June 2020 WEP Contest piece

With the Urban Nightmare chosen for June’s Write…Edit…Publish…challenge, I had a few different ideas. Before realizing I could alter the un-submitted piece from February’s challenge, to fit the current theme. Deriving inspiration out of fiction and reality alike. Employing a fictional version of a notorious late 19th century serial killer, Jack the Ripper. Combining that with elements of Gothic fiction, and a hodge-podge mix of mythology to craft a monster that stalks the cobblestone streets and alleys of Whitechapel. Inadvertently giving rise an age old question, which inspired the title for this entry. I humbly present, Man or Monster?

—————————————————————————————————————

The sudden creak of the door behind being pushed open revealed my guest had surprisingly agreed to this unusual evening meeting. In silence, I waited for him to take the seat to my left. While I waited, I took advantage of the opportunity to pour two glasses of whiskey from a nearby bottle. I let him seize one of the pewter glasses, allowing him a moment to gather the doubts and questions that filled his mind since my letter was delivered.

Watching him swallow some liquor before commenting, “I most admit your letter gave me a start if your claim of identity isn’t a falsehood. Your chosen spot for this meeting is a strange, perplexing, curiosity.”

I remarked, “You speak true, on both accounts, Cheif Constable Redding. I am indeed the man the newspapers have dubbed Jack the Ripper. Yet, I would not be so quick to summon your fellow officers that lurk inside this bordello,” taking a moment to alter my mask to partake a subtle sip of this spirituous liquid. “I have studied your history enough to know that you pursue the truth, even if that answer is impossible. That inquisitive nature has bequeathed you a peculiar air, given your impressive rank. I press upon a startling revelation that those I have butchered carry a deadly gift besides possessing potent feminine charms and striking beauty. A troublesome and dangerous gift that burdens them with an insatiable lust for blood.”

Constable Redding commented, “The mortician did find some abnormalities that were left undocumented. Despite the focus the papers have on your murders, there have been additional deaths of an even more unusual nature. Oddly enough, they have decreased some since the demise of Mary Nichlos. Supposes I believe that your killings have some unforeseen benefits to the citizenry at large, proving that to others would be troublesome, neigh impossible affair. I should place you in shackles, to ensure that the murders of alley girls cease. Yet, I will grant you one to chance to offer proof of something paranormal stalking the cobblestone streets.”

I had to repress a manic grin at the constable’s expected response. “Then let us meet again at the catacombs of St. Mary’s church just before sunset,” emptying my cup and placing it beside the bottle. “I would suggest you come prepared with the blade you carried in your youth while serving the empire. What the two of us will hunt is an entity born without mercy. Till then, Constable Redding,” parting myself from the lawmen’s company, to finish the necessary preparations.

*****

Dusk had barely past over this sacred place by the time Constable Redding arrived alone. The pale glow was emitting from a lantern casting out a soft orange hue, revealing the handle of a sheathed saber at his left hip. Suppressing a smile, I lit a second lantern with a swift strike of a matchhead. I placed the aflame torch on a weathered tombstone to reveal an almost undetectable trail of dried blood speckled amongst the dirt and stone. The stone path leads to a broad set of doors decorated with religious symbols, rust, and additional dried blood. A pungent stench of decay and ammonia poured out from within the narrow crack between the two doors. Using my right hand, I adjusted my temporary facial covering to mask the rancid odor.

I commented, “You’re auspiciously late constable. However, fortune smiles upon us as this monstrosity remains inside its crypt,” hearing a sudden, short, inhuman growl fill the air. “Prepare yourself without delay. It has awakened,” quickly unsheathing the pair of kukris resting at my hips.

Observing something burst forth from inside, nearly removing the doors from their hinges. This entity refused to spare me a glance, charging immediately at the constable. By divine grace, the lawman managed to raise his blade to parry the creatures menacing black talons. I took advantage of the monster’s distraction to sprint forward. Observing how fluidly this abomination moved, it’s pale skin somehow reflecting the moonlight. Close enough to strike at the creature, I sliced horizontally at the demon’s left thigh. In response, it howled out, ignoring the viscous black substance that was flowing down its leg. Constable Redding took swift advantage of its exposed chest, cutting a large, horizontal wound across its lower abdomen. The monster swatted the lawmen with the back of its left hand, forcing him off his feet. The beast altered its focus to me and began to stare at with hollow, burning red eyes. It was opening its jaw to reveal two rows of sharpened teeth before running towards me. Somehow oblivious of the blackened blood escaping the large wound on his chest. Bracing to defend myself, I raised my curved daggers, hoping my crusade would not end here.

Suddenly a deafening cracking sound brought the creature to a complete stop. Only then did I smell the distinctive odor of gunpowder hanging in the air. The loud noise repeated itself in quick succession, enhancing the scent of powder that clung to the atmosphere. I approached the creature keeping an attentive gaze for any sudden moves, taking note of the three circular wounds on the creature’s left breast. One, or perhaps all of the bullets must have pierced the monster’s heart. In its final moment, the beast released a thunderous roar, before falling to the ground.

Stepping around the fallen demon, I walked towards the constable. Taking immediate notice of the smoking revolver clutched in both hands.

Constable Redding asked, “Is that paranormal monstrosity the end of the strange deaths, and your killings?”

I replied, “Perhaps lawmen. Have the mortician burn the body, before rumors of its appearance can spread further. Only time will tell if this nightmare is truly over, or if its the beginning of something far more horrifying,” departing the constable’s company. Hoping that this was indeed the end, for I have more than quenched my thirst for death.


Word Count: 987 Critique level: Full

44 thoughts on “June 2020 WEP Contest piece

  1. Jack the Ripper as a life saving vigilante is a very different twist. How interesting to portray a man who many of us consider a monster from a very different perspective. I do hope that he is not called on to kill again.
    Definitely food for thought – thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Christopher. Well done with subverting the tale and giving it a fresh twist. Certainly food for thought. The monster becomes the monster hunter. These mean streets are indeed an urban nightmare. Thanks for coming up with this flash for the prompt!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Apologies if this is a duplicate comment. WordPress and I don’t get along.
    I enjoyed your take on the Jack the Ripper story. It’s interesting to conceive of real-world events being flipped on their head and having him come out the hero!
    ~Cie from Naughty Netherworld Press~

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks Christopher for this gripping story. Well worth the extra wait since February. Magnificent Dracula/zombie monster. I like your choice of first person narrator for Jack the Ripper, made me think of Tim Burton’s film Sweeney Todd. Well done. A few edit errors though …. Your descriptions and dialogues are very efficient. Your story flows and captivates. Happy WEP week.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Unique and creative take on the prompt, well done. Jack the Ripper on the side of law enforcement rather than its opposite – very imaginative. Enjoyed the piquancy of the premise and enjoyed reading. Thank you.
    Since you’ve marked this FCA, just a couple of suggestions –
    1. ‘ I let him seize one of the pewter glasses, allowing him a moment to gather the doubts and questions that filled his mind since my letter was delivered.’ This felt like a lapse out of POV – Jack can’t know what the visitor has on his mind. Maybe needs to be conveyed through some action or expression on Redding’s part which Jack remarks on/notices.
    2. Few typos – most should read must (2nd para, 1st line) , Cheif to Chief, supposes suppose etc – easily fixed.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. A fun, engaging read with a truly original twist. If vampires can save the world then monsters can certainly hunt monsters. I mean, who knows monsters better than … monsters. hmmm

    Well played! Thanks for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Christopher … certainly a different take on Jack the Ripper … he or his progeny could so easily still be walking the streets of London – though similar appalling serial killers have appeared since he was around, in different parts of the country. Like pandemics they never seem to completely go away … take care – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Changing the perspective and turning an anti hero into a hero made for a fascinating tale, well told. Excellent story.
    Since you’ve asked for FCA i’d like to point out that there are a few typos and punctuation errors so do go through it again carefully.
    Other than that, well crafted indeed.

    Like

  9. Hi,
    I am amazed, happy, and pleasingly surprised. It is a fact. I won’t mention the one or two spelling errors, I saw because Kalpana has already mentioned them. But I will mention my amazement. I have been reading your stories since I have been in the WEP and I have seen you grow and develop your writing style. You have discovered your voice, and I like that. You are writing with confidence. You had me suckered in from the first line to the last. Your structure is excellent. I can see the build-up, which deepens the tension. Great job. It was a pleasure reading your submission and keep writing.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Clever approach to the theme, Christopher. The writing has a period sense in many of the words and phrases chosen. Clever twist to the original event – street vampires.(I’ll just echo the spelling comments.)Excellent and vivid descriptions. An ending with hints of more perhaps – “… the beginning of something far more horrifying,” if your protagonist needs to return. Enjoyable take…on several legends. Van Helsing?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I hope that this is ‚t doubled, I posted it twice.

    just can‘t imagine Jack the Ripper being good in any way. But perhaps on the ranking list of monsters there are worse and even worse!!
    Great take on the prompt. I was hooked from the whisky to the „ Only time will tell if this nightmare is truly over, or if its the beginning of something far more horrifying,” More please! Great suspense.
    Carole S.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thrilled by the story. Few question I have are as follows:
    “I most admit you…” is it “must”?
    “……grant you one to chance to offer pro…” should it be “grant you one chance to offer pro…”?
    “I let him seize one of the pewter glasses” has become “emptying my cup and placing it beside the bottle.” Or is it a literary trick?
    Regards.
    Sanhita.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: WEP August 2020 Contest Entry | Christopher Scott Author

  14. Pingback: WEP October 2020 entry piece | Christopher Scott Author

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