The Mood Of The Cask Of Amontillado
Inspector James Pierce of the Scotland Yard examined the letter on his desk. It had been sent from a village in Italy, asking him to investigate a mysterious disappearance that had happened almost a century ago. Inspector Pierce did not take just any case, but this matter intrigued him.
The letter informed him that a man by the name of Fortunato had disappeared at the time of Carnival ninety-four years ago. The inspector almost dismissed this as an average accident. Witnesses reported the man as being drunk, after all. But a single shred of evidence told another story. A letter had been found recently in the catacombs of a wealthy Italian family. It had been written in a hurry and told of a crime so awful that the inspector could hardly believe it. It read as follows:
“I have been victim of murder. Montresor has led me to his family’s tombs and sealed me up in a wall to avenge an insult that I delivered to him. The man is mad. He needs to be stopped at all costs. He believed that he lured me down here so cleverly. He thought I was drunk, but in addition to my fine taste in wines, I am also a persuasive actor. The only way to stop him was to lead him down here and leave a clue of my murder to later be discovered. This letter, my last words, is the only evidence against him. My death must be avenged and Montresor brought to justice. Fortunato”
There was only one thing to do. Inspector Pierce put on his bowler hat and trench coat and booked a train to Italy.
The caretaker of the house, who had sent the letter, was obviously flustered. After the inspector calmed her down, she led him into the catacombs where the letter had been found. It was a dank, dark place. Niter covered the slick walls and slime dripped down from the ceiling. The inspector’s skin crawled and he tightened his trench coat. He turned on his flashlight and shined the beam around. Bones piled up upon the brick walls. The inspector took out his magnifying glass and tapped on the walls to hear the hollow sound of Fortunato’s final resting place. He had almost given up when he heard the ancient stones make a hollow sound.
The inspector marked out a space in the wall about the size of a door where there was a hollow sound. Then he marched back out of the catacombs. He soon returned with a sledgehammer lent to him by a local toolsmith. He gritted his teeth as he lifted the heavy, unwieldy instrument. “One, Two, Three!” He swung the sledgehammer into the hollow space causing the bricks to crumble out. There, in a space only about the size of a closet, was the skeleton of a man, bound to the bricks with chains. It seemed like this Fortunato told the truth in his letter after all. The inspector told the caretaker about his findings in the catacombs. Together they arranged for a hearse to bring Fortunato to his family catacombs. The caretaker seemed satisfied; but the inspector had one more thing he had to do while he was here.
According to the caretaker, Montresor had not been buried in his family catacombs, but instead had been buried in a local graveyard by the parish. The inspector walked up to the oldest part of the graveyard and wiped the moss off a particularly dirty grave. The only inscription on it was a name: Montresor. There was no date, last name, or family motto. Inspector Pierce drew out a pair of handcuffs from his trench coat.
“Montresor, I place you under arrest for murder,” he said as he placed the cuffs beside the grave.
The inspector headed back to London; he could almost hear the ghost of Fortunato whispering, “Thank you…… thank you…”
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