Not a Soul

November 17, 2016
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The night was black, just the way he liked it. His eyes glimmered in anticipation, and his gaze fell on the ever moving hands on the clock across the eerie square. Hours had passed, but this did not faze him. He was used to waiting; he had waited years in the shadows for this moment. There were others, of course, but they were merely obstacles, women who got in the way. He looked back upon those moments fondly, but felt no remorse. This was his moment. It all came down to right now. A slow stream of water dripped from the edge of a building, and the age old clock ticked in time to the drips. It wouldn’t be much longer now. Soon enough, he would slip back into the shadows, his rightful home. No one would notice his absence, not a soul. The man was suddenly jerked from his thoughts by the soft tapping of footsteps approaching him on the cobblestone. His face broke into a demented grin, and a familiar flash of red crossed his vision. It was time.

September. It was September now, and the air had a bite to it that signaled the start of Autumn. The entirety of Whitechapel was on edge, and whispers floated on the breeze like the leaves that had fallen from the trees. “There is a serial killer on the loose.”, they said. “Nobody’s safe, he could strike at any moment”. They were calling him Jack the Ripper. Funny, he thought. A man like himself would never possess such a common name as Jack. His own name, however, was different. Lucius. It inspired respect, confidence, fear; much more so than any Jack ever could. Regardless, he couldn’t help but be pleased with the panic he had caused. He held more power in that moment than anyone in all of Whitechapel; he was in control. That power would have gone to his head too, had it not been for his intense focus on one Catherine Eddowes, His Kate. His beautiful Kate, who had betrayed him. She was at fault here, not him, and that thought was running through his mind in the early morning hours of September 30th, 1888.

Catherine Eddowes: Wife, mother, casual prostitute. He knew it all, as he had been following her for months. Gone was the little girl he had known in London all those years ago. In her place stood a short woman, clearly aged despite her ever fiery mane of auburn hair.  It was her hair that has drawn him to her both their childhood and in the fateful year of 1888.

They had grown up together in London where Catherine had moved shortly after her first birthday. They had been inseparable, Catherine and Lucius. They had always promised each other that they would get married one day. To Catherine, these had always been merely silly childhood words; they held no real weight. To Lucius, however, they had meant something more. Those words were a promise, a promise that she had broken. He never forgot the sinking feeling of betrayal that washed over him on that cold December day when she left. He carried that weight around with him for years, and when he caught sight of her a few months prior to September, an idea took hold of his mind. Before long, that idea had molded itself into a gruesome plot for revenge.

Catherine left her home on September 29th, unaware of the fateful events that awaited her in just a few hours. She had every intent of making today a completely normal day; she would deliver a sum of money to her daughter and then return home. The dreary weather that morning had made the trek to Southwark, where her daughter lived, especially long and arduous, so Catherine decided to reward herself with a relaxing night out. She stopped in her favorite pub in Whitechapel, which was nothing out of the ordinary. However, after a few drinks, Catherine felt the familiar sensations of being watched, and could not seem to shake it. In hopes of drowning out her discomfort, Catherine drank and drank until her actions became so erratic that she was kicked out. She wandered the streets for the better half of an hour before collapsing into a heap of intoxication on Aldgate High Street.

A police officer by the name of Lois found Catherine’s unconscious body at the corner of the street. She had attracted quite the crowd and nearly a dozen  pairs of eyes were staring down at her unmoving body. Her limbs were tangled in a knot, and her hair was spread over the cobblestone. There was a rip in Catherine’s deep green dress, and the only movement coming from her body was the small up and down of her shallow breathing. The policeman quickly separated the crowd and demanded the crowd to tell him who Catherine was and where she lived, but no one replied. Lois grumbled under his breath and shooed the crowd away before calling for another officer to come assist him in carrying Catherine back to the station. Perfect, Lucius thought. Just according to plan.

It had been six hours now, and Catherine had not returned to the square where her fate awaited her. Lucius had followed the two policemen to the station. He had watched as they tried repeatedly to convince her to tell them her name. Finally, after several failed attempts, the officers had thrown Catherine in a cell until she sobered up. Seeing this, Lucius had quietly slipped out of his hiding spot and returned to the square. There he stood, silently, until the light tapping of footsteps in cobblestone graced his ears, and a familiar flash of red crossed his vision. Lucius glanced at the clock. 1:33 AM. It was time.

Catherine was sober now, and had been released by the police to return home. Fearful of her husband John’s reactions, however, she had decided to take the longest route through the square. The darkness was unsettling, and the uneasiness she had felt earlier was quickly returning. Cold and afraid, Catherine had begun to regret her decision to take this route home. She was almost across the square when she heard a familiar voice calling out to her. “Kate!” it said, “My Kate, I've missed you!”

Catherine stopped dead in her tracks and whirled around to the direction of the voice. It surely couldn't be. She hadn't heard that voice in ages. The man came into her view, emerging from the black, and Catherine's eyes widened. She placed a hand over her mouth and rushed to meet him. “Luke!” She exclaimed as she wrapped her arms around him with the lights from the entrance to the church passage shining over them. “Luke, I've missed you! What are you doing here?” Came her elated voice. “Oh, I'm around.” he replied, breathing in her scent and studying her aging face. “I haven't seen you in years! Why, not since-” Lucius cut her off. “Not since you left, Kate. It's been thirty years.” Catherine averted her eyes and stared at the ground. “I'm sorry” she whispered, “I didn't have a choice.”

As Lucius looked down at her sorrowful face, his lips contorted into a demented grin. His hand slipped backwards, gripping the knife in his back pocket. “You said you were going to marry me, Kate. You promised,” he whispered. Catherine stared up at him, placing a hand lightly on his chest. “That was never serious, Luke. We were just kids. It was a joke.” She whispered, confused. “Not to me, Kate” he breathed, his eyes growing cold. He glanced at the clock. 1:37. He had to act now.

Catherine opened her mouth as if to speak, but was stopped by the feeling of a knife pressed up against her throat. “It was never a joke to me.” he breathed, staring into the terror filled eyes of his Kate. “Luke-” She began, her voice trembling. “I’m sorry Kate, but you leave me no choice.” With that, he pressed the knife into her throat, breaking her pale skin as the knife slid across the smooth surface. Catherine’s head jerked to the side in response to the severing of her carotid artery, and her body went limp. Lucius quickly went to work; he placed her on her back, her palms facing up. His hands moved swiftly, and they first dragged the knife along her neck to connect her ears into a twisted sort of smile. Always happy, his Kate. From there, it was almost as if the knife had a mind of it’s own. Acting almost on it’s own accord, it slipped across her eyelids, up her nose. The knife moved like a paintbrush on canvas; Lucius was the artist. Catherine was his masterpiece.

Once he was satisfied with his work on her now mutilated face, Lucius moved onto Catherine’s body. He sliced the knife through her short torso, ripping her dress in the process. The cut extended from her abdomen up through her chest, and the blood flowed from it in a river of red. Lucius pulled the flaps of skin back, revealing her inner organs. His face contorted, once again, into a twisted grin as he reached in and removed Catherine’s kidney. He would carry it with him, he thought, so as to always have a piece of her with him. His fingers danced on the slick surface of her intestines, hesitating for a moment before grasping the end of one. He pulled it out to it’s full length and draped it gently over her shoulder like a sash. It was a beautiful sash for his beautiful Kate. Perfect, he thought. He was finished.

It was 1:43. The police made their rounds at 1:45, and Lucius knew that it was time for him to go. He pulled Catherine’s hand up to his lips and kissed it for one final time before standing. As he stepped back to admire his work, Lucius grinned, pleased with himself. He slipped the knife back into his pocket and gripped Catherine’s kidney in his left hand. “It was never just a joke to me.” he whispered, almost inaudibly. “Goodbye Kate.” Then, just a quickly and silently as he appeared, he was gone, reclaiming his home in the shadows. No one ever noticed his absence, not a soul.

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