I don’t believe in fate. Nor do I believe predestination. I do believe in bad luck. Or good luck, whatever you will.
Victor Aldrich was a man who had an infinite amount of both good and bad luck. He was clever enough to learn the fine art of photography in 1845 and smart enough to set up a little shop in Cross. He made a fair living, nothing extravagant, but enough to keep himself and his wife comfortable. When their first child came, they advertised as far as Boston and New York City, and with those advertisements came the first of what would be a steady stream of customers.
This is where his bad luck came in, or so he would tell me later. In 1850, shortly after he took my photograph, a younger boy came in and requested his photograph be taken as well. The child had gold, so Victor was not averse to oblige him. As he prepared the plates and other materials, he asked the boy who he was and whether he was visiting anyone in town. Victor, not surprisingly, knew most of the residents.
The boy laughed and said his name was known to all, feared by most, and welcomed by few. Cross was not, the boy told him, on his stop for his business lay further south. When Victor asked him what business that was, the boy smiled and told him to watch the papers, and that the number to look for would be 48.
Victor, thinking he humored the boy, agreed. He took the photo and asked when the boy might be back to collect it. The child shook his head and told Victor to, “Hang it on the wall. My brethren will come to join me upon it later.”
Several days later, Victor read the paper and learned of a train accident in Norwalk, Connecticut. He found the number 48. It was the number of those killed.
Unsure of what to do, Victor eventually hung the portrait on the wall in his studio, and he hoped the child’s brethren would not visit.
Victor’s hopes would be dashed
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