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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Horror/Scary · #1951025
The truth behind the legend.
The Cleansing

Doctor Thomas Cream sat in front of the fireplace, sipping a strong cup of Earl Grey with just a touch of brandy. Perfect for a cold and gloomy day like this. He glanced outside. He could almost see the moisture in the air boding a foggy night.

Mrs. Comfrey bustled into the room breaking into his thoughts. “Will you be needing anything else tonight, sir?” Something in her voice caused him to turn.

“Mrs. Comfrey, is something the matter?” He noticed a flush color her cheeks.

“No, sir.”

“Martha,” he said quietly, “what is it?”

“Today is Friday, the thirteenth, sir. With all the talk of the murders over in Whitehall and the going’s on …” Her voice trailed off.

“Surely you don’t believe in such superstitious nonsense?” he chided her. “Black cats, ladders, and Friday the thirteenth. This is the age of reason, of enlightenment, and we live in the most modern city in the world.”

She nodded but kept the frown on her face.

“And as for the ‘goings on,’ you know that the tabloids exaggerate everything. Why just last week they reported ‘Nessie’ swimming in the Thames,” he laughed.

Her look said he had not convinced her. “Well, why don’t you run along home? It looks like it’s going to be a cold and wet night out and I’m sure your family will be glad to have you home safely.”

“Thank you, sir,” she said, moving to get her wrap. “You have a good weekend but keep the doors locked.”

Thomas waved and turned back to his tea. He settled into his favorite chair and was soon dozing.

Thomas became aware that he was walking down a narrow street. No. Not again! The thick fog roiled leaving the cobblestones slick with its passage. He paused before a pane of glass inset in a window. He was dressed in longcoat and hat but he could feel the weight of a leather apron hanging underneath from around his neck.

“We can’t keep doing this.”

“We? You’re just an innocent bystander … or so you’ve said, Doctor.” The dark, rumbling laugh that followed was swallowed by the mist.

He watched as the gloved hand trailed down the damp walls that lined the small street. He froze as it stopped at a crude number painted on the wall.

“13 for the thirteenth. It’s an omen,” the dark voice spoke.

“No …” The protest was cut off in mid-sentence.

In the faint illumination from the gaslight, he inspected the wooden door. “It’s a simple latch,” he murmured as he pulled a knife from inside his coat, the steel shining in the light. Sliding the thin blade into the crack, he quietly lifted the locking bar and pushed the door open.

The woman lay sleeping on a crude pallet, her chest rising and falling rhythmically in the pale light.

Without hesitation, he lunged forward, his first blow severing her throat down to the spine. Ripping open her shabby sleeping gown, he sliced open her stomach and with a coldness of purpose, began pulling all her organs out, inspecting each and then throwing them aside.

He was not sure of what he was looking for but his hands knew and he could only watch. Reaching under the rib cage, he grasped her heart and ripped it out.

The driving rage past, Thomas looked on the scene in horror. The air was filled with the coppery incense of blood. Even in the pale light, he could see the splatters begin to drip as he watched. They began marking the walls, their own weight forcing them downward. . “Oh my God, what have you done?”

Only silence answered.

Adrenaline and fear flooded him and he fled from the small house, not aware of where he was going until he stopped, panting from the exertion. He found himself in front of the neat brownstone that was his home. Entering, he methodically cleaned the surgical knives that had been in the apron. He scrubbed the gore from the surgeon’s apron and neatly hung it in the closet.

Looking down, he noticed blood splatters on his pants. He ripped the bloody clothes off and cast them into the fireplace all the while fearing … a return of something he couldn't explain.

As he sat staring at the pyre, he felt a dark presence intrude on his mind.

“Thomas, what are you doing?” the rasping voice asked. “We’re not through yet. We’re just getting started!”

His blood ran cold at the laugh that followed and he knew he had to make a choice. Without thinking, he pushed the offending hands into the burning fire, stifling a scream.The smell of charred flesh filled the room.

Through his gritted teeth Thomas managed to whisper, “Never again, Jack. Never again!”

Although the tabloids kept sensationalizing the exploits of Jack the Ripper, he was never heard from after that night … that we know of with certainty.

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An entry for "Invalid Item
Based on the words: froze/ steel/ dripped/ shattered
Word Limit: 2,000
Word Count: 809
Prompt: Horror/Scary
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