At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious. Its walls had been lined with human remains piled to the vault overhead, in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris. Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this manner. From the fourth the bones had been thrown down, and lay promiscuously upon the earth, forming at one point a mound of some size. Within the wall thus exposed by the displacing of the bones, we perceived a still interior recess, in depth about four feet, in width three, in height six or seven. It seemed to have been constructed for no especial use in itself, but formed merely the interval between two of the colossal supports of the roof of the catacombs, and was backed by one of their circumscribing walls of solid granite.
It was in vain that Fortunato, uplifting his dull torch, endeavoured to pry into the depths of the recess. Its termination the feeble light did not enable us to see.
“Proceed,” I said; “herein is the Amontillado. As for Luchesi”
“He is an ignoramus,” interrupted my friend, as he stepped unsteadily forward, while I followed immediately at his heels, thinking, ‘He may be an ignoramus, but soon I’ll be in your anus.’ In an instant he had reached the extremity of the niche, and finding his progress arrested by the rock, stood stupidly bewildered. A moment more and I had fettered him to the granite. In its surface were two iron staples, distant from each other about two feet, horizontally. From one of these depended a short chain- from the other, a padlock. Throwing the links about his waist, it was but the work of a few seconds to secure it. He was too much astounded to resist . Withdrawing the key I stepped back from the recess.
“The Amontillado!” ejaculated my friend, not yet recovered from his astonishment.
“Yes,” I replied; “the Amontillado.”
Presently, I pulled out my “trowel”, and proceeding in taking off Fortunato’s vestments, leaving just his hat.
“Wh-what’s the meaning of this?”
I had scarcely inserted the tip of my member when I discovered that the intoxication of Fortunato had in a great measure worn off. The earliest indication I had of this was a low moaning cry. It was NOT the cry of a drunken man. There was then a long and obstinate silence as I plowed on. I heard the furious vibrations of the chain, pleasing me with a sadistic pleasure almost orgiastic in nature. The noise lasted for several minutes, during which, that I might hearken to it with the more satisfaction, I went deeper, and deeper. When at last the clanking subsided, I started working with the mortar, patching the niche into a new wall, Fortunato gasping for breath inside. I again paused, and holding the flambeaux over the mason-work, threw a few feeble rays upon the figure within.
A succession of loud and shrill screams, bursting suddenly from the throat of the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back. For a brief moment I hesitated- I trembled. Unsheathing my rapier (my actual sword, mind you), I began to grope with it about the recess; but the thought of an instant reassured me. I placed my hand upon the solid fabric of the catacombs, and felt satisfied. I reapproached the wall. I replied to the yells of him who clamored. I reechoed -- I aided -- I surpassed them in volume and in strength. I did this, and the clamorer grew still.
It was now midnight, and my task was drawing to a close. I had completed the eighth, the ninth, and the tenth tier. I had finished a portion of the last and the eleventh; there remained but a single stone to be fitted and plastered in. I struggled with its weight; I placed it partially in its destined position. But now there came from out the niche a low laugh that erected the hairs upon my head. It was succeeded by a sad voice, which I had difficulty in recognising as that of the noble Fortunato. The voice said-
“Ha! ha! ha!
- he! he! A very good joke indeed an excellent lay, as well! We will have many a rich laugh about it at the palazzo! he! he! he! Over our wine! he! he! he!”
“The Amontillado!” I said.
“He! he! he! he! he! he! Yes, the Amontillado. But is it not getting late? Will not they be awaiting us at the palazzo, the Lady Fortunato and the rest? Let us be gone.”
“Yes,” I said “let us be gone.”
“FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MONTRESOR!”
“Yes,” I said, “for the love of God!”
But to these words I hearkened in vain for a reply. I grew impatient. I called aloud --
No answer. I called again-
No answer still. I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let it fall within. There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells. My heart grew sick -- on account of the dampness of the catacombs. I hastened to make an end of my labour. I forced the last stone into its position; I plastered it up. Against the new masonry I reerected the old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them.
In penis requiescat!