His body lay in the gutter. He could feel the hard cobblestones, but the discomfort they caused was nothing next to the pain of the wound in his side. Stabbed by a Knife. It was Ironic he should end this way, bleeding to death in the street. The rain washed the blood away and with it, his life ebbed.
He took one last look at the London street, lit by gaslight that guttered in its glass lamp.
It was the last thing he saw. His London.
On that dingy back street, a door in one of the compact Victorian terrace houses opened and two people emerged into the night.
“The rains easing off. I don’t think this is a very good idea, Doctor. It may be after hours, but what if a policeman comes along and sees us. Body snatching is a crime you know, and the police are everywhere at the moment because of what’s happening in Whitechapel” The larger of the two figures said. His voice was rough and filled with tones of Old London Town.
A more refined and cold voice responded “What’s happening in Whitechapel is no affair of ours. I need a fresh specimen to work with and you can’t get much fresher than this one. You agreed to help me in return for the medicine to keep you from transforming. Look, there is a full moon tonight, and here you stand unchanged. Did I not tell you I could cure you? Now you owe me, so help share this burden.”
“All Right Doctor, but it’s under duress and If a Copper comes along I’ll scarper, sharpish.”
Together they lifted the body and took him back into the house they had just come from.
The Doctor turned from his patient. How unfortunate, he had wanted a corpse but having brought the body into his surgery, he’d found that there was still the faintest touch of life still in him. Even though he was pushing the boundaries of medical science to it’s extreme, he hadn’t quite forsaken his Hippocratic oath. Rather than use his organs, he had turned his energy to saving the young man’s life.
Slowly, the man blinked. Was this heaven? Or Hell? His eyes were cloudy and blinded by the light. He could feel that he was lying, not upon the cold hard cobblestones, but on a padded bench. He could smell carbolic soap and antiseptic mingling with the stench of blood and the aroma of other chemicals he did not know. It was strange how a surgery smelled so similar to the abattoir. His vision returned along with his realisation that rather than dead, he was very much alive. He had cheated death again.
A tall man in a white coat came over to him. He had wild grey hair and clear grey eyes under metal-rimmed spectacles.
“Ah, So you’re awake a last. You are very lucky, young man, that I came along when I did. You were pretty far gone, I must say. In fact, I thought you were a cadaver.”
His patient sat up, he was naked under a thin blanket. He placed a hand to his head and blinked before saying, “Thought I was dead, did you? What are you then? A Body snatcher? Or do you work for the Police?”
He snarled the last word like only a man used to living on the wrong side of the law would do.
“No, I don’t work for the Police. Let’s just say I am an experimental physician, always on the lookout for opportunities for study. You don’t anything to fear from me. I have no love of the Police.” The man held out his hand in formal greeting. “My Name is Doctor Jekyll, and what’s yours?”
The young man gave a smirk and shook the hand of his saviour.
“Call me Jack,” he said.
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 21/September/2018
Today’s things are: after hours, affair, share