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THE KILLINGS

Rustin can't remember exactly when, but it seemed to be a few years before the killings that he started seeing a figure in the woods sometimes during his long walks. He would call out to it, but it would disappear. He soon realized that it was a woman, though she never showed her face to him. She wore a long, dark, hooded cloak. Rustin never felt fear when he saw the woman, he just wondered who she was. Every time he would run after her, she would vanish.

Then, that winter, Rustin began to hear a voice in his head. At first it was at night, and he thought they were dreams. But soon he started hearing the voice during his waking hours, and that's when he began to be afraid. The voice was an old woman, and she would say all kinds of things in many strange languages. Sometimes she would repeat words over and over again. Rustin never saw the woman in the woods ever again, but this voice lived in his head for quite a while.

After almost a year of this voice, Rustin had lost most of his senses. The voice began to tell him to do things, and he found himself doing them. At first they were meaningless things like sleeping in the cellar for a week at a time.

Then, in November of 1940, she told him to go down to Burkittsville and get the first two children he saw. For some reason he found himself unable to resist. Actually, unwilling to resist. He followed the voice's directions completely, even when it began instructing him to take more children from the town of Burkittsville and kill them. In all, Rustin murdered seven children, sparing one, Kyle Brody, a boy who was made to stand in the corner while Rustin performed the awful act in the cellar of his house.

After the seventh child was killed, Rustin woke up and the cloaked figure was in his room. He couldn't see it clearly in the dark, but he knew who it was. She spoke to him in the same horrible voice that had haunted his head for more than a year now. She told him that he was finished and that he was to go into town the next day and tell everyone what he had done. She said she would leave him alone if he did this. Then the figure disappeared, and Rustin Parr never saw the woman again.

The next day Rustin woke up and released Kyle. He cried for the first time ever when he saw the poor boy that morning. Rustin then walked slowly into town, went into a market and began saying, "I'm finally finished." The police followed him up to his house and found Kyle standing on the front porch looking dazed and unable to speak. They then found the bodies of the seven little children in seven graves in the cellar of the house. Rustin was arrested and convicted of the deaths.

The voice did stop in Rustin's head. He didn't know who the cloaked woman was, but he know that she was an old ghost of some kind. He was positive that this woman was not alive. He was truly sorry for what he did, but at the same time he was incredibly glad that this woman was out of his head. Kyle Brody never recovered from the two months in Parr's house. He would live an institutionalized life until his death in 1971. He was present the day of Parr's verdict in court and cried when the jury convicted the hermit. Rustin Parr died in the fall of 1941. He was hanged.

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