Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

That Quote from Voltaire

Genre / Subject / Emotion

Horror / Toll-free / Excited

My Galaxy’s ring is you quoting Voltaire;
I pick up my cell and see no one is there.
The number is hidden, unlisted from view.
But one minute later – a message from you!

“I’m waiting!” you’re raving, “Let’s hang out and chill!”
“You said you would meet me at Skeleton’s Hill!”
The thrill in your voice – unmistakable now –
Is catching, so next thing I’m on my way out.

My keys on the stand near your photo and purse,
I grab them, enchanted to hear you converse.
“Alicia, my darling,” I return your call.
No answer? No matter, my message says all.

“Forgive me!” I cry as I speed through the night.
“I’m sorry for all that I said in that fight!
I’m sorry I hurt you, my anger was wrong.
Don’t leave me, baby, our love is still strong!”

My cell rings again so I hear that same quote.
I answer; it’s you, dear, still thrilled but…remote.
“I can’t wait to see you!” I hear you extol.
“These calls are not free though – you must pay the toll!”

“I will!” My voice cracks as I swear to dead air.
“I’ll pay any price if my ‘Licia is spared!”
I blink through my tears as I drive to that site,
With hope against hope that we’ll soon reunite.

The moon hides her light behind stormy gray clouds,
Thus cloaking that hilltop in shadowy shrouds.
A cold wind blows branches as though they’re untamed,
On dead trees that give that old churchyard its name.

I leave the car running outside it’s black gate,
And race through the headstones – a grave to locate.“Alicia!” I call out. “Please send me a sign!”
And just then Voltaire says his favorite line.

“I should like to lie at your feet,” is its start.
Your voice ends that quote with “And die in your arms.”
I answer my cell, so excited at first,
Then, oh, god! You’re screaming, as though you are cursed!

“Oh, Allen! Please save me – I have no more time!
You need to step up and confess to your crime!”

Her tortured voice names my utter disgrace,
It’s my fault she’s paying this toll in my place!

That damned wind assaults me it blows with no lull;
It batters my brain with her screams in my skull!
I fear for the price I must pay in due time,
The toll has come due for my horrible crime.

“I did it!” I scream, on the verge of a rave.
“I killed her and hid her inside of this grave!”
Though tempest surrounds me, I hear her calm sigh,
Then…giggles? She’s laughing? I’m tricked by my bride!

A shriek! Is it me? Or the cry of the wind?
I know not its cause but I fear it’s my end.
The arms of those skeletal trees grasp my flesh,
I scream and I wail, I cower and thresh.

Tripping and falling, I crawl on the earth,
The toll has come due – my life is its worth.
“Your” headstone behind me, I gibber and beg!
I don’t even feel when you claw at my leg.

The dirt is like water, a turbulent stew,
That drags me down close to my love, whom I slew.
And there I now lay, entombed by your charms.
Like Voltaire had wished, I have died in your arms.

Copyright 2022 by Melani Weber