Murder in Cross: December 14, 1911

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Lew Hines was born with one leg shorter than the other and a foul temperament. He was an ill wind in any room, and most people took pains to avoid his company. At the age of 13, he had alienated most people, including the majority of his family. Only his mother and father seemed to ignore the despicable aspects of his nature.

His parents secured for him a tutor, a pleasant and educated young man from Manchester, New Hampshire, who had recently attended St. Anselm’s College, graduating with honors. This young man, Roderick Browne, was more than happy to move to Cross and to take a room in the Hines’ home. He did so at the beginning of September of 1911.

On the morning of December 14, I was called down to the Cross Historical Society, where I found the chief of police waiting for me. He asked that I go and visit the Hines’ household, and see if I might speak with Roderick. The day before, it seems, the tutor had attempted to leave via the morning train, but Mr. and Mrs. Hines had arrived at the station and escorted him away.

The police had no grounds to go and ask after the young man’s well-being, but I, as a private citizen, might certainly stop by for a visit.

I did.

Mr. Hines was sweating profusely when he answered the door, and he informed me I could not enter. Roderick was busy with their son. As we stood there, speaking, I saw Mrs. Hines hurry past with a basket and what was unmistakably a human hand.

I killed Mr. Hines, where he stood, and shot his wife as she ran for the kitchen. Lew Hines limped into view a moment later, holding the severed head of Roderick Browne.

I bound Lew to a chair as he screamed profanities at me, promising me a painful death. In reply, I helped even out his legs by cutting them both off at the knee.

I enjoyed a fine cup of coffee while he bled to death. It seems I forgot to cauterize the wounds.

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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