Electronic fiction by ladyhildegarde
"After a painful march he was stopt by a moated ditch surrounding the place from whence the light proceeded; and by a momentary glimpse of moon-light he had a full view of a large antique mansion, with turrets at the corners, and an ample porch in the centre. The injuries of time were strongly marked on every thing about it. The roof in various places was fallen in, the battlements were half demolished, and the windows broken and dismantled."
Sir Bertrand: A Fragment by Anna Laetitia Aikin (1773)
stand with a candle in the wind beneath the portico of a massive estate. Darkness yawns: all around shadows gather and the wind whistling through their cold hearts warns, Away! Away!
I have traveled long: I am weary. I must take shelter, though my heart goes cold within my breast at the thought. This is not the first time I have entered these gates. I was at the mercy of the mistress of this house once before.
The courtyard swims before my weary eyes in puddles of moonlight as my cold-stiffened fingers grasp the iron gates. They spring apart with an eerie strain. The wind caresses my face and hair as I come beneath the shadows, and a whisper plays at my ear gently.
"You have been long away..."
I turn quickly at the brush of fingers along my shoulder, but no one is there. I swear the wind is beginning to howl with laughter at me. My heart is lovelorn; my mind too tortured with memories to be considered sane. I have returned, to take her away from her madness, or to be swallowed by it likewise.