It was the Autumn of 1888 when I first heard of the murders occurring in London. Young women were found with their throats slashed and bodies butchered. Scotland Yard and the newspapers had given the culprit the name “Jack the Ripper”, and when the story had reached my little apartment here in New York, I immediately thought of my sister, Alice. She had been in London almost as long as the murders had been going on and it had been over a month since I last received a letter from her. So, I bought a ticket to London in the hope that I could locate her before the worst came to pass. Before I left, my relatives kept telling me things like: “Alia stop your worrying, your sister probably just found someone.” or “Alia Moory ,you can’t seriously believe that Alice is pretty enough for a serial killer to come after her.” That was the thing, I didn’t necessarily know what to believe anymore and this unsettling feeling at the bottom of my stomach did not reassure me whatsoever. Despite my relatives objections, I traveled to London leaving behind my job as a librarian and once I had arrived I retraced Alice’s steps with the help of her previous letters.
Her very first letter described her visit to Big Ben and how much her feet hurt from the cobblestoned streets the first couple of days she was there. At the time I didn’t understand why her feet were hurting, but after I had arrived at Big Ben, I understood the pain she was complaining about. Not only was Alice’s description of the pain accurate, the details she had written about the time-keeper of London were even more so. The more I stood there looking up at the monument, a tightness grew in my chest. It took all of my willpower not to cry and I was determined not to shed a tear in public. I didn’t want anyone to know my pain, especially since I knew that no one could really relate.
As I prepared to leave Big Ben, something sparkling in the bushes caught my attention. What I found sent a shiver down my spine. The thing that was sparkling in the shrubs was the locket I gave my sister for her birthday. Alice would have never left it behind, at least not willingly. At that very moment I decided that it was enough proof to convince me that something had indeed happened to Alice and that it was time to go to the police. As I was walking down the cobblestoned streets towards the Police Station, gruesome scenes began to fill my head. Some I could attempt to describe, but the others were too horrible and bloody to even put into words.
By the time I had reached Scotland Yard’s headquarters, I was cold, my brown hair was dampened black by the wet air, and I had pretty much come to the conclusion that London’s weather caused its scenery to become miserably drab. Once I had finished fixing my appearance in the Ladies’ Room, I walked up to one of the desks and asked to see one of the detectives.
A man of a burly stature looked me over, pointed down one of the hallways, and spoke in probably the deepest British accent I have ever heard, “Go down that way and look for the door with ‘Roger Hamilton, Head Detective’ on it.”
I did as he instructed and knocked on the door once I had found it.
“Enter!” A voice came from the other side of the door.
When I walked into the room a man, who couldn’t be much older than my age of twenty, was filing papers away in a cabinet. He had sandy blonde hair with a semi-muscular build. He stopped what he was doing and looked in my direction.
“Hello, and what can I do for you?” The Detective said in an Irish accent.
I hesitated for a moment, but eventually I gathered my courage and told the detective my troubles. I was sure that he would think that I was mad, but he just sat behind his desk and listened attentively. Detective Hamilton didn’t speak for the longest time after I had finished speaking. Sitting in that silence made my heart race and my palms sweat. I could hear pounding in my ears. The silence was maddening. Just as I was beginning to think that my heart was going to burst, he spoke.
“Why don’t you think your sister just simply dropped her locket?”
The question stunned me for a second, “She wore it all the time. Alice never took it off. If she had dropped it, she would have noticed.”
The silence returned and this time I was the one that broke it.
I stood up quickly, causing my chair to fall backwards, “You have to believe me! I know something has happened to her! You are starting to sound like my-!”
“Ms. Moory, I believe you,” Detective Hamilton said softly, ending my hysteria.
“Yes, how you described the way you found your sister’s locket unnerves me. If Jack the Ripper is involved in Alice’s disappearance, I need you to understand that there is a very small chance that we will find her alive.”
The thing was, I did understand that my sister may not be still alive, but if there was the slightest chance that she was than I had to find her.
“So where do you propose we start Detective?”
“Well, Ms. Moory I think you had the good idea of retracing your sister’s steps. Where else has she gone that she has mentioned to you?”
“Please, call me Alia, and according to her letter Alice was headed to the Tower of London.”
“Then that is where we will go.”
And so we did. Detective Hamilton got us a carriage and within the hour we arrived at the Tower of London. Once he had paid the driver in a currency which I still had no knowledge of how much it was worth, we walked past the oddest looking guards I had ever seen. They wore mostly red, a black top hat with what looked like some sort of flowers around it, and gold colored “stripes” outlining the outfit. They also carried a staff and, according to the detective, they are called Yeoman Warders or “Beefeaters” for short.
When I entered the Tower of London, the place looked very much like a castle. As we walked, I overheard a man claiming that the Tower was once used as a prison and a place of execution. That comment made my nerves stand on end and the Detective didn’t help because he kept muttering to himself about how this place would make a “good hideout” for a serial killer. It took me awhile, but eventually I noticed that Detective Hamilton was no longer walking beside me.
It took all of my strength not to panic and to keep a calm appearance because the last thing that I wanted was for someone to ask me if I was lost. I just kept walking and occasionally I looked over my shoulder to see if I was being followed or to see if Detective Hamilton was any where in sight. He wasn’t, but someone was. I couldn’t tell if it was a man or a women because the figure was dressed in a trenchcoat with its collar propped up, tall black boots, and a black top hat.
When the figure started walking towards me, alarm bells started to go off in my head. I began to walk faster and faster until I broke into a run. I didn’t know how I knew, but one thing was for certain, the mysterious figure was Jack the Ripper. I ran down a spiral staircase and stopped halfway down. Once I heard footsteps on the cast iron, I took off again. My heart was exploding in my chest and my lungs began to burn, but I knew that if I didn’t keep running I would most certainly be dead. There were a couple of times I almost tripped over my dress, but I just kept on going.
Then I saw a chance for relief; a wooden door started to appear before me. I reached for the door handle, but the door wouldn’t open. I tried to get it open, but it wouldn’t move. My heart began to pump faster and faster, my ears grew hot, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up: someone was behind me. I slowly turned around and came face to face with Jack the Ripper himself. Before I could let out a scream, he pulled out a white handkerchief and covered my nose and mouth: the world went black.
When I woke up, I found myself in a room that looked like one of the old prisoner cells and I had a sort of sweet taste in my mouth. I was knocked out with some sort of drug. I stood up slowly and took a quick look around the room. There wasn’t a whole lot to see. The room was dark except for the few rays of sunshine that found their way in and it was small. Some old shackles were hanging on one of the far walls and the door to the cell looked to be made of cast iron. I walked over to the door and put my hand on it: it creaked open. I stuck my head out and looked at my surroundings. There was a hallway that lead in only one direction. My head told me that something wasn’t right about this, while my heart claimed that if I didn’t move soon I would end up as Jack the Ripper’s next victim. So, I followed my heart and made my way down the dark hallway.
My hands touched the cold, wet stone walls as I felt my way down them. I tried to keep my breathing shallow and my heart at a steady rhythm, but the situation didn’t allow for either. I am not sure how long it had been, but eventually I found my way to another door. The door lead into another dark room, but this time the walls felt like a “sticky-yet-wet” substance. I held my hand up to one of the few rays of sun and saw something truly horrific: blood. I let out a shrilling scream and tried to wipe the blood off. As I was stumbling around I tripped forward and landed in front of a dismembered leg. I let out another scream and the next thing I knew someone yanked me up by the back of my dress and something cold was touching my throat. It felt like a knife. In fact I was sure that it was a knife because it was Jack the Ripper’s means of murder to slit the throat and “rip” apart the body.
As I began to feel the pressure of the blade, a gunshot was fired causing him to quickly release me and then he took off out the other door. I put my hand up to my neck to help stop a little cut I had on the side and looked up. It was Detective Hamilton and he had a bump on the side of his head along with a black eye.
“In here boys!” He shouted back down the hall, then came to me, “Alia are you alright? You’re bleeding.”
“I’m fine, but what happened to you? One second you were with me then the next you were gone.”
“I’m not really sure myself. I must have been knocked out and the second I came to and saw that you were gone, I called in reinforcements.”
Right as he had finished that statement, more officers from Scotland Yard came through the door.
“He went that way.” Detective Hamilton pointed towards the other exit and the others took off.
The detective helped me to my feet and I told him about the body I had found.
“Do you remember where you were?”
“I think so, but-.”
“I think it is Alice.”
“Alia, you can’t be sure-.”
“I’m pretty sure because I noticed a birthmark on the severed leg. It was the same birthmark Alice had in the exact same spot.”
The room grew silent and for the first time I noticed a stench of death lingering in the air. After five minutes of this and Detective Hamilton bandaging my cut, the other officers came back and said that Jack the Ripper had vanished and that they found a few more bodies in several other rooms.
“That makes five victims in total that we found today. Matthews go upstairs and close the Tower. We have a crime scene on our hands.”
Officer Matthews did as he was told and I led Detective Hamilton to the room where I found Alice. I didn’t re-enter the room, but the corpse was confirmed as my sister and for the first time in my life I collapsed to my knees and started crying. My parents were dead for ten years today and now my sister was gone.
A few weeks later there was a funeral at Highgate Cemetery in London. My remaining relatives and Detective Hamilton were present. It lasted for about an hour and while everyone was leaving I noticed something next to the tombstone: it was a note.
Alia, my dear, you have escaped with your life when your sister wasn’t as lucky. I wish that we could play again, but I am afraid that my game has come to an end. At least for awhile.
Jack the Ripper
I put the note in my pocket and started to walk away. As I was walking I made myself a promise: if Jack the Ripper ever returned in my lifetime, I would do whatever it took to bring him to justice. This I swear on Alice Moory’s grave.