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Author's note: I've always loved the mystery surrounding Jack the Ripper and I wanted to write my own views on the subject. It was different trying to write from the point of view of a psychopathic serial killer. It really pushed my mind to think differently as I wrote the piece.
The rat didn’t care about the woman walking down Berner Street. It only had one thing on its mind: food. But it did stop to watch, trying to judge if she was an enemy or not. Her footsteps came closer, but passed by the alley, ignoring the eyes watching from the corner. No one ever noticed the eyes watching in the corner.
The rat’s nose lifted as it sensed the rotting cheese on the ground just a few feet away. It started taking tentative steps toward the food but stopped short. A short, piercing scream had come from about one alley over. The rat hesitated. Was the food worth investigating what the scream was? Suddenly, a shout of surprise came from what sounded like the same area. The rat scurried into the street, keeping close to the brick wall to avoid puddles and passersby. Not that anyone was walking along the streets at this late hour. The rat is a creature of habit.
It froze just before turning into Dutfield’s Yard. A horse tied to a cart stood in the middle of the courtyard attempting to back away from something lying in the middle of the alley. The horse wouldn’t hurt the rat. It inched slowly towards the thing on the ground. A metallic tang fills the air, not uncommon to the rat. As it gets closer, the rat realizes it is a person, the woman that had walked past the rat only a few moments before. Blood is still oozing out of her neck, pooling on the ground. The body is still warm.
The rat froze as a door was opened off to its left. Voices drifted from the open doorway, one louder than the rest. “I think it’s just some drunk who’s fallen asleep on the ground, the bastard.” The rat skittered back towards the street, pausing at the end of the alley. No, this type of thing was not unusual to these streets at all. The rat heard the three men who had come out gasp in unison as they saw what had startled the horse. Thinking nothing more of it, the rat dashed back to the other alley, hoping the cheese it had left was still there.
The crow stood atop a building that surrounded Mitre Square. It was there every night at the same place, at roughly the same time. Assuming it was just part of its duty, the crow kept on an eye on the labyrinth of streets and alleys spread out beneath it. Watching the dark deeds being carried out, unnoticed by anyone else.
The crow just happened to be watching one of those dark deeds right now. Below in Mitre Square a man was working slowly, methodically. He was leaning far over the body and the crow could tell this wasn’t the first time he had done this. The man was an expert.
When the woman turned the corner of the building, the crow watched as the man snuck from the shadows and attacked her from behind. The crow saw how the knife slid quickly across her throat, instantly silencing any protest the woman would have had the chance to utter. The man then gently lowered her body to the ground. Light from the moon glinted off the wet blade of the knife, as it twisted and turned at the mercy of its master, slicing through skin as though it were silk.
The crow watched with mild curiosity. It had seen many humans killed in these streets over many different issues. The streets of East London echoed with the sound of screams from decades of victims. But this one was different. Usually the murderers ran away once their victims were hurt. Most of them didn’t even stay long enough to make sure they were dead. The man below the crow stayed, even though the woman had been killed with the first slice.
Standing up, the man looked around while wiping the knife off on a handkerchief. The crow watched as he pocketed his instrument and strode away from the scene without looking back. He disappeared around the corner and the crow’s gaze lingered at the spot where he had been standing a moment before. The sound of footsteps coming from the opposite direction drew the crow’s eyes back to the bloody mess on the ground before it. Another man turned the corner of the building and froze from the scene laid out before him. This man took cautious steps toward the body, and then he turned and ran. The crow assumed he was going for the police because that’s what happened every time a body was found lying in the streets. It usually stayed to watch the investigations unfold. They almost always cleared up within the hour. But the crow had no desire to watch this one. With a flap of its wings, it left the building and flew into the night, knowing this time it would be different.
The rat didn’t like it when its sleep was disturbed. Voices filled the alley, shouting and generally just making noise. Peeking out from the small hole in the building that it currently occupied, the rat watched as people came filing down Berner Street. Horse and carriage stood against the walls of the alley, clogging the already crowded street. Everything seemed to be focused on the other alley, the one the woman had been killed in. The rat slid out from its hiding place and ran along the wall of the building, under the carriages, even though the humans were too busy to pay attention. The rat is a creature of habit.
Crawling on the spokes of a carriage wheel close to the alley, the rat could watch the entire scene before it and was close enough to hear what was being said.
“Do you think this could be a third one, then, inspector?” said one of the men standing surveying the scene.
“It is too early in the case to tell sergeant. From the description of the wound it could very well be. Or it may be some rogue thief who was caught in the act. Either way this woman was the victim.”
“But the cut across the throat,” the first man parried, “is exactly like the first two.”
“I’m quite aware of the correlation, sergeant, but there are no mutations. No other cuts, no other bodily harm. Nothing! Why would the ripper mutilate his first two victims but not the third?” The rat could see that the second man was fairly peeved.
“And what about the letter, inspector?” The first man didn’t appear to realize the others anger. “Here I have it with me.” Digging in his briefcase, the first man brought out a piece of paper stained red.
I keep on hearing the police have caught me but they wont fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now. I love my work and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I cant use it. Red ink is fit enough I hope ha. ha. The next job I do I shall clip the ladys ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly wouldn't you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight. My knife's so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good Luck.
Jack the Ripper
Dont mind me giving the trade name
PS Wasnt good enough to post this before I got all the red ink off my hands curse it No luck yet. They say I'm a doctor now. ha ha
“And then the second letter too. It said soon there would be two murders.”
“This so far is only one murder, sergeant! You don’t think I hadn’t thought of this already. What if this is the start of something? What if the second murder hasn’t happened yet? Or maybe there’s a body that we just haven’t found yet! We should just stick to the evidence we have here right now. Maybe it relates to Jack the ripper and maybe it doesn’t.” The first man was silent after the second’s outburst. He was just about to turn to the second when they heard a shout from down the street.
“Oi! Police!” A man came stumbling up the street, fear in his eyes. The rat watched as this new man came up to the first two men and stood shaking. “It’s the Ripper!”
The second man stiffened at these words and his eyes inquired the newcomer. “What do you mean it’s the ripper?”
“One of your men—uh…umm…P.C. Watkins it was—he found the body just lyin’ there! I happened to be walkin’ by and he told me to come find you ‘ere. Said he didn’t want it to be left alone in case somethin’ ‘appened to it.”
The first man started in. “Where exactly—”
“A bloody mess it was. Didn’t look like any body I’d eve’ seen before! No it didn’t even look human!”
The second man darted forward and shook the third by his shoulders. “My god, man, where?”
The third man looked surprised as he pointed back from where he had come. “Down in Mitre Square!” The first two men exchanged a quick glance and bolted for the nearest carriage.
Still stunned, the third man turned to watch them go, knowing that he had been forgotten for the moment. He watched the carriage swing around the corner at a daring pace and disappear from sight. He didn’t see the small rat that followed close behind.
The rat didn’t have trouble keeping pace with the carriage. It was nimble and knew these roads well. The rat didn’t usually follow anything the humans did. They were silly and it didn’t quite understand their ways, but the rat did enjoy the food they left for it. It felt obligated to follow, for it thought it had seen the beginning of something.
Darting around the last corner, the rat could already smell the death that hung in the air. Running closer and closer, the rat was just about to come upon the scene when it felt a sharp, piercing pain in its side. Its final squeak was silenced quickly as it was lifted away and into the night.
The crow settled back on its perch atop the building. Having satisfied its hunger with a stray rat it had picked up, the crow continued its watch over the events below. It had originally flown away, planning on not returning, but curiosity had drawn the crow back to its place. The crow watched as two men stepped out of the carriage that had just arrived. It watched as they exchanged words with the man that had been pacing between the buildings back and forth, over and over, not looking at the thing lying there. That’s all it was now. It just couldn’t be human anymore.
The crow watched as the three men walked over to the thing and just stopped. Glancing between the ground and the newcomers, the third man stood fidgeting as the silence bore on. A slight breeze swept through the alley as the first two men took in the scene before them, not quite believing their eyes. The crow ruffled its feathers, impatient. It hopped off the edge of the building and glided closer to the scene, landing on the carriage the men had come in.
“It’s the ripper isn’t it?” The third man said quietly. “Just like the letter said right? How part of the lower left ear lobe is missing?”
The second man slowly brought his gaze from the body up to the third man. “Yes,” he whispered. “This could only be his work.”
Gazing over the heads of the men, the crow inspected all the cuts more closely. A slit across the throat, many cuts across the face. All of them were very close cuts, slicing the skin away from the muscle creating flaps of skin that lifted in the wind whenever a breeze came through. Slices in the eyelids severed the eyes that made it appear as though they were popping out. Like the man had said, a portion of the left ear lobe was gone. A large cut starting at the throat that went down to the left thigh went straight across the stomach, the skin peeled across so the inside organs could be seen. Small, quick cuts had been made across many of the internal organs, and there was an empty space where part of the intestine had been removed. Only the right kidney was still there, its partner completely missing, with only cut arteries to show where it had been.
The first man finally turned away from the scene, disgust on his face.
“We must get an investigation started on this immediately. Don’t let anyone else into this square without my consent.” The second man couldn’t take his eyes away from what was in front of him. “Sergeant, go back and get more police. Return as fast as you can, this is going to be a long night.”
The crow jumped from the carriage as the first man started to make his way toward it. It flew into the distance, curiosity satisfied. Somehow the crow knew that this wouldn’t be the last it would hear or see of this...
Grabbing my hat on the way out the door, I glance up at the downcast sky. Rain, rain, rain. Seemingly the only weather London ever gets.
Oh wait a few months for the snow to arrive and you will be wishing the rain would come back.
As if! When it snows at least you don’t get sopping wet.
Which is why I keep suggesting you bring an umbrella.
It would only get in the way.
I make my way down the street, blending in with the crowd. Everyone simply ignoring me, thinking I’m one of them. A simple pedestrian roaming the streets with a place to go. A commoner. The fools think they can just ignore me, not pay attention to me, to the things I can do. To all of my accomplishments.
This is why you’re better than them.
They just can’t compare to the great things you do.
Ducking into the nearest pub, small raindrops start to hit the pavement behind me. I get no greeting, no recognition whatsoever. Taking one of the stools, I order a shot of gin and sit back to watch the people that are going about their day.
You know it’s not your fault that you’re in this situation. It was that bastard Doctor who said you don’t have enough skill to be a professional surgeon.
The talent you possess is far beyond what that Doctor could tell from only seeing you perform one stomach surgery.
I lift my drink to take another sip as I watch a fair haired woman across the room.
All other human beings are inferior to the abilities you possess.
Especially women. They are useless. They should only be left to have children and then they should just be gotten rid of.
I take my gaze away from the woman for a moment as I see a sailor make his way towards her.
She must be a prostitute.
Disgusting. The worst, they are.
Placing 5 pence on the counter for the drink, I start towards the door that I just saw the woman go through. I slip my hand into my pocket and finger the knife I had taken this morning.
Remember the four from before?
Those wretches deserved what came to them.
In a way you were saving them from the poor and sad lives they lived.
Beautifying them to show the world what worthless things they were and why they had deserved to live inferior lives.
It has stopped raining when I emerge from the dark lit pub. I see the fair haired woman and her sailor companion to the right and follow at a safe distance.
Clever, it was, sending those letters to the police.
And clearly stating that your name was not nor ever will be Leather Apron.
Yes quite a horrid nickname you had been stuck with. Jack the Ripper has a better ring to it.
I turn the corner onto Dorset Street and spot the couple duck into an alleyway.
And forewarning the police of the double murder you planned?
The bastards had no idea where to start looking.
And of course telling them a few of the cuts you would be making. Just so they would know they were your victims.
A carriage pulls up to the sidewalk next to me. Being the only man around at the moment, I help the woman step down and nod and smile politely before continuing my hunt.
Of course the second letter was quite brilliant also.
Sending half of one of the victim’s kidneys.
Bet the old fools weren’t expecting that one!
After following them for quite a ways and through many back alleys I finally come out in Miller’s Court, a place of apartments for the poorer people of East London.
Although that fool with the cart and horse had interrupted your work on the first victim.
You could have stayed to finish and do a bit more than just the throat, what a waste, but it was too big a risk.
The second one made up for it though. And so will this one.
I memorize the apartment number and walk back the way I had come, hours of roaming the streets ahead of me. With nothing else planned for the day, I can only wait. Wait to be alone, wait for the right hour, wait for the pure joy of the work I do to start.
As I come to the corner of Dorset Street, I spot a crow sitting on the ground, watching me with its black beady eyes. It caws at me and hops a bit closer. It cocks its head and caws again as I reach my hand in my pocket to finger the knife again. Of course dear friend. Because everyone needs a witness.
Saturday November 10th 1888
ANOTHER MURDER IN
At half-past ten o'clock yesterday (Friday) morning the dead body of a woman, with her head almost severed from her body, was found in an untenanted outhouse or shed in Dorset-court, Dorset-street, Commercial-street, Spitalfields. It had evidently lain there for some hours; but several scavengers, who were in the court at nine o'clock yesterday morning declare that the body was not there then. They might, however, have been mistaken, as the place is very dark. An alarm was immediately raised, and an inspector of police and a number of constable were soon on the spot. It is remarkable the Dorset-court is exactly opposite the house in Dorset-street in which the unfortunate woman Annie Chapman used to lodge. The discovery created the greatest excitement in the neighbourhood, and crowds quickly gathered at the scene.