Ernestine: Jack, at last, the truth
Copyright by Nell Peters 2011
NOVEMBER 13TH 1888
It was impossible for her to take a proper breath as she lay sprawled amongst mud and filth in the gutter. Honed butchers’ knives of agony tore through her flesh and plunged deep between ribs to puncture her lungs and deny her the oxygen of life.
The irony pleased her.
Her stout, aged body was crushed and broken and her flesh flayed to the bone; though the pain was excruciating she embraced it with stoic resolve and wondered if this was as it had been for the others. She tasted the blood that bubbled up from inside her to fill her mouth and spill from her lips, along with strings of mucus, into the gutter.
When the black wings of death’s angel closed in to claim her she bade them welcome; let that be an end to it, she thought, the trace of a smile barely to be seen on her bruised white lips.
It was to be over, at last…
JUNE 26TH 1830
In the plush vestibule, Chambers bowed low with due deference as he took the master’s silk top hat and draped the scarlet-lined cape over his forearm. He closed the heavy oak door quietly and stepped back.