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Extracts from the memoirs of Chief Superintendent Drake Verdier, (1848-13/09/1927).
Meeting The Terrors Of The Night, In One’s Own Home
A Visit From A Lady
It is now more than three years since Alice Howard disappeared and just less than that since I last put pen to paper to record, the major events of, my life. Now I unfortunately find that I must add a short note, after the end of the previous chapter. The reason I find that I must add this note is that, three months ago, I received a letter – signed J. Fitzjames Bart — it arrived the week after my grandson was married, to Roberta Fletcher, who is Helena Fletcher nee Fitzjames’s daughter. The letter’s writer claimed, that he had been the Horror and that he had finally taken Alice, once the twins no longer needed her. At first, I took it for a bad joke and was about to bin it, until something made me read more than the opening paragraph. Whomso had written it knew the case at least as well as I did — maybe better than I did. Several days later I read it for a second time. There were some passages, in the letter, that referred to things I had never even put in any of my reports, these included exactly what I had said, in my first meeting with John Fitzjames, about how I had cut my arm. I eventually had, Gus, my grandson, check out the other details, in the letter; they all proved to be true, even the date Roberta arrived in London, from the colonies, which was the Sixth of August 1882. So it seems that there were two Horrors or more correctly two Gifham Rippers, Roberta and John. By some mischance, I had been out smarted by a murderous little boy, who had feigned illness and frailty, to escape suspicion. It is still hard to believe that John Fitzjames was the Horror, even if, as I believe, the letter was most likely from him, despite that everyone thinks that he is dead.
I feel that it would be wrong, to rewrite what I have written about the Horror, as the letter’s insights, into the case, would only colour the way I portray John Fitzjames. Because of the letter, I have removed all details of the injuries that the victims had suffered and what lead me to concluded that the Horror was responsible for the burglaries. I feel that if the reasons for him killing, Ben Hunt, were as he claims, in the letter, then that was the only death that the Horror, or Horrors, can be forgiven. For all her faults, Alice did not deserve what Ben had planned, to do to her. The wild claims the writer made might account for some, if not all, of the more unusual aspects of the case, but those claims are most likely just the creative imaginings, of a writer, — out to exploit the case, yet again, for profit. For that reason and to protect Gus’s mother-in-law from even more sorrow, Gus and I have sworn to never to reveal the full contents, of the letter. We have instead requested that the archivist, at Bellham University, keep my manuscript there and only release it, once they are sure that certain possible authors — of the letter — are dead, most likely from drink.