The Monster Hunter

Free The Monster Hunter by Kit Cox

Book: The Monster Hunter by Kit Cox Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kit Cox
in French.
    After all the practical learning was done, Nanny Belle would turn her attentions to the Bible readings, and the biblical stories that had seemed so cold and sterile from the lips of the ordained Reverend were suddenly full of giants, warrior kings, wise men and fallen angels.
    It wasn’t just the children that were buoyed up by the appearance of Nanny Belle. Mr Read seemed to enjoy the presence of a new lady at the Garden and when she was sitting reading in thegarden Mr Reed often seemed to be just passing on some errand and would became tangled in conversation with the pretty teacher. Mrs Reed was also happy, as she suddenly had someone who was prepared to muck in and make sure that the children were well looked after and suitably educated as well as being a friendly ear that Mrs Reed could just unload her problems on to, without criticism or judgement.
    Perhaps to an outsider it would have seemed heartless how quickly they had bounced back from the tragedy, but as Nanny Belle would say: ‘Life is for the living.’
    However, for all that the household’s spirits had been lifted by the new tutor, it didn’t prevent the four sickly children remaining so for a long time. Ben found himself often sitting in the same room as the sick boys, quietly reading. He had certainly burned all his bridges by revealing the secret about the cherries, even though it had not been acted upon, and he was certain cherries were still eaten by all.
    As he listened to one of the boys vomiting, it occurred to him that the infection hadn’t spread. His books clearly said that isolation was needed to prevent an epidemic and he noted that these boys had shared the same room as all the others without incident. The only thing that could follow this path of natural isolation was poisoning, but that had been ruled out, or so it seemed. All that Farley had proven with his statement was that cherries weren’t to blame for the poisoning; he certainly hadn’t ruled out the possibility of poisoning altogether. The children all ate the same lunches, so it had to be something different, as whatever it was had clearly affected only five of the orphans.
    Ben just had to work out what they all had in common. He spent three days working with Buddy and his oysters and three in the classroom, so the final day was his and he wanted to getto the bottom of the sickness. The doctor merely treated the symptoms; Ben wanted to find the source.
    On Sunday the classroom was always empty and Ben had made it his own personal study, spreading his notebooks and reference material as far as he wanted as he tried to find a link. His first eureka moment came when he realised that the five children were the only ones not apprenticed but still old enough to walk around unaccompanied, which meant that they could have picked the poison up anywhere. He was giddily congratulating himself at making his breakthrough when he was interrupted by a female voice.
    â€˜I guess it’s going well then.’
    It was Nanny Belle. She moved across the room from the door that led to her private office and rooms above, to the desks on which Ben’s notes were laid out. She moved books and papers about, raising her eyebrows as she read scrawled messages and turned pages. Ben felt awkward as if he had been caught red-handed planning some dastardly crime. He couldn’t help watching how the nanny worked, linking notes and references together as if she was seeing patterns he had never considered. His mother would always be the most beautiful woman he would ever see but this lady, with her soft pale skin and intelligent eyes, looked like an angel…
    â€¦ and for a moment he considered how timely her appearance had been at the orphanage but before his mind wandered too far she turned towards him as if reading his mind and wishing to interrupt his thoughts before they came to close to the truth. She was holding in her hand a map of the area that had been

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