Winter Valentine........Part 4
I grow weary of London... the meagre sights, the unreliable weather. I sit here on my balcony in the most expensive hotel in the capital watching the people below scurrying about their pathetic, meaningless little lives like headless ants without their queen. A sea of dark umbrellas open en masse. A cacophony of black heralding the onset of rain once more. Two more girls I require. Two more acts of unbridled compassion followed by a brief, yet glorious, meal and then I shall relocate once more to a warmer clime... The Maldives or Haiti perhaps? Ah...the very thought of the varied tastes and aromas, the harsh caress of sand underfoot again, the warm embrace of sun on one's skin - all these elements combine in raising my rapidly flagging interest in these elegant yet passionless surroundings. I laugh heartily at the sight below of one old biddy's umbrella blowing outwards and the harsh cockney curse she loudly barks in response.
Turning away from the balcony and its ringside seat to the approaching storm, and, retreating to the relative warmth of the inviting room behind me, my attention strays to the six small storage boxes stacked in one corner. Six very special storage boxes created with the sole purpose of completely freezing the contents within. I procured these necessary items from a one-eyed specialist merchant during my last visit to the vibrant city of Istanbul in the late 1940s. A true professional, the man never inquired about my reasons for purchasing the items but I am sure that he would never forgive the fact that the hearts of his wife and two daughters (ah...delicious irony) were the very first items chosen to christen their airtight cool interiors.
As I pour myself another glass of a palatable Chateau Margaux 95, blood-red memories of past daring deeds resurface to the front of my fevered mind. I find some small modicum of comfort replaying previous actions and reactions when contemplating my next choice of 'dinner guest'. In the past, I admit, I have sometimes acted like an opportunistic agent of death in my hunt for life-sustaining organs. I have harvested my crop during the Potato Famine in Ireland, narrowly escaped death and picked my way through the rubble of a Sicilian earthquake in 1908 for just the right blend of ingredients required for my seasonal fare. I have worked under the cover of conflict on two separate occasions. Once, risking everything for the alluring taste of native Cheyenne during the Battle of Washita River in 1868, and again, during the Vietnam War as I lighted on the shell shocked survivors emerging from the bombed out remains of many decimated Laos villages. All easy pickings accrued on each of these pilgrimages and no real tracks or incriminating evidence to hide from prying eyes, but I must confess that occasionally I enjoy the thrill of the chase - that dual edged sword of being both the hunter and the hunted.
My present activities as the good 'Doctor' have somewhat mirrored the media attention garnered from my earlier spell as the infamous 'Jack'. London is once again clenched within an 'Iron fist of Terror' as the 'devil incarnate himself' scours the back streets of the city intent on 'ripping unfortunates apart to feed his insatiable hunger'. The only difference being this time I allow the bodies to be found sans heart. Back in the day I rejoiced in fooling the authorities using the deaths of Nichols, Chapman, Stride and Eddowes to mask the other five extractions which never made the news. True, I gave them Mary Jane Kelly, but this was a moment of weakness on my part. I had become somewhat caught up in the media frenzy at that time and guiltily craved world attention...ahhh...Mary, Mary, Mary...still my finest purification to date...so very young... so very...tender.
The American girl from the club greatly reminded me of Mary. This is probably the reason why I stalked her every move for the duration of two weeks...my overzealousness possibly tipped my hand on this rare occasion and allowed that fine beauty to escape my wanton ministrations. I sigh in resigned frustration at the perceived loss but reach into a crisp manila folder on the coffee table in front of me and remove a set of black and white photographs. I peruse the images, almost purring in satisfaction at an alternative beauty framed within....the shape of her beautifully etched calves, the curve of her sumptuous breasts hidden below restraining garments, the look of innocence etched on her pretty young face...yes, my dear...I think we should have our meeting tonight...oh yes, my dear...I believe that you'll do just fine instead......