A cold breeze found its way through her threadbare shawl, causing the young woman to pull it closer about her shoulders. It reminded her of the chill she felt going down her spine that morning when she picked up the dirty newspaper that a gentleman had dropped on the filthy east-London street. “Another Murder in White Chapel!” the title had screamed, immediately catching her attention. The title alone would bring a chill to anyone in London . Even if they didn’t read the paper the gossip around town was focused around this ‘Jack the Ripper’ person who was killing the East End prostitutes. “Did ye see the paper this mornin’?” she asker her companions as she picked up a dirty pewter cup and gulped down some ale. The dirt on the cup wasn’t surprising given the tavern. She looked around at the familiar dirt floor and dusty windows thinking of all the horrible things that had been going on lately.
Her friend Mary, a tall and beautiful red head answered the question after a moment, “Of course we didn’ read the paper Marcy… You know very well we canna read. Tell us what you saw in it.”
Marcielle knew that she was an oddity among the Ladies of the Night, but even after her long years in this life she sometimes forgot how strange it was for a whore, she shuddered as she thought the word, to be able to read.
“It said that they found anotha victim in Whi’echapel last nigh’, and there she was ripped up worse than the otha three.”
“Why doesn’ scotlan’yard or some’en jus catch this killa finally?” Mary asked.
“Oh you know them types, don’t give no thought for whore dyin’” she replied taking another sip of her ale. “We better get goin’ if we want any customers of our own tonigh.”
“Tha’s true enough.”
At this they both set a small coin on the table and walked out the door. The walked in companionable silence for a few blocks before Marcielle took off down a dark alley with thoughts of that ‘Ripper’ gentleman still on her mind.
Suddenly she didn’t feel safe alone in the dark alleyway she was walking down. It was late, but they had yet to light the gas lamps around the main roads. Her ears perked up a bit at the sound of swishing material behind her, and suddenly a rock went skittering down the alley the sound echoing ominously. This scared her so badly that she ran down the rest of the alley and turned the corner onto the road, She leaned against the rough brick of the building her fear audible in her breathing.
She chided herself for her behavior, after she calmed down a bit. After all, what was she; a timid rabbit of a girl, to be scared of every sound in the London night? She straightened her faded blue dress, tugging the bodice down to make it appear that at the slightest look her breasts would tumble out. To add to this effect, she unfastened the first two buttons. Looking across the street for potential customers from the theatre, she realized that she was too early. Cursing herself, she looked up and down the street for a potential customer to take up her time while she waited for the show to get out.
A man who was passing by stopped to leer at her and she smiled at him, looking him over coyly. The man was lower middle class by the look of it, and his smile showed that most of teeth were missing. They bartered her price for a few minutes before she led her customer to the dark alley she had run from a short time earlier. He pushed her hard against the wall of the building, she resisted the urge to gag as his cavernous came toward her the broken teeth reminding her of ragged stalactites in a dark cave. He began to kiss her savagely, forcing his tongue into her mouth. His labor roughed hands ran over her body grabbing her breasts and pinching her nipples roughly, as if punishing her for her profession. He pulled up her dress hurriedly, making her worry that he would rip it in half. Before she could say anything, he pulled down his breeches and forced himself into her. He felt much larger than her normal customers as he thrust out of her again. She grabbed his shoulders in false excitement. He began pounding her so hard that she was afraid he might do her lasting damage. He took her arms in his iron grip and she felt bruises beginning to form as he forced them roughly against the wall. She winced at the pain and he grinned at her, “Like that do you? You are nothing but a dirty London whore!” As he found his release he scratched her arms deeply, leaving lasting marks that he was there. He dropped her to the cold ground and threw his payment at her in disgust.
As soon as he was out of sight she retched into the gutter losing the little supper she had been able to afford. She stood up and brushed the dirt and filth from her dress cursing the man as she noticed a rather large rip in her petticoat that would have to be mended costing her a dinner’s worth of coin to fix. “Bastard could ‘ave at least left me enough to mend me skirt,” she said in the street dialect that she was finally beginning to pick up after all these years. She picked the coins up from the gutter and deposited them in her pocket wiping her hands clean of the filth that had covered them on her dress, “Another dress ruined,” she muttered as she walked back around the corner.
She stood silent sentinel across the street from the theatre as she waited for it to get out, knowing that she didn’t have long to wait. In fact, a few minutes later she began to see people tickle out of the theatre trying to get ahead of the rest of the crowd. She saw a happy couple leaving the theatre and imagined she was in their place. How would it feel to have clean clothes everyday, and a gentleman who would handle her with care as if she were made of porcelain?
She shook off the daydream and resumed waiting. After a few minutes of looking for a potential customer, she saw a man who was formally dressed; nonetheless, he seemed out of place. Ignoring her sudden apprehension, she approached the man.
“Lookin’ fer a good time Guv'nor?” she asked him coyly. The man’s eyes flashed
menacingly but it was soon gone, and she dismissed it as her overactive imagination. They
discussed her price as she led him to the same alleyway she'd just emerged from. The man kissed her cheek gently before leaning her against the wall. Her instincts made her wary of this stranger, but she didn't know why until she saw the flash of steel. She let out a single bloodcurdling scream, as she felt a sharp pain at her throat and the world faded to black.