by Dean Kuch
This infernal, endless rain. When shall I receive peaceful solace from this torrential raging in my brain? My thoughts spill freely now from my fingertips, to the page; then return to hold communion with my mind once more. It’s an endless cycle I must endure to retell my stories. I imagine it’s much like walking naked through the tumultuous flames of Hell.
My name is Parker Freeman, I am a writer. Not just any writer, mind you, but one that possesses a special gift. It is a curse as much as it is a blessing. I can see inside the thoughts of the most notorious, evil minds walking the face of this earthly plane. I witness their dark, dastardly deeds behind closed eyelids; much as if you were to watch an evening’s play at the park. Alas, these plays never have a happy ending. Their conclusions render only pain; offer only heartache and suffering to the one’s unfortunate enough to get a glimpse of them. This curse, which I will heretofore refer to it as, has made me a very wealthy man. It has provided me with the opportunity and necessary details with which to write the stories I have become so very famous for. A man of substance and means, far beyond the capacities of most. Yet, each time a particular vision commences upon me, invades my thoughts, it also takes a piece of my soul with it as I scrawl the words upon the page.
The Ripper’s shack is one such tale.
This fiend, this unholy monster, kills his gudgeon randomly. He seeks no vindication for past wrongs; no revenge or unrequited love causes him to do these horrid, ghastly acts to his chosen victims. He does it for simple gratification. He does it for pleasure. It would be akin to you or I shopping for a new cloak, or some garish knickers, perhaps.
Scotland Yard is baffled by his incomprehensible, erratic Modus operandi. A detective, Edwin Baker, if memory serves me correctly, recently paid me a visit to see if I could assist the Yard in any way with the solving of his varied offenses, or, in the apprehension of the Ripper himself. Of course, I could not offer anything in the way of the locations of his next victim, nor the time frames for which they were to be committed. I am not made aware of these finer points. I have seen the place he takes his intended victims, once he procures them.
It’s a dilapidated shack of indeterminable disarray. It is weather-beaten, offers little in the way of substantial shelter; tucked deeply within a thickly wooded area like some forgotten secret. It does, however, provide the Ripper with concealment for which he can carry out the ghastly dismemberments of his chosen ones. For, that is what he does. Slowly, with methodical deliberation.
He dices them into pieces.
The corpses are never found. The only residual trace left behind by the fiend is the victims severed head. The eye sockets have been relieved of their spherical organs, gouged out with an ice pick or plucked out with probing fingers. The Ripper believes that the eyes can retain an image of their murderer, even after death.
This is why he removes their eyes.
This is a fact Scotland Yard has kept from all but a few. They have never told me this, but I know it to be so.
The Yard has employed hundreds of civilians and various civil authorities to comb forests and fields in and around the areas the victims disappeared from, but to no avail. They have turned up nothing, not a single clue. This—torture chamber, for that it what it truly is, has come to be known by nearly everyone as, simply… The Ripper’s Shack.
I can never see his countenance, and I am eternally thankful for that small bit of comfort. In actuality, I see these horrendous deeds through his eyes, not my own. It’s as if I were doing them myself, witnessing them first-hand. No distinguishing features of this twisted maniac come into view; not hair nor skin color. Not pointed nose nor green eyes—nothing discernible. I am, however, privy to see in stark detail the torturous, unspeakable enterprises he perpetrates on his unsuspecting victims. I can only strive vainly in hopes of adequately relaying to you how I feel as I experience his arduous, brutal rage.
Tonight, as I sit here before my desk with quill in hand while listening to the torrents of rain striking upon the rooftop, my lamp flame dims, then slightly flickers. This is my warning to be prepared. This is how whatever unspeakable entity has bestowed this curse upon me makes me aware that something is about to happen. I—
I am moving deftly, unnoticed upon the cobblestones of a rather large pathway, leading up to a barn. The rain plummets harshly down atop my unprotected head. I am clutching an unknown object in my right hand. It glistens and shines in the moonlight. Raindrops shimmer against the smooth surface of the object, conflicting in brilliant splashes of reflected colors and textures. It’s as cold as the grave in my sturdy grip. The realization of the objects form slowly becomes unambiguously clear to me. It’s a large, circular saw blade, the type usually reserved for industrial saw mills along the River Mersey, in Cheshire. Except, this blade isn’t going to be used for cutting logs and timber. It’s trenchant sundering will be of a much more fleshy variety. Quite large, razor sharp and extremely deadly; a blade that can inflict massive amounts of excruciating pain in a minimal amount of time.
I creep up to a single, un-shuttered window, taking a cursory peek as to the layout of the room inside. A solitary lamp appears to be its only source of light. I observe a man there, seated at a table. He is writing something with a furious, hackneyed urgency upon the parchment in front of him. I think of waiting to take him, savoring the sweetness of his not knowing the fate that awaits him. He will know soon. He will realize something horrible is about to befall him. He will piss himself when the mallet I carry in my left hand cleaves open his skull, knocking him senseless to the floor. They always do. He will be powerless to prevent me from completing my task.
Quietly, I move round the small house jimmying all the windows as I try to gain entrance. I spy one that has been left slightly ajar, and slip inside the stillness of the room. Light from his lamp seeps beneath the door in front of me, and I realize I am nearly there. My heart beats vigorously; so hard I fear it may reveal my presence. Gently, I glide along the wooden plank floor, like a spider on it’s web when approaching it’s prey. My eyesight begins to become accustomed to a lack of light, quickly adjusting to the blackness. It is a bedroom. It is empty.
Hearing a chair drag upon the floor in the next room, I steel myself, settling behind the door. Sweet, metallic tastes of blood and flesh are vaguely palatable upon my lips. I moisten them with my tongue, delighting in their tangy flavour. Footsteps draw nigh, so I raise the mallet high over my head. Sheeting rains beat a soothing rhythm upon the tin roof of the home as I patiently wait there, behind the door to his bedroom. The tiny knob turns slightly, breaching the inky darkness. Warm, filtered light spills into the room, spoiling my alleviation as the door is cracked open slightly. He enters suddenly now, completely oblivious to my presence. Just as he passes the doorway, I slam the mallet down hard upon the back of his head, dropping him instantly.
I am on him.
I hog-tie his prone body, throwing him over my shoulder like a sack of feed, then exit through the front door as calmly and naturally as if he and were old friends, getting reacquainted and catching up on old times.
I carry my prize to my waiting cart and horse, then toss him in, covering his body over with thatch. Before long, he and I will fuse, our souls will dissolve and blend together as we share in the experience of his torture and, eventually, his death. A smile rises up, curling the corners of my mouth upward, as we ride off into the pouring rain towards the shack.
Oh my…my God, no, not again. He’s doing it now, the poor soul. His horrified screaming drowns out the rumbles of thunder then echo across the floor of the forest into the darkness beyond. It’s the Ripper, he’s got some unlucky man’s limp body tied to a stout pole in the center of the room. The poor, poor man; he is soaked in blood from head to toe. I can—I can smell the putrid scents of urine and feces as they mingle together upon the floor beneath him. The screams, oh, those, terrible, horrid screams! Please, kill him now, put the wretched soul out of his misery, I beg of you!
In an answer to my pleas, the screaming stops. The ripper plucks the eyes from their sockets, tossing them to the floor to mingle with the heap of gore that is already present. Taking the large blade, he positions it just above his victim’s shoulders and begins to saw, vigorously moving the blade back, and forth. After several, agonizing minutes, he is finally able to remove the head from the man’s body. He turns to face me. I scream in terror. I can feel the blood drain rapidly from my face. I cease my frantic writing, unable to pen the final, unthinkable ending to this chapter of the Ripper’s next, upcoming victim…
For, it is my face I see there, clutched in his grasp.
Dean Kuch, born Harold Dean Cook II, is 53 years old and lives in a rural farming community in Ohio. Born to Lena and Harold Cook of Vandalia, Ohio, Mr. Kuch has two younger brothers. He has been married eighteen years and has two teenaged children. Mr. Kuch has one
formally published horror short available on Amazon entitled “The DugOut.” Hobbies include reading, motivational speaking as well as caring for his four canine companions, Gidget, Frank E. Furter, Tippy and Gumby.