A cold chill clouds the dark sparse room. Only a bulb from above casts a stray of light on the scene but he’s used to it. To be honest, the darkness soothes him. The coolness helps him relax his always tense muscles. Ice cubes are clinking in his glass full of whiskey. Taking in the sweet smell of the whiskey the man stares at the inert woman lying in a bed in front of him. Sadness fills his eyes and he tightens the grip around his glass. The woman is affiliated to life supporting device. Her breathing is only shallow. Lifting himself he walks over to the bed, streaking along the limp arm of her.

“What happened to you is unfair! It shouldn’t have happened! I should have protected you!” He presses out angry and strokes the soft skin of the young woman again. A tear rolls down his cheek. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you!”

For a long time he just stands there and examines her. Just as he was about to sit back into his armchair a dampened voice sounds in the distance…

“Honey? Where are you?” The voice of a woman sounds in the distance.

“In my study, honey!” He answers.

“We have to go! Duty calls…” The voice responds while he sighs.

One last time he strokes her skin. With determination in his eyes he leaves her but he casts one last glance back at her.

“I’ll be back soon…! And then we will be united again, little sister!” He breathes into the room and walks into his study. Locking the door with a key he moves a shelf in front of the door, hiding it from the outside world and his family. The woman from earlier pokes her head into the study a second later.

“Are you ready? The woman asks and together they leave their house.   

The streets are busy at this time of year – it’s Christmas Eve. Happiness and love fills the crowded streets. Everyone is spreading holiday spirits. Some people are gathering and singing Christmas songs on the marketplace in front of a big Christmas tree while others hurry to their families to celebrate. Daniel Halse is one of them.

His little daughter Mary and his wife Caitlyn are waiting impatiently at the police department for him to get ready.

“Come on, Daniel! We are going to be late! You know my parents hate tardiness!” Caitlyn scolds while Daniel hurries around  his office to get his stuff done.

“I know!” Daniel responds.  “I’m almost finished.”

A laughter sounds from the desk next to his. “Get going, Halse. I don’t want you to be late! I got this!”” Alfred Long, a Police officer and good friend of Daniel, jokes.

Daniel exhales. “Thanks, Alfred! You’re a good friend! Have a merry Christmas Eve with your family!” Daniel says as he leaves the office with his family.

“Have a merry Christmas as well! And don’t eat to much…You’ve already gained some weight!” Alfred yells and laughs hard as they walk outside but Daniel turns around and shots him an angry glare.

On the streets a cold breeze brushes past them and Mary shudders. Daniel pulls her closer to keep her warm while Caitlyn eyes her husband with a stern expression.

“What’s the matter?” Daniel asks.

“You’re always late and you’re always working! Sometimes I think you love your work more than me!” Caitlyn sighs frustrated.

“That’s not true!” Daniel defends himself but Caitlyn isn’t listening.

“Of course it’s true! I barely see you at the moment! You’re always working and if you are home you are working there!” Caitlyn states.

Daniel exhales. “I don’t want to fight today. It’s Christmas. And I know I am always working at the moment but I can promise you I love you more than my work. It’s just very busy at the moment and you know that. Jack the Ripper is keeping us busy and I want to stop this sick bastard so the citizens can feel safe again.” Daniel explains and squeezes her hand.

Caitlyn sighs and Daniel plasters a kiss on her cheek.  

Mary pulls on Daniel’s arm to get them going again which makes him chuckle. Crowds of people cross their paths and everywhere are twinkling lights.

A man bumps into Daniel and pardons himself.

“I’ am so sorry!” The man excuses himself.

“It’s okay….Doctor Thompson?” Daniel says. “What a coincidence!”

“Detective Halse! What a pleasure!” He responds.

“How are you Victoria?” Caitlyn asks the women besides Dr Thompson.

“I’m fine, what about you?” Victoria asks and the two women start to chat.

“Are you on your way to your family, Byron?” Daniel asks. 

“Unfortunately, I have to work. I am just dropping off my wife at her parents and then I am off the hospital. ” Byron explain.

” That’s unfortunate! But still I wish you a merry Christmas! But I have to excuse us we’re already late!” Daniel says and Byron nods.

“Merry Christmas to you as well!” Byron says as the women wish their farewells. The Halse family continues their way as the Thompsons walk in the opposite direction.

Caitlyn seems at unease because of the time. It’s already half past seven and they have to meet with her parents at eight. Fortunately they arrived on time.

The night goes by and the street are swallowed by darkness and shadows – which leaves only empty streets. Fog rises in the streets and it start’s to snow.  Everyone is at home and has a wonderful Christmas evening – spending time with their families, spreading love and laughter, having fun as the time passes until something happened.

A scream fills the quiet neighbourhood.

It’s almost midnight. Daniel and his family are gathered around the chimney – Mary is already asleep – and drinking scotch and talking as something disturbs the laughter. A knock appears on the door.  Everyone casts their eyes to the direction of the noise and worry marks Caitlyn’s face.

Daniel exhales and opens the door. “Officer Turner? What’s the matter?”

“Detective, we need you! The Ripper attacked again…” Turner says and in a second Daniel grabs his jacket and weapon holsters and leaves.

Sirens wailing in the distance as they arrive at the Corner of Crawford Street and Baker street – the crime scene.

“Who’s the victim?” Daniel asks the attending officer while entering the crime scene with slight disgust on his face.

“Emily Bennett a prostitute.” The officer answers and Daniel nods.

“Any witnesses?”

The officer points into a direction. “Over there!” A few citizens are gathered in the back corner; shocked.  

“Do we have any suspects?” Daniel asks but Turner shakes his head.

“Not really. The witness told us that Lord Bartholomew Clarke had a fight with the victim shortly before her death. And oddly enough Officer Long found the crime scene, again. It’s the fifth crime scene he found in a row. This can’t be a coincidence. ” Turner states and Daniel glares at him furious.

“Don’t you dare assume something like this! He’s my best friend and a police officer, he’s not able to do something like this!” Daniel hisses but remains silent for a minute, processing.  A small amount of doubt forms inside of him but he pushes it aside.

“Is there anything else I should know?”  Daniel asks.

“Well, we assume the Ripper got disturbed during his deed!” Turner answers slowly and Daniel shot him a irritated glance.

“How do you know?”

“Because in the end his…um…’work’ got sloppy. So we assume he had to hurry because someone was coming!” Turner responds.  

Daniel walks over to the body to examine the scene but something occurs to him.

“Wait! If he got disturbed than maybe he’s still in the area!” Daniel thinks out loud. ” I want every police officer who’s not needed at the crime scene out there searching this bastard.” He commands and the officers scurry around.

“Officer Long is already out there searching for The Ripper!” Officer Turner objects and Daniel nods, only slightly suspicious.

Even though Daniel would love to go out there searching this madman to stop him he has to stay at the crime scene because he is the best detective in the area and able to see things other couldn’t see.

So, Daniel walks over to the dead body. He has to cover his eyes for a second and suppresses a gag at the sight of her.

The woman was slaughtered to death, as each and every victim of the ripper. He kneels down beside her and examines her wounds. Bloodstains surround her stiff body and the streets. Her face is torn into a grimace from the pain she had to suffer. All in all she has 30 stab wounds in her body and her thorax is cut open but something is missing.

“What happened there?” Daniel asks and points at her thorax.

The medic beside him puts his hand inside her chest and pulls it open. “The Ripper took her heart!” He says and Daniel stares at him; appalled.

“He…what? Are you serious? What kind of sick bastard would take the heart of woman?” Daniel shoots up, pacing back and forth. He’s thoughts are running loose. For a few minute he’s not able to speak but processing this new information.

After the long pause he puts his immense disgust aside and goes back to his work.

“So, do we have any clue how the incident happened?” Daniel asks.

“Not yet. We still haven’t talked properly with the witnesses and the possible suspects.” Officer Turner answers.

“Okay, than I think it’s time for me to talk to them!” Daniel says and walks over to the witnesses.

Every remaining officer is out on the streets looking for The Ripper but until now they are still in the dark. No clue or hint of the Ripper. Edward Marriot, another police officer and Halse partner, marches around area of Westminster only a few streets away from the crime scene. With his eyes on full alert he searches every inch of vision for a sight of him. He even asks every passing citizen if they saw someone dressed in a black leather coat. But unfortunately, no one saw him.

“If I would be a murderous madman, where would I hide in case of something like this?” He talks to himself. The streets are dark and there are enough shadows to hide in. “But he could already be gone! The murder took place a while ago….” Thoughts are running wild inside his head. But just as his hope faded something catches his eye. A black leather coat.  Edward gasps and hurries to the suspect but the person raises is pace as well. Chasing him through narrow alleys between the buildings his heart picks up pace pumping blood and adrenaline rapidly inside his body. The leather coat is fast and Edward has difficulties with keeping up with him he’s caught in a dead end.  Abruptly the leather coat stops on his heels and faces the brick wall in front of him. Behind him, Edward comes to a halt breathing heavily while he draws out his pistol and points it at him. 

“No sudden movements or I am going to shoot you! Turn around slowly and show your face!” Edward commands slowly and the leather coat raises his hands in surrender turning slowly around on his heels.

“I didn’t do it!” Lord Bartholomew Clarke states at the question of Daniel. “Yes, I had a fight with her but I didn’t kill her. She was stupid. She wouldn’t do with me what I want so I shouted at her and said it was her job but she just yelled at me and stated I would force her to do it – which I didn’t. So after our heated conversation she stormed out of the tavern and I searched for a woman who was willing to fulfill my requirements.”

Daniel raises a brow and shakes inwardly his head. He could never understand how a married man could go to a prostitute to get pleasured. But still he’s doubting his action a bit.

“But you could have followed her!” Daniel states. “Besides you’re a married man. Why would you go there to get pleasured!”

“Well, you should understand! I am a man with needs and my wife can’t satisfy my needs so I have to go somewhere else.” He states proudly and Daniel just shakes his head. Clearing his throat he continues. “Besides, if I had killed her why would I still be here? I would have gone immediately afterwards!”

“But you could stay here so we would think your innocent!” Daniel counters and  slowly Clarke gets angry.

“If I say, I didn’t do it, I mean it! I have a reputation to loose and I am not willing to sacrifice  my title because of your stupid assumptions!” Clarke hisses angrily. Officer Turner joins the conversation and leans into Daniel.

“We have a woman confirming his statement! After the victim went out he had intercourse with this young lady!” Turner whispers and points at a young woman at the edge of the crowd. Daniel grinds his teeth but pardons himself while he wanders back into the crime scene trying to re-construct it.

“I think it happened like this!” He says to Turner and points out his version of the murder.

The young prostitute storms out enraged, trying to get some air to cool down. Lighting up a cigarette she walks around the corner of the building to smoke as someone approaches her. Loud noise surrounds the streets from inside.

“You want to have some fun?” The murderer asks and the lady just eyes him confused.

“I’m off duty at the moment!” Emily states and blows out some smoke.

“Ah, come on. I can be a lot of fun and I have money!” He waves a bundle of money in front of her and she’s intrigued. He stretches out his hand taking hers and leads her away from the tavern into a dark alley.

“Why are we here?” She asks.

“Because we don’t want be disturbed and want to have some privacy!” The Ripper answers.

“But we can go back inside!” She points to the tavern but he chuckles.

“It’s more fun out here!” The Ripper states and Emily is intrigued by his mysteriousness so she smiles and starts to undress. The Ripper catches her hands turns her around and presses her against his chest. Gliding right hand down her neck he puts his other hand over her mouth before he stabs her into her waist. Muffled screams echo in the alley and Emily tries to wiggle free but she’s too weak. Stab after stab her screams get weaker and she’s barely able to move. The Ripper lays her down on the floor and continues his stabs and then he starts to cut her chest open. Emily is barely able to scream out loud because of the immense blood loss but one last scream leaves her body. The Ripper glances around to see if someone heard her but no one was coming so he continues his work. As he is halfway through with his procedure he hears footsteps in the distance and increases his pace. Even though he’s speeding his cut he still has to be careful and this costs all his nerves. The footsteps get closer and just as the person is about to round the corner the Ripper grips the heart, pulls it out and runs away in the darkness. Using the shadows the Ripper tries to be unseen as the person steps to the victim and calls for help. But it’s too dark for the person to see or hear the Ripper or in which direction he went.

The leather coat turns around slowly revealing his face to officer Marriot. Edward gasps and sinks his pistol an inch. Shock marks his facial expression and his mind is running.

“Alfred?” He breathes confused.

“It’s not what you think!” Alfred states but Edward does not believe him.

“Then why are you wearing a black leather coat!” Edward counters.

“Well, it’s cold outside and I got this jacket from my wife as a Christmas present.” Alfred explains and walks slowly over to Edward but he remains stiff.

“Don’t move!” He hisses. “If you’re not the Ripper then why did you run away from me?”

“I was chasing something as well! I think I saw the Ripper that’s why I ran away.” Alfred defends himself.

“I am still not convinced!” Edward states.

“Damn, please take down your weapon! How can I be the ripper if I found the victim?” Alfred yells frustrated and Edward puts down his gun. ” I am chasing this madman since I found Emily!”

Edward rubs his hand over his face. “Ah, this was a long night for both of us. I am sorry for suspecting you!”

“You were just doing your job!” Alfred said and clasps Edwards shoulder. “Come on, let’s go out together again and search him!”

Edward nods and just as they want to continue their search something black and hooded flashes past them in the distance into an alley across the street.  They both exchange a glance and a second later they’re chasing the black streak. As they enter the small alley where the streak went in to it’s empty. Another dead end but no one’s there. Both of them are glancing around confused and shrug, agreeing that they just imagined it.

But little don’t they know, they where just inches away from the Ripper only separated through a secret passageway. Behind the secret entrance the Ripper chuckles softly and is on his way through the passage which leads to his home.

The Ripper is cover in blood. A bulb above him casts light on his current work. On a table besides him lies the heart he took from the victim. With a scalpel he cuts open the chest from the woman lying in front of him.  After he ceases the cuts he pulls open her chest and operates the heart from his victim into the woman in front of him.

From the distance the voice of a woman sounds in his ears. “Byron, where are you? I am tired. I am going to bed!” Victoria yells from the living room.

“I am in my office, Victoria. I still have to work. Go to bed, I’ll be in there soon!” He shouts. “Sleep well!”

Victoria wishes him good night as well and Byron continues his work.

“Almost done!” He talks to himself while he finishes the last strings and stitches her chest back together.

“Now we can be back together Alice!” Byron says and strokes the cheek of his little sister.

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