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August 20

I am not the first person named Emily to inhabit this room. This morning I got up to look at the spot in which I heard the scratching last night. A piece of the wallpaper had been scratched off and beneath it I saw writing. I don’t know what came over me, but I ripped off a large piece of the wallpaper. There in a childish hand was my name written in crayon. Fingernail marks are gorged into the wall as well. The person who left these marks has a hand the size of mine. I will probably be fired when it is discovered that I have ripped off the wallpaper. I shoved my traveling trunk in front of the spot. Being fired may well be a blessing. What sinister secret is being kept? I am going to try and ask Madison tonight.

Continued: I am right to be frightened. I found Madison after dinner tonight and told her of my discovery. Her face drained of color, and then she hid her face in her apron. I brought her a glass of wine and she quickly attempted to recover. She spoke numbly, and wiped her tears from her face, as though they were not her own. “Emily was Michael and Isabella’s daughter.” She said. I was shocked. “So she died?” I asked. “No one knows. She was always a strange child, she knew too much for her age. She was a pretty, petite little thing, and Lord knows I tried to love her.” Madison smoothed out her apron and continued. “Emily didn’t want to be loved. She only had time for her mother, and her mother doted on her. It was the only time Isabella has ever seemed truly happy.” Madison smiled through her tears at the memory. “Once, Isabella said the strangest thing. She said “Madison, Emily is the only person on earth who ever truly needed me.” Madison wiped at her eyes again and then continued. “Emily was prone to taking long walks in the woods. One day she never came back. Emily and Captain Amherst never got along.” Madison shook her head and wrung her apron in her careworn hands. “Her mother almost died giving birth to her, and she never fully recovered her strength after Emily was born. Even during the pregnancy she was ill. She was thinner when she was pregnant with Emily than she had ever been before or since. She stopped getting her monthly courses, but we thought it was because she was sickly and had lost weight. She was diagnosed with a rare form of anemia. She got sicker and sicker… then nine months from her initial onset of illness, she began giving birth. Emily was born with a tail.” Madison paused, and buried her head in her hands. “The doctor amputated it by tying a string around it, until it shriveled up and fell off.” Madison took a gulp of wine and breathed out through her nose. “I was there when they amputated it. When it finally fell off it writhed like a living thing. I was horrified, and I threw it into the fire. I swear to you that the thing screamed!” She looked at me hard and then sighed. “I don’t expect you to believe any of this.” She said. “I wouldn’t believe it myself if I hadn’t seen it. Emily is still tormenting her father from beyond the grave.” “What do you mean?” I asked. She turned and looked at me hard. “After Emily was born a strange disease broke out. We began to find dead rats and squirrels around the property. This didn’t concern us much but as the years went on the size of the local animals that were dying increased. I’ll never forget the day I found Isabella crying over a cat and her kittens. Isabella loved that cat. It was named Calico and had been with Isabella since kitten hood. I found Isabella crying over the cat and softly scolding Emily. She kept saying “Not the pets’ dear one. I can give you all you need.” Madison paused and took another swallow of wine. “I wondered at this. What could it mean? Then Captain Amherst’s horses began dying. They would become weaker and weaker until one day they would drop dead. The veterinarian couldn’t explain it. He said they seemed like they were losing blood and chalked it up to internal bleeding.” Madison stared hard into my eyes and said, “Now don’t quote me on this, because I will deny I ever said it. That child was feeding on those animals! That little girl was the child of the devil, and her disappearance was the best thing to ever happen to any of us!”

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