Red-Gold Eyes

“The following night, after dinner, I experienced the same sensation of sleepiness, and felt almost as if I had been drugged. It was impossible for me to keep awake, so I again asked to be excused! On this occasion, after I had retired, a curious thing happened. I dreamed—or at least I suppose I dreamed—that I saw my door slowly open, and the figure of a woman carrying a candle in one hand, and with the other carefully shading the flame, glide noiselessly into my room. She was clad in a loose red gown, and a great rope of hair hung over one shoulder. Again those red-gold eyes looked into mine; again I heard that low musical laugh; and this time I felt powerless either to speak or to move. She leaned down, nearer and nearer to me; her eyes gradually assumed a fiendish and terrible expression; and with a sucking noise, which was horrible to hear, she fastened her crimson lips to the little wound in my neck. I remembered nothing more until the morning. The place on my neck, I thought, looked more inflamed, and as I looked at it, my dream came vividly back to me and I began to wonder if after all it was only a dream. I felt frightfully rotten, so rotten that I decided to return to town that day; and yet I yielded to some strange fascination, and determined, after all, to stay another night. At dinner I drank sparingly; and, making the same excuse as on the previous nights, I retired to bed at an early hour. I lay awake until midnight, waiting for I know not what; and was just thinking what a mad fool I was, when suddenly the door gently opened and again I saw Jack’s wife. Slowly she came towards me, gliding as stealthily and noiselessly as a snake. I waited until she leaned over me, until I felt her breath on my cheek, and then—then flung my arms round her. I had just time to see the mad terror in her eyes as she realised I was awake, and the next instant, like an eel, she had slipped from my grasp, and was gone. I never saw her again. I left early the next morning, and I shall never forget dear old Jack’s face when I said good-bye to him. It is only a few days since I heard of his death.”

(Unknown)

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