"So where'd you reckon this bloke went?", Tom asked Jimmy, Tom was small but very well built, his body stretching his uniform to its limits, a round red face, most of which was hidden behind a very large moustache,
"He ran down there!", Jimmy pointed to a dark alley just a few feet from the them,
"So what we waiting for?", Tom asked. Jimmy wasn't stupid, he'd been walking to beat in Spitalfields for ten years, and you didn't just walk down a dark alley, the uniform sometimes acted as a deterent, but then sometimes, it didn't.
The two police officers removed the small, oil burning lamps from their belts and lit them with a match, holding them up at the level of their eyes as the moved into the alley, there were oil burning lamp posts, but poverty meant desperation, stealing oil from lamps wasn't unheard of. The alley was narrow and wet, water and god knows what else dripping down rooves and windows above them, jimmy cringed as me tried not to imagine what was currently dribbling down his back from on high.
Even with their lamps, the smog and fog swirling through the alley and streets, was like soup, their lights just rebounding off it, Jimmy had learned the hard way, that in places like this, it wasn't dark people hid in, it was the fog, it really was near impossible to see more than a couple of feet in front of yourself,
"What was that?!", whispered Tom,
"Rat?!!", replied Jimmy, rather hopefully, although he didn't want to go down in history as the man who let Jack the Ripper get away, he didn't fancy being the one who caught him either! He was no coward, but the things this mad man had done to those poor 'Toms' they didn't deserve that, no one deserved that!
"I fink it came from down there!", Tom continued, "down towards Dorset street!", Tom lead the way, Jimmy following nervously, he would be grateful to come back out on the main street, these allies, connecting everywhere and leading everywhere, were like a labyrinth, he hated them.
The two men came out of the alley in Dorset street, hangings were already up for the Lord Mayors Day celebrations the next day, always a good day, all the officers on the Met praying it would raise the public spirit, and perhaps it might, if they could avoid anymore murders. Tom walked out into the middle of the, narrowly missing being hit by a horse and carriage speeding past, far to fast.
"Whats 'is problem then!", Tom scowled at the fleeing carriage, "honestly, you'd fink being a police officer meant nothing anymore!",
"Did they ever??!!", Jimmy laughed back
This time both men heard it clearly, and knew exactly where it had come from, the side street across the road from them, Millers Court.
Both officers charge off at full pelt, Jimmy, being younger, taller and fitter has the lead, and he's not happy, but to slow down now would just shot Tom how nervous he was! Jimmy reaches the entrance to Millers court, its dark and empty, the path leads straight for about a hundred yards, before turning hard right, somewhere just beyond the corner is a lamp post, its flame flickering off the opposite wall, and there, right by the corner of the path, against the back wall, was a black, feature less shadow, it darted round the corner almost as quickly as Jimmy had seen it, like a ghost!
"Jim?!", Tom stopped besides him, looking up into Jimmys now colourless face,
"I saw someone", Jimmy was trembling as he spoke, Tom watcheed him, wearily,
"Don't lose it on me now lad!", stated the older man,
"I'm al'right, jus a bit cold!", Tom wasn't convinced.
Jimmy went to raise his lamp, when Tom blew his out, obviously deciding the light from the lamp was enough and wasting oil would mean a pointless stroll back to the station for more. Jimmy blew his lamp out and re-hung it on his belt as both men, cautiously, walked down the path. The houses were so closely built, any noise made an echo, which would normally rouse the everyone, windows open, people start shouting, demmanding to know whos making noise, in fact the local 'Tom's' knew never to bring anyone down this road for a quick service, the interruptions were constsnt!
They passed three gates leading into the lower houses, most buildings were two of three homes built on top of each other, but the last gate they passed, they stopped by, Jimmy peeking in though the old wooden gate, via a notch,
"What'cha doin?!", Tom asked
"Checkin 'Ginger Mary's' OK!", Jimmy whispered back.
Through the notch in the gate, Jimmy could see a beautiful redhead girl, in her mid-twenties, about five foot seven with the lovely white satin skin, but it was Mary Kelly's eyes, that one her most favours. Her friends and customers refered to them as "the brightest eyes in England, the bluest you ever saw!!" Jimmy had seen Mary many times in town, usually well presented, better clothes than the other girls he knew, and she had her own lodgings, rented from a man named, McCarthy, a good man, a fair man.
Mary stepped away from the mirrored table she'd been sat at applying perfume, then walked slightly out of view, Jimmy looked for another notch to watch her through, she appeared to be sitting on her bed with a man, well dressed, hat and tails,
"She's OK!", whispered Jimmy, "got herself a nice one by the looks of it!". The two men began to continue their search of Millers Court, they reached the corner where Jimmy had seen the figure disappear, they both peaked round, not wanting to spook anyone they might find, but the path was empty, all the way out to the main road, they faces dropped,
"Looks like we missed 'im!", stated Jimmy, rather obviously,
"If we just let Jack the Ripper get away!!", Tom barked,
"Relax!", said Jimmy, "Nothings happening round ere tonight, and we ain't responsible for the 'ole city, are we??!!", Tom half nodded in agreement,
"Only thing happening round ere tonight mate, is ole Ginger getting paid!!", both men started laughing at Jimmy's joke, untill they heard the scream, coming from Millers Court.
They tore back down the alley, round the corner, back to Mary's back gate,
"OH MY GOD!!", they heard her shout,
"What do we......??!!", Jimmy tried to ask as Tom ran up and booted the gate so hard, it came right off its hinges. They ran for the front door, and without even knocking, smashed it down, with their shoulders, in one charge. They fell into the room, landing ontop of each other, right in front of the bed,
"WHAT THE BLEEDIN 'ELL!!", screamed Mary, "DO YOU TWO, PLONKERS, THINK YOUR DOIN???!!!, she ws livid, the crumpled policemen looked up and climbed to their feet,
"Mary?!", said Tom, "We 'erd you, you were screamin'?!",
"Course I screamed!", smiling at first, then dropping her mouth into an angry frown, "HE'S JUST BOUGHT ME CHOCOLATES!!!", they looked over at the man she was entertaining, he was holding a bunch of red roses, and a box of chocolates, Jimmy screwed his face up, and Tom just went bright purple,
"Oh god, Mary!", started Jimmy,
"We are so sorry!", started Tom,
Mary smiled again, and this time looked like she meant it,
"Awww, look at you two then, worrin about little me!", she reached in and kissed them both on the cheek,
"Now, Tom, you go 'ome to your wife love, and you Jimmy!", she winked and giggled, "Well you come and see me when you reach Inspector!", they left the house feeling very, very stupid and listening to Mary and her lover mock them.
"You bloody IDIOT!",
"ME??!! You ran first!",
"Yeah, well, you kicked 'er gate in!",
"YOU bust her front door open!",
"WE BOTH HIT THE DOOR!"
"yeah but you hit it harder!",
They were almost back out onto the main road, now laughing to each other about the look on Mary, and her punters, face! The night had lost a little of its chill, the men werew feeling more relaxed and frankly, looking forward to a nice hot cuppa when they got back to the station, when Tom froze in mid-stride,
"What the 'ell's got you rattled??!!", Jimmy stared at Tom, he really was a sickening shade of white, even his moustache seemed greyer,
"Up.....Up there!", he pointed a shaking finger up at the next buildings roof,
"What?! What you see, mate?!", Jimmy persisted,