After sipping the last of his Earl Grey, Alexander sat before his desk and sighed. His candle, freshly lit, revealed a man of many accomplishments. His workspace was lined with gold bound editions of the volumes upon volumes of text he authored in areas ranging from logic to mathematics to children’s literature. He had spent many years translating the Bible to his right into four different languages, and his ashen face reflected the rigors of his work. Years had been taken from him and his body reflected every one of those years. He had become as cold and unforgiving as the snow which was falling heavily outside in the bleak English countryside. He set numerous blank pages before him, pages that he felt needed to be filled before the candle burned its last. Opening the drawer, he placed at his left the instruments of his art: an inkwell and a quill, but in the far corner of the drawer was the pistol that had served him well in war and perhaps would find some grand use again. Hunching over his papers he feverishly brought pen to ink and began his inscriptions as zealous as a medieval monk pondering the works of Aristotle. Before long, his wife entered the room to remind him of dinner. Her eyes sparkled as she saw the man she loved hard at play, as so many times before.

“Alexander, what sort of business are you up to now? A play perhaps?” Without even lifting his head or pausing to ease his wrist he replied, “My greatest work yet and ever to be.” She smiled and took dinner in her chamber. She had grown to understand and to accept the realities of their relationship: his work took precedence over all else. Her needs, unfortunately, had forced her to take full advantage of his mental absence. Alexander knew very well the subtle signals she had given him. If he would not pleasure her then surely she had the right to quell her thirst at another well. It was for this reason alone that he sat hour after painstaking hour writing what would very well be the culmination of an illustrious career with the quill. His brow furrowed ever more intensely as he wrote at a more urgent and desperate pace. He seemed to race the dawn, racing to an end no less dramatic than the magnificence of the rising sun.

Alexander never once questioned his purpose, he lived to write not for others but for himself. He had lost a great many friends in his lust. Constant contemplation and deep thought possessed him through his life and guided him and never would he have doubted what he did was right. The woman could not understand and, in his twisted mind, refused to understand that he belonged at work, not at play. The soft moans emanating from the master chamber grew louder, and there was no way of telling now if those screams were human. As the cries of pleasure grew, his pace increased. At length there was the sound of a door opening and closing, and he was now alone. Into the witching hour did he write, and then on into the dark morning hours. Alexander had never desired food or drink before his work, and it would be the same this night. His wife had long been away, no doubt courting some teenage boy that was drunk with lust. His fears were confirmed as he did not raise his head but merely listened to the sound of drunken laughter filling the cold hallways and then a door was closed again. The moans resumed their ferocity and it was at this moment that Alexander paused to grip his pistol tightly. Taking a few moments to collect himself, he briskly rose from his seat, pistol in hand. The chamber door was opened yet again and two well-aimed shots were fired. He resumed his practice just as swiftly as he had left it.

The infidelity, the lies, the frigid home that would not be warmed by a mere flame, none of these things concerned him. The candle, at length, burned down to the very bottom. The wax had continuously spilled across his papers, but that would not slow the great Alexander at all. It flickered once more before snuffing out for want of wax. Alexander immediately halted his endeavor. He put away his inkwell and his quill, putting an end to over eight hours of nearly constant writing. In the drawer, in the cold dark night, he could not see but could only feel the pistol. It felt warm to him, the only warmth that permeated the perpetual winter of the house. He picked it up and sighed as he did before he began. A shot rang out in the night.

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