her girlfriend shot at her made Jade shut up instantly.
"She has learned a little too well from me"
"Is that what you really want to do?" She asked, the hurt in her voice unmistakable "Do you really want me dead?"
"Then explain this to me!" Tori bellowed, the wretched script in her trembling hands "Because clearly you can't write about killing your girlfriend without some thought in mind, right?!"
"Vega, the script is that... Just a script... I...Don't...want...you... dead!"
Tori scoffed "Your lying to me"
"What!" She growled "No I'm not!"
"Jade I know you... I know where you aren't being truthful with me" The tanned girl said "You always twich your left eye when you lie"
The Goth touched eye as if to make sure she twitched.
"No your not!"
"What are you going to do?" She mocked angrily "Are you going to kill me if I do leave?"
"Vega the script is not some hidden daydream of mine to cause your death!" Jade screamed out.
"Then what am I suppose to believe it means HUH?"
"It means I miss you ok?!" Jade admitted reluctantly "I miss us"
"I don't get you West" Tori said with a frown "We are practically joined at the hip!"
"That's not what I mean Vega" The Goth snapped back "Yes we see each other everyday but it's like we are connecting anymore...I...I love you Vega, you should know this by now and I hate it that we aren't so close anymore"
"What are you talking about? Tori asked confused "We are very close!"
"Not like we used to!" Jade bellowed "I swear you and I are with our own thing and... I feel like you are drifting away from me"
Jade leaned againsts the bedroom wall and slowly lowered to the point she was sitting, a look of concern in her face "I feel really sad that we're not…really there anymore." she then gave her girlfriend a deadly glare "And if you ever tell anyone I said that I will murder your face"
"Oh wow!" A look of understanding graced Tori's face "Is that why you wrote this?" She asked, pointing at the script in her hand.
"You wanted us to start fighting again?"
"You gotta admit Vega, wasn't it a lot more exciting when we were at each other's throats? It usually ended with us all over each other all the time?"
Tori sat down in front of her lover "Yeah the sex is great but Jade that's not the way to build a relationship"
"Don't you think I know that?" She hissed "I just wanted us to be like we used to for a while"
"Ok I get that but to tell you the truth, I'm more excited about where we are right now."
"You're pulling my leg Vega"
"No, I'm serious! I've never been in a relationship that's lasted this long before."
"We been together for three years Tor"
Tori grinned "And they have been the best three years of my life... We got past the beginning and still be around each other all the time, I think that's pretty amazing. And the fact that this is happening all with you, makes it ten times better, your no picnic Jade you sometimes make me question my sanity and I think you are seriously bent and..."
"Get to the fucking point Vega!"
"My point is that while you are such a ganky girl you are definitely worth the effort"
The Half-Latina intertwined her fingers with Jade's "So don't ever forget I love you"
The Thespian looked into those big bambie eyes of her girlfriend "Get over here"
Tori complied and sat next to the pale teen, without another word Jade puts her left arm around the other girl, kissing her on the temple as they got comfortable.
"What are you doing?" Tori asked teasingly.
"Shut up and let me hold you" Jade said "Look I know that I was acting a little crazy with the script and all but umm, I feel the same way."
"I just realized something, you just freaked out about our relationship."
"Like hell I did!"
"Yes you did! Admit it! You freaked out!"
"Will admiting it make you shut up?"
"Maybe" Tori sing sang.
"Okay, fine I freaked out a little."
"A little?! You freaked out big time! Okay? And I fixed it!"
"Enjoy it this time Vega because it won't happen again!"
But the tanned girl didn't hear her, if anything she was still celebrating "I am the relationship queen and you are the insecure one!"
Tori stops congratulating herself when she finally saw Jade's angry glare.
"And we won't ever talk about it again"
"That's my girl"
A little after Jade left, Tori was sitting in her room, the computer screen being the only thing illuminating her face.
a look of concentration in her eyes.
The thousand injuries of Jade I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitely, settled -but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.
Tori grinned evilly as she kept writing "Why should Jade have all the fun?"
So that's a wrap, heh you guys didn't think I was about to kill Tori for real right?
If you didn't catch it at the end Tori entered the same contest Jade is in and decided to write a parody of "The Cask of Amontillado" with Tori putting herself in the Montresorrole. Jade is Fortunado who ends up bricked in the wall.
Special thanks to Quitting Time for suggesting the ending.
Curious fact: I wrote this while listening to Five a Nights At Freddy's 3 song "It's Time To Die" kind of fitting actually.
Invader Johnny Signing Off.