Part of our sanitized folklore is the belief that the punishment fits the crime, and that there is – in the end – a sort of rough justice served out.
This has never been the case in Cross.
The town’s ways are the old ways, and the dangers within its borders rarely offer up a rational reason for their occurrences.
So it is with Anne Harper.
In 1927, Anne was a recently married woman of 22, and she and her husband were renting rooms from an elderly couple on Elm Street. The house in which they lived was a quaint, narrow, salt-box Victorian that was pleasant to look upon and to live within.
The elderly couple had inherited the home from the sister’s brother, and they had only been living in the building for three years. As part of the rent agreement, Anne assisted with the basic cleaning of the home. She did this willingly and with genuine joy as she and their landlords got along quite well.
On January 4, 1927, Anne and the landlady discovered a previously unknown hidden door beneath the staircase. The door, cunningly disguised behind a raised piece of paneling, opened onto a dark cupboard. Not surprisingly, the cupboard smelled of dust and slightly of mildew. Since Anne was far younger than her landlady, Anne volunteered to go into the cupboard to see what was within.
No sooner had Anne’s head entered the shadows than she let out a scream of pure terror.
Fear lent strength to the landlady’s old frame, and in less than five seconds she dragged Anne free of the cupboard and kicked the door closed.
A moment later, the door vanished, and Anne neither spoke nor made eye contact with anyone again.
She is currently in the State Sanitarium, looking at the ceiling with same vacant stare her photograph records.
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