I find myself running out of things to say to you. What can you say to the beast you once loved? Can you admire his fangs, his claws, his predatory eyes? Is there even a man in there? Was I really so stupid?
It all comes back to those questions, especially the final one. If I were Bluebeard’s bride, would I have entered the final room? Do I believe myself innocent in my own abuse? Did I slide the key into the lock, feel the cool brass in my fingertips, then turn?
I must confess I have seen too many final rooms to call myself much of a blushing bride. I don’t need to see all the rooms anymore, investigate, find tokens, and figure out what happened to the brides before me. My ghost story is so much shorter than it used to be, dear husband. Anymore I can walk into the foyer, have one glance around, before I walk to the final room and stand before the storm.
Or, well… I wish it were that case. In solemn truth I am just stuck in those patterns. Seeking a final room that doesn’t terrify me. Seeking a husband who won’t add me to the death toll inside that room. Seeking something that brings the darkness into light rather than spills blood on the tiled ground.
Sometimes I think it is the curse of loving men. To be so empty you seek someone to fill you. And they do. Over and over again until the filling becomes a duty and the woman moves from person to wife. Wives can never be people, you see. The very word Wife means property. At first, it meant woman. They think. It’s not really clear. Later, it is said to have come from words that meant to twist, to turn, to wrap… and finally, from the word that meant shame.
How accurate is that haunted proposal, my darling? A wife is a twisted and turned woman of shame. Of course, that isn’t what it means, not really. Yet it is so fitting based on the tales we wives tell. What’s one more scar, one more twist?
Now, we both know that I saw your final room over and over again. I would forget. Need reminding. Oh, how you reminded me! Every few months I would see that final room and then run away. Stay, you would beg. I will change, you would promise.
You and every other would-be husband of mine. Full of rooms littered with women’s corpses. Be careful, dear, it’s beginning to have an odour.
Silence was the gift you gave me. Every man who has left a scar on me has given me silence. There is no space to say fuck you. I would be one of the crazy ones if I did. Then again, I’m beginning to recognize what power looks like, darling. And I’m beginning to recognize your fear.
I see your beast, man. I have found your silver bullet. I have found the poison that will boil your blood. I have found the townsfolk more than willing to kill the beast.
Run, little husband. Run to your room of dead women, shave off your Bluebeard, and hide in the shadows. Your kind will be hunted. You will be found. And you will be put in my final room, a testament to the strength of who I’ve become.
Soon you will become the trophy, the object, the dead-eyed statue in a hall of fallen beasts.
And they will praise my prowess.