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Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Author:Kerri Maniscalco [Maniscalco, Kerri]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
ISBN: 9780316273497
Amazon: 031627349X
Barnesnoble: 031627349X
Publisher: jimmy patterson
Published: 2016-09-19T04:00:00+00:00


SEVENTEEN

HEART OF THE BEAST

BETHLEM ROYAL HOSPITAL,

LONDON

25 SEPTEMBER 1888

Rumors of Bedlam being haunted by monsters were true.

At least, they felt real enough as we moved swiftly down cold stone corridors. I held fast to my silky skirts, keeping them as close to my body as I could while walking by cells of criminals and the insane.

Arms stuck out like tree branches, searching for things to root themselves to. Or perhaps they were searching for a way out of this dank hell. Blackburn did not hold on to me or offer his arm, trusting I could fend for myself in this abysmal place.

Cries of tortured souls went up all around us, but we pressed on. The stench of unwashed bodies and chamber pots in desperate need of emptying was enough to turn my stomach inside out. The farther we sank into the asylum, the fouler the air became, until I was terrified of adding to the sickness surrounding us.

“This way,” Blackburn said, leading us down another bleak corridor.

My mind spun with uncontrollable thoughts. One of the most terrifying being how to explain my whereabouts to my aunt should Nathaniel return home before I did.

“It’s a bit farther,” Blackburn said over his shoulder, his footsteps clapping against the flooring as if a giant bell were tolling the hour during an otherwise silent night. “Criminals are kept in the heart of the beast.”

“How charming.” Chills struggled to unleash their demonic fury across my arms and back. I didn’t enjoy thinking of this place as a living, breathing organism, one containing anything akin to a heart.

Hearts usually conveyed compassion, and this place had long since lost that quality. The only beat keeping it going were wails of the damned. I didn’t know how Blackburn could stand frequenting a place like this without it tarnishing his own soul.

Inmates sobbed to themselves, speaking in made-up languages and screeching like animals in a menagerie. How my uncle was surviving this mess, I wasn’t sure, but he was a strong-minded man. If anyone could be thrown in Bedlam and come out sturdier, it was Uncle Jonathan. He probably found a way of studying different mold specimens growing in patches along the dank walls and floor.

The thought made me smile in the face of fear. That’s precisely what Uncle would do in this situation. He’d turn it into a giant experiment to pass the time, never realizing he was actually set inside against his will. I’d probably have to coax him to leave once the time came for it.

He’d say, “Arrested? Are you sure? Perhaps I might spend another day going over my findings first.”

Then I’d tell him why that wasn’t a good idea, and he’d throw a fit. Once he was invested in an experiment, nothing else mattered.

We walked as quickly as we dared, but I still spied broken men pacing in their cages, looking as feral as panthers. These men were different from the insane. There was a certain air of calculation in their fixed gazes. I didn’t



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