“Margaret knew someone was watching her before she heard the words.
“Wake up, you lazy brat.”
The harsh voice penetrated Margaret’s light morning sleep, snapping her awake.
She sat up in bed and looked at the latest entrant into her life with startled eyes.
Trepidation rose in her throat making it feel tight and closed.
The face peering at her from just inside the door was ugly. Cold, hard eyes, like chips of flit, glared at her from a countenance deeply etched with lines of discontent and hatred towards others. Her face and hands were covered with welts, inflamed and oozing pus.
She was surrounded by a cloud of miniature forms, they looked like tiny babies with wings. Their bodies were naked and horribly emancipated. It were their faces that shocked Margaret. Huge mouths dominated the tiny heads, full of sharp teeth like ivory needles. They hovered like a cloud of flies around the unsightly woman. Every now and then one would dart forward and latch itself to an exposed piece of her skin. Sucking onto her flesh like tiny vampires.
Margaret was stunned by this disagreeable picture as she watched her overtly from her bed.
What could she possibly have done to deserve such a fate? I can’t believe those creatures. They are disgusting.
The woman placed the tray of food on the table. Margaret had tidied up after her meal earlier that morning as best she could. She had stacked the dirty dishes on the tray as neatly as possible.
Her efforts were unappreciated by the intolerant shrew who stood in front of her.
“You filthy pig,” she shrieked at Margaret when she spied the tray. “What do you think I am? Your slave? Rinse off your plate and cup at once.”
Margaret had been reluctant to use the basin for this purpose. It didn’t seem hygienic to her to rinse dishes in a wash basin. She didn’t want to further aggravate this despot further. She jumped out of bed and rushed over to the table.
Grabbing the used dishes, she took them over to the basin and rinsed them under the cold water tap. Returning to the table, she placed them neatly on the tray.
“Shall I carry it somewhere for you?” Margaret asked, smiling her most diplomatic smile.
“No, you are not allowed out of this room,” sneered the woman.
“What shall I call you?”
“You can call me Amelia Dyer,” the woman snapped. She turned abruptly and left the room, locking the door meticulously behind her.”
An extract from Nemesis by Roberta Eaton
About Amelia Dyer
Amelia Dyer was one of the most prolific female serial killers in history. She lived during the Victorian era, from 1836 to 1897, and is thought to have been responsible for the deaths of between 300 – 400 infants.
Amelia trained as a nurse and, after the death of her much older husband in 1869, she turned to baby farming. This was the practice of advertising to nurse and adopt a baby from a desperate unmarried mother, for a once-off payment and baby clothing. The payment ranged from GBP5 for poor mothers to GBP80 for wealthier women.
Amelia was initially one of a number of unscrupulous caregivers who sedated the babies with alcohol and/or opiates. The babies often died of overdoses from these medications or through starvation caused by a reduction in their appetites due to the opiates.
Amelia apparently reached a point with her baby farming when she tired of waiting for the babies to die of starvation. She started murdering them by strangulation using white edging tape.
Dyer was arrested on 4 April 1897 of murder and was hanged by James Billington at Newgate Prison on Wednesday, 10 June 1896.
This post is for Sue Vincent’s photo challenge “Watcher”. You can join in the challenge here: https://scvincent.com/2018/08/30/thursday-photo-prompt-watcher-writephoto/