Sorry, sorry! I've been so busy. I know this is short, and it hasn't run through my beta yet, but I just wanted to post it because I didn't want you all to think that I died. So…if you're still reading…(please?) review and let me know what you think!!

-Erik-

The pain of memories! How could such a small book cause me such tides of regret! You have not forgotten I hope, dear reader, about Christine's diary? As the candles grow shorter, shadows longer, for a moment, I do not wish to be shrouded by night.

Curse the day I first drew breath! For even with my birth I was a murderer…

The doctor, the poor ignorant doctor!

He believed himself doing well, a saint for salvaging my face from what appeared to be nothing more than a thin membrane, a rare, if not purely boring procedure. Well even the greatest of fools learn that all the worst of things are hidden by the simplest guises.

There was blood, of course. Yet even the tremendous amount of blood did little to hide the obvious. Then there were screams. Sudden, frenzied, screams. A wonderful reception into this world, wouldn't you agree? And though I did not know how to express it then, I could not bear the sheer ugliness of those screams.

So I cried.

-Madeline-

What absolute terror! All I heard were screams; panicked screeching—they were not a babe's cries. Then, amongst the pandemonium, I heard a dull, sickening thud, and there was silence. A horrified gasp—and hushed whispers. Frenzied footsteps passed my sheltered bed and I heard a whispered name.

Marie…

Marie…

Marie…

What of the aging maid had attracted such attention? She had never been one for talk, and judging by her age, she never would. A weak heart and labored breathing—no, the years had not been kind to her. Charles kept her out of pity, and repentance for the work of her youth. I did not know much of her, a superstitious one, I recalled vaguely.

I learned later that she had fallen. She had been standing near the nursemaid—feeling duty bound to watch all that transpired between the doctor and my child…

They swear that not a sound issued from her lips—only that her eyes rolled back and her body crumpled.

She never rose.

-Erik-

With my birth, I had killed. My entrance into the world secured the departure of another. How can anyone else feel the guilt that weighs my every step? I didn't always understand. Now I wish I never did.

The first two years of my existence were blissfully ignorant. The home where Madeline kept me was my world, and the mask that I wore was my face. I was dumbly led to believe that all children wore masks—that my mask was no different.

The small white garment that was dutifully tied to my face each morning—I thought nothing of. My mother was undeniably beautiful—however distant she may have been. I dreamed of becoming beautiful one day too.

Sometimes, I recall that she would fall in inexplicably good humor, and sang to me, told me stories even. One day, I asked her to tell me how children changed. How they lost their masks and became beautiful…