Guest blogger Carole Gill on Jack the Ripper and Writing. (WARNING - contains vivid description of a murder.)
Jack the Ripper’s identity has been discussed ever since those horrific crimes were committed. Below is an excerpt from a short story I wrote, "A Tale of Whitechapel," which concerns a meeting between Jack the Ripper and Louis Darton, a most erudite vampire. It appears in a novel length collection of short stories entitled Haunted Tales of Terror.
In this story, I name one of the official suspects as being Jack. Truthfully, I hesitated naming him, but I think writing takes courage. We are faced constantly with so many daily challenges, such as the challenge of commitment and of sticking to our projects.
In fact, it’s anyone’s guess who he really was. Those killings may have been committed by an unknown lunatic who lived in the area and didn’t stand out. I think he seemed to be invisible because he knew every single alley and hiding place in those grimy warrens and impoverished hell-holes. Having said that, we like to have a little fun sometimes; I know I do. Here is the excerpt:
Some would have said she was pretty. I, myself, didn’t share that opinion. I could see the bog in her, the stinking midden, which flowed too near to her birth place. I could see and smell that as well. Yet when I first saw her move with the unmistakable sauntering gait of the street walker, I was fascinated, the way a lion might be staring at his prey.
I smiled and said something. She took my interest as flattering, my conversation as exciting. I saw a smile and flash of her teeth, still intact because she was young.
Darling! What effrontery. Had she known who I was, she’d have died! How ironic, don’t you think?
“Ooh you are a gent, ain’t ya? Look, dear! I don’t live far. Just this way. Miller’s court, see?”
It was late—few people were about even on these disease ridden streets. So we walked along, just she and I, both full of happy expectation. Her lodgings were grim and disgusting. A broken window with a piece of fabric shoved inside it to keep the cold out.
“Step in whilst I light the fire.”
The room was so tiny the door could not open properly. Her bed seemed to fill up the place, a busy bed no doubt.
“I‘ll just put this on...”
I turned in order not to see her tawdry preparations.
She was wearing a gaudy, nearly threadbare chemise, long past its best, a gift perhaps made cheap from overuse. I think she thought I was shy. “That’s right, ducks you just relax. I’ll stretch out on me bed and wait, that’ll give you time.”
I smiled too as I reached for my friend: Mr. Sharp and Ready—a pleasant sort of chap if you don’t rile him. The women rile him—some women that is.
Some kind of instinct must have alerted her for she suddenly opened her eyes. That’s when I slit her throat. Two swipes—the second so powerful, I nearly took her head off. Blood erupted like a beautiful fountain. Then it stopped.
Her eyes were open and staring and that’s when I began to paint my canvas.
I wanted to leave my mark. It was work. People said I wasn’t good at anything, but I was, for I was a master craftsman, an artisan! People don’t realize how much talent it takes to do what I do. Nor do they know how much time it takes; however as it was getting late and I could not afford to dawdle, I pulled off my blood-stained clothes (I had clothes underneath).
I planned to walk up Commercial Road toward Anthony Street, eventually reaching London Hospital where I knew I could easily catch a cab to Jermyn Street.
Ah, the luxury of a Turkish bath to wash away the tiredness and anything else that might need washing away.
Finally I leave, closing the door gently behind me, but that’s when I saw a man standing not 100 yards away. There was something familiar about him.
Suddenly I knew where I’ve seen him. Club Crimson!
I will have to be clever; I cannot afford to leave a witness. “Good morning to you, Monsieur Darton!”Learn more about Carole at her website or check out her book on Amazon.