Wuthering Nights

She was always a ghost, even before she died. Even when I held her in my arms, flesh and bone in my tight gripped fingers, she was never really mine.

We were on the moors, always on the moors. She would run ahead of me, always outpace me somehow, her laughter falling back to me as I snatched at her.

I only caught her when nature conspired with me, tripping her up and me swiftly after to send us both tumbling to the ground. Scrubby grass and rocky earth bruising flesh and tearing cloth.

This was how she fell in my arms; with a laugh and a hurt sound and “Oh lord father will kill me.”

Dirt smudged her face and heather clung to her hair.  I knew beyond a doubt that she was the most beautiful thing I would ever see.

I kissed her.  Against my lips she was soft and warm. Cathy.  Hard, heartless, Cathy softened against me.  And though the air around me was frozen, my fierce, fiery, Cathy warmed me, filled me with her heart so hot I boiled for her.

When I finally released her (God how long had I held her?) she laughed at me.  She turned on her gold tipped heel, shook my dirt from her, and returned to him.

I could have killed her then. Sometimes I wish I had.

That satisfaction was taken from me, just like the satisfaction of her love. Everything, it seems, is taken away from me. So I learned to take it back. I took back everything and then some, even her, in a way.

Her husband thought she was gone, everyone thought she was gone. But I kept her here.

“Catherine Ernshaw,” I cursed, “may you not rest as long as I am living! You say I killed you- Haunt me then!  Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!”

And with that curse I nailed her to the earth forever, her soul knit to mine. Salvation shall not rip her from me. Nor damnation neither until I am damned.

In this earthly hell did our love find eternity.

You may think me mad but there she stands, eighteen years later, unchanged, on the moors. Her dress is the same, mossy green linen dimly shining in the moonlight, hem fluttering in the wind.

“Heathcliff” she calls me, her voice languid and low.  She’s behind the glass of the doors, the howling wind at her back. Somehow that languid voice floats to me from her perfect lips, tinged purple in the moonlight. I don’t bother with a coat.  Who knows how long she’ll stay? She never was one to wait for me.

She’s already started running by the time I’m at the door. I follow the shine off her hair, fluttering beyond me like the wings of a moth.

My shoes are soggy after mere moments of running and I can’t keep up the way I used to. But she pities me now. She waits for me, stares at me, barely moving.

I walk towards her. I’m certain I do. The ground beneath me creeps on apace, it peaks and valleys, dampens and dries beneath my feet but she stays forever, seeming still, just a few paces ahead.

How long have I been out here?

I regret abandoning my coat but it would be madness to turn back now, now that I’m finally gaining ground.

Her wind blown skirts lap at my shins and, though I’m hesitant to try and hold her, her lips are almost close enough to kiss. Her hair blows against me, lightly brushing my shivering skin.

I forget the cold when she finally moves.  She turns to face me, leaning back against an embankment, on a green slope, in the corner of the kirkyard, where the wall is so low that heath and bilberry plants have climbed over it from the moor; and peat mould almost buries it.

A movement of her legs slowly, so slowly, rises the hem of her skirt. I see the creamy skin of her ankle, the soft rising swell of her calf.  My gaze darts from her exposed flesh to her burning eyes. She never takes them off me as she raises her skirts ever higher.

My body is numb and I think I am frozen in place but when the snow white of her thighs is completely exposed she locks eyes with me saying

“Heathcliff, come. Come home to me Heathcliff.” I do. My brittle legs take a final step to her and I bury myself in her body. The numbness in me is forced out by a spreading warmth as I take her in; The feel of her, the smell of her, the sounds she makes soft against my ear. When the wind blows her hair from my face, I snatch it back. When her skin falls away from me, I force it to touch mine. And when her scent escapes me I devour her further. Her fever engulfs me as I drive our souls together.  Every inch of her shall be mine, every last scrap.

And when I have possessed her finally, I realize that I feel nothing.

I have lost myself in the abyss of her and finally died.

Little has changed for us. No damnation finds us, nor salvation neither. I still walk the moors with Cathy laughing just beyond me.

It is in this earthly hell that our love finds eternity.


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