As the story opens, 17-year-old Billy Weaver is on his way to his employer’s hotel in Bath, England for business. He is traveling from London, and the trip isn’t normal. Weaver must change trains in Swindon, traveling through the afternoon and well into the night, arriving at nine o’clock.
DO NOT LEAVE!!!
On his way, he comes upon a bed and breakfast and is intrigued by the window display, which includes a vase of yellow chrysanthemums. He decides to stay there instead of the recommended The Bell and Dragon, particularly after he sees a sign that repeats the words “Bed and Breakfast.” When he meets the landlady, she is most welcoming, telling him she’s been expecting him.
Tastes like bitter almonds ewww
The landlady answers that they are not famous, just two young, handsome men, like Billy Weaver himself. Weaver points out that the entries are two and three years old. The landlady talks about how time flies, but Weaver is becoming suspicious of his recollection of the two names. The landlady responds by inviting him to sit with her and have some tea and biscuits.
The landlady assures him that they did not leave. Weaver continues to drink his tea. As he continues to drink his tea and the landlady goes on about his physical appearance and age, and those of her previous guests, Weaver notices that the parrot across the room is not living.
She reveals that the parrot is a hobby of hers, and she has stuffed not only the parrot, but the dachshund sitting before the fire. Weaver finds this interesting. She offers him more tea, which he declines, as he determines that it tastes like bitter almonds and he does not like it.
That bitter almond taste is likely cyanide, a poison that will kill Billy Weaver so the landlady can stuff his body and keep him, supposedly with the other two young men who visited her bed and breakfast in the last few years.