You Don't Know Jack by Baik_710 October 21, 2020

Chapter 1

The sun had begun to rise on another day in London at around 7 o'clock. However, I had risen from my few hours of fitful slumber long before that. I became unusually preoccupied with a tattered medical manual I had found amongst the clutter of a second-hand shop near my home. I do believe that it caught my eye because of the beautifully hand drawn illustrations of the human body. Although the manual was very much worse for wear, the illustrations were nearly perfect. There was one page that contained a full illustration of the human body and all of its organs. It made every organ analogous to a piece of beautifully crafted machinery. I was gazing at that page - tracing the nervous system with my index finger - when I felt my stomach begin to complain and reminded me that I should probably move forward with my day. I cleaned up and had some breakfast. A simple fare of some black coffee, some hash, and a small bit of sausage. Before heading out to start my workday, I took small piece of coca leaf to ensure that my stomach has satiated until lunch. Once I felt myself rejuvenated by the plant, I set out to see what the day had in store.

 

I left that morning with optimism and a renewed mind. As I made my way out of my rather quaint home, I was assailed by a rather grubby fellow who pressured me into buying a copy of the paper. Of course, I wouldn't have bought a paper from such a vagrant on a normal occasion, however the headline of this particular paper captivated me. It read "The Whitechapel Murderer Strikes Again." This was new to me, as I had never heard of "The Whitechapel Murderer" before. I paid the man a shilling, being sure to avoid contact with his skin to the best of my ability. After paying the man (and walking quite a distance away), I skimmed the story as I walked. I felt my face become flushed and my blood boil. For the life me I didn't understand why, my mood just plummeted and a sour taste filled my mouth.

 

As I neared my place of employment, I threw my paper into the gutter, still fuming. Disgusted, and my optimism gone, I walked down the street and stopped in front of Graves and Miles: Attorneys at Law, my place of employment. There I was greeted by my good friend and business partner, the rotund Frederick Miles. To a passerby, the two of us together must have been quite comical - Frederick leaning towards the more spherical while I am rather lanky. 

 

"Ah, Ephraim!" Frederick greeted with a grin, "How are you on this fantastic morning?"

"'How am I?', you ask?" I snapped back, "I will have you know that I came across an abhorrent tale of a new story. Perhaps you have read it as well? This now almost mythic murderer?"

"I assume you are referring to that poor girl they found strewn about in the alley? Yes, well, I see why your mood is as sour as it is. Absolutely dreadful, poor thing."

 

"Yes, Frederick, an absolutely dreadful thing! The mere mention of the story leaves a vile taste in my mouth!" I exclaimed with vigor, nearly tripping on my own foot.

 

"Unfortunately, the authorities haven't found the chap responsible for it." Frederick stated as he unlocked the door to our firm. We walked inside still discussing the story and just how horrifying it was. After thirty minutes or so of heated discussion, I proposed that we finish with our current case rather than continue to waste daylight. 

At this, Frederick agreed and we proceeded to work on the case resented to us. We had been assigned to work on a case involving a certain brothel in our vicinity. According to the victims' statements, this establishment ensured that their patrons were heavily inebriated, had their sexual hunger satiated, before they helped themselves to their patron's valuables.  Scotland Yard caught wind of this foul venture because of a rather influential person (you will excuse me if I do not name names) informed them. 

 

To be completely honest, this case would not change anything in London. Even if we made our case and won, and the brothel was forced to close their doors, it would just leave more room for two more to fill in the space. A brothel conducts a business that always has a demand. I knew this fact fully, in fact it was the first thought in my mind when we received the case, but I felt an unusual motivation to argue for the maximum sentence. Although I cannot exactly say that where this motivation came from, I can say that this driving force made me spend countless late nights and early mornings tackling this case. Some days, like this day, I found myself lost in the case notes without a care to the time passing by. I was only broken out of this hyper-focus by Frederick asking that we head out for lunch. I agreed, just now noticing the amount of elapsed time and the protestations of my stomach. 

 

We left the comfort of our offices and walked out onto the claustrophobic streets to hunt for a decent lunch. After approximately half an hour of walking about, we came across a rather simple restaurant that afforded us a rather bland mutton stew with fresh bread. After we finished the stew, and sopped up what remained with our bread, the both of us sat there listening to the din of the restaurant, picking our teeth. Frederick spoke up after a few beats and said contemplatively, "Ephraim, I believe that it'd be best for our case if we went and visited this establishment."

 

"Although I agree with you on this point, Frederick," I replied with a snort, "Never refer to that whorehouse as an 'establishment' again. It does not deserve the title. Let us go now before it becomes too late and more nefarious characters crawl out from the gutters."