Thick fog rolled through the empty streets of Whitechapel. The sounds of the city were all muted here... murmuring voices, the rumble of wheels, the blare of a single trumpet, all mingled sourceless in the distance.
Rissa stumbled down the narrow road, staying as close to one side as possible so she could cling to the rough stone walls for support, and use their irregularities to pull herself along.
Ahead she saw a single figure - the first she'd seen for many minutes - wearing a red velvet dress and fur stole. As Rissa drew closer she recognized the harlot for what she was, and was afraid. But she knew she could not stop, and she could not go back to the beginning of her journey; the only way out was through.
"Good evenin', then!" the scarlet woman exclaimed happily enough, when she saw Rissa's sex and obvious youth.
In the narrow lane there was no way to avoid acknowledging the creature's gap-toothed greeting. Rissa ducked her head briefly and attempted to edge past. A strong scent of cheap wine enveloped her.
"Ooh, dearie," cried the aged tart. "Ye shouldna be out on a dark night like this, a night like this when Springheel Jack might be about. Ye must be lost, or... Or ere ye lookin fer work?" Her drunken solicitude turned instantly to rage. "This is my street, sister! Get yerself yer own corner, and yer own man to pertect ye!"
Then the woman took a closer look at Rissa.
"Mmm, now," the woman said. "Mebbe ye don't have a man! Ye're young enough... you stay right there, missy."
Rissa cowered against the jagged stone wall, hiding her eyes from what she knew was coming. The stench of cheap perfume and rouge overwhelmed the smell of wine. Rissa felt a hand on her shoulder, another reaching to lift up her skirt and probe roughly and deeply below.
"Coo! Ye've not been in the life yet, I'll wager. But ye'll fetch me a pretty bonus, 'f I get ye back to ol' Pete with yer maidenhead intact."
The hand on Rissa's shoulder turned suddenly into a claw, dragging her towards the alley. Rissa summoned energy to scream, but then released it as a soundless breath. No one would care enough to brave the night for her. Nothing could stop what was about to happen.
A clatter of hooves caused them both to freeze. A pale glow filled the mouth of the alley towards which they'd been heading.
Omthiel had arrived.
The trollop staggered, forgetting Rissa utterly as she walked towards the unicorn with hand outstretched. Years dropped from her face as she approached until, as she reached his noble form, she looked as radiant as a child. She reached out to touch...
Omthiel's head dropped swiftly, shook effortlessly side to side. With a soft sigh the woman collapsed on the cobbles. Omthiel's horn rose up, red dripping from tip to base but not staining, never staining, the iridescent hair below.
Rissa wept as she pulled the black bag from beneath her cloak. Taking out scalpels and forceps, she began collecting the choicest bits, so Omthiel could feed again.
As Omthiel busied himself with the scraps Rissa had chosen, she took butcher paper and pen from the bag and began writing the next note for the police to find.
Original content on this page © Alan P. Scott. All rights reserved.
This document last updated December 6, 1997.