All the way to Boston, Madeline huddled against me, clinging to me. I felt her body shaking and was filled with love and tenderness for her. I couldn't even begin to imagine the horror of what she'd just endured, awakening inside a casket, the horror of her situation gradually dawning upon her as she realized that she was utterly alone in the dark.

"You'll never be alone again, Madeline," I assured her. "From now on I'll always be at your side."

At last we arrived at my home in Boston. Madeline had fallen into an exhausted sleep during the journey. Tenderly I gathered her into my arms, carried her into the house, and lay her on the bed. I covered her with a quilt before dropping into the bed myself and falling asleep almost immediately.

The sun's rays hit me full in the face when I awakened the following morning. I looked over at Madeline and saw that she was still fast asleep. Quickly, before she could awaken and realize that we were in bed together, I arose and dressed.

I was in the kitchen eating breakfast when Madeline stumbled into the room rubbing sleep from her eyes.

"What happened?" she asked.

"There was a fire," I told her. "The House of Usher burned down. Roderick's gone. You're safe now, my love. He can't hurt you anymore."

"Where am I?"

"You're in my home in Boston. Hopefully it will soon be your home as well." I took both her hands into my own. "I love you, Madeline Usher. Will you marry me?"

"Oh, Philip." Tears of joy filled her eyes as she came to me and I embraced her tightly.

We went to the judge right away. He listened as we repeated our vows, then pronounced us husband and wife. Madeline cried tears of joy.

"It really is going to be all right now, isn't it, Philip?" she asked me.

"Of course it's going to be all right," I assured her. "We're finally together, and away from that cursed house. You're going to be just fine, Madeline. I'll take good care of you."

Arm in arm, we returned to my home. Our home, now.

"I hope that it pleases you," I told her. "I know it's much smaller than what you're accustomed to."

"It's lovely!" she exclaimed. "I love how the windows let in the sunshine."

"You haven't had nearly enough sunshine in your life, have you?" I asked tenderly. "That's all right. I'll make it up to you."

I took her hand and led her into the bedroom, where I began to kiss and caress her. I felt her tremble beneath my touch.

"It's all right," I murmured, hugging and kissing her some more until I felt her relax. Soon she was moaning with desire.

"I want you, Philip," she begged. I felt my own desire burning inside me as, with trembling hands, I unfastened her dress and let it fall. Slowly, I removed each additional article of clothing until she stood before me naked.

"God, you're beautiful," I whispered. Quickly I removed my own clothing, and we lay on the bed and began to make love. As my sweet Madeline and I became one, I knew that the horror was finally over, that Madeline was at last free from the madness that had cursed her family for so long. My love would save her.