On Sunday, Jan. 14, Bergen visited Dionne's office to pick up medicine for Hattie. Dionne inquired about his health. Bergen said he had visited a doctor in Kansas City during the summer. Curious about Bergen's memory, Dionne asked him what route he had traveled west. Bergen did not recall. He did remember playing baseball in St. Joseph, Mo., he said, but that was all. As he left, he said, "This has been a very pleasant talk, and yet it's strange how it has rattled me. I'm almost crazy."
Four days later, on Thursday, Jan. 18, Bergen rose early on the farm, helped his father with the chores and cooked breakfast for his family. He had ordered $25 worth of groceries from Boston the day before, but he had no sleigh with which to fetch the goods from town, so he stopped at Mrs. Daniel Collins's farm and asked to borrow hers. She saw him walking his horse in harness onto her place, his two kids in tow. "Hello, here comes farmer Bergen!" she said. Like the fans in the stands, the gentlefolk around North Brookfield had never seen the dark side of Bergen. Bergen laughed and said, "What kind of farmer do you think I make, Mrs. Collins?"
"I think you will make a very good farmer, Mr. Bergen."
Bergen shook his head and laughed again. "I don't think I will ever make a good farmer," he said.
He hitched the horse to the sleigh and set out with his father for town, leaving the kids behind with Mrs. Collins. In E.W. Reed's drugstore Martin ran into Dionne, to whom he apologized for not having filled the prescription the doctor had given him on Sunday. "I've only just got around to it," Bergen said.
The papers had been abuzz with trade talk involving Bergen, so one man in Reed's asked him, "Are you going to be playing ball, Martin?"
"No, I'll never play another game of ball," he said sadly. Michael Bergen stayed in town while Martin drove back to Mrs. Collins's place, where he picked up Florence and Joe and returned to the farm without his groceries, which had not arrived.
Martin was an early riser, as most farmers are, and the sagest guess is that the following morning he came off the couch where he'd slept at around half past five. Not long after, he rushed out of the shed, ax in hand, hallucinating in a psychotic fury, and raised the blade above Hattie as she stood by the bed.
Wielding the weapon with a batter's practiced force, Bergen brought it down on the left side of her head, crushing her forehead and killing her instantly. She fell on the bed with her arms still raised above her head, as if in supplication. Florence and Joe, in their nightclothes, ran screaming out of the room. Martin swept after them and caught the boy with the blade along the top of the head, severing the crown of his skull, then picked up the body outside the bedroom door and threw it to the bedroom floor. Florence had hidden behind a kitchen chair, but Bergen saw her and went after her. He missed her once with the ax, breaking a piece off the wooden chair, but killed her with a blow to the head in front of the stove.
Surrounded by his dead family, Bergen took his straight razor off the kitchen shelf, stood before the looking glass above the sink and cut his throat with such force that he nearly decapitated himself. The razor fell on a table by the sink. Martin died next to Florence on the kitchen floor.