Jessica Alexander


It is true they were slain by me. My wife and my children! They perished by my hand. Wieland! I am Wieland. Here I am. I murdered my wife and I murdered my children. Only one daughter remained.

I said, "Daughter, come to the barn with me."

She said, "Are you sick or crazy? You are sick and crazy and I'll go nowhere with you."

It was dark. All was desolate.

"Where is Mother," said she, "did you murder mother?"

"Daughter," I said, "shut thyself up; your reason is not vigorous."

It was nothing. She drew her being from me. This creature. It was nothing, really. I strove to waste my attention in furious gesticulations.

"I knew it! You mad fuck!" she said, "I knew!"

"Shut up," I cried, "Shut thyself the fuck up!" I said.

"Where is mother?" she said.

"Come," I said and she resisted. "Come, daughter," I said, "and see for thyself."

Obviously, God is the object of my supreme passion and I thank Him for his bounty. He did not ask a lesser sacrifice of me. I'd pretty much sacrifice anything. I've burnt, badly. I begged he'd take, metonymically, of me.

God said, "Call them hither, and here let them fall."

Naturally, I resolved to excite my duty.

"Vile thing!" I said, "Get thee in that barn where I shall bludgeon thee!"

"Get thee," she said, "unleavened corpse, to the Eucharist, where I shall chew thee and spit thee in the dirt."

I imagined I could not set myself forever beyond the reach of selfishness. My imaginations were false. I did not hesitate at all. "I brought thee hither to fulfill a divine command," said I. "I thank God my cowardice is now vanquished, and I pity thee. I pity thee, but shall not spare thee! Thou must die!" I cried and crying thus I seized her wrists. My hand was resolute! I did not loosen my hold about her throat.

Her eyeballs started from their sockets, grimness and distortion marred her face. "I, too, was commissioned," said she, "I was commissioned to kill thee!"

Why didst she twitch and not die? Where was her bloom? Lord help me! She had always been the most difficult child. I shall go to Bath, she said. Bath? I said. Thou shalt not go to Bath! Thou shalt go to thine room. Alas, she wouldst not go to her room, and she wouldst not die! For she was no spawn of mine. She sprung forth and flung me by my throat through one hundred gnarled and blackened tree limbs into a moon so suddenly bright and unobstructed by all those crippled forebodings that broke against my spine. O, I said, to God, who in that moment was rather close to me, she is Satan! Yes, He agreed, and back to the earth did He, O, so expeditiously ordain my body.