Letter From Hell

Wrote this a few years back as a dramatic monologue. I performed it at The Sierra Storytelling Festival where it was modestly received. It should be performed by a woman, obviously, and has been done that way a couple of times.
I like it still.
As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods.  They kill us for their sport.
                                                                                          King Lear, III. iv. 36.

I write in advance of the arrival of your shade here below in the underworld, the nether regions, Hades. I am told you are expected shortly. I wish so much that you should receive this epistle while the spirit of life still breathes in that body I briefly called husband to mine. Yes, Orpheus, it is Eurydice, your bride of a single afternoon. Your bride, snatched from your embrace by the serpent’s sting on the day of our wedding. Your bride, Euriyice, whom you followed into hell with your song and your . . . lyre. Eurydice, the dead.

With the dead, here I arrived, having awakened from the sleep of life. After a time, you followed, to free me, to walk me once again into the light of the sun, so that like you, I should feel Helios’ warmth caress my cheek. O Orpheus, your song echoes in the vast vaults of hell still, still the shades residing here forever speak in hushed tones of Orpheus, the Divine musician, Orpheus, who braved death to free his love from Hades’ icy grip, Orpheus, whose anguished song of sorrow moved even the indifferent gods to tears.

What did you think you were doing? I was and am dead, doomed to haunt these vaults in waking sleep and then there you are with your seven-stringed-toy and your sweet song of supplication that sways the boatman to sleep and caresses the teats of the triple-headed beast Cerberus. So you charm your way here, even here, the first undead to do so, and you bring all that hope, all that certainty, Euridyce will be free, unthinkable, to live again, into the warmth, all that hope, to live again, it must be destiny, the charmer, the gods have willed it, the charmer, his immortal lyre.

What did you think you were doing? There was one condition, one condition only, don’t look back. Up we climbed, the long long walk through eternity, you leading, singing, charming, parting the way, I following, clutching hope, approaching life, climbing, upward, there, standing, the shore, you are standing there, in the light, the warmth, the hope, you, there, turning, smiling, rapt, entranced with your song, smiling, singing, turning, No! Turning. No! Stop! No!

No one has died twice but me. Eurydice, the twice dead. Eurydice, beloved of Orpheus. Orpheus, fool of the gods.

I wrap myself close in the blanket of my hatred for you. It is the only thing that warms me against the cold. The heat of my hate is my last connection to the sun; I clutch it closer even as the warmth of it ebbs away into that cool forgetfulness we dead awaken into for the remainder of our days.

Orpheus, I have seen your end. When the Thracian women tear that ringleted head off those terrified shoulders your mouth will still shape the song of your lamenting, and as your bobbing head floats downstream toward Apollo’s temple your broken lips will bleat for mercy. I want you then to listen for my voice crying out that you deserve none.

Charmer, singer of false hope, I, Eurydice, want to say, want, want to. I, Eurydice, grow colder, cold. Cold. No more sun. The halls of Hades, searching, I, Eurydice, walk, twice dead, I, I, forget . . .

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