Chapter 10: Tragedy
“John!” I awoke to the sound of Jack’s voice.
I jumped up off the sofa preparing to fight seeing his eyes wide with shock.
“What’s wrong with you?” I asked, recognizing his anxiety. “Is it evil John?”
“No, it’s your mother.”
I felt as though somebody had punched all the air out of my lungs as I heard those words.
He grabbed my hand. “C’mon! We have to get to the hospital!”
The two of us practically broke down the front door as we zipped out of the apartment, pounding down the stairs, pushing past people as we ran down the pavement, and then busting through the entrance doors of the hospital in record timing.
Dr. Phineas Charles greeted us with a face of confusion. “What’s going on? Are you two alright?”
“The woman,” Jack was out of breath. “The woman that was checked in recently…the one that couldn’t breathe?”
“What about her?” the doctor was as calm as ever, heavily contrasting Jack's urgency.
“Where is she?!”
“She’s down the hall in room 121.”
“Thank you,” Jack gripped my wrist then dragged me down the hall to the room. He stood outside but gestured for me to enter.
I peeked inside the room to find my poor sick mother lying on a bed barely breathing.
Then I understood.
I got down on my knees before the side of the bed looking at my mother. Her eyes were barely open and I could hear her wheezing.
“Mother?” I gently took her hand.
Her eyes opened wider. “John.” She attempted to sit up but I carefully placed her back down.
“No, you have to stay in the bed,” I said. “You’re clearly in bad condition.”
She placed her frail hand on my cheek. “I’m…” she took a slow agonizing breath that I could hear bubbling in her chest. “I’m sorry, son.”
“Why are you apologizing?” I could feel a tear run down my cheek which she wiped away.
“I don’t want to leave you.”
“You’re not…leaving me.”
“John,” her voice was a raspy whisper. “Look at me…I’m dying. I’m going to die soon.”
“I’m sorry. I’ve come to terms with it and you should as well.”
“But Mother, what am I going to do without you?”
“You’re a grown man,” she held my hand and squeezed. “But you need to get the hell out of this country.”
I was surprised to hear this. I’ve never heard my mother swear, she wasn’t the type to talk like that. She would often chastise me and my father for cursing.
“I know what he did,” she said. “And you know who I’m talking about. You need to leave England before people find you and charge you for his crimes.”
“I’m leaving,” I said. “In a few days, I'm going to leave with Jack.”
“Good,” she took another loud breath.
I kissed her cheek. “I love you, Mother. Thank you, for…everything, really.” I was crying then.
She smiled as tears also ran down her cheeks. “I love you too, John. No matter what anyone says, you’re a good son…and you’re a great man. I’m proud of you.”
Her words filled me with joy but it was coupled with sorrow. This was all I wanted; to make my mother proud. I never wanted to disappoint or upset her.
“Remember,” she coughed. “Fight, John…fight…” she took another breath and then her eyes seemed to go dull and she exhaled slowly before her head fell to the side.
She released her grip on my hand.
Grief stabbed at my chest and I took a deep breath. My eyes filled with tears and I buried my face in her stomach, sobbing like a child.
I heard Jack enter the room and I could see his feet at the doorway through my squinted eyes.
My mother was gone. She was dead.
I was an orphan.
I took a long sip of my gin then sat down the glass, sighing, and then lying my head down on the bar.
Jack placed his hand on my shoulder to comfort me. “Are you going to be ok?”
“I don’t know anymore, Jack.” I sighed painfully. “I’ve just found out that I have two personalities, one of which killed my father, and now my mother is dead and the police are hunting me down. What should I do now?”
“Do exactly what your mother said: get the hell out of this country.”
I sighed. “What is that going to do?”
“John, we’ve been through this. The two of us know that we can’t completely control evil John but we can certainly try. A few days ago, you were so confident.”
“Yes, but then my mother died and I’m feeling a bit upset. I feel like I’ve fallen to the bottom of the darkest depths of despair.”
“Have you ever tried writing poetry, John?” he questioned, placing his glass down on the bar.
“No,” I spoke softly, without looking at him.
“I feel like you might succeed in that art, for you are very passionate.”
“Can we just leave for France now?”
“Unfortunately we cannot leave today. The ship will be leaving in three days.”
I sighed. “I can’t do this anymore.”
“Come on now,” he patted my shoulder. “Soon we’ll be out of here and we can put all of this nonsense behind us.”
Listening to Jack makes me feel optimistic, perhaps everything will be ok.
But then again, when is that ever true?
“John Wilkinson!” the sound of an angry man’s voice triggered me to jump out of my chair at the kitchen table.
Who the hell would be at Jack’s apartment looking for me? Especially this early in the morning, it was nearing daybreak and Jack had went to work a bit earlier due to an emergency at the hospital.
Approaching the door, I was a bit hesitant. It just hit me, whilst I was standing there, staring through the peephole, there was a police officer with Inspector Abelian at his side.
Could it be?
They’ve finally found evidence proving that I was the J.W. Cannibal.
I decided to act like I was somebody else by speaking with an Irish accent (and a fairly good one at that).
“Looking for John, eh?” I asked still looking through the peephole.
The officer and the inspector seemed to be surprised to hear this voice. Hell, I was surprised that such an accent could be produced from my lips.
“Yes, um, Mr…?”
“John, that’s your uncle’s name from Ireland.” Abelian responded.
I stood there silent before sighing and speaking with my normal voice. “What do you want, Abelian?”
“I think you know. Just open the door, son.”
“No.” I snapped. “I will not. I’m not going to allow you to arrest me without probable ground.”
“We found her, John…we found Elizabeth.”
I could hear the disgust in his voice when he remembered the crime scene that made me ill.
And I’m the one that did it.
Of course, it wasn’t really me.
“My mother died yesterday, Fredrick.” I used his first name to make this a more personal sentence.
A brief pause.
“I’m terribly sorry to hear that, my condolences. But that doesn’t exempt you from the law.”
“How do you even know it was me?” I wanted to know how much he actually knew. How did they even find the body? How did they even get the idea to travel to that cabin in the middle of a forest that's hundreds of kilometers away from London.
I kind of wanted to open the door, let them cuff me and then take me down to the interrogation room just because I wanted to hear the grand story that lead to that finding.
But I’m not that stupid.
“Her body was buried just a few meters outside of your childhood home,” he said, “Nobody in London would ever be able to locate that cabin.”
“So how did you?”
“That’s none of your concern at the moment,” he replied. “Anyways, it was your ax that did the dirty work and it was your father’s shovel that buried her remains. We also noticed a second set of footprints. Did you have an accomplice?”
“Oh shit,” I whispered aloud, forgetting that there were police officers right outside the door.
“I’m going to take that as a yes,” Abelian’s response made me close my eyes in regret. “Who is he? Do I know him?”
“He’s not my accomplice,” I said. “He had nothing to do with the murder.”
“So, you’re confessing then?”
I sighed. “Yes, I killed her…but it wasn’t me…not really.”
He hesitated. “What does that mean?”
“It’s kind of complicated.”
“Well then, how about you follow us down to the Yard and you can describe its complexity."
I stood there for a moment in silence with deep consideration.
“Come now, John,” he said. “Don’t make this harder than it has to be.”
I took a deep breath before unlatching the chain and then slowly opening the red door.
Abelian looked tired and a bit shocked to see me. In his eyes, it seemed as though he wasn’t expecting me. Frankly, I think, he was hoping that it really wasn’t me behind that door; that I wasn’t responsible for these murders.
“Hello, inspector,” I stood there with a faceless expression.
“Do I need to cuff you?”
I shook my head. “I’ll cooperate.”
Jack is so going to kill me or, as he often says, decapitate me or remove one of my limbs.
What did I just get myself into?