The Church Street Harlot


Many months later, when Mary was walking through an empty park at dusk, she chanced across a newspaper. Picking it up, she read it, squinting over the smudged words in the fading light.

The stranger had given her no name, but the newspapers had invented one. Jack the Ripper. She chucked, bitterly, to herself. It seemed altogether too colloquial, too comical. The salacious gossip had died down now. The screaming fear of the headlines had been stilled. No more ritualised corpses lying in gory patterns would be discovered in Whitechapel. But the forbidden, ghastly rumours continued. The name of Jack the Ripper still echoed in whispers. The legend, the notoriety, would continue.

But the man, himself, would not. Mary had seen to that. After she had done away with him, she had liberated some of his possessions, too. She had hesitated before stealing from a dead man. A dead monster. They would have only have been taken by the fire, in any case. And now, she no longer had any need to sell herself. She could walk freely on the London streets in the twilight.

Laying the newspaper back on the bench, Mary went on her way. Not back to the alleys of Whitechapel; no, it was still a dangerous place. She no longer chose to live in the East End. But at the very least, and by her own hand, the darkness of the city was now free from one less fiend. The most infamous murderer of the edge was now dead. The people did not know it. They people would never know the truth. But Mary did know it, and as she walked away, vanishing into the shadows at the park gates, the smallest of smiles flickered across her lips.
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I first began this story in December 2006, when I was 15 years old. Understandably, almost three years later, my writing style has changed dramatically. Apologies for that. I might eventually go through and re-write the first two chapters, we'll see. This story is a testament to my limitless powers of procrastination, so I am simply amazed and relieved to have finished it. I hope, despite my numerous failings, my take on the Jack the Ripper story was at least a unique one. I'm still interested in Victorian-era fiction, though. Some things never change.

If anybody is interested, here is a badly scanned copy of the final chapter, hand written. I hand-write everything, and I have ridiculous handwriting too, but I thought I'd include it.