Okay, here's the second entry! Enjoy!

NOTE: This entry takes place seven years after the previous entry


December 11, 1647

How long must this inner torment plague me? I have been tortured these past seven years by my deed, taunted by that God-forsaken brand on that pitiful creature's chest! Visions now dance in front of my eyes, robbing me of sleep. I feel a constant and persistent ache in my breast, almost as if I were branded like she was, though it ebbs from time to time. I have been living with the town physician, Roger Chillingworth, so he may tend to my wounds and try to ease my afflictions. At times though, an odd sensation comes over me, and I find myself hating the man, and wary of his actions. I know not why, and I mention this to no one. I can find no logical reason for it, and so I try not to let the matter bother me too much, for fear of further persecution.

I keep up with my vigils, striving to find the strength to confess, but, alas!, I cannot. Curse this mortal skin and mind for being so cowardly and weak! For being so susceptible to the manners and mind of one lady, who herself is already married to another. I must become stronger, so I may never make such a sinful error again! If having to stare the cause of my coawrdice in the face every waking day is not enough, then God help me.

I have never fully appreciated how effective our ways of dealing with criminals, or at least poor souls in a similar position to mine own, are. My crime is rotting and festering like an open wound on the very core of my soul. It saps the very warmth and strength from my bones. I confess I sometimes wish and think that death would ease my suffering, make the pain go away. I regret such thoughts, and I know that they offer no true solution.

Such have been my motivations and thoughts in my most recent prayers, and which have plagued me day and night. I have long sought for a solution, but have come back empty-handed. But just last night, it occurred to me: Why not go back to where it all began? Strange, how when the mind is most distraught, and our world seems to end, that we often find ourselves more perceptive and wise, and we seem to have an unshakable faith in our own selves?

And so I made my way to that wretched scaffold late last night. My recollection of events is somewhat vague, and what I do remember has an almost dream-like quality to it, as if I were under the sway of some foreign tonic or drug. I remember mounting the steps, a sharp pain in my chest, and the paralyzing fear of being discovered. Next, I recall a most distinct little giggle; which nearly made me jump out of my skin, mind you, it was so quiet. I remember Hester and her little Pearl, making their way home from Winthrop's deathbed. They came to stand with me, and it gave me such a feeling of peace and comfort that I haven't felt in over seven years. The child asked if I would stand with them tomorrow, and if not tomorrow when- to which I could only provide the answer of the great Judgment Day. I remember seeing her face, bathed in the cold winter moonlight, and observing the remarkable resemblance to her mother. Except for her eyes- exactly like mine own, sinner's eyes.

Pardon the interruption, but I feel I should note that Hester's position in the town has changed somewhat as of late. No longer is she "Adulterer", but now "Able". She has done much charity for the town in the form of her beautiful needlecraft. It is a blessing for all of us, though brides are not allowed to wear her work; it would not do for a virgin bride to associate herself with such sinfulness. I fear that she will never be able to escape the letter, try as she might. It has taken on a life of its own; it is as much a part of her as her eyes, head or feet. 'Tis unfortunate, these kind acts mean nothing in God's eyes; she can never truly redeem herself for what she has done, for what I assisted her in doing.

But back to last night, and the strange fever-like events that transpired. After looking at Pearl's eyes, I sensed, rather than saw, someone approach. Their aura was full of malicious intent, and it made my gut clench in fear when I felt it directed towards myself. The figure then emerged from the shadows, revealing itself to be the kind physician, Mr. Chillingworth. I know for sure I was startled and afraid for mine own safety, and that I asked Hester and her- our- daughter, who this man was. Hester remained in frightened silence, now I am having trouble deciphering whether she would not or could not speak. Pearl attempted to say, though she either spoke in gibberish or my addled brain cannot remember. Chillingworth approached the scaffold, making a pretense of concern, which made me uneasy for some reason. He informed me that I had been sleepwalking, and he lead me down the scaffold and back to our rooms.

Since then, a change has come over me. My chest and heart ache more persistently and painfully, and my own appearance ahs taken a turn for the worse. I have trouble seeing the joy of each new day, dreading instead the pain that it will inevitably bring.

-Arthur


That's it for the second entry, hope you enjoyed it! Please review!