18 November, 1917
Hazel, be reasonable. I have just rebuffed a second murder attempt from your sister and I would really rather not have to clean up after a third. Could you not do me the courtesy of trying to kill me yourself?
Why have you not replied to any of my letters? I agree the proposal was poorly timed, but I have already told you there was no romantic intention behind it, and that my only interest lies in preserving the life of someone I once considered my friend. Are we friends, Hazel? I am receiving muddled messages. Please clarify for me.
Alethe has accused me (between her attempts at homicide) of poisoning you. She has told me how ill you are, and I have told her that all you need to do in order to save your own life is return to the estate. I have tried to come and collect you and both times Alethe has met me at the edge of your property to drive me away. What do I need to say to convince her that I am not some kind of Bluebeard?
I do not wish to bring her into this, Hazel. You should never have been involved, either. I don’t know why our house has taken such a shine to you. I wish there was something I could do to loosen its grip.
You see, Alethe is a clever woman but she seems to have fallen prey to base assumptions. She’s all too ready to believe that I have poisoned you for my own gain (though what I would gain, she has neglected to tell me), but refuses to entertain the notion that occult forces are attempting to claim you for their own. I cannot do more than ask her trust on this without risking her own life, as well. I cannot imagine you need me to tell you this, but I have never poisoned a friend. And if you will read back a few paragraphs, Hazel, you may be reminded that a “friend’ is what I consider you to be.
Please. I will send this letter with the gardener in hopes he can deliver it directly through your bedroom window, bypassing your father and Alethe and anyone else who may wish to intercept it. Please return to the estate. We can put our joint resources to saving you from your own inevitable fate.
Additionally, if you can, please prevent your father from shooting the gardener again. I had a devil of a time calming him down after his last visit to your home. Mr. Lawley mistook him for a mountain cat, is that right? Understandable.
It is, after all, human nature to fill the gaps of the unknowable with false assumptions. But we must be content to exist in mystery, Hazel. That is all that keeps us alive at times.
Come back, Hazel. Come home.
There is nowhere else left to you now.
Yours most sincerely,
Note: Well, obviously he never sent this letter or it wouldn’t be hiding out in the walls with his desecrated corpse.
It’s funny - just a couple days ago I was having a panic attack over finding a finger bone in the winter garden. But Castile Madigan’s whole-ass cadaver? Nothing. Maybe it’s an unreality thing. Or maybe I’ve seen too much now to be phased by this. I watched a double of myself cough up blood and walk off into the woods, so I think I’m kind of numb to mundane shit like dead bodies right now.
Even funnier - he’s missing most of his left ring finger. I could laugh, I really could.
I want to laugh. Hey, Castile. I finally got you pinned down, you sneaky motherfucker.
Let’s see what you were hiding all this time.