The young girl shivered a bit as they brought her into his office. For thirteen years now, Irving Dandrich had cooperated with the police on numerous occasions as their ‘special psychiatrist’ for
victims who had had trouble talking to the police about what had happened to them. Everyone thought that Irving had a talent that others didn’t. Not that he argued with them. Invariably, he always
got the best results.
Irving looked up from the paperwork in front of him as the police sat the girl down in the chair across the desk from him. Right away, he knew that his job was going to get a little bit more interesting. The girl had bite and claw marks on her arms and face, not to mention the numerous bruises of varying sizes. Irving rolled up his sleeves and pushed his glass back up his nose before taking a notepad from the upper left-hand drawer of his desk. Dating it November 1, 2005; 10:25 A.M., he cleared his throat and turned on the little tape recorder he had prepared for cases like this.
“Can you tell me your name?,” he asked.
“...Erica. Erica Hawking.”
“Alright, Erica,” he said as wrote it down on his notepad, "You do understand that by law, you can request me to turn this tape recorder off at any time that you feel you are unable to continue, don't you?"
"Good. Can you tell me a little bit about the marks you have on your body?”
“It’s... it’s... the horror is still hard for me to deal with,” She replied, on the verge of tears.
“That’s okay. Let’s start with the basics and work our way up to that. Where do you go to school at, Erica?”
“White River High School,” She replied, swallowing a little bit and wiping her eyes as she did.
Irving made another little mark on his notepad.
“Alright, then. How old are you, Erica?”
“Thirteen,” came the quick little retort as Erica found herself getting more comfortable.
“Mhm,” Irving replied as if he had already known the answer. “And how long have you been pregnant?”
“WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING!,” Erica screamed, suddenly standing up and staring at Irving with unexplainable anger. The cops came to the door, their hands nervously playing with their nightsticks. Apparently they had had a little bit of trouble dealing with her already, but Irving waved them off.
“Don’t get upset, Erica. I’m not attacking you. If it would make you feel better not to tell me, then you don’t have to. I’m just trying to help you,” he said softly, almost too soft to be heard by the guards at the door.
“You haven’t even told me your name, yet,” Erica said hesitantly.
“I’m so sorry. It’s Irving Dandrich,” he replied, motioning towards her chair. “Please, have a seat.”
Erica sat back down in her chair and sort of withdrew into herself for a couple of minutes. Suddenly, she came out of it again and sat forward in her chair.
“It’s eight and a half months," She said matter-of-factly.
Irving leaned back in his chair and took a sip of his coffee and then wrote a few more things down on his notepad. He set his mug back down on his coaster and, as if just remembering something very important, leaned forward again.
“I’m sorry, where are my manners? Would you care for anything to drink, Erica? Coffee, water, or soda. That’s all I have, but you’re certainly welcome to it."
“Just water, please,” Erica replied
Irving got up and retrieved another coffee mug, similar to his, from the cabinet behind his desk, walked over to the water machine in the corner and filled it up. Handing it over to Erica, he took his seat again.
“Do you think you can tell me a little bit about those scars, now?,” he asked.
“I...I think so,” came the slow reply.
“Good, good. Let’s start with when, then. When did it all happen?”
“...Last night,” she said and started shivering again.
“Can you tell me about the day leading up to it? try to remember everything, even the things that you don't think are important.”
Erica took a couple drinks of water and set the mug down on the desk.
“The day began like any other: I woke up in the morning, got ready for school, you know: dealing with the morning sickness, trying not to move fast as I got dressed, brushed my teeth and called my girlfriend for a ride to school. The only thing different about it was that we were anticipating trick or treating later. Maybe playing a few practical jokes on the younger kids, if I could manage it this year.”
“What about at school, Erica?”
Erica’s eyes sort of glazed over and she was lost for a couple of minutes until Irving said her name again.
“The first half of the day was okay. First period, which is Choir, started out normally enough with our singing exercises. All we did that period was rehearse all the songs we had learned the past couple of months for the concert next week. Second period came quickly. A little bit too quickly for my liking. Algebra, and I'm not too good at Math or numbers, so time just seemed to drag away at it. I tried so hard to pay attention, but my thoughts kept skipping ahead to after school when I'd get to sit down and plan our night.
"Finally, lunch rolled around. I got my meal, you know that cardboard pizza that's sold in cafeteria. About the only thing edible on the whole menu. Then I went and sat down with my friends at our table. We started planning how we were going to scare the little kids in our neighborhood and take their candy, but it was cut pretty short by the bell.
"Third period came around, which was Gym. I don't see much point in gym class when you're pregnant, but it's the one class where I don't have to do anything in except sit and try not to do anything strenuous, so me and my friends used the time to plan our scaring techniques a little better.
"Drama, which I had fourth period came quickly enough after that and since I enjoyed it, it passed pretty quickly. We were split up into groups of three and four and told to come up with an improv skit that we all would be putting on in a couple of days. It was pretty fun. All in all, I was in a great mood, but it didn't last too long.
“Why is that,” Irving asked as he made a few more marks on his notepad and twirled his pencil around his fingers.
"Me and my friends were walking out of the school, talking more about what we were going to do when this kid came up to us. None of us knew who he was, so we asked. He had just started there a couple days ago. I guess he has family living in town but he had been living with other family or something. Anyway, he said he had overheard us talking earlier and said he knew a cool ghost story that nobody else did, about our town. Of course we were intrigued, I mean, a ghost story WE didn't know? About OUR town? We asked him to tell it, so he did. We thought it was stupid.... It doesn't seem so stupid anymore."
“Can you recall the story at all, Erica?”
“...yes. As if it had happened just a couple of minutes ago. I...I...I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget it...,” She trailed off and began crying lightly.
Irving handed her a box of tissues and after a while she calmed down and wiped her eyes a bit.
“Are you sure you want to tell this story?”
“I have to tell it. People have to know about that house.”
“What house is that?”
“An abandoned house that looks like a cross between a castle and a mansion. It’s on a road called Entwistle. A short way away from highway 410.”
Erica sighed and took a few more drinks of water before continuing.
I think I can remember it word for word as he told it... “‘Back in 1888, Jack the Ripper became famous in Europe for his killings of Women who had.. 'lost their way.' These killings were brutal, and completely untraceable for those times. Jack slipped away and came to America to begin a new life. He decided to get as far away from his past as possible.
“‘That same year, Jack took a wife. She was thirteen, which was half of his age, but he was determined to get a woman That had been untouched by that 'sin'. Within the year they had a child, a baby boy and within another year, had a baby girl. When he saw that his wife, Jessica had had a baby girl, he took that to mean in his twisted mind that she had committed the same sin as every other woman, that of spreading her legs more than she was good for, and killed her.
"Jack would have killed the baby, too, but he could not bring himself to kill the innocent little baby, so he raised it. Jack loved his son, but he ignored his daughter, Emily. He gave her scraps to eat, after him and his son ate, after his dogs and animals ate. Jack's dogs were mean, too. It is rumored that they were the same hounds from The Hounds of the Baskervilles, but there's no proof to this. Those dogs were uncommonly mean, at any rate, and any time that Jack thought his daughter was misbehaving, he'd sic one of them on her until she was near to death.
“‘When Emily was thirteen, she became pregnant and somehow managed to hide it from her father. It was an illegitimate son of a farmer that she had fallen in love with and got more than comfortable with behind the Silo on his dads farm. A baby is a hard thing to keep quiet about, though, as signs do begin to present themselves that it's there, such as a bulging stomach, morning sickness, etc. One day, she came home and her father was there, reeking of Alcohol, and he confronted her about it. Their neighbors heard the commotion from across the veldt and came over to investigate. Seeing the beating that Emily was getting, they broke it up, but Jack called his Dogs on all of them. Emily was the only one to manage to get away. Running fearfully through the night as the sounds of rabid barking dogs behind her, she managed to make it to another neighbors house, where they called the police.
"By the time the police showed up at the house, however, Jack had committed suicide by hanging himself out in their barn rather than be caught. No clue at all could point the way to his son, however. Nobody knew what had happened to the young boy. They searched for him and searched for him all over the country, but couldn't find any sign of him whatsoever.
“Emily gave birth shortly after that to a baby girl, but disappeared shortly afterward when she was walking outside late one night. Nobody knew what happened, but they whispered and rumored that her brother must have been told by their father to sneak back into town and kill her when things settled down. Nobody ever saw what happened though, so it's only hearsay. They say that Jack's ghost and the ghost of his dogs can be heard from the house every thirteenth year, on the anniversary of the night he died, waiting for the chance to end the female line of his blood for good. Each time, the female having just had a baby, would invariably disappear in one way or another after an unfortunate mishap with the house. This year was to be the thirteenth year since it last happened,'" Erica finished flatly. "Like I said though, none of us believed a word of it. Why should we? we had never heard it before. We should have stayed away from that house."
Irving sat back in his chair, too stunned for a moment to even write anything down. Taking a drink of coffee, he slowly began writing things down again on his little notepad which by this time had gotten pretty full.
“That’s a pretty unbelievable story,” he said.
“That’s what me and my friends thought, too. We told him so, and he dared us to spend Halloween night there then, if we weren't scared.
Erica put her head in her hands and began to cry again. All of a sudden she grabbed her side as a sharp tinge of pain ripped through her. there was a splashing sound, as if something liquid had hit the ground, except that nothing had spilled.
“oh, no... oh god! Help!,” Erica yelled
Irving jumped into action, calling the cops into the room and helping them escort her down the hall and into the back of their cop car. Running back into his office, he threw a towel down on the floor where her water broke, grabbed his coat, shut off the tape recorder and ran back down to his car, following them to the hospital.
November 3, 2005; 4:30 P.M. The tape recorder made a click as Irving turned it on.
“How are you feeling today, Erica?”
“I’m fine, Irving. You don’t mind me calling you Irving do you,” Erica asked wearily, as if all the energy had been sapped out of her by the past couple of days.
“Not at all. I'm glad to hear that you're doing well. How is your child doing?”
“She’s being taken care of by the hospital,” Erica replied, shortly.
“Ah, it's a girl. tell me; Erica, can you tell me what happened at that house the other night?”
Erica slowly moved her head until her eyes stared directly into his.
"Can't you guess," She asked in a frightened whisper.
“I could. But I’d much rather hear what really happened. As you saw it.”
“It’s all unbelievable. Even to me, and I’ve been through it. ...You’re not going to believe me.”
“How do you know that,” Irving asked. "After what you've told me so far, I might indeed believe what you have to say. But we won't know until you tell it."
“...I...,” Erica started. “I guess that I could be wrong.”
“Please tell me what happened, Erica. I would really like to help you, but I have to know for sure what happened in that house.”
“I...I need something to drink, first.”
“Of course!,” Irving exclaimed, jumping up immediately to fill her coffee cup up with water, using the same one as before. Sitting back down, he leaned forward in his chair and waited for Erica to begin. After taking a couple of drinks of water, she did.
“Okay,” Erica began. “My friends and I rode home with my girlfriends older sister, talking about what the kid had said. We couldn't wait to prove him wrong, couldn't wait to prove that he was nothing more than a stupid little nerd that had just moved to town and was trying to make himself look cool by making up stories that nobody had ever heard before. We went out trick-or-treating once, switched costumes and did it again. I had to rest after that because of the baby, so we counted our candy and waited until it was late before we set out.
“We snuck into the house at about Eleven. Inside the house, everything was a mess, as if nobody had been in it for the past century. But somebody had to have been in the house because there were newspaper clippings there that dated back, every thirteen years, to 1888. Nothing in them at all about Jack the Ripper. Just stories about girls who had had incidents with the house and that later disappeared. In most of the stories, the girls were found, chewed up as if by dogs, but no dogs could be found. Every time, though, one of them would escape, tell the story and then disappear a few days later, leaving no trace at all of a killer or suspect. After a while, nobody in town talked about it when it happened, because they couldn't figure anything out. They just pretended that nothing was going on. It was all there, documented by newspapers, but we stayed anyway. We should have gotten out of there when we had the chance, but we were intrigued, and... we didn't think that it could happen to us, don;t you see? We didn't think it could happen to us.
Erica took another drink of her water before continuing; Irving all but in trance as he listened to her.
“About 15 minutes after we saw the newspaper clippings, we heard dogs barking in the distance, getting closer with each bayful howl. When we tried to get out, we found the door locked and then... and then we saw the dogs,” Erica said as her voice cracked and tears flowed freely down her face. “Such big dogs, too, mean dogs. They chased us around the house. I lost track of my friends but I heard their screams echoing through the house. I couldn’t do anything because one of the dogs was still chasing me. I ran up the stairs to the second floor and I saw a man at the end of the hall. I don't know who it was because I couldn't get a good look, but I knew I didn't want to run towards him. I broke through one of the flimsy doors on the side and jumped out of a window into some thick bushes outside where I just got up and kept running until I reached someone's house and called the police.
"I waited until the police came, afraid to even move out of sight of the nice people, in case the dogs or that man were waiting for me, but then the cops showed up and they brought me here. And that's the end of my story."
Irving sat back in his chair, speechless, and took a drink of coffee, absentmindedly.
“I have to go back to that house and find out why. I don’t care if I disappear like those other girls did. Just so long as I know why. Why me, and why those other girls.”
“We could go now, if you want,” Irving said, softly. “It’s daytime now, we can have the police escort you and you might be able to get a better look around the house. Besides, you have me interested now, and like I said before, I do want to help you, Erica.”
“Yes. Best to get it out of the way now and never have to worry about it again.”
“You’ve brought meaning to my life again, Erica, though you don’t know it.”
Standing up, Irving motioned towards the guards outside the door. They came in and he quickly filled them in on what was going on.
"Should we order back-up," one of them asked.
"No, it's broad daylight. Only the two of you should be needed. I doubt the killer is still around, and if he is you guys should be able to see him in time."
Erica stood up and both her and Irving put on their coats as the two cops oversaw everything, and they all walked down together to the cop car. Little was said on the way there. The sky was grey and cloudy, but without rain,as it usually is in the area, but it created an ominous look to the mansion as they all piled out of the car and inside. Erica gave a little gasp of surprise as they entered and she looked around.
“What’s the matter?,” Irving asked.
“Everything is clean...,” Erica said, confused. “Everything is gone.”
Irving got a strange glint in his eye as he spoke again.
“You wanted to know why? Is it really that confusing to you, Erica?”
“What?,” she asked, thoroughly confused now.
"As you know, the boy at school didn't tell you the whole story. Even the newspaper clippings couldn't do that. Maybe I can explain. Jack hated whores, filthy sluts. His mother had been one, his sister had been one. He killed them both before he killed all those other girls. Finally he married Jessica, yes, after having moved to America, hoping that because she was a virgin and had only had him would somehow be above being a whore, but then she got with child when she shouldn't have, out of sequence of when Jack made love to her. He kept track of those things because he was insane. An impractical fear moved his actions and it proved itself to be right.
His wife cheated on him, so he killed her, too, but even then he couldn't bring himself to kill the child, because he would not kill an innocent being. He raised the child, tried to beat the sin out of it by use of his belt and his dogs, but that failed, and Emily got with child too, at the same age as her mother, no less. Jack confronted her in his home, fought with her until the neighbors came in, as you heard, and called the hounds. Jack killed himself, yes, but not before telling his son what to do.
He said, "Boy, there is an evil in women that must be subdued and beaten into submission and if that can not be done, then she must be killed. Blood more-so than any other. I couldn't get your sister, so I leave that to you. Under no circumstance must you let her have that child, because if you do, and it's a girl, you will have to wait around to see if it messes up in the same way. Because it is our blood, we must see this evil through to the end." Then he killed himself"
Erica stood dumbfounded, but the cops were edging into action. Irving suddenly whipped around, grabbing a hidden gun from his side and popped a bullet into the head of both men before they had a chance to even blink.
“I am Jack’s legacy, Erica, his namesake. I am Jack. And you are a whore, but not just any whore, our whore. You need not know his last name or anything else. I granted your last wish to at least know why this all happened. Does it comfort you any more than you would have been if you hadn't known? My only regret is that I wasn't able to get you with my dogs before you had your child. Seems to be one of the many other re-occuring themes to this on-going story of our family. My son will do my work after I’m gone, in fact, he’s already helped me by telling you and your friends that story. Don't be afraid, Erica, this has to be done to get rid of the evil in you,” Irving, or Jack, as he was revealed to be, laughed a little bit too hysterically for his own liking.
Erica worked her never up and took her chance. She kicked him directly in the balls and grabbed his gun out of his hands.
"You little bitch!," Jack groaned as he grabbed his crotch in misery. "I'll get you for that!"
"No you won't!," Erica exclaimed, pointing the gun at his head.
"You can't shoot me, you don't have it in you!," Jack said vehemently, "Just put the gun down and I'll make this as painless as possible."
He reached for the gun, but his hand never reached it. Erica pulled the trigger back and the bullet fired through the chamber, through his hand, and through the left side of his face, directly into his brain. Backing slowly away, she dropped the gun with a frightened whimper. She turned to run and ran directly into the boy from school, Jack's son. He had a smile on his face and a knife held in his hand, which had plunged directly into Erica's chest as she ran into him. Looking down at the blood pumping from her chest, the last look on her face as she looked back up was that of surprise. A couple of days later, her baby was put up for adoption, the house was cleaned up and closed up again. No killer was ever found for the murders, and so everybody just didn't talk about it. The boy wasn't seen again in that town, at least not yet.
© Copyright 2016 Christopher M Brown. All rights reserved.