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San Antonio, Texas
November 12, 1914
Emma had told him no. She
would not consent to him divorcing his wife on her account. She would not marry
continued to beg.
Emma grabbed his wrist and
threw it from her, satisfied with the slight thud as it fell against the corner
of the nightstand.
“Darling,” he whispered as he
hovered over her ear. “Please reconsider. Marry me and you’ll make me the
happiest man alive.” “No,” she insisted. The third such rejection in as many
weeks. She propped herself up on her elbows.
“Emma,” he pled. He put his
knee on the mattress and spoke in a low, heavy moan that indicated how eager he
was to return to her bed.
“No,” she said again with all
the force she could muster. “Otto, I’m not going to marry you. It’s over. All
of this is over.”
She clutched his shirt in her
hands and shoved him off the bed. He fell against the nightstand with all his
weight this time, sending her silver hand mirror across its marble surface. It
stopped just short of crashing to the ground. A precious memento of the life
she’d once had on the other side of the world.
reminder that she wished she had never left.
It was difficult to see his
reaction in the dim room where he was nearly a silhouette. But he righted
himself and moved forward again. A shot of fear rushed through Emma’s body.
Otto had never had so much taken away from him in so short a time: his wife’s health,
his first lover’s marriage, his second lover’s refusal. A desperate man might
As he drew nearer with wide
steps, Emma slipped her finger under the pillow and felt around for the .32
revolver he’d bought for her to protect against coyotes. Its cool metal frame
gave her some reassurance.
She felt his body fall upon
the mattress, his hot breath landing on her neck in frenzied kisses. His hands
trying all the things in all the places that had once excited her.
off of me!”
“Don’t leave. Don’t leave me,”
he begged. His tone had turned to one of despair and each sob was more wretched
than the last.
much could be hers if she acquiesced. Wealth. Comfort. Affection. It was all
some things were worth more than that.
Emma threw the blankets toward
the foot of the bed. “It’s over!” she insisted.
She listened for sounds from
the kitchen but couldn’t hear the other Emma in the house anymore. Had she gone
outside when Otto arrived? That had always been their arrangement before she
left to marry Mr. Daschiel. Only one woman in the house when Otto came around to
She slid her hand under the
pillow again, this time clutching the revolver. The sweat on her hand fell on
its leather grip. She pulled it out in a quick motion and placed the barrel
against Otto’s chest, pushing him away as she sat up.
He jumped back, sweat rippling
down the wrinkles on his forehead. “You’re crazy.”
waved a finger at her and turned toward the living room.
Emma lifted herself out of
bed, arms weakened after convalescing. She walked across the wood floor in bare
feet, avoiding the board that had worn and would splinter her skin. The light
from the next room sent more pain to her head and her eyes winced as they took
it in. But she could see Otto standing
in front of her, just beyond the sofa, a case knife drawn from his pocket.
hand shook, but his eyes fixed a hard gaze on her.
heart beat quickly and a sense of terror seized her.
He’d called her crazy? She’d
only meant to frighten him away. But there was a look about him that that held
more than a threat.
stepped toward her and the knife slashed her arm.
fired the trigger in response. Three times.
Otto crumpled to the floor,
clutching his chest. Heat raced to her cheeks and she dropped the revolver on
the ground next to her. She collapsed next to his body and pulled away his
vest, ripping the buttons from their threads.
had she done?
Only then did she hear the
other Emma, who ran in from the porch. A look of horror passed between the
Otto’s thin-framed body
writhed on the wool rug, a thick red pool forming on his white shirt. His blood
mixing with hers. His eyes fluttered, looking between them.
he whispered as he took his last breath.
they didn’t know which woman he called out for.
his first mistress.
his second mistress.
Emma, his wife.