It has gone over my mind a million times it seems, yet I still can't believe that the Marquis de Sade is dead. I speak with our former Abbé several times daily, each time he begs for ink, parchment and quill. I am dying inside to read what the Marquis has left instilled in his mind, yet I have neither the will, nor the unmitigated pluck to go against the good doctor's advice. I am intrigued by his sudden psychoses; the yearning to enter his chambers and ask him about what the Marquis has done to him almost overwhelms me.

"Your linens, please."

Each and every time he reaches through the port to hand me his bedding, he runs his fingertips over my palm, and it feels almost as though the Marquis is touching me and not Coulmier. He is so beautiful and seemingly delicate, however, the doctor claims him to be a great danger to himself and the other patients. He was once the Abbé, like I said before. I understand not how a priest could be driven to such lunacy by the repetitive dealings of one man who, under the state of affairs was very much sane per every credible definition.

I believe that under the correct circumstances, he can be surprisingly placid. As the doctor said, he is a potential danger to himself and others, but the doctor has failed to mention why. While Coulmier still acted as Abbé, and the Marquis de Sade was still alive and spilling over with prose, an incident occurred in which a young chambermaid, Coulmier's love, was brutally murdered as a result of the Marquis' carnal urge to compose and publish.

Madeline was beautiful, and the first one that had ever tasted Coulmier's kisses no less. Not long after their affectionate encounter, Madeline was found deceased by her own mother in the linen pool. Coulmier pulled her out and cried like a child in front of Madeline's poor mother. Her mother was blind, and could only tell tragedy from his agonized caterwauling.

He is perpetually tormented by the last words she ever acknowledged him with. He had told her after their irate, fervent kiss that he loved her... as a child of God. She stormed away furiously, and in chasing after her he only found himself to be caught by another (tattling, loose-lipped) chambermaid, Charlotte. It was the next morning whilst Madeline was retrieving dry linens from the line that he confronted her with an explanation. He stumbled over his words and reached out to touch her reddening face only to be answered with a very spiteful, very forthright:

"Don't dare touch me, Abbé. God's watching."

With basket underarm, she breezed by, leaving him in the same position as the night before. His one mistake was to calm the urge to go after her again. Instead he clutched at one of the hanging sheets, peering bashfully out from behind it, the longing to kiss her again made his eyes sparkle with fresh regret.

"Madeline." He whispered.

That's one of the many things in the past that wreak hell on his conscience in the present.

"Your name, my beauty." He insists. What can I do but oblige?

"Noelle. And yours?" I shouldn't have even tried to spark conversation. I should have known that part of his complexity had to deal with involuntary rage of the narcissistic persuasion. I just had to flirt. I heard a great slam as though he cast a book down flatly on the floor, it made such a loud slap that I nearly leapt from my flesh.

As he replied, he tried to keep his composure. His voice shattered, not in the sense that he was crying, but in the sense that he was becoming inflamed and provoked. "You need not know mine. You already know my name."

I could hear a strange scratching, like fingernails on marble. I slid open the port and looked inside. Somehow, Coulmier had attained what he desired to slate his inner grievances. He began to hum a peculiar French funeral sonata.

"Where did you get those, Coulmier?"

"Madeline's kind mother gave them me. I am in eternal debt to her lovely daughter... And in order to repay I must occupy the role of the Marquis until my time here is through."

"I would love to read your works."

"Perhaps later, inspiration calls. Come to me tomorrow and conceivably you too may taste the bittersweet aspirations of the Marquis'."

I began to quiver... because the asylum was so drafty and cold. I pulled my shawl tighter around my shoulders and tried to keep my teeth from chattering. I concentrated, listening hard to see whether he had begun writing again or not.

The brevity in which I soon left the corridor was peculiar to Charlotte, who traced my every move, adamant that I was not to turn out like Madeline. She was rather late, in my humble opinion. Madeline, per recollection of poor Coulmier, was noble as she was honest and trust-worthy, passionate, kind, feeling and beautiful.

I would rather be whipped as she was then to have my independence taken from me. Coulmier promised to tell me more of his Madeline at dusk. There but for the grace of the Marquis go I.

"Noelle, you shouldn't ought to be going anywhere near his quarters. He's cursed, mind you."

"I bid you tell the Abbé, Charlotte. Go ahead. You are nearly as open- mouthed as the very trollops the Marquis wrote about. For once, damn it, leave me to my work!"

I felt terrible to speak to her so, however, she needed the truth. I couldn't decide whether to be appalled at or proud of myself when she turned her pretty little nose up at me and carried on down the halls.

"Bravo." Coulmier quipped. I glanced quickly back to see him grinning my way through the north port in his door. I winked his way and continued my work, looking forward to meeting him again...

"Coulmier- are you in here?" I asked, unlocking his iron screen and slide doors.

"Over here, sweetling." Purred he. I could almost feel his lips at my throat, his fingers gliding over my thighs. I was obviously aroused by his voice. If one were able to put their fingertips on a voice, if it were truly tangible, I could imagine his being fine velvet.

I looked into his eyes from my place in the room. Our tawdry gazes locked for what could possibly have been a fortnight at least... Could Coulmier have known what I was thinking?