Flash Fiction: Jack

Sorry, Dad…


And through the heady, incensed smoke, through the din and screeching laughter of corseted and uncorseted ladies, he saw her. Her face alight with laughter, her dark hair in tangled ringlets about her heart shaped face. In the instant he saw her, he knew there would never be another who would capture him so fully. Through the thick, potent vapour, he watched her, memorizing her movements, the way her skirt draped in delicate, velvet folds, her feet only just visible where they rested upon the plush cushion beneath her person. He listened, straining to hear across the room, and his heart seized the low hum of her whispers, the cadence of her voice as she gossiped. He inhaled the opium he was offered and the world moved, tilted and spun, and he became lost in the light that emanated from her, lost in the darkness that surrounded her.

jack-the-ripperAnd when she stood, he stood as well, and followed as she left the room, unaware of his presence. He found her in the hallway, a round, pocket mirror in her hand. She tousled her hair and checked her teeth, then shut her mirror and started back toward the den. He stepped in front of her, blocking her way. And when he smiled, she smiled too, because she benefited from the attentions of men, and this was only another to add to her collection. She took his hand and she led him up the stairs, ignoring the john clock at the landing. This one was free, was a treat, was for her as much as it was for him. They passed other couples, reeking of opium or of sex or an unappealing mixture of the two but she, she. She smelled of strawberries and lemonade, of cool spring afternoons and apple blossoms. At times he lost focus and her outline became a hazy, zig-zagging blur. But when they reached the room and she swung the door open wide, he looked at her, and she was clear as day.

No one heard her screams. Everyone in the den was under some kind of influence, or many kinds, and the music was loud and forgiving, and there were so many women screaming anyway, for other reasons. For the right reasons. But Jack was not here for the right reasons, only the ones he’d been told to repress, time and time again. He ignored the voices telling him no, and remembered how she’d looked from across the room. He knew there would never be another who would capture him so fully.

He slit her from throat to navel and, transfixed by the ribbons of blood curling delicately about her abdomen, like her hair, like her dress, he knew it was true.

2 Responses to “Flash Fiction: Jack”
  1. Dave says:

    From a guy enamored with a lovely lady, to drugs, to a prostitute, to a serial killing by none other than Jack. You had me going every which way here, Hannah. Really liked it.

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