At that moment, Nora Kitcher heard the kitchen knob turn and the door swing wide open. Frantically scurrying down the hall, she hid in the only place she knew. It was the same place she hid when just a child and played ‘Hide the Stash’ with Ed Linnington. Nora hid behind the curtains! It was from behind those old, dusted pair of drapes where she heard Roos Minster converse with a man whose voice she knew not. This man, however, carried a rather distinct voice. It trailed up the stairs as he pressured Ms. Minster, paralyzing Nora. Remaining quiet, she continued to listen in, and it wasn’t until mentions of her child came about that everything took a turn. She had to escape, but how?
“Did anyone see you?”
“No, but the seventh’s missing.”
“And the child’s mother,” he said, “where is she?”
“Upstairs sleeping, in room three.”
Ms. Minster glanced at the scattered crumbs on the kitchen counter and the faucet whose endless drips caught her reflection, and no longer did she recognize herself, nor the hands that trembled before her.
“Is there a problem?”
“You must understand, I’ve never done anything like this, my nerves run endless.”
“In this line of work, Ms. Minster, there’s no time for nerves. I suggest you collect yourself.”
“Yes, yes, of course, forgive me.”
Running up the stairs and into room three, Godfrey Walker discovered Nora Kitcher had gone missing. He peered down the hall to notice Ms. Minster dragging the bodies of the women down the stairs.
“Did you say room three?”
“There’s no one here.”
“Impossible!” Ms. Minster dropped the body, rushing toward Godfrey Walker as she pulled the sheets off the bed. “She has to be here.”
“Search the rooms. Now!”
Running down the halls, Ms. Minster swung the doors open, but no sign of Nora Kitcher did she find. “They’re empty, all the rooms are empty!”
“This changes everything.”
“What are we going to do?”
“We? No, Ms. Minster, you. If word gets out about this, you’re ruined. I had nothing to do with this, I was never here.” Godfrey Walker ran to room three, glancing out the window to see the pale reflection of a woman in the distance. “Out of my way!”
Ms. Minster gripped onto Godfrey Walker’s coat. “What are you going to do?”
“There’s only one way to end this.” Godfrey pulled out a knife.
“Is that… is that a knife?”
“I’ll not have this coming back to me, Ms. Minster. Tidy up your end.”
Ms. Minster nodded her head. “What should I do with the bodies?”
“Bury them in the basement, and make some tea.”
“It’s settling on the nerves.”
That night, Ms. Minster buried the bodies in the basement. Upon her return, she served herself some tea while glancing at the drops that settled on the window. From its reflection, she saw Leona Burt. She held a bottle similar to the one she purchased from the merchant, but upon turning she began to feel nauseous and within moments her hands trembled.
“Thought you’d get away with it, didn’t you, Ms. Minster?” Leona Burt waved a clouded bottle.
“No, no, no! You stupid fool!” Ms. Minster held her stomach, walking toward Leona Burt. “What did you do? What did you do?”
“You’ll be dead within a matter of time. Serves you right.” Leona Burt stepped back, watching Ms. Minster fall before her feet. “And just so you know, Nora Kitcher’s alive. I put her on a wagon, she’d be long gone by now, but tell me, why did you do it, after all these years.”
“I had no choice.” Ms. Minster let out a dry hacking cough. “He made me… he made me…”
“Who made you?” Leona Burt grabbed Ms. Minster, shaking her as her eyes rolled back. “Who made you?”
That night, Ms. Minster died in a pool of her own slabber as Leona Burt tried to figure out who ordered her death and the death of the midwives. She searched the entire house but found nothing when seeing the reflection of a man through the upstairs window. He carried a certain austere about him as he sauntered toward the house; even his whistle had its own cast. Down the stairs, through the back, and down the alley Leona Burt ran! The girl did not break until reaching the forest.
That night, while traveling, she came across a lone rover in a wagon. He too, was leaving the town of Kregur. Not asking any questions, she mounted the wagon, settling herself toward the rear. Within moments, she noticed a strange smell rising from the back; it was so strong, she couldn’t put it off. Curious, she snooped through the fabrics when coming face-to-face with the albino woman, Nora Kitcher! At that moment, the wagon came to a halt as the sound of footsteps approached.
“Shh…” The driver removed his hood to show a face that ran dry. In his other hand, he held a bloody knife.
“You’re the one. You’re the one who ordered my death and the death of the midwives.” Leona Burt hurled dirt his way, leaping off the wagon.
On a dirt road, the two faced each other, but Leona Burt was no match for the insensible monster whose calloused hands brought her down. That night, the wagon made one stop in The Whispering City, and upon leaving all that was heard was the stony, grim whistle and the deteriorated wood of the wagon as it creaked through the night.
Stories around town claim before the sun rose over The Bare Hills of Hebburn the house mysteriously burned to the ground, and as for Godfrey Walker some say he wanders the area from time to time, but his involvement in the matter is never questioned as the man is of good standing.
About The Author
Marilyn Velez is a Visual and Literary Artist. She is an Author of Fiction, a Cartographer, and Poet. Graduated from New York with a degree in Business, and studied in The Art Institutes, she enjoys writing.