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Honorable Mention
Flash Fiction by William A. Lyell, Jr.

 


:: The Storycove :: Flash Fiction ::The Territorial Imperative

by william lyell
Honorable Mention
2003 Storycove Flash Fiction Award


My interest in the murders later attributed to Jack the Ripper started months before the press named him the Ripper. Most accounts of the Ripper credit him with five victims between August 31, 1888 and November 9, 1888. There were several more victims beginning nearly a year earlier.

Murder in Whitechapel, that teeming poverty ridden slum, were all too common. Generally, they attracted little interest from the press. A cutpurse handy with a knife and discreet in his cups could escape capture for years. The Ripper's early murders did escape notice.

On September 9, 1888, I met with Inspector Lestrade as intermediary and Inspector Chapman who was one of the detectives in charge of the Ripper killings.

"Inspector Chapman, this is Mr. Jones, a sometimes associate of Sherlock Holmes." Lestrade knew my real name but Holmes always referred to me as Mr. Jones.

"I hope you may be of some help to us, Mr. Jones," Chapman said. "You have followed the Ripper murders, I presume?"

"All of London is following the murders," I replied.

"Yes, of course. Terrible things these murders. Inspector Lestrade tells me you have your own sources in Whitechapel and your own interest in keeping order there." I smiled.

"Order in Whitechapel is an unusual notion. But yes, the Ripper's activities have become annoying to me." Lestrade and Chapman looked at each other. Despite my association with Holmes, as policemen they must have been wondering if the Ripper or I was the greater danger to London. After several moments' hesitation, we proceeded. Comparing notes, I discovered to my surprise that Chapman knew as much as I.

"Our concern is that this madman appears to have lost control. The murders are becoming more savage and more frequent," Chapman said.

"Yes, you are quite right. But why have you come to me? Holmes is making his own inquiries and will surely capture him."

Again both policemen looked pained. Lestrade spoke, "We don't want him captured. We want him killed. All evidence points to a titled killer. A minor member of the Royalty. Capture and trial would be an embarrassment to Her Majesty."

It was now my turn to be embarrassed. Two policemen were asking me to commit murder. Well, strange bedfellows and all that. I agreed of course. I turned down their money. This was to be pro bono. A favor among friends. We shook hands and each went our own way. It wasn't Royalty after all. Three more murders occurred before I found the Ripper. But I bested the police and Holmes who were chasing their Royalty premise. In the end, it wasn't Jack but Jackie, a lesbian procurer. While covering up botched abortions of her whores, she developed a taste for the knife and for blood and mayhem. I couldn't really blame her. I, Dracula, had acquired the taste myself. But Whitechapel was my hunting grounds, and Jackie was poaching. I have kept her identity a secret. The world loves a mystery.


 





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