Jack Horne lets one rip!

(City of London before the fog rolls in…OH!… WAIT!)   Literati! Our contest continues with but a scant month remaining to get in your entries to Once Upon A Time.  Should you feel compelled to win $250,  rules and how to enter can be found here: http://www.awordwithyoupress.com/2014/03/20/once-upon-a-time-our-new-contest/ Jack Horne, one of those who constantly misspells …

(City of London before the fog rolls in…OH!… WAIT!)

 

Literati!

Our contest continues with but a scant month remaining to get in your entries to Once Upon A Time.  Should you feel compelled to win $250,  rules and how to enter can be found here:

http://www.awordwithyoupress.com/2014/03/20/once-upon-a-time-our-new-contest/

Jack Horne, one of those who constantly misspells “color” has entered a prologue that leaves us in a fog. Here is the prologue to a work in process called

THE RIPPER’S TIME

by Jack Horne

fog

‘Come along, quickly now,’ the plump tour guide called. ‘We need to get to the site where Mary Ann Nichols was murdered.’

‘Sorry,’ I wheezed, trying to speed up, my chest feeling as though it was on fire.

‘He’s walking as fast as he can, mate,’ Jo shouted. ‘Can’t you slow down? He’s just getting over a chest infection.’

The twenty or so other people on the Jack the Ripper tour had no difficulty in keeping up, not even the elderly couple or the lady with the walking stick. In the swirling fog, the shops and blocks of flats lining the street reminded me of a dirty water colour painting. I could only just make out the guide’s bald head and loud check jacket as he rounded a corner.

I blinked. The uneven pavement slabs suddenly appeared to move; it looked like they were coming up to meet me. ‘I feel sick,’ I said, leaning against a shop’s metal shutter as evil-smelling fog engulfed me. ‘It must be those antibiotics.’

‘No, I’m feeling the same. Did it look to you as if the pavement was going up and down, like waves?’ Jo’s voice was suddenly shrill. ‘Gary, look at the floor! What the hell’s going on?’

I glanced down and stared. Flagstones now replaced the pavement slabs we’d walked on seconds earlier. I touched rough stonework behind me and felt for the cold metal shutter. It wasn’t there.

My heart pounding, I fished in my denim jacket for my phone. I’d use its torch. That was gone too. And something was strange about my jacket; the material didn’t feel right.

The fog began to lift and I stared at Jo and then at our surroundings. Instead of jeans and a leather jacket, Jo was wearing a long black dress, her red hair now in a bun. The typical modern high street, just like any high street in any town, was now a filthy alleyway, with a dim gas lamp at the far end. I looked at Jo’s hugely staring dark eyes and knew I wasn’t imagining it.

‘Oh, my God, your clothes! Look what you’re wearing,’ she said.

A quick glance downwards told me that my denim had been replaced by a dark suit; my trainers were now boots.

Jo sniffed. ‘Phwaw, what’s that stench?’

‘I guess people use this area as a toilet,’ I said, grimacing as I stepped on something soft and squashed it underfoot. I didn’t need to look and wiped my boot on the flagstones. ‘Come on, let’s get out of this place.’

I turned to face dense fog and banged into what felt like a brick wall. Rubbing my shoulder and cussing, I felt for the entrance to the alleyway.

‘It’s completely blocked off,’ I said, trying to sound calmer than I felt.

‘What do you mean?‘ Jo cussed. ‘If it’s blocked, how did we get here?’

‘I dunno.’ I searched for the opening again, the sound of my own heart thundering in my ears. ‘Nope, there’s no space for us to even squeeze through.’ I pounded the wall. ‘This is a cul-de-sac…now.’

‘This can’t be real. I’m at home in bed and just dreaming you talked me into going on this  stupid tour. Who cares about Jack the Ripper now anyway?’

What a birthday this was!  I took a deep breath, and said, ‘Okay, love, let’s not argue, huh? All I can see is fog down here and an old gas lamp at that end. I guess we should go up there, where the light is.’

A distant clock chimed eight times. I glanced at my wrist but my watch was missing. Then the clock chimed nine times. Ten times. Eleven. Twelve. Now the eerie yellowish halo around the gas lamp was the only light.

Jo began to sob. ‘And what about the tour guide and the rest of the party? We’ll be totally lost in London at night on our own.’

We are totally lost, I thought, putting my arm round her. Out loud I said, ‘It’ll be all right, Jo. I bet we’ll meet up with them if we go up this alley. They’re probably looking for us.’

I heard footsteps and grinned with relief.

‘There, told ya, babe. I knew that tour guide couldn’t just abandon us.’

The footsteps grew louder. And then a woman screamed.

 

 

8 comments

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    “The Ripper’s Time” delivers us vicariously through the characters of a man and a woman displaced in time to an erie trap more than 100 years in the distant past. Mr. Horne has given us dear readers wrappings of fog, terror, mystery which bring us to a cliffhanger ending his prologue of the novel to follow.

    Most excellent is my opinion, most delightfully morbid and dripping with suspense of classic, but original plot in the historical fiction genre. Read on? I most certainly intend to if offered the opportunity. I can still hear the scream that we must rush to. Murder is a foot on cobblestones. Can you hear the clicking horror or the dying whore? Perhaps, but only Jack can tell us more. Jack Horne or Jack the Ripper? Take your pick, but please read this wonderful prologue.

  2. Parisianne Modert says:

    Hold on to your grave markers, Dyson the phantoms of writers in disguise and hide the knives, something is foul-a-reaper scythe swinging lurking about. There are ghost writers floating about these pages, but the specter of Sherlock Holmes is onto to you Mr. Casper and Mr. Horne. Elementary my dear Editors, so Boo!!!

  3. Michael Stang says:

    The Ripper was one of my first and foremost nightmares. When I was young, it played on the silver screen screaming through my little town, leaving a whole age affected band of kids terrified. Knowing what I know now of the crimes, and the presumptions, I am still terrified. If you pull this off, the ghost of the Ripper (assumed intent of the P) I just will flight over the pond and personally shake your hand. Though pass on the tour.
    Good scary stuff. I expect nothing less.

  4. Mike Casper says:

    I liked it, although I’d have been a bit more unnerved if my garments had changed from modern to old timey. Your character, Gary, is in for a world of hurt if Jo’s the one ripped. Well done, sir!

  5. russ shor says:

    This guy put me in London and gave me the creeps (in the good way). It totally works. I’ll buy the book now.

  6. This makes me think of a movie script. How fun to see this on the widescreen… a horror, or even a horror comedy (if done the right way)… I’m with Russ. I’d totally buy this book now! Love a good time travel story!

  7. Oh boy. Ever since I was a little sprat, I have loved the fog and felt it had secret portals in it, if I could only find them. So I had a shiver when this bewildered couple found themselves slipped so easily into a much darker and dangerous time, industrial England. I can only imagine my own terror and finding myself so displaced, and I would happily devour the experiences to come, once you bring them to light. I hope you continue this story, because if you finished it I should be off like a shot to read it. kidnapped into deep danger is one of my favorite kind of reads, in nearly any fantasy setting.

    Examining modern life next to an older, feral time for us humans trying to be is always a fantastic vehicle for examining both the human condition and how our own expansion as a species has changed us in profound ways.

    Mysterious doesn’t hurt either.

    Fond regards,

    Shawna

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