In a decaying castle surrounded by a dank, mirrored lake live the morbidly nervous Roderick Usher and his sickly twin sister, Madeline. Their tale is told and dimly comprehended by the unnamed narrator, a boyhood friend whom Roderick has summoned. When Madeline soon dies—or seems to die—they entomb her body. On a stormy night, "cracking and ripping" sounds and a "shriek" from below convince the panicky Roderick that "We have put her living into the tomb!" The shrouded, emaciated figure of Madeline appears at the door of Roderick's book-strewn study, falls upon him, "and in her violent and now final death-agonies, bore him to the floor a corpse."