A secret lay hidden behind the mask of every guest,
Identities concealed by the way each one was dressed,
Each one played a role, a willing actor in the scene,
Yet completely in the dark about a tragedy unforeseen.
Lurking quietly in the shadows, waiting for her prey,
Hatred stood in cape and hood, weapon neatly tucked away,
Prepared to make the kill with a sharperned silver blade:
A deadly disguise in a cloak and dagger masquerade.
The unsuspecting quarry, was beautiful and charming,
Her mysteries innumerable, her temperament disarming;
Unaware of impending doom: alas, her soul was quite
Unprepared for a meeting with her maker here, tonight.
Too long had Hatred waited for this moment to arrive –
Of happiness, of life itself, her victim to deprive:
The sinister assassin plunged the blade into her prize,
The weapon sliding home with neither fear nor compromise.
Without a sound, the guileless victim fell where she was slain,
The bloodied stiletto, still where it pierced her heart, remained
A vivid testimony to the violence of her death,
With the shock of pain still on her face as she drew her last breath.
Gasps of fright and cries of horror filled the frigid nighttime air
As the witnesses, aghast, each looked upon her deathly stare,
Wondering amongst themselves, “Who would want to hurt her?”
While the victim’s spirit rose to vindicate her murder.
The host of the masquerade knelt to perform the grisly task –
There was no pulse, nor sign of life, so he removed her mask;
She lay there, far more beautiful than she had been in life,
Though cold and dead, her face was yet unstained by earthly strife.
Hatred hoped to slip away, her actions undetected,
The spectral visitation from her victim unexpected,
But when she was confronted by a ghostly apparition
With blood still on her guilty hands, she offered no contrition.
The superstititious witnesses made crosses and said prayers,
Fearful of the furious wraith who stood before them there,
Faces pale, hearts in throats; yet there was only one she sought:
Hatred, by whose dread design wicked murder had been wrought.
The ghost saw nought but sheer defiance in her killer’s face:
The cold contempt of Hatred only deepened the disgrace,
For Hatred was by nature a most unprepared defendant —
Cold of heart, conceited, and entirely unrepentant.
“Will you stand before me thus, bold perpetrator of my death?
Is there nothing you would say to me before your final breath?
Vengeance will be mine, let this congregation testify:
You took my life without remorse, now you must surely die.”
She raised her hand and cast a bolt of righteous indignation
Filled with electricity that sparked a conflagration
That consumed only her killer with fiery ecstasy:
A gruesome premonition of her eternal destiny.
©2017 Joanne Van Leerdam