A pure fantasy story, which was fun to write. Inspiration came from passing through Baker Street tube station on the underground on a regular basis. Just outside the station is Madame Tussaud’s Waxworks (not to mention Sherlock Holmes’ abode). One day on the train as I went through the station I thought … What if?
Jack had been planning his escape for some time; this was no life for a serial killer! People staring at him, speaking in languages he didn’t understand. A hundred years had passed since he’d prowled the streets of Whitechapel. He missed the excitement and the thrill of the chase. He longed for the feel of knife in his hand and the sight of blood.
Tonight he’d follow the last of the visitors out of the Chamber of Horrors; there were some evil looking characters down there. There had to be a way out, a secret passage or something, his long black coat and top hat shouldn’t arouse suspicion. At closing time the stewards hurried the stragglers along. Slowly they wandered past and he nonchalantly stepped off his plinth to follow them. Upstairs they went into the gift shop to buy last minute souvenirs. Jack loitered in the foyer trying to look inconspicuous. Looking round he realised he was being followed; the guy who stood near the doorway in an oversized fur waistcoat, wearing a metal helmet and carrying an axe was making his escape too. They’d never spoken before but Attila grunted in acknowledgement.
Nervously they stood staring at each other when a tall, slim woman in a tight blue cat suit bounded up the stairs to join them; the Invisible Woman. Jack had not seen a woman dressed like this before; he looked her up and down with a puzzled expression.
‘This place is kinda dull, a girl needs some adventure. You guys mind if I join you?’
Jack shook his head.
‘No, I’m heading for Whitechapel,’ he explained.
‘Is that in good old London Town?’ she asked.
‘It certainly is madam, do you know it?’
‘Never heard of it, but I’m sure with my super powers we can soon find it.’
Jack looked mystified, some help would be good but he wasn’t sure about this woman. The visitors drifted out of the shop heading for the exit. From the entertainment section a petite young blonde with long curly hair rushed up to them.
‘G’day mate, you doing a runner? Mind if I join you?’
He looked in disbelief at the scantily clad woman with a strange accent. She wore a short, blue sparkly dress showing most of her bare legs. It was low cut at the front and held up by a single thin shoulder strap.
‘Must be a whore,’ thought Jack.
‘Of course you may join us, my dear. I’ll look after you.’
A sinister half smile crossed his lips. The unlikely looking quartet followed the visitors through the exit as the bemused steward held the door open for them. Once on Baker Street they looked to Jack for directions. He searched for a familiar landmark.
‘So where now?’ enquired the Invisible Woman.
‘Let’s take the Tube,’ Kylie suggested.
Jack was trying to get his bearings, whilst Attila couldn’t stop staring at Kylie’s shapely legs.
‘Come on you guys, down here,’ she ordered, leading the way into the underground station.
They mingled with the late night travellers, just another group of fancy dress revellers looking for a party. Jack marvelled at the array of brightly lit wall mounted ticket machines.
‘Which way to Whitechapel? Kylie asked the ticket man.
‘The Bakerloo Line love, change onto the District at Embankment.’
‘This way,’ she shouted.
‘Not so fast love, you’ll need a ticket,’ advised the ticket man blocking her way.
Attila was not impressed; he pushed Kylie out of the way and thumped the ticket man hard in the face, blood streamed from his nose. He forced his way past with Jack and the girls close behind. Jack felt at home in the bowels of the station surrounded by the dark Victorian architecture. The platform was busy and they quickly merged into the crowd. Their fellow travellers were dressed in a variety of evening dresses, smart suits, scruffy denim and assorted ethnic colours. A bright white light appeared down the tunnel, getting bigger, brighter and noisier. The approaching train roared to a crescendo as it burst out of the tunnel. Jack and Attila took a couple of paces back, shocked by the size and power of the machine. It came to a halt and the doors slid open with a quiet whooshing noise.
‘Get on quick,’ ordered Kylie.
The Invisible Woman appeared inside the carriage as the two men dithered on the platform. Kylie gestured to them to get on the train.
‘Come on slowcoach if you wanna to go to Whitechapel.’
Jack hesitantly stepped into the carriage as Attila followed warily. The doors closed with a clunk and the train accelerated back into the tunnel. The sudden movement startled Jack and Attila as they stood in the corridor. The girls sat down attracting lascivious attention from the adjacent male passengers. Regent’s Park, Oxford Circus; the station names put Jack at ease, Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross.
‘OK this is our stop,’ barked Kylie as they pulled into Embankment station. ‘Everybody out.’
Stepping out onto the platform they looked around.
‘Now where?’ enquired Jack.
‘I don’t know cobber, the guy said something about the district.’
‘I thought you knew this place,’ the Invisible Woman complained.
Jack looked lost.
‘Let’s follow the crowd,’ Kylie suggested.
Up the escalator, another new experience for Jack and Attila as they exited the station and the crowd dispersed along the Embankment. The road was busy with large, red double decker buses and black taxis hurrying to their destinations.
Jack had not seen a bus or a car before; there wasn’t a horse in sight. The future looked very strange.
‘Where’s all the Hansom Cabs gone?’ he mused.
‘How long have you been in there?’ asked Kylie.
‘Too long,’ Jack scowled.
Across the road he spotted the River Thames, to his left he saw the familiar dome of St Paul’s Cathedral.
‘Gee, that’s a big wheel,’ noted the Invisible Woman looking the other way.
Jack looked at the London Eye in amazement; he’d never seen such a monstrosity, there seemed to be people trapped in it high above the river. Things had not changed for the better, during his enforced imprisonment.
‘I know where I am now,’ he declared. ‘If we follow the river we’ll soon be in Whitechapel.’
Wandering eastwards along the Embankment Jack marvelled at the tall floodlit buildings in the City, the skyline had changed so much in the last hundred years.
‘Do you know where you’re going,’ moaned the Invisible Woman.
‘Of course I do; we can cut through Fleet Street to St Paul’s Cathedral. We’ll be halfway to Whitechapel by then.’
‘Why Whitechapel? Kylie asked.
‘My favourite night time haunt; don’t you know who I am?’
‘Some creepy guy in a top hat, I saw you making a run for it and decided to join you.’
‘I’m known as Jack, I pledged to rid this town of miserable whores.’
‘How did you do that’ asked Kylie.
‘There’s only one way to silence them for good. Rip their insides out!’
‘Not Jack the Ripper,’ she exclaimed.
‘At your service, madam.’
‘Wow, you’re an arch villain,’ exclaimed the Invisible Woman.
‘He’s a murderer, I don’t think we should be helping him’, added Kylie.
‘You don’t understand, my mission was to clean up the streets of this fair city. Those women are parasites, destroying the moral fibre of society.’
‘Most of them are destitute, usually because of a man,’ Kylie argued.
‘Nonsense, my dear.’
‘What about women’s rights,’ she demanded.
‘Women don’t have any rights,’ Jack insisted.
Kylie turned to the Invisible Woman.
‘He’s a monster.’
Jack strode on purposefully, leading the party past St Pauls Cathedral. Attila blindly followed Jack and the girls, bemused by the surroundings and traffic, mesmerised by the curvaceous form of the Invisible Woman and Kylie’s lack of clothing.
‘What are you looking for?’ quizzed Kylie.
‘Questions, more questions!’ snapped jack.
‘I don’t know where we’re going,’ she retorted.
‘Commercial Street; I used to frequent a number of public houses there.’
‘We’ve just passed a couple of pubs, if you want a drink we can go in there and you can buy us all a drink.’ she suggested.
‘The Ten Bells was my regular haunt.’
‘Sounds spooky to me; man you’re really weird,’ added the Invisible Woman.
‘Tell your friend to stop staring! He’s giving me the creeps.’ Kylie complained.
‘He’s not my friend; he followed me like you did.’
An awkward silence descended as Jack led the way. He recognised the Bank of England as he continued along Threadneedle Street. Further down the road he recognised Spitalfields Market and knew he was home. At the junction with Commercial Street, the Ten Bells public house stood just across the road. It was just has he remembered it, but now illuminated with bright neon signs with loud music blaring out.
‘Gee, a real old English pub,’ Kylie noted.
‘Say Jack, there’s a guy over there looks just like you,’ the Invisible Woman pointed out.
In front of the pub a man dressed in a black cloak and top hat was addressing a large group of people. His double had one arm round the neck of a woman in a long dishevelled dress and a knife in his other hand.
‘That fellow’s an imposter!’ exclaimed Jack.
Attila decided to confront the rogue. A car blasted its horn narrowly missing him. This alerted the group to his presence as he charged across the road waving his axe. Splitting in all different directions they left Jack’s double holding the knife, as his victim broke free amid the confusion. Attila charged into him knocking him off his feet as several of the women in the group screamed. The knife clattered onto the pavement. Jack rushed across the road to snatch it.
‘Who is he Jack? Why’s he dressed like you?’ Kylie shouted.
Jack stood over the prostrate figure alongside Attila.
‘Get up and explain yourself sir,’ he demanded.
Looking up groggily the man did a double take when he saw Jack standing with the knife in his hand.
‘It’s Thursday, it’s our turn to for the Ten Bells tonight, what are you doing?’
‘I don’t care what day it is,’ Jack retaliated.
In the distance a siren wailed; it was getting louder.
‘What’s that?’ rasped Jack.
‘Police!’ shouted the Invisible Woman.
‘Time to vanish,’ he shouted.
Attila stood rooted to the spot, confused by the excitement and shouting. Kylie made a run for it round the back of the pub; Jack followed with the knife in his hand. Through a maze of back streets they ran, Jack chasing the athletic Kylie. She stopped at the end of a dark alley. Jack looked round; the Invisible Woman was nowhere to be seen.
‘That was a close one,’ gasped Kylie.
‘It used to be much easier to disappear into the night,’ Jack complained.
‘Now where?’ she asked as she stood panting in the shadows.
He eyed her up and down, her heaving chest and low cut dress proved too much now he had the knife. He grabbed her round the neck and pulled her towards him.
‘I said I’d look after you, I’ve waited a long time for this.’
‘What are you doing Jack?’ she screamed, struggling to break free.
He lifted the knife and plunged it viciously into her chest.
‘Jack!’ she screamed again struggling to break free.
He pulled the knife out ready for a second blow, but there was no blood.
Tightening his grip he swiftly stabbed her in the abdomen, again no blood.
‘What are you doing, Jack?’ she screamed again. ‘Help, help, somebody help me.’
Confounded by the lack of blood and winded by a sharp elbow in the ribs he dropped the knife as she struggled free.
Staring at the stab wounds, just marks on her skin, he turned to make a run for it down the dark alleyways and straight out into Commercial Street. The double decker bus driver sounded his horn and braked hard. Too late, the bus screeched to a halt; the stunned driver leapt out. There on the road was the black cloak, a battered top hat and a mass of shattered wax.