The Days and Nights of Sir Alistair Helling: The House of Ill Repute
By Jonas Hyde
it is to this certain self,
how I ever find myself in situations,
particularly ones such as this chronicle before you.
The duality of my nature,
has been the cause of untold troubles,
and the ills I find myself amongst,
are not a consequence of my inherent malevolence,
but quite contrary,
the prevalence of conscience.
O’ how things,
would be such simpler,
if I kept to the course of my skills.
Walking the crowds,
pilfering the purses,
and engaging in the swift-witted grifts,
the lies which have brought me affluence throughout the years.
I find it is the lighter side of self,
the bard within,
which forces my hand into the duty,
so oft called upon by the Yard.
And as so repeatedly in the past,
such was the cause of my current quandary.
there stood I,
over the corpse of a young lady,
age somewhere betwixt,
that of my daughter’s,
and my own.
Blood was strewn,
about the cobblestone,
And it was then,
when the very official who enlisted my aid,
gazed upon me with distress,
‘Twas a light,
I never expected him,
to regard myself in.
I longed to clarify to him,
as I shall soon explain to you,
that not all was as it seemed,
tho’ I knew,
he understood the truth more than any,
I consider it prudent,
to relay upon you the details,
which led me to that particular place,
and situation in time.
For in itself,
you would think it fitting,
for someone with my dubious history.
I assure you,
not only was I called upon,
but my placement in that alley,
was the child of noble intent,
coupled with ill fortune.
So as alluded,
the prefect of Scotland Yard at the time,
had enlisted my aid on cases of the past,
which had brought him the most difficulty in solving.
The reasoning he oft relayed to me was,
“What better way to catch a worldly criminal,
than to be armed with such an intellect.”
Now I must confess upon this,
I myself find my skills to be more common,
mundane if you will,
rather than in the realm of some criminal architect,
but I deem my title to have been earned by the reality,
that even tho’ Lord Bixby knew me best,
having been in relations since our earliest years,
even he had never been able,
to convey sufficient testimony against my past actions.
And while he had always been quite confident,
that my affluence was gathered by questionable measures,
[whilst coupled with the awareness,
that I had never laboured a day of my life,
and my lineage bore no fruit of nobility or monies],
he was never able to amass adequate evidence.
Even with all this knowledge,
he had never,
outwardly it seemed,
been able to find victim to my crimes,
nor was he able to pursue the prosecution of my guilt.
So in protection of our longstanding closeness,
we adopted an implicit decree,
not to tread upon each other’s lives as far as our ‘professions’ went,
so we would never have to imagine crossing such intricate lines.
It would save me an era of imprisonment if he were to apprehend me,
and for him,
a lifetime of mortification,
since he never would.
Over the years,
my position had developed within the community,
as my actions shifted to long-standing grifts,
that seemed more lawful,
more moral even,
than the lives of most politicians.
and my witty banter,
they had helped forge myself,
as near legitimate a presence,
as I could ever have anticipated.
But to point,
over the years,
and as a favour,
Lord Bixby had enlisted my aid,
in catching those who had eluded he,
and all of his finest officers.
it is typically my place,
to catch all of those,
who Scotland Yard cannot.
And while I do not claim to be as cunning,
as some of the literary figures you may be familiar with,
I would reason it to be my exploits,
that such imaginative figures,
would be based.
So as in past,
Lord Bixby came to me,
just prior to dawn,
with a look of the utmost distress upon his face.
“He struck again,”
his words hung thick,
in the air.
Now it took neither criminal mastermind,
to know who He was.
For nearly the last two months,
the body of a young lady would oft be found,
just prior to dawn,
in the precise manner my friend would soon find me over,
as I detailed earlier.
At the time of this dialogue tho’,
my innocence was not yet in question,
and as such,
the death of that particular eve,
was the cause of finding him,
now in my study,
chewing on the root he so oft used to cure his nerves.
It was a habit I too had shared,
but found it excessively difficult to keep my senses about me,
which can prove costly in my line of work.
And while it was a difficult endeavor to cease such a habit,
the end result,
was well worth the imposed torture.
But there before me,
was Lord Bixby,
root and all,
filling my study,
with both girth,
regarding with a certain fervor,
the most recent slaying.
I replied in response,
“and I can see by your countenance,
that the situation is dire,
and by your presence,
that my aid is required.”
truly your choice my friend,
tho’ the answers I warn,
are as fleeting as a summer’s innocence.”
“And I thought I was the poet,”
I said as I offered him a seat,
while obtaining one for myself.
well this root offers more than just a bitter taste,
as you know.”
“All too well-,
so tell me Bixby,
what precisely do we know?”
With that inquiry,
my friend at last sat down,
and for a long while,
just stared off into the nothingness.
I knew better than to interrupt,
because this was a question,
devoid of a true answer.
The reality was,
he knew little,
or even nothing at all,
hence his coming to me.
my query was intended more for unraveling truth from rumour,
had been spreading like wildfire through both society,
At long last,
Lord Bixby finally responded,
while still staring out vacantly,
“We know it is the work of a man…”
waiting to gauge his reaction.
Turning to me,
he answered only with a glare.
‘twas a title issued by the press.
In their longing to dramatize the murders,
and increase the sale of papers,
they started a plague of panic,
which only made the situation,
and pressures weighted against my friend,
all that much worse.
“Well you have to admit,
it is catchy,
but name aside,
is it He you are speaking of?”
Bixby finally responded.
“And how can I help?”
tho’ we both knew the answer.
“If I must ask,
then perhaps I came to the wrong place?”
Bixby slowly made his way to his feet,
and began heading to the doorway,
in a manner even more enigmatic than his entrance.
had its moments at times,
but in all seriousness,
the death toll was mounting,
and we both knew,
that without my help,
things would only get worse.
playing his game,
and to his ego,
I begged with only a hint of sarcasm,
sit back down.”
And before he could rub it in,
I continued on,
“So what else do we know?
Beyond his gender…”
“What we know,
may not be real enough to count on,
so as an alternative,
I suggest that perhaps we visit the scene,
which spawned my visit.”
Eager for the chance,
I knew he was right.
Likely what Bixby himself,
and his detectives,
discerned from the locale,
would not be on par with my own assumptions,
so I jumped upon the opportunity.
removed my own coat from the stand neighboring the entryway,
and with an urge of the hand,
ushered Bixby out of my flat.
the night air was cool,
and was the first thing I noticed.
was the phase of the moon,
as one would expect in such a story.
it was quite the contrary,
barely noticeable even,
beyond the thick fog of the night air.
was the slight,
but consistent drizzle,
so familiar here.
would quickly wash away the sanctity of the crime scene,
and as a result,
I felt it prudent,
to rush our step.
Without a word,
I picked up my pace,
in hope that Bixby would mimic my actions.
He may be the guide,
but it was I,
who would lead this dance.
And to plan,
that he did.
our destination was not far.
I was surprised at the proximity to my own location,
and pondered why,
I had not yet become intimate with the details of the case.
“Have all the crimes been neighboring to this?”
“All within a few miles, yes,”
while motioning the officers to stand back as we approached.
Truth be told,
his answer did not please me.
Here I was,
supposed to be the one adept at the skills of perception,
and I had no clue,
the crimes were taking place,
in my own,
made me look upon this scene,
with all that much more intensity,
I let my senses work together in concert,
as I surveyed the scene.
Tho’ there were officers about,
and nature herself had blanketed the scene with her tears,
I took in a great deal.
seemingly in her early twenties,
was a working Jane,
obvious by her dress,
which was a bit sparse considering the weather of the night prior,
and quite unbecoming for a proper girl.
What was more noticeable however,
was the lack of a struggle.
No defensive wounds laced her arms.
and surprisingly so,
her body as a whole seemed especially soft,
and supple for one in her dress.
That abnormality aside,
the lack of such defensive wounds,
suggested she knew her attacker,
and did not fight back,
against the crime that was committed upon her.
and what a crime.
Her intestines lay in her hands,
cradled as if a newborn.
were neither jagged,
as if originating beneath a physician’s blade.
This was the second curiosity.
As I was scrutinizing the corpse,
chewing upon his root with an enhanced vigor.
After a gaze,
which lasted more than a beat,
and a breath,
he finally asked my opinion,
“So my friend,
what do you see?”
I pointed out the obvious,
and the not so,
much as I had just relayed,
in my words to you.
as for deductions,
I held such thoughts to myself,
close to my ain proverbial breast.
I simply shared what any expert in the field would have noticed,
and then made my goodbye.
“I apologize my dear friend,”
I said to Bixby as I patted him on the back whilst turning about,
“but I am afraid my stomach can handle only so much,
so I must take my leave.”
He responded only with a half smile,
and a nod of thanks for the trip I had made,
but offered little more.
As I was walking away,
I suggested he not hesitate to call upon me,
or rather when,
a next victim surfaced,
for the more data I could compile,
the more I could divulge.
It was this offering,
that received the most response,
as he thanked me for my time verbally,
and then quickly,
ordered the corpse to be bagged,
Days went by,
and for what seemed like the longest time,
I heard nothing new of the killings,
from neither my friend,
nor the press.
Til of course the eve,
that came with a knock upon my door.
I simply called out,
“Feel free to enter, Lord Bixby.”
The door opened slowly,
as the officer peeked in his head.
he then focused on me,
“How did you know it was me?”
With a disarming smile I responded,
“I have few friends,
and even fewer visitors,
but I fear your visit is not a fanciful waste of an eve?”
“I’m afraid not,
quite the contrary.”
“Well then my friend,
you must come in,
and tell me what has happened.”
With his step,
came a soft breeze,
heightened in the funnel,
betwixt the open window,
The soft scent of lilacs filled the air,
and reminded me of my manners,
for you see,
the scent of root,
especially when housed in cedar,
emits a similar odour.
Standing as Bixby sat,
I walked over to a small wooden case resting on my bookshelf,
and removed it.
Then opening it in front of my friend,
I offered him one.
Bixby peered at the box,
noticing the results of my hobby.
“I thought you gave up the root?”
he asked me as he pulled one from the case.
I did the taste,
I still find the collection of such rarities,
a fine distraction of mundane life,
I enjoy the temptation,
and imagine at some point,
I shall give in once more,
and when I do,
I will long for the most specific of tastes.
“Well, thank you,”
as he put the thicker end,
of a large piece,
into his mouth.
Satisfied with his contentment,
I placed the box down,
“So what has happened now?”
“More of the same I’m afraid.”
“So the killer has struck again?”
“I’m afraid so,
the pace seems to be quickening,
forcing the need to wrap this up,
before it gets too far out of control.”
“Was it another girl?”
and in fact,
they have all been girls,
six now in total,
the more striking the bird,
the more vicious the crime.”
“And I should assume that her arms,
and face even,
were free from bruising?”
“Yes in fact,
how did you know?”
I merely pass off his question,
as if I did not hear it.
In years past,
Bixby would have let it go,
and simply waited for my next response,
knowing I would have reason not to answer.
But these were not the times of yesteryear,
and Bixby was not the same man he was.
Be it by cause of root,
or simply the advancement of age,
his temperament was laced with more impatience then ever before.
Glaring at me,
he added this time with added curiosity,
as if to read my own body,
your insight intrigues me.”
Tho’ I did not want to tell him my truest thoughts,
I felt a blatant fabrication would go too noticed.
in the vein of finding a medium I replied,
“Well it seems she was comfortable around her attacker,
and maybe even knew him,
The tail end of that statement had the effect I desired.
“Oh now please,
you must tell me more,
for gender was about the only thing I thought we knew surely,
and to be wrong on even that would be truly embarrassing,”
he added as he sat forward,
gazing at me intently.
to rule out the fact,
that a female would be capable of these crimes,
would by erroneous at best,
and an utter miscalculation at worst.
There has not been a requirement of strength needed to commit them,
only a sadistic nature,
and such nature is not gender specific.”
“Ah so true my friend,
and in fact,
I have known women who would fit such a bill.”
“I doubt that not,”
I replied with a sly grin.
I said as I continued with point,
“I have oft pondered,
how a girl as innocent as my little Poe,
could end up,
as dastardly as some of the women I have met in my time,
yet I must remind myself,
that each of them was a daughter of innocence,
at some point prior to their sins.”
Bixby nodded silently in agreement,
seemingly half-lost in his own thoughts.
He then asked,
“Speaking of your Poe,
how is she enjoying school?”
“Very well it seems,
and in fact,
I was just about to pen her a letter when you arrived,
but I must confess,
being apart is likely harder on me,
than it is her.”
as we both became fully lost in our thoughts.
Tho’ I missed my daughter with a deep intensity,
I knew that her education,
would excel if at a proper school,
rather than learning the facts of life by my side.
I fear and confess,
it was her mother,
who had the strength of moral character,
to be the parent,
and since our loss of her,
I have been ill-equipped to handle such upbringing myself,
but truth be told,
given the ravenous crimes surrounding this locale,
this may have been the first,
and only time,
I was thankful my Poe was far,
breaking through the veil of our thoughts,
Bixby stood up,
and next added,
let us go,
before the scene is no longer fresh enough to offer insight.”
As we did prior,
we headed off,
and as the last time,
it once again was in the vicinity of my ain home.
the distance itself was almost exact,
the direction was nearly opposite.
We arrived after a short time,
and along the way,
Bixby nary uttered a word toward me.
The silence was off-putting,
given the weight of that,
which was on his mind.
the area was lined with the law.
as well as seasoned detectives,
were scouring the scene.
I found it odd,
that while seemingly everyone else was here,
Bixby had been with me.
Either he knew something the rest did not,
or was at such a loss,
my aid was his only hope.
I surveyed the area,
and once again,
the victim was as times prior.
in correlation I was sure,
her wounds were also similar to the previous.
there was something else.
This woman seemed strangely familiar,
as tho’ I had seen her before.
It was obvious by examination,
that she carried the same profession as the other victims,
but it had been so long,
since it was mainly in a previous life,
that I frequented such girls of the night,
so her familiarity,
at first at least,
I could not place.
As I looked around,
the scene seemed overtly calm,
despite the raw carnage.
Whoever our villain was,
seemed to have cleaned the area concisely,
yet orchestrated the killing,
with a fierce brutality.
this victim too,
seemed to have no wounds of defense,
just as Bixby had said,
and as I had deduced.
It was then,
when I wanted to see no more,
so I turned ‘round to leave.
And as I did,
the faint smell of lilacs,
akin to what I picked up earlier from Bixby,
drifted by my nose.
It was clear Bixby had come to visit me,
after his arrival on scene,
with the others from Scotland Yard.
The scent however,
was much more beautiful in the comfort of my own home,
as opposed to surrounding the carnage of this scene.
The beauty from one sense,
intermingling with the ugliness from another,
was truly torturous,
I could not place why.
All I knew for sure,
was that I had to leave,
and so I did,
partially to escape the sin,
and partially to give myself the opportunity,
to process all that I had learned.
Unfortunately for me,
tho’ the signs were there,
it was not until this next part of the story,
that I truly put it all together.
But before we return to the beginning of this story,
there is a bit more to go,
so to continue on,
and I heard,
neither of murders in the press,
nor word from Bixby.
Til the third night came,
and with it,
a knock on my door once more.
With the curfew upon the city,
born of fear,
rather than law,
as I did prior,
that my visitor was none other,
than Bixby himself.
I urged for him to enter,
and as he did,
he sat immediately down.
“Hello my friend,”
he said to me with a smile upon his face.
Now I must admit,
this took me a bit aback,
because his presence of late,
had always been upon the heels of death,
and if this was another such visit,
his mirth seemed out of place.
“Not one to bypass pleasantries,
for I do so appreciate your greeting,
but you seem a bit too happy,
given the nature of your visit.”
you have it all wrong.”
“Yes of course,
for I’m not here based on the premise you think.”
“So there is not another death?”
“Not yet thankfully,
because there has not been another death.”
Usually the astute one,
Bixby’s words had me confused,
and I must admit,
at this moment,
he had me outwitted as well.
“I’m not sure I understand.”
he leaned over,
and offered me a root of his own batch.
As he did,
I noticed a familiar scent upon his clothing,
and upon the skin of his neck,
the mark of a woman.
I tried to turn down his offering,
politely with a short wave,
but he insisted.
“I do not wish to be rude,”
“So then do not,”
“share with me,
for it is my apology,
so please accept.”
“Apology for what exactly?”
as I finally gave in.
Now you must understand,
I knew this action to be against my better judgment,
but felt it required,
because you see,
were all of greater strength,
than that of my own will,
which in truth,
I have never been one to offer,
as my strongest trait.
So a small piece I took.
Bixby then sat back down,
as I began to take in the scent of the root,
which was particularly tempting.
It was not necessarily the fact that I had it in my hands,
cultivating root as hobby put it in my hands often.
there was something about this particular root,
something that called me to it,
something that pulled the strings of past habit.
it was a gift from a friend.”
someone who you may know from a past life,
but with whom,
I have kept up,
a quite regular in fact,
have you now?”
but that is for later,
because for now,
I beg you to indulge,
and I shall answer your question,
as to why I am here.”
I am not as strong a man in character as I should,
or could be,
and so as Bixby began talking,
I put the root to my lips,
and started softly chewing.
this very evening,
I was anticipating a call to come in for another murder,
and it was then I became sad,
“Disappointed that there had not been a murder yet of late?”
do not get me wrong,
as much as anyone,
that these crimes are over with,
even if I do not believe them to be.
I felt such emotions,
because I had realized,
that I had been abusing our friendship.
I had not called upon you,
in a friendly manner,
for months even,
and here I was,
upon your step,
picking your brain,
and treating you not to nights on the town,
but to scenes of the utmost tragedy,
and wretched vileness,
and I thought to myself,
what kind of friend was that?”
it had only been a minute or two,
but I must admit,
by this time,
the root seemed to be taking its effect upon me.
I realized my constitution against its effects,
would not be as it was in my prime,
but I did not expect it to start its effects so quickly.
As my head began to get light,
all I could muster,
was a smile as I tried to talk,
but only words of nonsense passed my lips,
causing a communal round of laughter between Bixby,
I then tried to apologize for my weakness,
but once again,
only a garbled mess echoed.
By this time,
the laughter was seemingly too much to handle,
but while Bixby was nearly out of his chair with enjoyment,
I felt myself relaxing.
“So tonight I am to remedy my folly,
and shall treat you to an eve,
unlike any other you have experienced before.”
The verve of his visage was evident,
and after a few more minutes of reigning in my own composure,
I finally was able to mount a protest.
no my friend,
you know such exploits are not for me.”
But my argument was meaningless,
and rather than catching my words,
Bixby caught my arm,
helped me up,
and led me to the door.
“It’s been too long,
my friend I say,
since you have smelt the flowers,
or brushed the petals,
of London’s finest roses,
and even longer still,
since the calling,
of your precious wife,
so with that,
I shalln’t take no as an answer,
or depression as a defense.”
With those words,
we exited the comfort of my confines,
and upon entering into the night air,
the brisk winds helped alert my senses,
and reeled in the effects,
if only somewhat at least,
the root within.
And quickly we walked,
Bixby and I,
to a place I had only been once,
since the passing of my Marie,
but in truth,
had frequented often,
in the years prior.
For in my time with her,
I found life to offer all I could wish for,
and even then,
so much more,
but when the sickness came,
an illness of fevered chills,
and coughing blood,
I lost all that was precious to me,
save for my princess Poe,
and after the passing of my love,
I yearned for the touch of a woman,
and visited this very bordello I was approaching now,
this house of ill-repute,
only a singular time.
But whilst basking in the garden of the sinful love,
all those years ago,
I found not the solace,
I was searching for,
and as with the root,
let such desires,
flutter away in the wind,
never to be touched again,
until this very night,
it would seem.
It took only a short while,
for us to arrive,
though as high as I was,
time was indifferent.
With clear eyes,
this building would seem as any other in London’s East End,
but in my current state,
with senses seemingly heightened to those of an animal,
I could smell the euphoric aromas of lust,
Bixby was right,
what a sweet scent,
the flowers of this garden,
seemed to exude.
we were greeted at the door,
by a line of women,
varying in age,
to fill the needs of any appetite,
no matter how vulgar,
The very first thing I noticed tho’,
had little to do with any one woman in particular,
I caught hint of the lilacs,
now strong in the air.
It was quickly obvious to me,
it was this very building,
and victims all,
had visited in hours previous,
to the cries,
but that information,
hardly took a detective,
or amateur status even,
It was then,
we were approached by the lady of the house,
a woman who simply went by Madame K.
She was tall,
with hair of fire,
and tongue of flame,
and she went to Bixby,
likely as she had done so many times before,
with countless men prior,
and whispered into his ear.
She then turned to me,
with a familiarity seeming to be more apparent on her end,
“Ah the prodigal Lord has finally returned
it has been so long,
too long in fact,
since you have come to see us.”
I wanted to respond,
tried to respond even,
but had little energy left to do so.
With my silence only enabling,
she continued on,
“Did you get my gift?
once Bixby here told me of your friendship,
and your penchant for helping in his work,
I simply begged him to offer you my root,
and then bring you by,
so us girls could thank you proper.
take your pick,
and fulfill your desires,
but if you don’t mind,
Bixby and I must be going,
so he can reap his own rewards.”
The prefect turned to me with a smile of his own,
and I urged him on,
while slumping into a chair myself.
Tho’ there was a woman here,
or even ten,
service my fantasies,
I could bring myself not,
to explore the demons of my soul on this night.
with the root so strong,
now permeating into my very core,
I had the energy not,
to be able to perform,
as one would expect,
and thought it best,
in protection of my own masculine visage,
to simply refrain,
from failing to fulfill,
my own fantasies.
So I sat,
and with every second that passed,
I felt my tensions exit,
and my eyelids grow heavy.
This trip proved fruitful enough,
for I believe even at this moment,
I knew what I needed,
in regard to the murders.
But I had strength not,
or even step.
And the last I remember of that instant,
was Madame K smiling at me,
as she led Bixby away,
and her eyes,
watching mine close.
Now believe what you want,
but from that moment til the next,
of which would finally be where my story started,
my life was near lost.
Lost to the wind,
or perhaps simply to the root,
but either way,
for my next moment of recollection,
I cried out first,
as my senses slowly began to return.
I knew how it must look,
and others alike,
for there I stood,
with the night’s freshest victim at my feet.
If I had not known better,
I might have even thought myself guilty,
I knew the truth,
and it truly would set me free.
I had little in the way of strength,
that I could offer explanation at this precise moment,
so I was forced to let Bixby,
and his men,
take me into custody.
Seeing his gaze upon me,
the look of disdain,
and sorrow mixed,
broke my ain heart.
By his side,
wrapped in a heavy tweed to protect her from the elements,
of both crime,
was the woman of his night,
who had accompanied Bixby here,
to identify the victim,
resting beside me.
Unlike my friend,
her gaze had a different tone,
with every second that passed,
the effects of the root within,
as both vigor,
returned to my psyche,
and once the press began to arrive at the scene,
with bulbs of light exploding into the darkened night,
I knew the time must come now to offer my thoughts,
for waiting any longer,
would only serve to slaughter my own colorful character,
I then yelled out,
“All is not as it seems!”
There were heckles,
coming from the crowd,
but they all quelled once Bixby stepped forward,
and perhaps out of friendship,
or maybe out of pity,
offered me the chance to explain.
My heart quickened,
as I prepared for the big reveal.
“What we have here,”
I began as the crowd looked on,
“Is murder by suicide.”
“How is that even possible?”
a random voice echoed out.
I thought it prudent to tread cautiously,
for few would like where I was about to step,
as our villain had clients many.
“As Lord Bixby,
and his men,
were able to ascertain,
each victim was a working bird,
and it was Bixby himself,
who was able to solve these crimes.”
With those words,
my friend looked at me with surprise,
and in return,
I simply offered him a wink.
that if I were to offer Bixby all the credit,
it would not only offer more time for explanation,
but lend credence to the weight of my words.
Lord Bixby came to me a short time ago,
and had nearly this entire case solved,
but simply needed help in compiling the proof,
for the truth,
as you are about to learn,
is difficult to believe.
Each of these poor girls,
took their own life,
but not by their own desire.
they were forced into it,
not by any man you have labeled the Ripper,
by none other than the Lady of Lust,
With those words,
everyone turned their attention to the woman at Bixby’s side,
with the utmost surprise,
but perhaps none moreso,
than that of my friend himself.
I then continued,
“Each of these girls worked for Madame K,
but it was not until the last victim,
that I was able to see the truth in Bixby’s words,
for you see,
I knew the last victim,
and though we had last spoken in time past,
I recalled it her sincere desire to leave the calling of the concubine.
Her words were so strong,
that I remembered them well,
for she spoke of her two sons with such zest,
I thought she would get up and leave that very eve.
But it seemed that was not to be,
and she must have been there for quite some time after,
tho’ my knowledge of her gave Bixby,
the thought to dig deeper,
and it was then he found that each of the girls,
including poor Lorelei here,
had desires of leaving the bordello.
It was then when motive became clear,
for how could Madame K prosper,
if all her birds were leaving her nest.”
My words must have started to had their effect,
because for the first time,
and Bixby too,
seemed to gaze upon the woman in a different light.
Before she could offer her own defense,
I persisted with my speech,
“With motive aside,
Bixby next had to answer the question,
how were these deaths possible?
He had frequented Madame K numerous times,
solely under the guise of investigation,
and had never found clue to her guilt,
save for one,
Being an expert in the field,
I recognized its scent,
reminiscent of lilacs
and quickly informed Bixby of its effects,
which include heightened suggestibility,
and a trance-like state.
Madame K had been using such root,
to keep her ladies docile,
and when needed,
as in the case of these deaths,
open to suggestion.
Under the effects of this root,
the girls each took their own lives,
which is also evident by the angling of their wounds,
and the lack of any struggle,
which would be an oddity to be sure,
given the vulgarity of the crimes.”
my words were holding such great weight,
that even Lord Bixby himself saw the truth,
and even if his actions were coming a bit late,
he realized the opportunity nonetheless,
and shackled the woman by his side.
at the turn of events,
Madame K then yelled out,
“If all this is true,
why are you here,
over her body?”
I smiled at her,
knowing I had her beat,
“As if you do not know!
with me by his side,
went to visit Madame K at the first toll of this very eve,
to arrest her for her crimes,
in hopes of preventing any more death,
but upon our arrival,
she quickly sedated us,
as she had done with her girls,
using the root in the air,
as a vapor,
we unwittingly inhaled.
And with our own psyches as defenseless as her victims,
Madame K set up this charade,
to frame me for the crimes,
and keep the prefect of Scotland Yard in her pocket!”
truth be told,
I had little idea how accurate my deductions actually were,
but Madame K,
surprised at the turn of events,
supported my theories,
and tried to flee,
but to no avail.
For the better part of the next hour,
the press interviewed Bixby,
and he played the bard to perfection,
answering their questions,
and fleshing out the details of the story.
As to not contradict him,
I waived off all press for myself,
and simply guided them to my friend.
Later that night,
once the scene was cleared,
Lord Bixby came to my home once more,
and sat down.
Out of politeness,
I offered him a root,
and to my surprise,
he waived it off.
He then leaned forward,
and unable to fully understand,
simply asked everything,
without saying anything.
“I had my hunch,”
“with the scent of the root from your first visit,
for it was a type I had long desired to add to my own collection.
it went much as I had described earlier,
with the few obvious alterations,
but thought it best to offer you the credit,
to prevent the chance,
of an unscrupulous writer deeming you a fool,
or charlatan of the law.
in my life,
I have no need for additional scrutiny,
so this way,
“Except for the girls,”
Bixby then said solemnly.
I added softly myself,
“Except for the girls…”
After a few minutes of silence,
Bixby then stood up,
and headed toward the door.
But before exiting,
he turned to say,
“Thank you my friend,
for she surely had me under her spell,
and would certainly have gotten the better of me,
if not for your interference.”
I waived him off,
as if to say it was nothing,
when he added,
“So I suppose I owe you now?”
I smiled back with a wry grin,
knowing he would fully understand,
And with that,
Bixby turned his back,
leaving me as he found me,
alone in my thoughts,
and as he did,
I picked up my quill,
dipped it in the ink,
and now with much to say,
started the letter I originally intended upon Bixby’s first visit,
“To my dearest, Poe…”