Why He Left

From the diary of Lucy Neewer. London England.

 

June 6th, 1887

 

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the day Roland left me. True it may be that three years have past since, and I know I should take the advice of those closest to me and move on, but how can I do that? He was more than my husband. He was my lover, my best friend, and my confidant. I loved him more than anything, and he simply walked away. I do not know if I will ever be able to get over that. I miss him so much.

 

Of course, it is this very type of thought that troubles me. I must not dwell on the past so. Vivian has offered to take me out all day to distract me. She is a good friend.

 

June 7th, 1887

 

This morning, as I was readying to leave, there came a knock at the door. Normally I would leave it to Mr. Collinsworth to answer, but he was upstairs fetching my coat at the time. I was near enough, and not troubled at all by the act, that I answered.

Standing on the front porch, dressed head to toe in the finest black suit was a strikingly handsome man. On his head, he wore a tall thin top hat, and on his hands, finely tailored lamb’s skin gloves. In one hand he held a long black cane with a silver handle and in the other a small parcel. His skin was fair and his beard and mustache which matched his jet black hair in colour were expertly groomed. His eyes were as bright and beautiful and the crystal blue sky. He smiled, bowed, and introduced himself with a soft, smooth voice like velvet.

“Good morning, Ma’am.” He said. “I apologize for intruding unannounced. My name is Mr. Frost.”

“Good morning, Mr. Frost,” I replied with a nod. “How can I help you?”

The man, who I must admit was exceedingly good looking, smiled again and held out to me the parcel which he was carrying.

“I believe this belongs to you.” He said.

I took it, thanking him, before turning around at the sound of the butler returning down the stairs behind me.

“Mrs. Neewer?” He said approaching. “Is everything alright?”

I answered, explaining that I had just been handed a parcel by Mr. Frost. When Mr. Collinsworth reached the door he looked out and asked me, “Who, Ma’am?”

I turned to see that the porch was empty. Mr. Frost it seemed, had made his way back up the front walk, through the garden and back out onto the street, for he was nowhere to be seen.

“Well, he was right here.” I explained.

“Again, Ma’am, who was?” Collinsworth asked.

“The gentleman who handed me this, Mr. Frost.”

“Who is it from?”

I looked at the packaging, which consisted of simple brown paper and twine.

“There’s nothing written on it,” I said. “It doesn’t say.”

“Would you care to open it, Ma’am?” Collinsworth asked.

“No,” I replied. “I mustn’t keep Vivian waiting.”

I instructed Mr. Collinsworth to take the package back to my room and leave it on my desk. I would open it later after I had returned. He agreed before helping me on with my coat and calling for a cab.

For the rest of the day, I was content, spending my time with Vivian, who is, after all, the best kind of young woman a person like me can have as a friend. Her gaiety and kindness were all I needed to forget about the strange parcel and for that matter any other thing which has been weighing on my mind as of late. I truly am lucky to have a friend like her.

It wasn’t until this evening after I had returned home and decided to sit down and write in my diary that I remembered the parcel at all. It sits here beside me at my desk, still wrapped in the plain brown paper and twine. My curiosity grows as to what it contains, but the hour is late and I am tired. Perhaps in the morning, I shall open it and in the evening, when I write again, I shall explain what I have learned.

 

June 8th, 1887

 

This will be my last entry. This morning after breakfast, when I could no longer control the desire to know, I made my way back to my room and opened the parcel. I cannot say what it was I had expected to find, but I can say with certainty that it was not what lies inside the wrapping.

It was a small leather-bound book. One which I had instantly recognized as the journal of my estranged husband. How it had come into the hands of that Mr. Frost, and why it had made its way back to me, I did not know at the time. But I had to read what was written there. I had to see for myself if Roland had explained his reasoning for leaving me.

What I was to read I cannot dictate in plain terms. The best I can do is mark the pages in Roland’s journal and hope that anyone reading this will come to understand why I have made the decision to leave London. Though this decision has been made in haste, I can say with conviction, that it is done thoroughly and with sincere thought.

 

From the Journal of Roland Neewer. London England.

 

May 13th, 1884

 

My dear Lucy is sick. Her health has been on the decline since winter, but as of late it has gotten worse. The doctors cannot say what exactly is wrong with her. They cannot seem to find a reason for her illness. Some have said a cancer has taken hold of her, while another has said it is something medical science has yet to discover.

I do not know how to help her. I cannot sit idly by and watch her waste away as she does. If I only I knew of some way to help.

 

May 28th, 1884

 

Her illness has progressed. Lucy is getting worse. Each day I struggle to be the strong and loving husband I know she needs me to be. But I cannot be that man. I cannot be strong. I watch as she weakens. I watch as she fades away, and slips through my arms towards death. I watch because that is all I can do. I am useless. Oh, how I curse the God who lets this happen to her! Lucy has never done anything wrong with her life. She is a good woman, with a good soul! Why does she deserve this punishment!?

I will find a way to cure her if it’s the last thing I do!

 

June 3rd, 1884

 

I have met with a man who says he can help me! Oh how excited I am, how elated my heart feels right now!

I have seen every doctor, every healer, every charlatan, soothsayer, and mystic, and none of them have been able to help my dear wife.

I was searching the streets of Whitechapel, where they say one can find many mysterious and mystical things. I was passing an alleyway when a man stopped me. He was a wretched thing, dressed in rags and smelling of sewer filth. He called to me by name and told me he had what I was looking for.

Under normal circumstances I would have passed by such a sight, ignoring any claims by man such as he. But he had called me by name and acted as though he knew exactly who I was. I approached the alley, scolding the man for calling at me like he had. Explaining to him in harsh words that a man of his status should never speak to a man of mine as he did. Still, I was curious what he was offering and more curious as to how he knew who I was.

The man, using a thin bony hand to wipe the greasy hair from his face, replied, “Forgive me, Governor. I only wanted to tell you’s that I have exactly what you’re looking for.”

“And what is that?” I asked, covering my mouth and nose with a gloved hand.

“You’re looking for a way to save your wife, now aren’t you?” The man said. “Well, I just so’s happen to know someone who can do just that.”

I scowled at the small, sickly looking man. He smiled weakly, revealing brown and yellow teeth. His eyes were jaundiced and skin was beaded over with sweat.

“How do you know me, sir?” I asked. “I demand you tell me how you know my name, and how you know of my wife!” I was losing patience.

“Oh come now, my master knows everyone, sir. He’s the one who gave me your name, and sent me here to talk to you.”

“And who is your master?” I asked.

“Well, that you’ll have to find out, sir. He asks that you meet him at the Royal Opera House in two weeks time.”

“Why there, and why two weeks?” I demanded. “My wife might not have two weeks.”

“I can’t say, sir. What my master wants he gets. He told me to tell you’s, if you care about your wife, you’ll be there.”

And with that, the slimy looking man walked away into the dark recesses of the alley. I was tempted to follow him, to find out where he went, and who his master was, but I thought better of it, rationalizing that the man could have been counting on just such an action, and he and his cohorts of ruffians would attack me and take my wallet and jewelry. And on the other hand, it could be that the man was simply insane.

I decided then to return home, as I felt I had been away from Lucy for too long as it was. That’s when I noticed the note in my pocket. It hadn’t been there before and I certainly hadn’t noticed anyone placing it there. I assumed the dirty man with greasy hair had slipped into my pocket when I was speaking with him. A thought which left me feeling violated. For if he were capable of leaving things on my person without my knowledge, what was he capable of taking?

I opened the letter, and read it to myself. The following is a transcription of what I found.

 

Dear Mr. Neewer.

 

I am aware that your wife is very ill. I can assure you, that while you have tried every doctor in England, and have yet to find a cure for her ailments, I can indeed make her well. Your wife suffers from an affliction of the bone, which has caused problems in her nervous system. The pain she suffers, I regret to admit, is frighteningly painful.

However, there is hope, as I have a cure which will rid her of this pain forever. The treatment is unfortunately considered taboo, and is thus, not something I wish to discuss openly. I hope you understand that for this reason, I have sent a messenger to give you this letter.

I am willing to meet you on the 6th of June, should you decide to accept my help.

Sincerely yours,

Mr. Frost

 

This letter has allayed all my fears. Now more than anything I am hopeful that I will find a way to help Lucy!

 

June 1st, 1884

 

I cannot sleep.

My mind races as to what cures this mysterious Mr. Frost could have. Lucy’s condition worsens with every passing hour. She has become wracked with pain and falls into fits of screaming and sobbing. I myself cannot help but sob when she is like this. Her hair has begun to fall out, and there is blood in her spit when she coughs. I do not know how else I can help her.

A part of me knows, that even with this letter, there is no guarantee that whomever this Mr. Frost is, he will be able to help her. And I have tried all other avenues, even to request the help of the church. They, of course, can only offer so much. Even when they are here in the house, doing whatever they can, I resent them. For was it not God who did this to my Lucy? Was it not God who punishes her for her kindness and sweetness?

I am surely damned for the things I think and say, but I no longer care. I cannot live without my Lucy. If she is to live this life in misery, then I am to spend eternity in it as well.

 

June 6th, 1884

 

I have met with Mr. Frost. What he offers is true. He can save Lucy.

I went to the opera house, not certain that anyone would be there. I asked for Mr. Frost at the ticket counter, hoping someone could page him for me. There, I was informed a ticket had been purchased in my name and was waiting for me. The ticket was for the most expensive box in the house, which even I could not afford without sending me into debt.

I took the ticket, and found, as I had hoped and expected, Mr. Frost. He sat, dressed in the finest tuxedo, in one of two seats. The other seat beside him was empty. He had pale skin and dark hair.

As I entered the private booth, the man offered me a seat beside him and gave me a warm smile and handshake.

“Welcome, Mr. Neewer.” He said.

“Mr. Frost, I presume?” I asked, taking a seat beside the man.

“Yes, but you can call me Lucifer.”

I laughed and smiled. “I understand the treatment you’re proposing for my wife is experimental in some way, but surely it can’t be so bad that others refer to you as the devil, can it?”

Mr. Frost shook his head with a grin. “You misunderstand, Mr. Neewer.” He said, “It is not my work that has people calling me the devil. I am the devil.”

A chill ran through me, but I persisted.

“If I am to believe you, Mr. Frost, then I must ask, why are you willing to help Lucy? And further, what are you asking for in return?”

“That’s the question, isn’t it?” Mr. Frost said. “What, indeed. But before I tell you my price, I’ll answer your question, why?”

If this man were truly Satan, then he was the most charming and well-dressed devil in all of London, I thought. He spoke to me, explaining everything, all the while watching the opera.

“You have said yourself many times, Mr. Neewer,” He said. “How much you hate God. You have cursed his name a hundred times, and you’ve promised to curse Him a hundred more, have you not? And why? Because God is the one responsible for harming Lucy? Well, I agree with you. God is responsible, and He doesn’t even care. He is killing your wife, and why? Because God is selfish and cruel. I offer you a way to spit in his face and tell him that you will not let him win. You will not let God punish you anymore. That is why I am willing to help you, Mr. Neewer. I can save Lucy’s life.”

I stared at the man. Uncertain if he were mad, or honest. Either answer frightened me. What was worse, what truly began to send shivers down my spine as I sat there listening to this charming man, was that he was right. He knew that I had cursed God. A thousand times and more I had cursed God. More times than I could count, I had cursed God. But I had never told a soul of this. I had never uttered so much as a whisper to anyone of this. Yet somehow, still, this man, this devil, knew of this. “And what do you ask of me, in return?” I asked.

“Nothing more than your soul, Mr. Neewer.”

“Nothing more!” I exclaimed. “My eternal salvation! Nothing more?” Though I feigned surprise at this, I knew, somewhere deep within me that the price would my soul. For all the tales and legends of the Fallen Angel called Lucifer, the price for what he offered his followers was always a man’s soul.

Mr. Frost laughed. “Mr. Neewer, how much is that soul worth if you’re simply determined to hate God for taking your wife? Do you think there will be eternal salvation for a man who calls God a coward when he thinks no one is listening?”

This had taken me aback, for though it was a shock to me to hear this, again I knew it was true. I knew there was no place for me in Heaven when I knew how much I loathed the one person, the one being in all creation who could have made my sweet wife better but refused.

“Okay,” I said, “Let us assume that I hand over my soul to you, who claims to be the Devil, from the bible. You promise to make Lucy better? That’s it? I condemn myself to Hell after death and we can live the rest of our lives in peace? I’m sorry, Mr. Frost, but that sounds too good to be true.”

The man chuckled, keeping his eyes on the performance, which played out on the stage below us. “That’s because it is too good to be true, Mr. Neewer,” he replied. “It is not as simple as that. I will cure your wife of her illness. And she will live out a long and happy life. But as you may have guessed, Mr. Neewer, you will not be there to see any of it. You must leave your wife. Come with me and serve me as a servant of Satan.”

This had struck more than anything else. “I am to never see her again?” I asked.

The Devil laughed again, finding pleasure in both my shock and apparent pain. “I’m sorry, no. The unfortunate truth of the matter is this, Mr. Neewer; this deal which I am offering you is on the table for only this evening.”

“Unfortunately?” I exclaimed. “It is your deal, Mr. Frost, you may create whatever terms you wish. I am more certain you simply wish to see me suffer! Had I known this would be the circumstances of our meeting this evening I would have made arrangements put my affairs in better order! Said goodbye to my wife!”

“You are a very perceptive man, Mr. Neewer,” Frost said. “I do wish to see you suffer. I am, after all, the Devil of the Bible as you so eloquently stated. And I can, if I so wished, change the terms of this agreement. However, I don’t want to and therefore I won’t. You have to make the decision by the end of this show. I will leave you to think, Mr. Neewer, but from the sound of it, I believe I already know your decision.”

With that, the thin man, clad in black, stood and exited the booth. There I sat, and here I sit, left to think about the biggest decision of my life. With little time to think, I have decided to write about my experiences here, in my journal. I know what I must do and I do not fear where it will lead me. I only regret that I will not have the chance to tell my sweet Lucy how much I love her.

Should this ever fall into your hands, my love, please know that the choices I have made were made out of love. You are the world to me and nothing will ever change that. If ever a man comes calling, a man by the name of Frost, run!…  

Advertisements