The croak of my father's voice beckoned me to go into his chamber, answering my hesitant knock. He was bed-ridden with a hacking cough, and had little energy. I was surprised at his summons, and had bitterly wondered why he hadn't called on Heathcliff, his obvious favorite. I occupied a spot next to his bed and dutifully inquired after his health. I tried to put on a façade of concern, but all I felt was resentment when I saw him. He was breathing heavily, in shallow breaths and his face was twisted in an ugly grimace. He didn't turn towards me when I entered the room, instead his brow twitched in recognition of my presence, and he began to speak in distressed tones. " This disease has taken my spirit from me and has left me weak. I feel that it is time for me to reveal to you some of my secrets for you shall one day be the master of this house. Please do not interrupt my speech, for I fear that if I do not say everything now, I will never have the chance to.
I am ashamed to reveal to you that I visited my mistress often. Each time I went out to Liverpool, I would go to see her. I became accustomed to hearing strange noises in her residence, which seemed to come from the cellar. On one cursed occasion I came to see her after a few weeks' absence. I pounded on the front door and received no answer, so I let myself in.
Inside, my mistress was nowhere to be found. The house seemed completely unoccupied if not for an eerie wailing coming from the cellar that sparked my attention. I went outside and pounded on the cellar door. A sense of urgency caused me to break open the locked entrance with a well-aimed kick. The moment the hinges broke loose, my nostrils was engulfed by a putrid rotting stench so revolting that I began retching. Regardless, I entered the cellar, determined to find its source, and the source of the wailing. As I came closer to the stench, I heard strangely disturbing scraping and sucking noises. When the moonlight shone in, I saw where they were spawned.
The sound was of teeth on bone. A small boy sat huddled on the floor devouring what appeared to be an ulna. I examined the surrounding area and I was disturbed to discover a decaying human body. What remained of the flesh told me that this maggot- filled, mutilated assemblage of bones and organs was all that remained of my mistress. I frantically turned to the child. I inquired where its mother was and it pointed to itself. The poor starving thing had been forced to consume its own mother for survival.
Some tribes believe that when one human eats another he takes on her very essence. Perhaps this is why I felt so inexplicably drawn to the child. I could see and feel its mother in every movement it made and every look it gave me. I rationalized my attachment by telling myself
that this child must be my own progeny. I could not have been more deceived.
Do you recall the night when I first brought Heathcliff to Wuthering Heights? I did not have the knowledge back then, but I was without a doubt entranced by some kind of sorcery, for an overpowering sense of love inside me induced me to feel a peculiar attraction for the boy.
I did not know what that feeling was composed of. There were days when I interpreted that sentiment as sheer sympathy for the boy who had lost all those who were dear to him. However, it was not until few weeks later that I realized this odd sense of attraction was not fueled by mere sympathy for the boy, but rather by an inexplicable lust that inevitably surged throughout my body every time I laid my eyes on him.
Of course, with the given responsibility of a respectable man of society and of an authoritative patriarch of Wuthering Heights, I desired nothing more than to conceal this beastly compulsion. It made my conscience shiver in utter horror during instances when I noticed my body reacting to such an immoral appetite.
Although my conscience constantly refused to obey the lust, the latter was just too irresistible for any human being to overcome. As a result, for many days and many nights, I shamefully practiced partiality in showing my affection for you three children. I noticed Catherine was too preoccupied by enjoying her new acquaintance to really discern the subtle partiality; however, I had a sense that you knew that there was something unjust in my treating of you, Catherine, and Heathcliff.
For many nights, I was besieged by the promiscuous thoughts that consequently clouded my impeccable judgments. The worst part of it all was that the only consolation that I was able to receive from thosedreadful days was observing the uncultured boy and relishing his every little movement.
At first, I was tormented by the self-diagnosis of my being inflicted by either a profound mental illness or a highly questionable fetish of an outlandish nature. I argued with myself on whether I should discuss this disturbing issue with Mr. Kenneth or not, and I eventually reached the verdict that even a venerable house doctor as he might not have the capacity to dispassionately cure me without attempting to call a constable.
Then one night, the fiendish impulse conquered my body and soul. The former was helplessly bound under the dark impulse of an unidentifiable source. It compelled me to do something that I would regret for the rest of my life, albeit the remainder of my life was mercifully curtailed due to this sickness that has recently enveloped my entire being.
As usual, I was tossing and turning on my bed, unable to fall asleep. Then, I heard a series of creaks on the wooden floor engendered by light footsteps, which could not have belonged to Joseph, Nelly, nor you, for they were not so heavy as to belong to adults. I slightly opened the door and peered at the hallway, all this while retaining my clandestinity. When I detected who the culprit was, my heart began to beat in a curiously faster and bolder beat. It was Heathcliff.
'Heathcliff, what are you doing up so late?' I whispered to the boy who oddly did not seem so surprised to see me at such hour.
'I am thirsty. I go get water.' was the boy's blunt response as he
resumed his amble downstairs.
I was also thirsty, but not for water.
My feet slowly followed the steps previously taken by the boy to a destination of complete isolation during nighttime.
'Mr. Earnshaw, you are thirsty too?' Heathcliff noticed my accompanying him in his excursion. I gave him a nod and entered the kitchen to where the boy was engaged in drinking a cup of water for which he so yearned. The almost vulnerable state he had positioned himself in the kitchen resembled a benign gazelle just waiting to be pounced on by a nearby predator.
The two of us were perfectly still. It was as if the boy and I were the only two inhabitants of a desolate realm, devoid of any other living beings. For quite the time, we made no sound and merely stood there: he, delighting himself with the liquid sustenance and I, observing ever so fervently the minuscule motions of the boy.
At the time, I could not fathom why, but for every gulp that sounded from the boy's dainty mouth, an ember of uncontrollable ardor gradually intensified to the verge of engulfing my entire body and mind with its implacable heat. My body was slowly led to the open target by the curse that coursed throughout my whole being, whetting my appetite to touch, to feel, to devour.
Even when I encroached on his back in an arm reach distance, Heathcliff failed to perceive my presence in such proximity. However, I would soon find out that his incapacity to detect my being so near was not unknowing but quite intentional and malicious in every intent.
My possessed hand began its endeavor to grab a hold of the boy's spared, yet dignified shoulders. In the precise moment when my trembling fingers laid themselves on the intended destination, Heathcliff swiftly turned around in an inhuman speed and ferocity. No word of the English language or of any other could have explained the unworldly sight that unveiled itself in that moment.
In that split second, the delicate and youthful facial features that have mesmerized me for a period of time morphed into a strikingly misshapen form of a face. The two bright blue eyes were replaced with two gaping black holes that seemed to lead to hell itself and the soft skin of a boy was discolored into a reddish hue that altogether assembled into a truly revolting configuration.
I recoiled in utter shock, but I was unable to scream, for I was under a spell cast by the devil hiding inside the exterior of a boy. As soon as the instantaneous paralysis wore off, I quickly fled back to my room.
Since that day, I had been extremely vigilant, if not paranoid, for every movement that Heathcliff made. However, I was still incapable of dispelling the horrid lust for the boy, and then it came to me: the inexplicable lust was the doing of the devil residing within Heathcliff. Everything became so clear to me. His perpetual indifference and violent disposition were all the characteristics forged by the devil and imbedded inside the body of a child.
Hindley, my dear son, I still do not know from where this devilish essence inside Heathcliff originates, but I am deeply ashamed to finally garner the courage to shed light on all the unworldly happenings that have revolved around me to you. So, be cautious of Heathcliff every second, for neither you nor I can comprehend the limits of the demonic imp. We can only conjecture what he is fully capable of doing… As for Catherine, you have my paternal responsibilities to take care of your only sister. Do not let her commit the folly of spending the rest of her life with such a creature."
I was shocked silent, as I heard my father take in ragged breaths. He had exhausted himself in order to tell me this dreadful tale, and the devilish nature of it haunted me as I recalled moments in time when I had also been exposed to Heathcliff's true nature. I needed to warn my sister immediately of the creature. She was to stop all communication with him at once for such an influence would taint our ancestral name. I felt obvious disgust at my father's weakness and actions and swore right then to find a way in which to expose the demon child for what he truly was. My mind swirled with emotions and plots as I exited the room. It was in the foyer that I bumped into my sister.
"Catherine, I must warn you of Heathcliff, he is a dangerous creature that must be avoided. Father just informed me that- "
I was cut off by her airy laugh as she dismissed my fervent talking with the wave of her hand.
"I do not care for your antics, I am going to find Heathcliff to play".
I tried again to talk to her, but her obvious dismissal of the subject left a bitter taste in my mouth. I was her brother, yet she believed that devil's spawn over me? I vowed to change that as soon as I took over the house, for it was obvious my father would not live very long. I planned to treat Heathcliff in the most grotesque manner, of which he was most deserving. I was still deep in thought over my previous conversation when interrupted by Nelly, who with tears present in her eyes ran out of my father's room in obvious distress and exclaimed "The master, the master… he is dead".
Dark clouds loomed over Wuthering Heights as I called Nelly to summon both Catherine and Healthciff. It was time for me to assert my power over that vile Heathcliff as the true heir of the Heights.