I See You, Jack! Chapter 2

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I See You, Jack!

Glowing pocket-watch-like thing with word cloud.

Chapter 2

'. . . before following the girl into the alleyway. Elizabeth Stride blissfully unaware she was to be his next!'

Riding waited for the applause to die down, smiling at the dimly-lit audience, sitting enthralled by his words in the Liverpool bookstore.

The lights came on, Riding smiled again as he took in his fans. The usual make up, the percentages seemingly constant wherever in the world he spoke. Around eighty percent female. Honestly, he'd been slightly surprised at his first appearance, expecting his audience to be mostly male – given the subject matter. Obviously thirty-one crimes against women failed to put off the female population. Why did they find the gruesome crimes so fascinating?

There but for the Grace. . . ?

He ignored the voice. Probably a little sexist, certainly a little old-fashioned, but it still made him smile, having a little bet with himself at each book reading, waiting for an all-female or all-male audience, an excuse to open that special bottle of Scotch, not that he needed an excuse, but it made him feel better about his drinking.

Still, he was willing to sacrifice his liver, as long as the alcohol helped quieten the voice in his mind.

His manager interrupted his thoughts.

'Ten minutes' break, folks, then there'll be an opportunity to have your books signed by the man himself. Ten minutes, so grab a copy while you can!'

His manager, who'd've thought?

I See You, Jack! had been an instant bestseller.


Offers from movie studios to make the film poured in, jeez, he'd even had several personal calls from Hollywood A listers practically begging him to be considered for the leading role.

His fingers traced the pocket watch, fame, fortune, recognition. . . all down to one press of that ornately knurled button.

Not exactly, he corrected himself.

Many, many presses of that button. The fingerprints on his thumb were actually becoming grooved by the ridges of the intricate decoration.

Hours spent lurking in dark corners, observing, taking notes, following the man in black. Each time going back a few minutes earlier, an hour, a day, a month. Desperate to see that face, identify the most infamous unknown character in history.

His living room looked like one of those scenes in a detective movie: his wall plastered with old maps, newspaper cuttings, faded pictures, death masks looked out from the pins and twine that linked them all in a deadly web.

Historically, the Ripper (Christ, he hated that name) was thought to be responsible for five murders, with a further two being mooted as earlier, pre-1888 trial runs.


He thought of the nights he'd witnessed, been physically present as the razor sliced, seven?

Try 31!

Thirty-one lives lost to this monster.

Monster? You know better than that!


And he, James Riding, author and time traveller, could prove them all. Identify every woman and girl taken. Describe in haunting detail how they'd been butchered.

He'd discovered that London Town had been a mere dalliance, a few months spent in the capital, meant to pass time away from his real hunting grounds, let the heat die down in his hometown. Lie low in the bustling city before returning North to finish his Mission.

But the need, the wicked hunger, had grown in him.

No! The Angel had demanded he act, that His righteous hand not be stayed.

Not being a native of London, Jack had made several mistakes, indeed, he'd almost been caught twice, had to leave his last vessel before he'd performed his Divine Ritual.

Left her unadorned, impure, another of the hundreds of deaths around the city. Unsolved, unmourned, unmissed, unwanted.

Flotsam in that heaving sea of filth!

One of the poor unfortunates that inhabited London's underbelly. He corrected the voice.

Yes, the canonical five had been a mere dalliance, the supposed Whitechapel murders that followed had been the clumsy work of unworthy copycats, seeking carnal pleasures in what should have been an Act of Purification. They deserved to be forgotten by history, unworthy of being considered.

Riding shook his head, trying to shake free those thoughts, the images, the memories. The overpowering need to witness what he was beginning to think was. . .

Beautiful, Divine, an Act of Love?

The unbidden voice in his head taunted him more often these days.

Gulping his Scotch, he poured another, and went out to meet his fans, sign more books, make more money, answer yet more stupid bloody questions about how he'd researched his work.

Again, he thumbed the pocket watch. If they only knew.

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