Once deemed for a project in high school, I slipped away with this story after a few paragraphs. It had been based on a comic that I failed to produce at the time which depicted a young woman who was selected by the US Government to travel back in time and find out historys greatest secrets (such as Roswell, the Philadelphia Experiment). The plot takes place when Jack the Ripper terrorized London.
Witness © Spirit Archer
The beat of my heart stopped once the sound of the first floor door creaked as I listened from the upstairs closet. The sound of our breathing settled while we sat quietly within the old closet, given to my family from my late grandmother. It was filled with exotic coats from the East; making the space inside for two fourteen-year-old girls seem impossible. Being as creative as I was, I found space underneath the coats and quickly shoved Alice inside, hoping it was possible for us to fit, and not caring about discarding a few coats out. It would be quite obvious on where we were hiding if were a few coats lying about. It was rather easy to find room and here we sit, quiet as two mice hiding from a cat. Our situation was exactly as I had just described.
Recently, we had meddled in affairs that were not ours. What we fell upon, was the atrocity of murder in the process. The grotesque sound of human flesh ripping apart between the damp walls of the lonely alleyway of London will forever be etched in our minds. The images alone brought us never ending nightmares for weeks to come. Fear would often mistaken us for weak children, as we would remember the man who had done the murder. We would remember anywhere and everywhere, bringing us slightly closer to hysteria. We never spoke of the incident to another soul, which might be the reason of our near insanity. If we didn't have each other, then surely we would have been insane a long time ago.
I can never forget the man who had done the solemn crime as long as I live. At first, he seemed unusually short in the dark, but once he stood up, a nearby torch lightly illuminated a faint outline of the side of his body. He was tall, possibly shorter than Alice's father and wore a long, dark coat with a dark top hat. He seemed like gentleman from behind, but within him held a reverential murderer. Within his grasp, was a simple knife, possibly taken within his own home. The blade did not look dull, but rather sharp, easy to cut through any person's skin. The deadly blade held a thick liquid of a dark crimson which it had obtained from its masters earlier attack and laid before him, a slain woman. The new corpse laid against the uncaring, cold wall, showing what only medical doctors were able to see. Her inner organs were strewn about, her face seemed mutilated and one of her ears was missing. The scene, I prayed, was apocryphal.
With fear in our hearts, we turned to flee, but in my blunder, I tripped over a loose cobble stone, and made a frightening gasp. As I sat on the ground next to my dearest friend, I turned to the man. His body had turned towards us, and although his person was almost hidden by the night, the outline of his body shown, and his eyes bright. His eyes are what I remember most. They illuminated the intent of what it seemed, hysteria to a level where he could possibly control it. They seemed haggard and contained no traces of craven emotions, but a bit of rancor and disconsolation also held him to where he was no ordinary man. His eyes startled me, I could not move once he had started coming our way.
I was paralyzed by the utmost fear that I had never felt before. Not even my dearest friend, Alice, could lift me from my trembling position on the cold ground. I was fearful of the monster in front of us. I feared of our early demise, would he kill us? It seemed the answer was already decided if I sat any longer, but my fear kept a hold of me tight. Memories of my family would flash through my mind as he approached closer. Suddenly, the sound of an old window opening from a far broke my trance. Realizing the full extent of our situation, I took my cohort's hand, lifted all my mass up and pushed Alice forward.
Our Victorian dresses were a nuisance to us. As we tried to escape the sights of the criminal, they became heavier and heavier on our petite bodies. The material we had gathered in our hands from our dresses occasionally slipped to their place, causing us to slip from time to time. Our breathing was heavy, and was concentrated solely on the situation. Our breaths were used to help us keep from collapsing from fear, rather than calling for help. The man, as we knew he was still trailing us, was easy to hear. His feet made clop sounds amongst the cobble stones, as ours did the same. We soon heard the clop sounds become faster, and realized he had started running.
It seemed unrealistic, but then his footsteps stopped, and only ours were echoing through the lower part of the city. We feared that he would appear anywhere. We feared our lives would be like the woman behind us. We feared for our futures.
Finally, after long last, we had arrived at a main road, where we had seen a constable walking his night shift. We eagerly told him our story in tired breathes which he seemed most intrigued in, and left us at a safe place, amongst others on night watch for the Victoria Police. Tired as we were, we never told our parents, in fear that the murderer would find us. We kept quiet as the newspaper held the murder on its headlines. We fled the police's safe hands, as we did not want to be involved with it at all.
Unbeknownst to us, the man had apparently proceeded in following us that night to an extent, and would later shadow us from a far, and without our attainments. This would leave us in our current predicament. We were staying at my aunt's home, because she had taken ill and we felt the need to visit her. She had become better within two weeks of our visit, and she was as right as rain. So excited she was, she fled to the city for a day, and promised to be home before dusk. She was past her said time, and we worried a bit, but her maids assured us, she must have forgotten the time, which was usual for her, and is having the merry time she didn't have for the past few weeks.
This comforted our fears that she might have forgotten her promise, and sat comfortably in the Lounge room on the first floor, reading "Through the Looking-Glass" by Lewis Carroll together. What lead us to this dreaded closet was that one of the maids came frantically running in, and shooing us to the second floor, while muttering us to hide. The only indication of this reason was her whispered words to us, 'he's here!'
This frightened us temporarily. We didn't know who 'he' was exactly. We know of no one who hated our family, or had grudges to our knowledge. Those were kept secret amongst our parents, but as Alice peeked through the window of the guest bedroom on the second floor where we stayed, she quietly cried, 'he! The horrid man!'
So here we sit, in this closet with coats from the east, listening as the man walks up the staircase. We fear for our lives once more, because this could only mean that our fate would be the same as the woman before. His footsteps halted and for a few moments, there was silence, then it started again, but towards our room. We shivered together; the inscrutable man was going to render us to death! That is, until a shriek was heard, and then a scuffle. Even though it was foolish, I slowly opened the closet door to see what was ensuing. Alice tugged on my arm not to, but we both were stricken by awe, as two of my dear aunts maids had thrown themselves onto the man, to keep him away from us. Seeing this as a glorious opportunity, I pushed open the doors and fell out in to a heap in front of the closet, Alice following close behind, and toppling on top of my person.
I tried raising my body, signaling her to stand. She took this, and stood, taking me with her. As much as we wanted to help the maids, we ran. In fear of our lives once again, and because they had given us the chance to live. We raced downstairs, through the lounge, and out the doors into the city air. It was night again, but we didn't mind. We were too worried about ourselves, for if we had passed, our family lines would cease to end. Our parents would be distraught, and there would be so many more consequences behind it. Who would give a detailed description of the murderer if we finally gained enough valor to tell the police?
We then noticed a silhouette of a man up ahead. He was a bit taller than us, but we didn't mind at all, as long as he listened to us. He must have heard our breaths, the movement of our dresses, and our feet against the cobblestone behind him, for he stopped and turned around. We stopped in front of him and caught our breath. I looked up, as he took off his top hat. To my surprise, it was no gentleman! It was a woman in drag! It was no ordinary woman either, it was our recent friend.
"What's wrong with you two?" she questioned us in her foreign accent. She held her top hat under her arm as she took an unusual stance while she stood.
"My auntie's maids! They're in danger! They're with that man!" I breathed out and grabbed on to her arm, "please do something!"
"What man?" she questioned, a bit of anxiety rising in her voice. Alice then proceeded in grabbing her other arm.
"The man we saw those weeks ago!"
"That man?!" her voice changed from anxiety to full excitement. She gave a wicked smile and laughed, "I'll get his picture now!" She pulled out an odd looking contraption from inside her coat, the smaller version of our cameras. Though, I will never know how it works, it just seems like pure witch craft to me.
"This is serious!" Alice cried out, tugging on her arm again.
"Don't worry! I'll help your aunt's maids if I can, but I can't promise anything. I'm not Superman, y'know?" she began to walk in strides towards my aunts' home.
Alice and I looked at each other in pure terror. We knew our friend was obsessed with photos for her home, but to take one of a murderer? Is this what she was really here for? To capture the picture of Jack the Ripper?