She kept a list that damned her.
Emily Vassar worked as a teacher and never married. She traveled throughout the small towns of New England, never spending more than a year or two in each place.
She never wore out her welcome, far from it. She was considered one of the finest teachers to ever step foot into a one-room schoolhouse.
When she returned to Cross, I was none too pleased to see her. She’d begun her teaching career in Cross, and she had come to my home more than once in an effort to recruit me to attend. Not everyone in Cross is aware of my age or how my looks bely my experiences.
After a year of teaching, she pulled up stakes as it were and made her way out to the western portion of Massachusetts along the New York border.
When I crossed paths with her near the train station, she was more than a little surprised to see me, especially since I looked as though I hadn’t aged a day. When she questioned me, I feigned stupidity and claimed to be my own grandson, which she accepted.
Later that evening, she came to the farm and asked to enter. She carried with her a small travel bag, one she said she was unwilling to leave in her rented room. Emily asked to speak with either my father or grandfather, saying she would like to offer her services as a tutor if needed.
I told her services were not needed and kindly bade her leave.
She tried to force her way into the house, and in the scuffle that followed, she dropped her bag, and the lock sprang open. A small book tumbled out and opened to the center, and it was there that I saw a list of names.
Martin Fry, age 13 – quinine, 1844.
She scrambled for the book, and I punched her in the back of her head, stunning her. I snatched up the book and saw name after name of murdered children.
All poisoned with quinine.
She started to speak, and I grabbed her by the hair. Emily screamed as I dragged her into the kitchen and bound her to a chair. In the medicine chest, I found quinine and gave her the first of many draughts.
It took her a day and a half to die.
Hers is the final entry in the book, a reminder of the lives she stole.
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