I See You, Jack! Chapter 7

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I See You, Jack!

Glowing pocket-watch-like thing with word cloud.

Chapter 7

He'd spent the evening strolling around the Duke Street area, silver-tipped cane keeping time with his strides along the cobbles.

The red bricked merchant quarter, although built fairly recently to service the booming docklands, was now dim in the street lamps, already stained brown and black with smoke. Rope makers and ship fitters still toiled into the night, but the area was fast becoming the centre for another Liverpool industry.

The inns and bawdy houses springing up around the affluent residences provided lucrative opportunities for upmarket prostitution and gentlemen's clubs. Those with poorer purses were catered for by the girls (and some boys) who gravitated to the area to avoid the rougher clientele of the docks and navy camp.

Indeed, many street girls had already presented themselves to him this evening, but all were ignored.

He looked around the terraces, waiting for a sign, permission from the Angel, consent from the Divine, one soul who was worthy of the Ritual to be identified.

It had been thus for so long now. The guilt of his first childish attempts washed away when the Angel had appeared to him.

Although the Divine had chosen the Angel to appear on Earth as a man, he knew something Greater was steering his needs.

He'd first noticed the Heavenly apparition in London.

A movement in the corner of his eye, a flickering of shadows, distracting him from his clumsy butchering, then He was simply there.

Watching, approving of his actions, signalling the choice of vessel, giving the wretched soul the chance to Become.

After his third, maybe the fourth (his early attempts at Transformation now blurring into insignificance) subject, he had found the Divine Book. Pages upon pages of detailed instructions.

The Angel's Great Plan!

Twenty-five future Rituals, times, places, names, and the thrilling details of how he could perform the Transformations.

At the back of the Book, sketches, hundreds of sketches, showing in full Splendour, how these poor souls could be transformed, cleansed, sent on to a better existence.

The Book transformed him too - from a common killer, carnal and base - into the Architect of the Divine.

He would be eternally grateful that his Angel had deemed him worthy of possession of the Book. Swore he would follow the Plan to the letter.

Wandering the backstreets for hours, death beneath his cape, waiting for his Angel to miraculously appear.

Although the Angel never approached him personally, preferring to hide in the shadows, apart, but so very much a part, of the Ritual, he knew when he had appeared. Triggering the desire to act, to help whatever sorry soul presented herself to him in the Angel's presence.

Then, the Ritual completed satisfactorily, the Angel simply vanished, 'til next time, for there was always more righteous work to be done. Always the Angel appearing to show him the Way of the Book.

He turned a corner, noticing the harlots in the alleyway, bawdy offers and lewd suggestions for him to spend a few shillings. Carnal nonsense, unappealing and unwanted by him.

To his right, in a first floor window came the unmistakable shimmer, a brief glimpse of the Angelic figure before it stepped back into the unlit room, but he knew he was being observed, tested, his Angel had let him know the next vessel was nearby.

And lo!

The girl swished her skirts around her hips, drawing up the material, tempting him with a flash of stockinged ankle. Asking him if he wanted some company, a fine gentleman needing some female dalliance perhaps?

The crimson lips pouted, heavily rouged, akin to an actress's mouth, pale skin with veins highlighted with blue pencil, and eyes sparkling with belladonna, this was no cheap streetwalker. Almost certainly one of a stable, working for a madam, room to rent by the hour? Risky for him, the Ritual needed privacy, away from any prying eyes or pennyworth peeping Toms.

He held out the coin, the girl's eyes lighting up, eagerly following him away from the bawdy house.

He glanced up, the Angel was still there, keen to witness the Ritual, for another soul to be Transformed.

His pace quickened, leading the girl into the coach alley, directly opposite the Angel's vantage point.

As she fumbled with her skirts, the Architect took out the pearl-handled razor and began.

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