Murder in Cross: December 10, 1899


Miss Wilhemina Wurtz had been gone from Cross for 31 years, having left town to work in circuses and carnivals. When she returned, it was as a successful performer, one who had spent almost two decades training some of the most dangerous animals on the planet.

She purchased a large house on North Road, close to Gods’ Hollow, and she kept one of her lions with her. It was said by her staff that she danced with the lion on a fairly regular basis. While I was unsure of the veracity of this claim, I did know that several of her cooks were fired, one after the other until she found one she seemed quite pleased with.

At the beginning of December, dogs began to go missing in Cross. This was not uncommon when the Wendigo came into town and prowled along the borders, but there was nothing that hinted at such a situation. There was no scat to be seen, nor were any children or hunters missing, both of which often vanished along with the dogs.

On the morning of December 10, I came upon a man field-stripping a large dog he had shot. With the barrel of one of my Colt’s pressed against his temple, he told me he was Wurtz’ cook, and that she fed the dogs to her lion.

I blew the man’s brains out and headed toward her home.

One of the maids let me in and wisely took the others out of the house. I went to Wurtz’s bedroom and found the woman talking to her lion. She sat on the floor of the cage, the two of them sharing a meal of dog between them. It was with pleasure that I shot her in the face, and regret that I had to kill the lion.

The killing of a dog, as far as I am concerned, is oft akin to murder.

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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