Indubitably, there is nothing advenient of evil that could be deemed rational, when it is beyond the explanatory concept of mere human comprehension. The madness that I was suffering was ascribed to the scelestic presence of which I could not escape its unyielding dominion. It wielded absolute control over me, and I had since become a voluptuary energumen and vile participant to its parlous game of subterfuge. I did not know within the inexorable eveniency of my demise, if I would be rid of this dominant master who I had been its subservient accomplice, but the recourse of the destruction of the evil eye seemed the only plausible option for my escape. The risk I had taken signified the possibility of my total degringolade in the end. This was a drastic measure of a madman some will attest, but I shall acknowledge that no one would endure what I have undergone so devilishly.
I had decided to destroy the evil eye, before it was aware and thwarted me. I knew I had to deceive a being that could not be beguiled so plainly. It was a remarkable coincidence of nature that had allowed me to determine an effective manner that would distract if not destroy the evil eye. Believe me, when I forewarn you that such a ceaseless horror that I once encountered was not limited to the account of my horrendous last days on the earth. The immeasurable effects of its influence upon me were too conspicuously noticeable, but the wickedness mentioned was not nameless. Its unmistakable name you dare to ask is called the evil eye, and it is incessantly dapocaginous to its immorigerous enemies.
What you will read was the actual version of the events exponible that transpired, and the extraneous nature of its grave veracity that will cause you to shutter in utter fear. The protreptical divulgence within this lengthy confession will be found in the privacy of my secretaire, where presently I am writing. It began with a significant letter sent titled J. C. Bethell Esquire that was addressed to me. Apparently, Mr. Bethell had informed me of the untimely death of my late grandfather, who I had esteemed with the gently affection imparted. I had arrived in New Orleans in the year of 1849 precisely upon a gloomy and cold October afternoon in the immemorial city of New Orleans, at the colonial estate that encompassed the lofty ancestral home of the Betancourts.
I was a direct descendant of the viscount Antoine Betancourt, whose home I had come to visit, from the far away city of New York. The Betancourt name was French in origin, and we the Betancourts had been imbedded in New Orleans, since the colonial days when we were part of the French and Spanish Empires respectively. The extraordinary vestiges of the French culture and savoir-faire yet remained established in the local denizens, and the Betancourt name was exemplified as illustrious and reputable, despite the obvious passing of time. The stately mansion was located within the French Quarter by the embankment, where the refined Creole elite resided, and the long soily roads of the distant countryside I had seen in traversing in steamboat were replaced, by the elaborate labyrinthine streets of the vibrant city.
The carriage I took from the port had then passed the long and narrow patch of road that led to the distinguishable Betancourt Mansion. What I descried of the house was splendid in its architectural French composition of a two-story edifice that was typical of mansions in the antebellum South in the affluent parts of Atlanta and Charleston, with the exception that the French influence was exceedingly discernible in its descriptive façade and sturdy pillars. The vast garden of the estate was a reminder of its colonial legacy.
Once at the mansion, I was kindly greeted by the elderly steward Mr. Beauchamp, who promptly escorted me to my chamber upstairs. The drear structure of the mansion possessed a singular aspect of a dreaded eeriness of death I had never witnessed before. The disconcerting pall that accompanies the death of the lord of the house was undeniably manifest upon my entrance, and the morose sentiment of regard was expressed in the eyes of the servants of the viscount. The interior of the mansion was exactly a replica of the opulent mansions one envisions in the Regency period of Paris. There were commodious rooms, within the apartments adjacent that were recently refurbished. The staircase was magnificently shaped, with wooden balusters tinged in sparkling gold. There were numerous portraits hanging of the viscount in the halls. All of these luxurious items were too contradictory in its gaudy nature to the recent events of the house that included the mysterious death of the viscount.
I had perceived a strange and unique premonition of the house that unsettled me, because I was seldom a man to be spooked by such trivial anomalies. While I was unpacking my clothing, an elderly maidservant who was of mulatto origin of the name of Serafine had tapped on the door to inform me that the family attorney Mr. Bethell was in the great hall waiting, along with Mr. Beauchamp. With immediacy, I went to the main hall where they were gathered. The hall was particularly somber and indicative of the death of the viscount, but the penetrative impression that I surmised was of two men, who were very eager to discover my actual thoughts and intentions.
The lawyer seemed to reflect the genuine guise of a grumpy and fastidious man, and the steward was attentive and observant; even though I was not totally comfortable with the disturbing situation our conversation among us began, with a cordial salutation and lament of the death of the noble viscount. Afterward, the conversation shifted into speaking about the matter of the anticipated will of my beloved grandfather. I was mindful of the veritable fact that I was the sole heir in the end, ever since the unfortunate deaths of my father and my male cousins Guillaume and Emmanuel. Therefore, I was fully determined to hear the calculative words spoken of the meticulous lawyer, who was assuming his respectful duty.
It was soon revealed by Mr. Bethell that I was entitled the deed of the Betancourt Mansion and it then belonged to me, as was stipulated by the viscount. The only prerequisition was that I retained the esthetic beauty of its grandeur within its original form. Aside from that one request there was one inusitate revelation. A dire warning to not open the abandoned room closed upstairs. When I had inquired about the specific reason for that direct warning, I was only told that this was what was conveyed by the viscount. At the time I contemplated only of honoring the last wishes of my grandfather, who had granted me the house through bequeathal. His suicidal death had occupied my pensive thoughts and fascination along the trip. I knew if there was an individual who could answer my inquiry on his death it was the steward Mr. Beauchamp.
Thus, I waited after signing the will to ask him of the particular cause of the death of my grandfather. After this was effectuated and the procedure was formalized, Mr. Bethall shook my hand and departed, but not before he had congratulated me. His work had been done, and whatever matters of the estate needed to be administered, I could find him in his office at Royal Street. I was given his business card, and I thanked him for his efficient service. Mr. Beauchamp as well had departed the mansion, but before he did he stared into my eyes and offered me some sensible advice. I was not certain what exactly he was attempting to acknowledge, but I listened closely. He told me to be very judicious in my actions, and not commit the same sins that my dearest grandfather had done in his life time, because they would lead me to doom. When I queried about the meaning of his words, he merely smiled and replied that it was best to heed his candid advice. I took the time to ask about the details of the suicidal death of the viscount, and his reaction was seemingly troubling to not take notice. He answered my question by saying it was better that I did not know, and pray that the soul of my grandfather was in the providential care of his celestial maker.
I was taken aback by his caution, but then I had admired his loyal dedication to the viscount and dismissed his words as foolish babblements. It was then when I was alone in the mansion with the few servants that I decided to repose in the privacy of my chamber, since the weary trip from New York was long in duration. While I was in a rested placid state of mine, I would be awakened unexpectedly, by the uniquity of the sound of a whispering voice coming from outside the chamber. Gradually, I rose to my feet and stepped outside to the corridor to quietly investigate the origin of the surreptitious voice. When I attempted, I discovered that the voice had abated swiftly, and I was confounded of not knowing, where the voice derived, and I returned to my room.
The next morning I took breakfast in the dining hall and spoke briefly to the maidservant. I was curious to know a bit about her relation, with the viscount and her personal opinion of his character. I also took the liberty to ask about the unusual noise I heard the night before. She had revealed to me that her rapport with the viscount was excellent. As for the development of the ambiguous voice, her response was that it was probably the palpable hullabaloo of the crowd outside in the streets, or the creaking doors of the mansion with the whistling wind from the bayou. I was not convinced that what I heard was either of those possible peculiarities of the night, and thus, I disregarded for the time being, the issue of the unfamiliar voice.
After breakfast, I had prepared myself for the funeral rites that were to take place on behalf of the late viscount on that day. He was to be buried in the local cemetery in the French Quarter, where the other Betancourts of our prestigious lineage had been buried, ever since the first of our descendants arrived to the city a century ago. This had included my beloved father, who had died so young in the War of 1812 against the British. I had not seen my grandfather since my arrival, and it had been nearly two years since our last memorable encounter. Nothing had prepared me for the ghastly and discomfiting emotions I had experienced upon seeing his dead cadaver inside a wooden coffin and stone dead.
It seemed that only a few noblemen were present and although he was a likeable fellow, the viscount had countless enemies and few acquaintances, who were considered natural friends according to the servants. The ceremony was private, but it was not lengthy at all, as my grandfather had instructed. He was born a catholic but like myself, was not a strong practitioner of that faith. However, there was something that was pellucidly distinctive, and that was the fact that there were unsightly glass eyes in his sockets that reflected like luminous crystal balls.
At first, the initial eeriness had escaped my attention, but then as I bent to touch his forehead, I noticed these striking illuminative eyes. I was told by one of the servants that the viscount had lost his vision and was blind, and this was the reason for the creepy glass eyes exhibited, so that no one could see the blindness in the expression of his eyes if they were opened. This was what the viscount ordered, and I was not one to easily question his essential wishes or instructions. There was another odd attraction, and it was the singular object that was placed around his neck.
It looked like some foreign Egyptian or Middle Eastern trinket of some sort. When I observed it much closer it appeared to be the talisman of the apotropaic Hand of Fatima, which I learned was given to the viscount as a gift he obtained during a visit to southern Spain, by the Andalusian people of that area. I was aware of the manifold superstitions of Europe and their appeal on the Americas, but I was not cognizant of their reach and effects. I was not informed as well that my grandfather had belonged to a secret society or sodality, whose name was not mentioned to me. When I had insisted to know more information, the steward Mr. Beauchamp simply nodded his head affirming that he did not know much of his undisclosed activities and involvement. It was evident to me then that there was this evolving mystery of the viscount that had begun to intrigue me immensely.
When I had returned to the mansion, I was extremely puzzled by the new occurrences I was discovering of my grandfather, and since I was an inquisitive man by nature and at times a captious fellow, I had to investigate. The remainder of the day I spent at the estate inside, as I began to wander the vastidity of the house. The endless narrow corridors upstairs and downstairs were visibly opaque at night and splendidly radiate at the first light of dawn. The sounds of the tangled gardens, the flapping shutters, the plentiful river boats, the large steamers, the quadroon balls, the miscellaneous tongues of foreigners, the carousing adventurers among others that were active within, or near the circumference of the city were abundant.
The night would bring the recurrence of the familiar sound of the voice I heard the previous night before. It happened while I was in the room upstairs at around midnight sleeping, when I was awakened by a horrible sequence of a nightmare that involved the guise of a bizarre man, and a mysterious box that had an intimidating evil eye outside and inside the box. I woke up with a deep sweat pouring down my face, and sudden chills that horripilated me. Slowly, I realized that it was a horrid nightmare I had been experiencing. However, when I had regained my coherent composure, I heard the familiar sound. Once more, I stepped outside of the chamber to indagate the origin of the unidentified voice. I walked with slight footsteps, as I wandered the obscure corridor, until I reached the room at the corner of the second story where I was thereabouts. I then noticed that the door was shut and required a key to open it.
Since I did not have access to the room or key for that matter, I thought it prudent to return to the room. In the following morning when I saw the maidservant Serafine, I asked her, about the secrecy behind the closed door I had seen. Her reaction was somewhat deceptive, but her explanation was reasonable. According to her affirmation, the room had not been inhabited since the death of my grandfather and great-grandfather Valentin Betancourt, who was the original master or lord of the grand Betancourt Estate. I had heard much about his decorative accomplishments and condign accolades in the past and in the French Indian War, but there was still a conundrum surrounding his true identity. The maidservant knew little of the man, and she referred me to the general archives of the family to know more information. Naturally, I had understood her basic argument, and decided that I would ascertain that information afterward.
I concentrated instead on that day on the pending matters of the estate. I then learned that the viscount had several debts to pay, and a certain creditor by the name of Mr. Greaves had paid me an unannounced visit. He had the clear intention of claiming the debt from me, and he was aware that I was the new proprietor of the Betancourt Estate. At first, I was surprised to know of his knowledge of the death of the viscount, and I questioned who had evulgated the personal information. He was reluctant to divulge that source, but he showed me proof in the way of legal documentation. He appeared to be effective in his approach and feasible argument, and I was at an inopportune disadvantage, since I did not have a definite inkling of this financial quandary of the viscount.
My response was that I would speak to the family lawyer Mr. Bethall about the matter at once. He acquiesced and said he would return afterward, since he had business to tend to outside of New Orleans. Judging from his reactionary posture and mien, he was very serious in his demand and justification. His final words were treated by me, as a shrewd charientism. I had summoned Mr. Bethall, who had arrived within the hour, and I conversed with him about the visit of Mr. Greaves and his desire to claim a particular debt of the viscount. Mr. Bethall proceeded to make the disclosure that my grandfather had accumulated many debts, due to his lascivious and reckless ways. When I queried about what he meant by that remark, he confessed that the viscount was going mad with insanity and avidity. He had an insatiable and uncontrollable urge and necessity for pleasure irrespective of its nature.
It was a sober admission that I did not suspect or even dare to imagine, at the degree it was being described or indicated. The debt was of a considerable amount of money, but what troubled me more was the disturbing behavior of the viscount displayed. The more that I spoke to Mr. Bethell, the more I sensed he was concealing more information of the viscount's doings. I asked him if he could reveal to me documents of his annual transactions if possible, so that I could be apprised of any more debts that were pending in his name. He told me once he had prepared the documents he would have them for me at my disposal. I thanked him, and I escorted him to the front door. Before he departed, I had inquired of his knowledge of the mysterious room closed upstairs that supposedly was the chamber of the viscount and his father. He was a bit dumbfounded by my question, but immediately he responded by saying he knew nothing of the private rooms of the mansion. He left and I stood behind in the main hall impressed and observing, the fine wrought tapestries and silk draperies.
The situation of the mystery of the viscount was growing by the minute, as more details of his private life were being unveiled. I knew only of the reputation of his Rhadamanthine persona and was ignorant of his past indiscretions that involved gambling debts and multiple mistresses to say the least. The remainder of the day was occupied with my adaptation to the new environs and deciding what my next step would be, after learning of all these accountable misdeeds attached to the viscount.
I was in the study downstairs drinking a glass of Burgundy, when I began to hear the anonymous recurrent voice of the stranger of the night. For some apparent reason, I was totally drawn to its latitant whereabouts. Once again, my inquisitive mind had caused me to investigate, and I did with a sharp acumen to the sounds around me acquired. I had climbed the staircase upstairs and reached the mysterious room that was closed. I only knew that it was the room of the viscount and nothing more. There was no one present in the corridor nearby, or in the upper rooms, and I walked toward the room, where the voice was coming from. There, I had finally located the origin of the haunting voice. It was coming from behind the door of the viscount's chamber, and I was hesitant to attempt to open the door.
Since I did not have a key to open the door, I was uncertain of how to open it. Therefore, I had to determine an effectual manner to be able of opening the door; although the thought of intrusion on my part had entered my mind. Nevertheless, I made the conscious decision to try to open the door, with the needle of a felt brooch I had found in one of the rooms upstairs. After a few attempts I managed to open the door wide, and I stepped inside. The room was badly disheveled, and heavy particles of dust were dropping down from the chandelier. The cobwebs covered the whole furnishings of the interior composition. It was obvious that the room had not been occupied recently, and that there was a certain ambagious gloom of utter darkness that shaded the room within a tainted obsolescence.
I would look if any of the familiar servants were near, before I continued my interesting investigation. There were none, and I continued forth, until I spotted a striking portrait of the original viscount Valentin Betancourt hanging above the fireplace. I observed the colourful aspect that my great-grandfather had possessed, but I noticed this peculiar representation in the portraits of my grandfather. There was a distinctive resemblance with all of us the Betancourts, and that was our debonair pose. However, I noticed the piercing eyes of my great-grandfather that were too recognizable to be ignored. When I touched the frame of the portrait, I felt something solid behind the wooden frame. I kept touching and touching, until I lifted up the portrait and saw a metal strongbox or coffer that was hidden. The located strongbox had a combination unknown to me.
How was I to open it, without knowing the numbers to the combination? But this was not necessary, because the voice had uttered to me the numbers. I opened the strongbox, and what I had discovered was an arcane black box that was inside. The immediate question was who did the strange box belonged to, and what did it contain with relevance that it had to be kept in such concealment forever it seemed? There was one distinguishable thing that caught my eye of the box, and that was the deprehendable depiction of an eye of a wicked allurement. The voice then began to sound again, and by some inexplicable motive, I opened the lone box, where I saw the most horrific sight witnessed a large and glaring eye that was staring at me, with such a creepy ghastliness of virtual fright.
Amid the shocking occurrence I had descried, the eye was alive, and its entoptic lens had moved from side to side so instantaneously. I closed the box and refused to open it again, but the unbroken fixation of the eye on the box was too imperant and compelled me to open the box. Once open the evil eye had then peeped out of the box, within a vivid animation that bewitched me. Gradually, the fixation intensified and the tone of the voice was more commanding and forceful. Its influence over me was too powerful to be freed of its fiendish grasp, but suddenly, the voice stopped, and I closed the box and fled the room terrified of what I had seen in that horrible chamber.
Outside in the corridor I took a deep breath and returned to my room. I was seen entering my room evidently affected, by the horrific eye I saw in the abandoned chamber. The maidservant Serafine intrigued had seen me and noticed that I was visibly shaken by something. When she asked me if I had been spooked by a ghost of the mansion, I merely smiled and told her that I was startled by the noises of the busy streets and avenues. I do not know why I did not mention the repulsive eye and the box to the maidservant, except that some intrusive force had dissuaded me. Was it the loathsome eye? Whatever the thing was it was attempting to control my human perception and sapience willfully. I pondered so many thoughts while in my room, and the sheer fact that the eye in that box existed was enough to stir my curiosity and imagination sufficiently. It was imperative that I solved the mystery of the living eye and the mystery of the Betancourts.
That night I entered the chamber of my great-grandfather daringly, as the door although closed had opened for me. The voice of the stranger had reappeared, and it was telling me to open the strongbox and this time, it wanted me to remove the box and take it to my room. Thus, I did exactly what I was told, and when I was in the room I slowly opened the black box, and the singular eye gazed at me with the familiar hideous stare. I was too enthralled, and I tried to resist the eye, but could not.
From that day on, I was controlled by its illimitable effect, and unable to offer any significant resistance to it. Suddenly, the box closed, as it was interrupted by the maidservant, who had informed me that a Miss Lemelle had stopped by the house earlier saying she was going to pay me a visit the following morning. The maidservant perceived that something had been occupying my thoughts. I had considered revealing the box of the evil eye, but the eye had ordered me to remain silent about its existence. I told her to dismiss her concern for me, and it was only fatigue that was affecting me.
In the morning I awoke, and the voice of the evil eye was calling on me, but I resisted, and for a brief period of that morning I was able to. The young Miss Lemelle was waiting for me in the study. I could deny that she was a very attractive young lady, but who was she, and what did she want? When I met her, our parley was about her indiscreet affair with the viscount, and I was under the casual impression that she was flirting with me. I learned that she was one of many mistresses of my grandfather, who had been gallivanting much in the city. I presumed that I had seen my fair share of absolute conveniences and was a man of a pleasantry and impeccable charm, until my convivial encounter with the charming Miss Lemelle.
True, I was an eligible bachelor, but I would succumb to the lustful pleasures of Miss Lemelle and other women. Scandalous rumors afterward would circulate of my debauchery and peccant iniquities that were not appropriate with the conduct of a gentleman of my stature. In the matter of weeks, the evil eye had tried to control completely my every action. My mental faculties were being inhibited by the merciless eye and the repetitive voice. The few moments I was strong enough to resist its unyielding power, I took advantage to appease it. My world had started to change drastically, and every fanciful whim and carnal desire I had was conceded to me at will. What seemed to be mad at first, then evolved into a blatant covetous acceptance.
Weeks had passed, when the first of my terrible murders occurred. It had occurred one normal day of the week, when Mr. Greaves had decided to return to claim the debt the viscount had owed him. The butler at the time Simon had informed me of his visit, while I was in the chamber upstairs contemplating what I would do with the tenacious Mr. Greaves, the evil eye had suggested that I kill him, since it was the logical choice. I was reluctant to agree, and the notion of being a cold blooded murderer had sickened me to the core. Nonetheless, I had no other viable selection, and the evil eye had convinced me masterfully to get rid of him. Therefore, I committed my first crime and murder.
On that same night I murdered Mr. Greaves. I had implemented a deceptive ruse and tactic to kill him and dispose of his body. I had lied to him and told him that I would repay the debt of my grandfather. I would meet him near the dock by the river at around ten o'clock. I knew the harbor would be still be active and quite rumbunctious. When Mr. Greaves arrived at the dock, I was waiting for him. I was extremely nervous, but the voice of the evil eye gave me confidence to execute the plan. After his arrival, I hid next to the cargo of one of the ships unloaded and proceeded to push him from behind, until he fell into the depth of the waters, where a steamboat had crushed him killing him instantly. Dead was Mr. Greaves and resolved was my grandfather's pending debt with him.
His body was found afterward, and his death was assumed an accident, a mere slip of a drunkard, since he was fairly known for his noted temulence. Nevertheless, I knew the truth, but I kept quiet. The second murder committed, and victim was Mr. Bethell the family lawyer. I was induced by the deadly influence of the evil eye, who had convinced me of killing him. I had uncovered the fact that he was embezzling money from the Betancourt Estate, and had planned on leaving New Orleans for Europe in two days with his pelf. I had poisoned his drink of whisky at the house, and within a matter of a few hours, he was found dead on Bourbon Street. The cause of his death was determined to be a failing heart.
The third victim was the devoted steward Mr. Beauchamp, who had unfortunately for him perpetrated an act of collusion with the Daedalian Mr. Bethell, and worse had paid someone to kill me. He had contracted a man to kill me, and once I was informed by the evil eye of this accosted treachery, I planned to redress my redressers justifiably, and with a retributive punishment. Mr. Beauchamp's murder was effectuated by strangulation. I had summoned him to the estate, with the purport of killing him. As with the others, the evil eye had imposed its will over my capacity. The steward was on the top of the staircase waiting to speak to me, when I pushed him down the staircase from behind. He did not see me coming, and all that was seen by the reflection of the mirror was a shadowy figure of an imperceptible unidentified man. Fortunately, for me there were no servants present in the mansion, who witnessed the macabre incident.
The last murder that took place was the lovely and spry Miss Lemelle, whose disingenuous duplicity had backstabbed me. For the sake of my reputation and honor, I had to get rid of her. I was in the main hall tending to the sultry mistress Miss Lemelle, when we were in a tender embrace I covered her mouth with a handkerchief, until she took her last gasping breath and died. Of all the deaths committed I regretted none, since they were all deserving of their murders. You see Miss Lemelle was also involved, with the others in their brilliant plan to murder me. Of contemptible malice you say I am, but I suppose that a monster like me can be no worse than they, if I am guilty of murder in the greater scheme. Oh, the appalling madness we cannot forget of the trepidatious horror that had commanded my will to execute these murders, the evil eye.
In my every attempt to escape the grim influence of the evil eye and its echoing voice, I failed miserably. Pantagruelian and dapatical banquets for bidden guests were continuously held weekly, and my concupiscence was manifest. My urge for earthly pleasures was unstoppable, and the evil eye had for weeks, months, wielded dominion over me. I caroused in the hidden areas of New Orleans at nights, in search of satisfying my incredible passions and penchants for liquor. I was beyond the point of selfish indulgence and restraint. It was unlikely that my mischievous actions would be suspected of murder, but one day when I was walking near the Lafayette Square at St. Charles Avenue close to Gallier Hall, I was approached by a gentleman, who claimed that he knew of my murders.
He identified himself, as Mr. Burnett. He had tried to blackmail me, through his coercion, but I was not intimidated, and I took his effrontery and accusations as a worthless bluff. I even dared him to report me to the local authorities, which he had sworn to do. He insisted that I heeded his words of commonition. I concluded otherwise, and I scoffed and laughed in his face, like an emboldened man with an abderian wit.
I left him behind at the square, and that same night, the police of New Orleans were knocking on the front door of the mansion. I had not prepared myself for their visit, and I was a bit nervous in my facial expressions. They had wanted to query me about the reported deaths of those who I killed, Mr. Beauchamp, Mr. Greaves, Mr. Bethell, and of course Miss Lemelle. I had nothing to do with their murders and possible foul play that attributed to their deaths I told them. Since there were no reliable and conclusive facts or evidence to link me to their murders, they only had the testimony and accusations of a bitter man, as I pointed out to that detail to them. As far as I was concerned in the end, Mr. Burnett had no viable credibility or sustainable proof to accuse me for those murders mentioned. Naturally, they inquired of my whereabouts, and I was able to offer a genuine alibi for all those murders to dissuade their suspicion.
They then departed the estate, and I was not certain if they would return. My brazen attitude for a moment had caused me to doubt, whether or not the police officers would return to arrest me. I had to then get rid of the annoying and dangerous Mr. Burnett. It was not for fear of him, instead for the mere possibility of the implication of my involvement in the murders. The evil eye ever so attentive and intelligent had overheard the conversation with the police. Again, there was no other option but to silence Mr. Burnett, since he sought to implicate me in the murders. Therefore, I had to kill that conniving and scurrilous scoundrel. I had thought before of exacting revenge on him through the form of a defossion, but burying him alive was more of a nuisance than a solution. Thus, I waited outside of the hotel he was staying at in Tulane Avenue, until he stepped outside. When I spotted him, I followed him to Loyola Avenue, where he was waiting for someone to appear.
I had planned on strangling him, but a fortuitous opportunity occurred therewith. A heavy wagon playing the operonicon known as a calliope passed by the street, and scared the horses of another heavy carriage to hasten in their reaction. The consequence you ask, the instant death of the fastidious Mr. Burnett. I had hidden in the corner of the street to not be detected, while the dead body of Mr. Burnett laid dead. He was run over by the other wagon, and my problem went away, or so I had believed.
Once I returned to the mansion I was confronted by the maidservant Serafine, who was standing in the corridor by the main hall. Her expression was plainly perceived by me. I was not sure what to decipher at first, until she told me that she knew everything, including the murders I had audaciously committed. I denied any involvement in the murders and told her I did not know distinctly what she had meant by everything. She mentioned the box and the evil eye, and that she was aware of its corrupt influence. It was then that she had proceeded to explain to me the ancient tale of the box and the evil eye. The tale began with a trip to Spain by my great-grandfather Valentin Betancourt, who was given the gift of the box of the evil eye, but he succumbed to its terrible influence, and ultimately attempted to take his life, but he failed. The mysterious voice and the evil eye that was in the box, belonged to my great-grandfather, who was murdered by my grandfather Antoine Betancourt. I could not fathom the inscrutable truth that was utterly shocking in nature. If so, then why did he kill his own father, and whose eye was in the box?
The sound of the voice of the evil eye interjected and was trying to make me ignore the whole truth. I could not think rationally and did not know what to believe. I was going mad by the second, as my heart beat with a swift pulsation that seemed intolerable. For a moment I resisted the relentless effect and voice of the evil eye that commanded. I urged the maidservant to tell me who the evil eye belonged to, and her response was that it was the eye of my great-grandfather the original viscount Valentin Betancourt. I was extremely flabbergasted and confused by this haunting disclosure. But before she could continue, the evil eye's power was overpowering me and forcing me to kill the maidservant.
I said before that I did not lament any of the murders I committed, but I was regrettably wrong. There was one and that was the mulatto maidservant Serafine. Her death was consequential and unavoidable. At that moment my right eye had turned into an eye of glass like that seen in my grandfather within the casket he laid in. I do not precisely remember how I killed her, except that her death was a factual occurrence. I saw how one of my eyes had become glass and blinded, and I knew it was a matter of time, before the other would change as well, from human to monster. It seemed that I had rid myself of the last obstacle to the discovery of my despicable crimes. However, I had inadvertently left one witness of my crimes, and that was the evil eye.
The thing was that I knew no one would believe me, if I told them that the evil eye was the real culprit and not me. The evil eye would never betray me as long as I was obedient to it. The evil eye was seeking to replace my eyes, as it attempted to do with my grandfather. The police had returned to the estate and this time, they wanted to question me, about the murder of Mr. Greaves once again. Apparently, a witness had come forth and said that I was seen leaving the vicinity shortly after the death. I was fidgety, since I had a glass eye, and I covered my eye with spectacles claiming that my eye had reddened with time. The police officer had sensed my anxiety, but any evidence against me was circumstantial, and without my admission he could not link me to the death.
They left the estate, and I entered the mansion not knowing what to do. The evil eye knew, and its response was that I had to kill the policeman. Officer Bordeaux had to be exterminated like a pestiferous rat of the sewer. At the same time I pondered that intricate matter, I thought of my fading and hopeless salvation. I was not going to face the same faith of my grandfather and great-grandfather.
One day I was determined to rid myself of the evil eye; although its influence was too interminable and phthartic. I had given leave to the remaining servants, and the few times that I was able to briefly resist the influential predominance of the evil eye, I strongly contemplated my desperate escape. I imagined within a moment of brevity, the murder of the policeman, and how it would satisfy the insatiable urge of the evil eye to murder. With hesitance, I agreed to kill the policeman, and I left the house that night to see him. I had sent a mysterious note to him, under an anonymous name and pretext. In the note, I had mentioned accurate details of the murders that only the true murderer would know with definite aplomb. We were to meet at the corner of Esplanade Avenue during the nocturnal night.
A loud barking of a hound was heard, with the footsteps of a man approaching. I was disguised as to be expected. When the officer arrived I attacked him from behind with a metal rod, but it was not Officer Bordeaux. It was another policeman, who I had assaulted, and it was an organized deception used to trick me. I managed to escape, but the officer tore my fake mustache and beard off, and recognized me. Immediately, I scurried away absconding the police, who were in my pursuit. Thereafter I ran to the estate, like a wild dangerous animal. When I reached the house, I ran upstairs and quickly sought to hide myself in the tunnels below the cellar that led to the sewer and canal. I could escape on a steamboat, as the evil eye had insisted. As I was about to escape, a loud tapping on the front door of the mansion was audible.
Then I listened to them, as they identified themselves as policemen. They had come to arrest me, and take me with them. I was walking down the stairs, when the tapping was heard, and I carried the box of the evil eye with me. We had escaped, and I fled on a steamboat to Charleston, never to return to New Orleans or the Betancourt Estate. The stranger who I had seen in numerous occasions was the ghost of my great-grandfather. Thus, upon a normal day of the week, I made the decision to attempt to abate the infernal madness, by taking my life abruptly. I could not live my life, as a maniacal criminal or under the continuing dominion of the evil eye. The measure of my culpability would be determined in the confession found within the letter left behind, for the authorities to find and prosecute as evidence.
What I procured was to establish that I was guilty of the horrendous murders perpetuated, but it was that terrible eye of malevolence that ordered me in absolute complicity. It was without a doubt a total phrenesis that I confessed, but know that I prayed that my grievous sins would be expiated with my deserving demise compunctiously. I was living then in an island of the distant West Indies, when I had continued my killing spree. For so long the evil eye had possessed me, and I had faltered to its periclitated and provocative desires, until that day and place in the private chamber of my new house. I had fought the will of the evil eye enough to free myself finally of its impenetrable control of me. A queer episode had occurred one day, while I was in the house. I noticed that there was a dead plant, and when I examined the plant it had withered and etiolated. For a moment I thought of the light, and how sensitive it was to the human eye. The ray of the sun that had entered the room shone too bright, and it bothered me. It was at that precise time that I realized the light would harm or destroy the evil eye.
I had planned on drinking a glass of wine mixed with enough poison to kill me, but I postponed that action. I had to prove my theory, and see if the evil eye was sensitive to the light as well. The evil eye was always in the darkness and in the box. I knew it could distinguish my intention with my facial expressions. This was how it read my mind and controlled me. I went upstairs to the room where it was at, and I attempted with deception to trick the evil eye. I walked towards the window that was closed, and I slowly lifted up the curtains. Then, I grabbed the box, but as I did that the evil eye had seen and understood my artifice. It tried to force me to abort my attempt, but I resisted that imposing fiend. I took it near the window, and I opened the box, when the light of the sun had begun to cause the evil eye to die and bleed. It tried to enter my eye, as I continued resisting. Subsequently, the evil eye was absorbing my own eye, as my glass eye was turning into the evil eye. Immediately, I jumped out of the window breaking it into pieces, and fell on the ground. I was found stone dead, with a glaring glass eye.
However, there was an inanimate object vaguely seen on the table of my room. Yes, it was the horrible black box, and it was discovered by the police after my death. They had found the letter of my grisly confession. One of the servants who had witnessed my fall from the window upstairs told them of my death. When they retrieved the black box, they saw the strange depiction of an eye, but after opening it they saw something unspeakable inside the box. It was the dark film of horror on the eye that reflected. Yes, the evil eye was not dead, and it moved!