Nineteen in the dead of winter. Nineteen when she passed away.

Blood on her lungs. Fever on her pale brow. Slipped to the reaper.

In a velvet lined box, in a pretty white gown, she was laid to rest.

The snow fell that day, fat wet flakes, and the crow let a hungry cry.


Brother, still ill, and falling paler and feverish, fading away, slipping.

Baby Edith already gone like her big sister. Papa starting to spit blood.

What unquiet spirits had fallen? What demons had come? What curse?

In the little town, in this grand house, the reaper was coming for his claim.


They dug up Mercy, up from the cold earth, opened that opulent casket.

Her skin pale as the fresh snow, her lips blood red, flesh still soft, pristine.

Silver tears had flown from her closed eyes, cut trails on fair, chalk cheeks.

They tore out her heart. They tore out her liver. Burned them upon the rock.


And the ashes in water they made her brother drink, to break a vampire’s spell.

He drank her ashes, the flesh destroyed to be made clean, to free them of curses,

to pull brother and Papa out of the reaper’s hand, be here when spring sun returned.

But brother and Papa still slipped away, the reaper came away with his bitter claim.


And the sexton still says, her remembers Mercy’s cold, dead body, still pristine and pale.

The smooth skin as pale as the fresh snow that night, without the moon above them.

The red lips, red as blood, red as life, and with a sorrow on their remnant smile.

The sexton still remembers, the cry when they cut out her heart, the cry of deathly rage.

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