by Danny Mowinski
A steel blade catches a glimmer
of moonlight in the shadows. The sound of creasing fabric, as someone stalks the wall of the alleyway; the muffled footsteps
of a trespasser, dimly resound in the drizzling night air. But there is nobody to hear these sounds, and even if there was,
would they hear the cat-whispers of a killer moving in on his prey?
The terraces of London are
dead. The windows like closed eyes, once bright with golden light, alive with the faces of people, and the bleary reflections
of television screens, as a man, attired elegantly in black coat, face hidden beneath a hat and scarf, observed. Observed
like a slaughter-man observes fresh piglets, and takes his pick of the pack.
He moves deftly, enfolded
in the thick night-shadows. He broods over his choice, the reek of buttoned silk strong in his nostrils, the black bow tie
straining his neck, his evening suite elegantly about him. If you’re going to kill, might as well do it in style. He
really has made a good choice this year, a superb choice. Brandishing his weapon, feeling the sleek curve of the handle,
the familiar curve, he nears the house.
The shadows of the privet
hedges along the path to the doorway flicker as he passes them. And moving towards the front door, he fails to notice the
light flickering in the upstairs window.
The scratch of the pen on
paper is the only sound in the study. Alice’s eyes are focused on her writing, trails of spidery letters pressed above
the lines. Across the hall, her husband and child are sleeping, but not she, paperwork needed doing.
Downstairs in the hallway,
the front door handle slowly turns, before the silent opening. A figure, faint as a penumbra, darts through the gap and gently
closes the door behind himself. And then, begins to pace, careful not to make a noise, towards, and up, the stairs.
Alice continues to write,
unwary of the butcher and his glistening steel, making their way up the hallway, towards the study.
The phantom figure glances
in at the sleeping child. Moves further along the hallway, pushes the door of the master bedroom open and peers in at the
sleeping husband. Then, he turns towards the door of the study.
If Alice hadn’t been
concentrating so intently on her work, she would have heard the door behind her, stressing on its hinges, and mutely squeaking
open. And the figure – hideous features in full view in the light of the room – creeping up to her.
She does turn, though. Rising,
turning, to go to the toilet and stopping dead in her tracks. She sees the monster in its full glory –
the eyes aren’t real
eyes, bloody orbs wallowing in their sockets behind the skin of the eyelids, which are closed but eaten away, as though the
eyes were behind prison bars; the flared nose, long and mucronating; and the mouth, whose lips had been peeled away, as though
by a knife, and he is wearing a dinner suite, a crisp silk shirt, black bow tie –
and as a scream forms on her
mouth, the Ripper, the Butcher, the Killer, shoots out his blade, it slices through the Adam’s apple perfectly, like
a knife through butter.
He begins about his work immediately.
First the eyes: with the skill of a master craftsman, he removes them, whole. And pops each one into his mouth, and, a connoisseur
of the vile, savours the squishing, juicy sensation they bring. Next the interior organs: slicing open the stomach he extracts
each one individually, all to be eaten in a different way.
Later, as Big Ben tolls towards
midnight, Jack the Ripper moves towards his crypt licking his fingers in his lipless mouth, and settling back in his rightful
place, goes to sleep for another year.
One more mystery added to
his brilliant collection.