Murder in Cross: December 12, 1907

Timothy Wales was a quiet young man who spent most of his life on his family’s small farm. In 1904, both his parents and younger brother died of an unknown illness. When he was forced to leave the farm, Timothy moved into the center of town and took a job at a bar located on Scots Street near the train station.

Despite his shy demeanor, he was a favorite of the men who would stop in for a drink. He had a particular fondness for men his own age, often serving them the liquor they could otherwise ill-afford.

On the afternoon of December 9, I saw a pair of men stumble out of the bar and was shocked at the state of them. Their hair was thin, their eyes sunken, and the pallor of their skin was horrific. They were drunk and unsteady on their feet, and when I asked them what they had been drinking, they muttered about Timmy Wales’ special brew.

An angry, cold sensation settled in the pit of my stomach, and I walked into the bar, took a seat where I could see the young man, and I watched him for the night. For three more days, I returned, observing him and those he served, and the bottle from which he poured their drinks. On the night of the twelfth, I made sure to be the last patron in the bar.

When Timothy came over to tell me it was time to leave, I placed my Colts on the table and told him he needed to get his bottle and sit with me a spell. He told me he would not and that I needed to kill him. I replied that I’d blow his kneecaps out and tell the town what he’d been up to with strangers, and what it meant regarding his family.

Timothy brought the bottle to the table.

It took him two hours, but he choked the contents down. The poison took effect within moments of his last drink, and in seconds he was on his hands and knees, vomiting blood onto the floor.

In the end, he lay in a pool of blood, bile, and intestines, weeping as he died.

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Murder in Cross: December 11, 1905

Mary Warren preferred married men.

It wasn’t the thrill of the hunt or the satisfaction of knowing she could seduce a man from his wife (although how faithful he was, to begin with, is up for question in that situation).

No, what Mary found most appealing was the torment she could wreak on the man’s wife.

Mary had traveled with an elderly aunt for several years, and when they returned to Cross, her aunt had a telephone installed, one of the first in town. It was an item of much discussion and envy, and Mary was always quite pleased to show it off. By 1905, there were a handful of other families who had telephones, and Mary added a new aspect to her game.

She would only chase after married men who had phones.

On December 11, I was made aware of this when a good friend of mine, Annette Sloan, killed herself in front of her husband. When I learned of this, I hastened to Leon Sloan’s house, not to offer him comfort, but to see if he needed killing. I was never a fan of the man, nor of the way he treated Annette. Arriving at the house, I learned that he was indeed responsible, but I waited for the full story before I passed my judgment.

He told me that he had engaged in an affair with Mary Warren and that she had broken it off a few days previous. On the morning of the eleventh, she had called his wife and given, in excruciating detail, every intimate act that he and Mary had engaged in.

After the phone call, Annette had taken her life.

I advised Leon to do the same, and then made use of his phone by calling Mary Warren.

While Leon blew out his brains in his parlor, I spoke five words to Mary Warren.

“I am coming for you.”

I regret to say that she opened her wrists in the bathtub and was dead by the time I knocked on her door.

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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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Murder in Cross: December 9, 1897

Patrolman Giles James was not a bad man. He wasn’t a good man, either. How he came to be one of the few patrolmen employed by Cross is easy enough to answer: his father was, for a short time, the town manager.

The night of December 9th was exceptionally cold, and one which I was forced to be out in. A rather raucous group of fey had slipped the borders of my land and were wreaking havoc on nearby farms. I could hear the baying of dogs and the angry cries of horses in the night air, and so I was doing my best to wrangle the fey, attempting to convince them that it was in their best interest to return home.

Around ten, I came upon the house of Klaus Hapsburg, an older German who had emigrated years before following the Franco-Prussian War. As I considered going in to warm up and to see if Klaus had any of his schnapps on hand, I heard a scream from within.

I hastened to the door, threw it wide, and saw a scene of pure horror.

Klaus was hanging by his feet from the center beam in front of his fireplace. Patrolman Giles James stood there, his hands deep in Klaus’ belly and whistling as he pulled the man’s intestines out.

Klaus, I saw, was dead.

Giles would wish he was.

The patrolman turned and looked at me in surprise, and as he reached for a knife on the mantle, I shot him in each shoulder. His eyes widened, and he let out a cry of pure misery.

While I dragged him out of the house, he told me he only wanted to know what it was like to kill someone.

I didn’t answer.

Instead, I brought him into the woods and dragged him the mile to Blood Lake. Once there, I pushed him on to the ice and told him to crawl. He objected, at first, but a few well-placed rounds sent him on his way.

He made it 30 feet before the ice broke beneath him.

I am pleased to say that his body was never discovered.

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Murder in Cross: December 8, 1894

Belle Sheridan was as fine a musician as Cross ever produced. It was always a pleasure to listen to her play, and whenever I was in town, I made certain to stop in wherever she might be.

I learned that on the evening of the eighth, she would be performing at the house of Augustus Willoughby, a recent transplant from Boston. The middle-aged man had made his money supplying weapons to both sides during the War of the Rebellion, and while I had no great love for the man, I did enjoy Belle and her music.

When I arrived, I was ushered to the front row in Willoughby’s ballroom and seated beside the man himself, much to my displeasure. I was polite, however, and I refrained from snubbing him. Belle was, after all, the main attraction.

She came out shortly after the last of the audience was seated, and she began with a stirring, passionate rendition of a piece from Schubert’s Death and the Maiden. The music affected Willoughby terribly, for when I glanced at him, his face was deathly pale, and there was sweat beaded on his forehead.

Belle finished the piece and came forward to greet me. As I rose, she drew a small, two-shot derringer and fired a single shot into the forehead of our host, Mr. August Willoughby. He collapsed back into his chair as she swung the derringer towards me, and instinct took over, I am afraid to say.

Before I could stay my hands, I had drawn both Colts and put two rounds through her breast.

As I stood there, sliding the pistols back into their holsters, I understood why she had invited me into Willoughby’s house, and why I was seated beside him.

Upon inspection of her derringer, it was discovered that the second chamber had never been loaded.

No one knows why she killed Willoughby, though rumors ran rampant for a great many years after. I know only that she couldn’t kill herself, and so she left that task to me.

It is one of the few deaths that weigh upon me, but my shoulders are broad, and I shall carry that weight.

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Murder in Cross: December 7, 1886

Niles and Everett Kroft were skilled hunters and avid fishermen. They bragged that they could hunt and kill anything they set their minds to. One day, they decided to come onto my lands and see what they could find.

For years there had been rumors of strange and curious animals on my lands, and I did my best to dissuade those rumors. Unfortunately, every few decades, someone like the Krofts decided it was necessary to see if there was any truth to them.

Niles and Everett discovered that there was.

Early on the morning of December 7, they tracked down, shot, and killed one of the small giants who lived in the far eastern corner of my property. She was a gentle soul, perhaps a little slow, even for her kind, but she had been a sweetheart, and I had often enjoyed her company on warm evenings when she would sing to the sheep.

I came upon Niles and Everett while they were in the middle of an argument, trying to decide how best to skin the body and bring the giant’s head home.

I helped resolve their brotherly disagreement by shooting them both in their kneecaps. Then, as the snow fell, I stripped them of their coats and shirts and tied them securely to her corpse. Among her belongings, I found her horn, and I used it to summon several of her brethren from the depths of my forest.

When they arrived, I informed them what the Kroft brothers had done. The giants held a brief palaver, then they agreed upon a fitting punishment.

They carried her body back to their own camp, and they brought the screaming Kroft brothers with them. I accompanied the small troupe, and when we arrived at our destination, I settled in and enjoyed a large mug of beer while the giants went about the process of slowly killing the brothers.

When they finished, the giants used the Krofts’ bones to make their bread.

It was, I must admit, one of the sweetest breads I have had the pleasure of eating.

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Murder in Cross: December 6, 1881

Madelaine St. James was an eccentric. Even for Cross. She was a widow, her husband, Daniel, having committed suicide less than a year into their marriage. Some say it was her sharp tongue and acerbic wit, which drove him to it. I know for a fact that Daniel was a drunk who quite literally challenged an ongoing train to a fight.

Madelaine enjoyed the company of only her dog and brought him everywhere with her. She spoke only to him and often asked his opinion about various items she intended to purchase. Several times she attacked random individuals in the street because they looked askance at her dog and there was, for a brief time, talks about putting her away.

In December of 1881, she took to chasing people off her street when she saw them walking, and the police had to inform her that she was not allowed to do so. Her defense was that she didn’t want them sullying the ground where her dog walked. The police told her, in no uncertain terms, that she needed to stop. For several days, she did, but on December 6, she did something far worse.

I was escorting a friend of mine home. A young lady whom I was, I readily confess, rather smitten with. As we strolled through a gentle snow, discussing what the future might hold, Madelaine came out onto her porch and shot us both with her deceased husband’s revolver.

The bullet passed through my arm and into my dear friend’s chest, killing her.

As Madelaine screamed obscenities at me, I laid my friend in the street, turned, and walked up to Madelaine’s porch, where she tried but failed to fire a second round.

On the street behind me, people raced from their homes, and by the time they reached my friend, I had disarmed Madelaine St. James. She started to tell me that I was trespassing, and I blew off her lower jaw with her husband’s weapon.

I did not finish her off. Instead, I stood there and watched her die, her dog feeding on the scraps of her jaw which littered the porch floor.

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