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"Murder and an Unexpected Present"
John Lusk marched into Scotland Yard.
“Alright, what is all this chaos about”? The crumpled letter lying on the table spoke for itself.
“Oh blast! Another bloody letter”.
“What’s the matter sir?”, inquired Martha, who had just finished sorting files and was about to leave. After quickly scanning the letter, he replied, “Its another warning letter from that notorious Jack the Ripper. He’s done it again Miss”.
“What do you mean? Exactly who is this man?”
“A good-for-nothing mass murder. Slinks around at night, wait’n in eerie alleys for a poor young girl to come along. Then he catches his prey and slits their throats. But you know what really sends a chill through my body, Martha? In every single investigation do you know what we find? Every single body we uncover is missing a kidney. Abominable. Abominable, I tell you. Disturbing assassinator, he is”.
John shook his head, sadly exclaiming, “and you know what really bothers me is that we have been hunting the grounds for two weeks, and this monster has been able to slip through our fingers every time. And then, he goes ’round taunt’n us, sending his smug little letters to the Scotland Yard”.
Martha gaped at the head chief in horror, “And you have no idea who this man may be? No suspects in mind?”.
“Martha, this murderer is clever, I’ll give him that much. Never shows himself. The fact that he could easily remove an organ without a bloody mess tells us that he is a brilliant surgeon. He’s got brains you know. Knows how to elude the police. As far as anyone knows, he could be acting like any normal chap strolling on the streets, from the gentlemen helping you into the carriage to the man you encounter at the opera.”, sighed John.
“Sir, may I please see the letter?”
“Well, alright Miss, although I wouldn’t suggest it for a faint-hearted girl like you”, handing her the letter. Martha gingerly unfolded the letter and read it with trembling hands:
Expect to receive the kidney of a woman I have saved especially for you. As a gift. I may send you the bloody knife if you wait a little longer.
Catch me when you can Mr. Lusk
Signed Jack the Ripper
John glanced at Martha, saying “see, I told you Miss. Downright disturbing, this whole affair. For your own good, you’d better start getting home before it gets dark. In fact, allow me to walk you home”.
“How very kind of you sir, thank you”. The two exited the building and strode along the street, trying to beat the sinking sun.
“Mother, why didn’t you tell me about this Jack the Ripper?”
“I’m sorry my dear, but I didn’t want to frighten you. I thought that as long as I warned you to be back by dusk, there would be no need to”
“Oh mother, I am afraid, but I really would have preferred to have known what was going on. Oh dear, I have left the manuscript on my desk! I am supposed to have it typed for Mr. Lusk by tomorrow! I must retrieve it”.
“Martha! Are you insane? It’s already 9 o’clock and pitch black. It’s not safe”, protested her mother.
“But I have no choice! You know how hard it was for me to even get this job. It was kind enough for Mr. Lusk to give me the chance to be his secretary. It’ll only be a few minutes, for it really isn’t far.”
After a moment of silence, Martha’s mother reluctantly replied, “alright Martha, but please, for the love of God, be quick”. Martha ran down the stairs, calling back, “I’ll be back before you can say ‘Jack the Ripper’”.
The moon guided her path as she walked along the slick, cold cobble-stone street in the silent night. Her breath made ghostly figures in the frost. She let out a sigh of relief when she reached Highbury St. She was almost there. As she turned the corner, she nearly ran into a mysterious man, completely veiled in black. She gasped, and her body went rigid . . .
* * *
John Lusk gazed in horror of the mangled remains of his former colleague. This loss was on a personal level. His heart knotted uncomfortably when he saw the twisted body stretched out in the alley. When his glance reached the pale, formerly pretty face, now marred with messy scars and the expression of terror, he turned away in utter disgust. Another young woman’s life had been taken too soon, a life that could have meant children, a husband, and so much more. John was more determined than ever to finally seize this ruthless slaughterer and make him pay dearly for the priceless cost of the innocents’ lives.
Back at Scotland Yard, John Lusk meant business.
“Alright! Everyone listen up! Especially after the loss of our young colleague, we must catch this man before his next rampage. I’ve got a plan that might work, but I need to find a volunteer who’s got the wits and courage to do it.”
* * *
“You’ll be safe, Ms. Lane. Our policemen will make sure of that. We will have some of our disguised men trailing you, but if anything goes wrong, scream. When the men have got him cornered, they’ll fire two shots as the signal. Remember, the point is to lure him to you. Act timid, look naive. Try to lead him down Rinowy St.; that leads to an open field where we’ll be able to take him.”
Arabella Lane nodded and walked out. Not long after her departure, a few of John Lusk’s best men quickly slipped out into the night. John Lusk tried to keep his head during the wait. Twenty minutes later: She’s bound to have him on Rinowy St. by now. Thirty minutes: Come on! The signal must be coming soon! He did not have to wait much longer. Five minutes later, he heard two distinct shots pierce the midnight silence. Lunging for the coat rack, he grabbed his overcoat and sprinted into the darkness.
“Burnswell? Percy Burnswell! Black! Alexander Black! Where the devil are you boys?”
John ran blindly around the neighborhood, squinting at the shadowy lumps he could not make out in the darkness. Finally, he saw the tall figure of a man a few blocks ahead of him. Extremely relieved, John dashed to meet him.
“Sir, quick! We’ve got him cornered in the back of the lot!”
Both men scrambled to the scene. It was an interesting sight: the silhouette of a tall man struggling to keep up with the swift pace of the smaller man.
“Have you got a flashlight? I nearly killed myself tripping over the gutter”
“No sir, our group only brought revolvers.”
The man led John to the lot and stopped. The panting chief stumbled ahead, looking wildly around for the red-handed murderer. Seeing nothing but the dim spikes of grass flourishing in the great, empty lot, John whipped around to face his accompanier.
Chief Lusk desperately asked, “Well, where is he? Have you forgotten the way back?”
“You said you needed a flashlight earlier?”
John squinted as the bright light seared his eyes. Glancing up from the beam of light to the face of the flashlight holder, John immediately leaped back. Black malicious eyes leered at him, gleaming in the light.
Lusk, taken back by the unknown, mysterious man, cried, “Who are you?”
Then the look of panic and abrupt understanding dawned across is face. His hand jumped to his mouth. His eyes widened in dread and fear. Weaponless, he backed away from the man, frantically thinking of a way out.
The man moved forward, pulling an object from his filthy pockets. A magenta-stained dagger completely encrusted with the dry remains of blood was revealed. Gently laying the dagger across his palms, he held out the knife.
“A present—for you, Mr. Lusk.”