Good day. I’m Yuri Cross. Yes, I’m a direct descendant of Judith Cross, the artist Judith Cross. Yes, she was Elizabeth Hartford’s lover among other things. The portrait at Hartford Hall which my Westerleigh is so enamoured with is among her best work.
I’d argue it’s also Judith’s most cursed work. Something happened when she captured Elizabeth’s likeness, transforming it into more than just canvas and paint. It lives. You can see that monstrous imitation of personality, gazing back at you through Elizabeth’s painted eyes.
Truly A Portrait Is Worth a Thousand Words. Look at the spell a mere copy of that likeness exudes through books upon my Westerleigh.
I blame the subject matter, even though there’s something dangerously innocent about Westerleigh’s admiration for Elizabeth Hartford, his ancestor. I fear he’d do anything for her, a naive loyalty which her greedy spirit will take full advantage of.
For make no mistake, Elizabeth’s spirit is greedy. It hungers for more life than it has any right to claim. Defying convention made Elizabeth a rule unto herself, a trait Westerleigh is fiercely proud of. I can see why he admires this independence of spirit, but she may well regard herself as being above any human sympathy.
I contemplate this qualities inherent in her spirit without quite accepting her spirit’s existence. I’ll admit that Elizabeth’s portrait has a ghastly animation to it which exudes a certain power over viewers.
If only it was just the painting. I fear Elizabeth herself may still walk among us in the flesh. I fear that whatever was once Elizabeth is no longer human. I fear the lady’s determination to continue living, ruling her estate and her descendants beyond the grave.
Even now, she reaches out for Westerleigh and me.
I’ve seen what looks all too like Elizabeth’s face at my window in the dead of night. Westerleigh’s obsession has infected us both, only mine brings me no joy, only fear. I find myself locking my windows and doors.
The only thing equal to my fear is my concern for Westerleigh. I worry about his guise as a Hartford heiress living under Elizabeth’s roof.
My two emotions war within me, pitting my urge to hide against my need to be at Westerleigh’s side.
I’m not sure which will win in the end.