Agnes had been strolling door to residential door, handing out cheaply produced leaflets to everyone she encountered willing enough, polite enough, to lighten her load. Few were interested in the spiel that went with it, but at least they had something to enlighten them as to the injustice of society and a government precluding women from the vote.
At twenty two years of age, Agnes was bestowed with long fiery red locks, which were currently tied into a bun firm enough to crack rocks on, tied up on the back of her head. Bearing more freckles than is considered appealing, Agnes Ross had been in Australia a little over five weeks, Moora for four, and stood five feet seven inches in stockinged feet. Dressed in a navy blue ankle length skirt, white blouse buttoned to the neck with tie, calf high button down boots, green eyes, and a willowy body; Agnes looked every part the Victorian era lass that she was. The only hiccup she had encountered thus far on her rounds, was her heavy Glasgow accent, causing trouble among those less receptive to her lilt.
Having gained a lift the 21 miles to a neighbouring town, Agnes stood with her back ramrod straight, head held high, and opened the front gate to an elegant house.
Closing the gate behind her, she took in the beautifully manicured lawn either side of the path she walked. Roses of varying shades of red stood in beds before a wooden decked veranda. Taking the three steps in two paces, she delighted in the heady aroma the roses cast over her. Opening the fly screen, Agnes politely tapped the front door to the quaint house with a brass door knocker, cast in the shape and size of a carrot. Within a minute she heard a door slam somewhere toward the back of the house, and the sound of the apparent residents footfall increasing with each step they took.
Swinging inward, the face looking back at Agnes was one of a plump, smiling, forty-something year old lady; hair pinned back, and apron covering her.
“Good morning Ma’am, my name is Agnes Ross and I am here………………….”
”Indeed dear. Sorry, Miss Ross was it? I’m Mrs. Hudson, do come in.” she said in a thick east end London accent, cutting Agnes off mid sentence.
Agnes followed Mrs. Hudson down the short polished floorboard passage. Taking in those things that people adorn walls with as she did so, yet nothing was so eye catching that she slowed her progress for further examination.
Mrs. Hudson continued into a comfortable sitting room, offered Agnes a chair, which the willowy Scots lass gratefully took, remaining Poised prim, and ramrod straight as she did so.
Accepting Mrs. Hudson’s offer of tea, the absence of noise within the sitting room was conspicuous, giving her cause to pick up every small sound coming from beyond the well-appointed room; she could hear Mrs. Hudson humming as she walked around her kitchen collecting the tea item’s. Birds and crickets made bird and cricket noises outside. Cocking her head to the left, Agnes felt more than thought there was a vague sound, as though someone was screaming from quite some distance away. The sound dull in her ears.
Tea was served, and Agnes silently gave thanks to God that the milk was still fresh, the weather being as warm as it had been recently. Removing herself from such trivialities, Agnes got down to business. Mrs. Hudson was enthusiastic about all Agnes had said, to the point that she asked if she could relieve her of the plethora of pamphlets Agnes had set to one side of the table.
“I will pass these gems to my ‘Thursday Afternoon Ladies’, when we next meet. I am sure they will be as excited as I, if not more so.”
Mrs. Hudson then stood, stating the leaflets would be all but forgotten, should she not put them with her ‘Thursday Afternoon Ladies’ articles for future discussion.
Feeling rather impressed with herself, Agnes continued to sip her tea, finishing the macaron before her as she did so.
The muted screaming continued just on the farther reaches of Agnes’s hearing. Yet she dismissed it as something beyond her control, and geographically outside of her reach should aid be required.
With spectacular suddenness, exquisite sharp pain and immense pressure threw Agnes forcefully onto the table. Tea cups, macaroons, and tea spoons leaping into the air in a rare defiance of gravity. A sharpened length of wooden curtain rod extended vertically by two and a half feet from Agnes’s back; impaling her through the left shoulder blade, lodging deep within her chest.
“Hells! I am terribly sorry Miss Ross, but it would appear I am off the mark so to speak.” laughed Mrs. Hudson. “I will have to try to be somewhat more accurate this time. This won’t hurt me a bit.”
With a booted foot firmly placed against Agnes’s chair back, the curtain rail was powerfully torn from her back and body. Still laughing, Mrs. Hudson dragged Agnes from her chair, threw her onto the polished floor, leaving her face up. Pain and fear stealing all sound from Agnes’s lips; her eye’s slowly losing focus.
Once more Mrs. Hudson’s boot pinned Agnes, allowing for a single vicious thrust, destroying Agnes’s heart in the process. Blood leaped from Agnes’s broken body as the stake completed its heinous task. Death hovered close by, relieving Agnes’ mortal remains of her soul, freeing her into the unknown that is the afterlife.
A sense of utter joy and contentment washed over Mrs. Hudson. Her smile only leaving her face to be replaced by lips pursed, allowing her to whistle a jolly tune.
Agnes was carefully disposed of as per Mrs. Hudson’s unique routine. Starting with a meat hook through the mouth, and out from beneath the chin, she dragged Agnes’s body out of the sitting room, down the hall, and kicked her down the stairs into a cellar. Undressing her, the first thing done was to cut a short length of hair from Agnes’s head, after that the legs, then the arms were removed with a large clever. The head was cut off in line with the shoulders, and the innards drawn out. She would use the small intestine as sausage skins later in the week. The murderess stacked all of Agnes’s body parts behind a false wall, and looked at her next task with utter relish. Mrs. Hudson lifted the key to the shackles from a nail behind the cellar door that held a seventeen year old Dutch girl, the same girl Agnes had heard screaming earlier, and unlocked the manacles from her feet.
It took her forty fun filled minutes to kill and break up the unfortunates body.
Job finished, mops were bleached, buckets washed, apron laundered, knives put over the whetstone, and life was good. Mrs. Hudson dined that evening on a roast of human thigh with an apple sauce, washed down with a decent sherry.
It took 47 years for the dismembered corpse of Agnes to be found, along with the remains of nine other assumed young women, all neatly and individually bound up in calico, hidden behind a false wall in Mrs. Hudson’s cellar. The gruesome discovery was accidentally uncovered when, after a huge patch of rain, the cellar flooded. Mrs. Hudson’s granddaughter brought in a builder and a plumber to examine the foundations and possible damage to the house, it was then that the remains were uncovered. Mrs. Hudson herself had passed away 18 months earlier, old age the cause of death.
As is to be imagined, the entire house was minutely examined after the grisly find, and on completion a red leather ledger was held by Police as evidence. Within it, nine different locks of hair, varying in colour yet all exactly eight inches in length, had been neatly tied, and dated. Accompanying the locks of hair were other small trinkets, Agnes’ locks were affixed to the page beside the leaflet Agnes had been carrying at the time.
The second, and last damning item, was the sharpened curtain rod. When examined, it was still extremely sharp, exactly three feet long, and had been repeatedly scrubbed.
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