|The Horror of London
Author: UndeadWithoutCoffee PM
London in 1888 - a year of hell for many poor people! Follow people from the poorer quarters of the city through this year, and watch them go through the terror of the late summer when a murder shocked the empire.Rated: Fiction T - English - Horror/Angst - Words: 1,250 - Reviews: 16 - Published: 12-08-08 - id: 2605898
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN/: I hope you will like the story.
If you have suggestions or concrit or just want to tell me what you thought of the story I would be pleased!
Special THANKS to my fictionpress-wife Carus for doing beta!
I remember that day, the one that changed my life, as if it had been yesterday. Although it lies back some years now, my memories of that evening are still clear; etched into my mind forever. Just like today, the fog had been creeping through the narrow streets, hiding the buildings and the dirt of the pavement from my eyes. Even the few lights that normally illuminated the dirty cobblestones, veiled and ghostly through the hazy atmosphere, could not show me the way that I had to go during that night. Maybe that is why I am still here and able to tell you my story, my beloved daughter - a story from the time before your birth, and before I met your father.
It was a cold and wet night, the beginning of February in 1888. Even though it was still winter, there was no snow; instead a thick curtain of mist was wafting through the narrow alleys of Whitechapel. The cobbles in this area were covered with the dirt of the people living here: rotten plants, mud, excrement... No one cared about this rejected place. Although midnight had passed already it seemed as if sleep was far from coming in Whitechapel, since there was noise coming from the shabby, always overcrowded taverns and, barely visible in the veiled night, people were walking through the lanes - some looking for shelter, while others continued with their work.
Among those who had not found a bed for the night was a young woman, maybe twenty years of age, and perhaps even considered by some to be beautiful, despite the layers of dirt obscuring her face and the grease in her light brown hair. She had asked for a bed in several dwellings, but after talking to the landlords she knew that she must earn just a few pence more. That day had not been a good day, and the young woman had not sold enough of her needlework, so she had decided to sell something else tonight instead.
Lizzie, as she called herself, asked the landlord to save her a bed and she told him that she would return soon with the missing money. He looked on as she piled up her belongings in a corner and left to vanish into the mist.
Once back on the street Lizzie once again began to feel the touch of the icy wind on her fair skin. She had no choice; she would have to earn money before she could hope for the warmth of a shelter, and so she walked towards the places that were crowded and bustling with people. While on her way, it seemed to her that the fog was getting even thicker, even in the narrow lanes, the walls of the buildings seemed to vanish into obscurity, and only sometimes she was able to make out the sound of footsteps on the pavement, for in the haze even the city's noise appeared to be fading.
Even though the streets were nearly empty, Lizzie hoped to get the money she needed soon, and so she stayed outside instead of going into the taverns for a drink like she normally did. At first the pedestrians rushed past her without sparing a glance at the young woman, but after maybe half an hour, she noticed a rather small man in a dark suit and a moustache who had been staring at her for a little while now. She caught his gaze and after a little sigh the young woman walked over to the stranger - he seemed to be waiting for her. After another moment, he invited her to follow him, indicating so with a nod of his head. As she drew nearer, the man continued to stare at her with an odd expression that made her shudder, with a mixture almost of avidity and rage.
For a heartbeat Lizzie hesitated to follow the man into the mist, but she had to earn some money for her bed. She started to think to herself that the faster this man would finish, the sooner she could snuggle into the warmth of a bed for the night. Perhaps she could even allow herself a little drink before that. She had made her mind up just in time, for the man started walking away into a smaller alleyway just as she focused on him again. The young woman followed him quickly now, trying not to lose him or her sense of direction in the maze of Whitechapel's back alleys and winding streets.
She walked after the man for some time - to her it seemed as if he was picking up pace. Almost she wished that he had made up his mind, for the atmosphere of the night and her remembrance of the man's stare from before began to encourage the fearful thoughts creeping into her mind as she realized that she was indeed lost. She was looking around hastily for a sign of her whereabouts when she noticed that she was not only in a place she did not know, but completely alone as well.
Trembling, Lizzie came to a halt and groped around for the next wall. Suddenly she sensed that someone was nearby; even worse, directly behind her. At once she spun around, but there was nothing to be seen except the thick fog that still prevailed over everything.
Just as Lizzie wanted to let herself relax a bit, she saw a movement form the corner of her eye along with the reflection of light, as if coming from a piece of metal, moving towards her. Moments later, she felt a sharp pain in her neck - she felt what she knew had to be the warmth of her blood running down her neck. The man she had been following was standing in front of her, breathing hard and staring at her with his eyes wide open, preparing to catch and kill her!
Only her fast realisation of the danger she was in, and maybe the fact that she had not drunk any alcohol today, made her react fast enough to escape the grip of the man. Lizzie dived beneath his arms and ran off into the mist, not caring about the money she had promised the landlord, or her wounds that were throbbing painfully as she ran. At first, she could still hear the running steps of someone behind her, but as she ran even faster, she hoped that the echoing footfalls were dying away, but it took her several minutes until she realized that the stranger was no longer following her...
I spent the night outside on the streets, my daughter, because I got so completely lost that night. The following day, I returned to the landlord to pick up my things, swearing to myself that I would try to find a proper job, promising myself that I would leave Whitechapel and work hard, even if I was fated to stay poor for the rest of my life. I went to the police that day but the officers only laughed in my face. One officer informed me that one of my sort should not whine when I get what I deserve.
They stopped laughing when the true horror began later that year.