He never truly meant to stumble across the scene; walls doused in scarlet sprays that seemed to arch endlessly toward the ceiling, spots seem to scream at him from the vibrant canvases ‘Tragedy! Tragedy!’ he vomited there upon the floor close to the severed head of the youngest family member, little more then six years old, her pitiful hands clasped around the body of a small china doll as though the mere toy would have been enough to save her life, the mother lay close by, eyes staring blindly toward the heavy oak door, eyes clouded in horror. Grief seemed to leave a dull aching throb in his head as he fell to his knees, the bitter taste of vomit lying forgotten in his mouth as he cradled the small blood soaked body close to his heart, Emily, born six years earlier, her body stiff and cold, lighter due to the missing head, he wept in despair, he wept in anger at the travesty, poor little soul, taken so soon and he, the devoted husband and loving father not there to protect them, him the caregiver was lying half naked with a prostitute in the dank recesses of an opium den whilst his wife and child were disgustingly massacred.
He lay still on the floor for hours, the cold clotted blood seemed to hold him to the cold flagstones, his daughter still cradled close his eyes staring into the milky white orbs of his wife, his mouth mere inches from hers. He had kissed her once whilst he lay there, her normally soft and pliant lips were cold and unmoving beneath his, her warm honey suckle breath no longer bathed him in the scent that seemed to intoxicate him. He lay still for hours, the winter cold slowly seeping in, making his bones ache, he shut out the world, the calls of street vendors outside, the high shrill call of house martins that lived in the eaves, so much so that he did not hear Mrs. Lufkin’s the land lady let herself in through the front door, he did not hear her cheery call of enquiry as she took off her shawl and walked into the chilling scene, this she saw:
Laid upon the blood sodden kitchen floor was her tenant Lucas Stanzlow, the Romanian immigrant who rented the lower floors of the house from her for a cheap sum. He was laid on his side, close to the disembowelled body of his young wife Eliza, so close that it seemed as though he was kissing her, staring into her eyes as though life had expired from his very body like the family around him, in his arms was the small battered body of his young child, a doll clasped rigidly in her hands, the hacked stump of her small neck was pressed against his chin, he held her close, her little legs dangled across his thigh, Mrs Lufkin’s could not see her head, nor could she find it as she cast a horror stricken gaze across the room, that was the most chilling thought she had in the confusing scene that greeted her, ‘the poor little thing, where was her head? Surely it was here? Where was it?’ Confused thoughts buzzed through her mind before the puzzle pieces fell in to place and she realized what was happening, or even what had happened. She screamed, high and shrill drowning out those dratted house martins, even for a few moments drowning out the street merchants outside. The scream alerted passers by, it alerted the neighbours who for hours earlier had been wondering fleetingly whether to alert the watch about the disturbing noise they had heard coming from the house earlier. The scream alerted the merchants who stopped shouting their wares to stare at the white washed house; it startled the customers who all turned to look, it seemed the sound stretched on for hours and all who heard it paused in their daily lives to look belatedly at number twenty-four Jubilee Street.