© Copyright 2012 - Daviddrb6 - Used by permission
Storycodes: M/f; capture; drug; bond; manacles; crate; boxed; packaged; transport; hist; nc; XX
Inspired by "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" by Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens was writing the thriller "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" when he died following a stroke on 9 June 1870 leaving the work unfinished. Over the years many theories have been put forward regarding Dickens' intentions. Here's one possible theory.
THE STORY OF "THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD"
In the town of Cloisterham John Jasper is the respected choirmaster of the local cathedral. But he is also a drug addict and has a psychotic obsession with the beautiful Rosa Budd, who is due to marry his nephew the charismatic but arrogant Edwin Drood. Rosa is disturbed by Jasper's obsessive behaviour towards her and is unhappy about her forthcoming marriage. Later she and Edwin mutually agree to terminate their engagement without Jasper's knowledge. Shortly afterwards Edwin disappears and as the search for him gets underway Jasper, after publicly declaring that he will see justice done, makes his move on Rosa.
1. THE SHADOW IN THE GARDEN
Rosa was alarmed when the maid told her John Jasper had come. She had not seen him since Edwin had disappeared and she was alone in convent as the other girls had departed for the holidays. She hesitated, then, deciding that if she didn't see him then he would come back again, she told the maid she would see Jasper outside in the garden. She put on her yellow straw hat with the bow on it that she felt went well with her blue dress, fastened it in place with a hat pin and went out.
The garden was surrounded on three sides by the convent. To the right was the main house while the large arched windows of the main hall were in the centre. To the left was the chapel with it's small turreted steeple. In the centre of the well kept lawn with it's rose bushes stood a statue of Our Lady. Rosa felt that with it's many windows overlooking the garden then she and Jasper could be seen and she could call for help if anything happened.
Rosa tensed when she saw Jasper. He was in mourning and compared to the colour of the garden he seemed like a black spider waiting in it's web for it's prey. She felt her legs weaken and her heart pound frantically. Nevertheless she felt she would not be intimidated by him. Jasper smiled when he saw her but Rosa felt the smile was insincere.
"I have been waiting," Jasper began, "To be summoned back to my duty near you".
Rosa kept her face firm and her voice steady: "Duty sir?"
"To serve you as your faithful music master".
"I have decided to discontinue my music lessons" Rosa replied firmly.
"Discontinue. I do not understand" Jasper said. "Surely it is only temporary due to the shock we have all felt. When will you resume?"
"Never!" Rosa replied curtly.
"Never?" Jasper answered and Rosa felt he seemed to have adopted a whining tone. "You could have done no more than if you had loved my dear boy".
"I did love him!" Rosa answered angrily. "And I stand by my resolution. Why do you look at me?"
There was a look of admiration on Jasper's face and Rosa felt disturbed. She took a step back but still kept her gaze fixed on Jasper. "Rosa I do not forget that many windows command a view of us," he said. "I will come no nearer to you than I am. Rosa I love you."
Rosa felt she'd been hit in the face.
She stared at Jasper and saw his expression becoming agitated. "Rosa", Jasper continued, "When my boy loved you so, I loved you madly; when I strove to make him more devoted to you, I loved you madly; when he gave me the picture of your lovely face which I feigned to hang in his sight, I loved you madly. In the distasteful work of the day, in the wakeful misery of the night, girded by sordid realities or wandering through the Paradises and Hells of visions, I loved you madly".
He paused then added: "I endured all this in silence. I hid my secret loyally. Did I not?"
After a moment Rosa said: "How dare you!"
Her temper rising Rosa said: "You are a false man sir if you knew yourself. You know you made my life unhappy through your pursuit of me. You know that I had to keep the truth from Edwin that you were a bad man. I have nothing but contempt for you now!"
Rosa saw that strange look of admiration appear on Jasper's face again. "How beautiful you are when you are angry," he said; spreading out his hands. "I don't ask for your love Rosa. Give me your anger, your rage, your scorn; it will be enough for me".
Rosa felt sick. She wanted to shout at Jasper; to tell him to go away. She wanted to scream her anger and fear around the convent so that the nuns could come to her aid. She noticed she was breathing heavily now and she felt that with his words Jasper had raped her.
"I have confessed that my love is mad," Jasper said. "I would have swept everything aside even my dear lost boy".
Rosa shook her head; incredulous at Jasper's ravings. "You are mad sir!", she told him. Anxious she put her hands to her temples and felt the hat pin. She could use it as a weapon if necessary.
"Yes," Jasper pleaded. "I shall show you how mad my love is. My love for you is above all other love!" He turned to a rose bush and with his left hand plucked out a rose and dropped it to the ground. "This is the world, my boy, my life in this enclosed, narrow-minded, stupid town that revolves round that crumbling stone ruin of a cathedral. All this I will cast down for you!"
Jasper stamped on the rose. He stamped on it again; his foot pounding down on it like a hammer. He grunted as he did so and Rosa was terrified. She turned to run back indoors but felt herself grabbed from behind. She shrieked and as she pulled herself forward she felt her dress tear. Turning, Rosa saw Jasper's agitated, sweating face close to hers. She felt his left hand on her arm and pulling it away saw saw that the seam on her left sleeve had been torn leaving her bare shoulder exposed.
"Rosa please forgive me," Jasper pleaded. "I am self-repressed. I will be self-repressed for you. I shall wait for a sign that you will attend me and I love you. love you, love you!" He pulled away his left hand and Rosa saw blood on it from the rose's thorns. He turned and walked away leaving the girl trembling.
Rosa fled indoors to her room and was sick in her wash basin.
Rosa washed and changed and sat on her bed. She breathed deeply and slowly to ease the trembling. Then she got up and looked at herself in the mirror. A beautiful serious faced girl with a swan-like neck and raven-black hair which had several strands loose looked back at her. Her mouth was strong and her eyes brown. Had she always been this serious? She could barely think of a time when she'd been happy and smiling. The other girls and the nuns had said she'd a beautiful smile.
Her reflection vanished to be replaced with Jasper's with his staring eyes, high forehead and intense features. Rosa felt that for a respected pillar of the community he was more like a demon, or even an ape which she'd heard was from what man had evolved from. Like the ape she felt Jasper was base and primitive. He wanted her regardless of her feelings and the world only saw him as a respectable man trying to care for a grief-stricken orphan.
One thing was for certain, she would not stay in Cloisterham any longer. She would go to her guardian and tell him everything; even her growing suspicion that Jasper had been responsible for Edwin's disappearance.
Then she thought why was she thinking that Edwin had only disappeared. It was without question he'd been murdered. By insisting that justice be seen to be done and with his apparently unquestioned position then Jasper was drawing suspicion away from himself.
Which was why she had to get away now.
Rosa packed her bag, put on her hat and left the convent. It was the first time she'd walked through Cloisterham by herself without the company of the girls and nuns but she knew the way to the High Street. From there she would get the omnibus to the railway station.
Except she found the road to the High Street was being dug up.
"Very sorry Madam," the foreman told her. "If you go round by the Cathedral Precincts that will get you back on the High Street and you can get the bus there."
Rosa thanked him though she did not want to go by the Cathedral. It was surrounded by clean if narrow streets with the houses leaning against each other and the Cathedral looming over them; almost threatening to crush them. She also knew that Jasper lived in the turretted Gatehouse at the Cathedral entrance and she wanted to avoid him
Rosa found the Precinct streets very quiet. One or two people were in them but they were all at a distance. She looked up at the massive, square, central tower of the Cathedral. It was almost watching her; sternly disapproving of her flight.
Now she saw the Gatehouse approaching. Rosa decided to keep close to the wall in the hope that if Jasper was inside then he would not see her. From the few times she'd visited it with Edwin she'd found it a small, dark and enclosed place with only two windows: one that looked down into the Cathedral close and the other on to the High Street. It was covered in ivy and creeper and Rosa felt it seemed to symbolize the decay that overcame people as they grew older. Decay also of the mind she thought.
Rosa stopped suddenly and swung round. The street behind her was empty. She looked round slowly but saw no one. She started walking again. She wanted to be out on the Main Street with other people and be on the train away from Cloisterham. She'd be safe.
Rosa heard footsteps behind her and stopped. Turning round she again saw nothing. She realised she was trembling slightly. Jasper couldn't be here; couldn't be following her. She was afraid that he would appear suddenly like a ghost. She felt tense as she always did when Jasper made her sing or even when he sat next to her. He saw himself as a loyal, devoted dog. If he was a dog Rosa thought then he was a rabid one.
What was she doing here; thinking wildly. She had to get away. Rosa started walking again. As she passed the Gatehouse she found herself tip-toeing as though Jasper could hear her footsteps.
Rosa heard a rustling. Probably the ivy. She was nearly past the Gatehouse now; it's arched opening into the Cathedral reminded her of a medieval carving of the maw of hell she'd once seen.
Rosa heard the rustling again and then suddenly smelt honey. Then a cloth was clamped over her nose and mouth and at the same time she was pulled backwards and heard a gasping of breath which wasn't her own. Rosa saw speckles of light flash around her and her vision was blocked by what appeared to be a dark grey shutter that slammed down in front of her.
Jasper carried the unconscious Rosa up the postern stair to his rooms. He hugged the girl and thanked God for bringing her to him. He had everything ready for her. Upstairs he laid her gently on his bed and removing her hat pin, Jasper delicately took off Rosa's hat and stroked her hair. Then he tore off her dress.
3. THE PRISONER
Rosa awoke. She thought she had fainted and was lying on her bed but the mattress felt hard beneath her. The room also seemed to have shrunk with wooden walls that were very close to her. Rosa started to sit up and found she couldn't. She saw that the enclosed walls were that of a box she was lying in. The box was big enough to contain her and she saw there were manacles round her wrists and ankles holding her down. She was also naked.
Rosa whimpered and began to struggle at her bonds. Her nails scratched the wood but the manacles wouldn't give way. She arched her body to try to pull herself free and as she shook her head she felt her hair was loose. She screamed.
"Rosa, Rosa" she heard a voice close to her. She stopped struggling and looked. She saw Jasper loom over her. "Rosa, calm yourself. The look of horror spoils your lovely face."
Rosa shrank back as Jasper leaned over her. His face looked concerned but she felt it could easily turn into the leer of a victorious warrior over his conquest. She glared at him; clenching her hands to give her courage. "Have you not done enough", she said. "That you've abducted me and reduced me to - to an animal!" She strained against the manacles again as though to reinforce her point.
"Rosa, Rosa", Jasper pleaded. "Sometimes we must act in accordance with our wishes".
"And whose wishes are those," Rosa asked. "Mine or yours?"
Jasper lifted the girl up as far as she could by her naked shoulders. "What I said to you in the garden today is true," he told her. "I love you with all my heart. You are mine!" He laid her down gently and stroked her hair whispering "You are mine, you are mine" repeatedly.
Rosa looked up at Jasper. She felt his hands trembling and heard his breathing quicken. Her fear of him was passing. She said firmly: "I will not be yours sir. I thought you were a bad man. Now I see you are an evil one!"
She saw Jasper move back and a look of dismay appear on his face. "Rosa, Rosa" he pleaded again and Rosa felt her anger rise. She strained against the manacles again knowing they would not break but for as long as she could move she would not be his helpless prisoner. "Oh Rosa," Jasper breathed. He seized the naked girl with his hands causing her to flinch. "Rosa please be patient. It will only be a short time and then we will be together!"
"You're sick!" Rosa said quitely.
She went on, raising her voice: "You act like my lover yet you imprison me against my will. You act like the respected choirmaster yet you desecrate the church with your sickness and lies. You act like the concerned uncle yet for all I know you murdered Edwin!"
She saw Jasper shaking his head and that there was sweat on his brow. "No more my love," he said. "No more. I will not hear of it".
Rosa raised her head and glared at the trembling man. "I will say it even if it is my last breath. You murdered Edwin!"
"Rosa please. I will hear no more. No more". She saw Jasper stumble towards a table and opening a drawer take out a small brown bottle. He came back to her; shaking it out on a handkerchief and Rosa again smelt honey and saw the bottle's lable.
"Laudanum No - no!" she pleaded.
Rosa twisted her head from side to side as Jasper pressed her down into the box; determined not to take the sedative. She felt his hand clasp her face and force it upwards and then the handkerchief was pressed onto her mouth and nostrils. She sobbed but felt her whole body become limp and her eye lids heavy. She looked up at Jasper. His face was close to hers as though he was going to kiss her. Rosa closed her eyes and as she did she heard him say: "My dear Rosa; my dear Rosa. Forgive me. Forgive me".
"Please be careful with that box," Jasper said. "It contains a valuable artifact"
The young porter - a intelligent, friendly man - replied: "In that case I'll stick a 'Handle With Care' notice on it". Jasper watched him fetch a notice and a pot of glue and paste it on the lid. He was pleased that the porter had pasted the notice in the middle away from the small gauze openings at the top and bottom. "Which way do you want it stored?" the porter asked.
"As it is now", Jasper said. "Lying down; not standing up and with the lid facing upwards. As I've said it's contents are - are very fragile".
"We'll look after it for you sir." The porter said cheerfully. "In fact the carriage you'll be travelling in will have the luggage compartment next to you're own so you won't be far away from it."
"Thank you. Thank you." Jasper said breathlessly. "You've been very helpful."
The porter noticed Jasper was sweating. "Are you all right sir?" he asked.
"My health is fine," Jasper replied. "My health is fine".
Jasper followed the box as it was wheeled out to the train and stored in the luggage compartment. He then got into the first class compartment next to it. Trembling he sank into the soft, cushioned seat. Between his legs he felt his hardened penis continually twitch and moisten. He wanted to take the landanum badly to settle him down but felt it best to wait until the train was underway. He began to bite his clenched fingers one after the other and when the guard came to lock his compartment he saw Jasper sitting in the corner muttering to himself: "Mine, mine"!
Sealed in her box and with blankets over her naked body Rosa slept. She felt safe and warm and the darkness around her was soft and comforting. Then it became light and Rosa saw the Cathedral. It was mounted on the railway tracks and sped away from her into the distance. She then saw the telegraph poles flash past; her eyes following the wires as they dipped and rose. The sky around the poles seemed to turn a brilliant scarlet red and Rosa saw large, bright red poppies bloom continuously around her.
NOTE: The name of the heroine, Rosa Bud, is straight from the pages of Victorian pornography which male readers at the time would have recognised. Did you really think that Charles Dickens was an upright, moralistic family man?