London, at night, strongly reminded me of a city trapped inside a glass with lit up incense inside with it. The moon and stars failed to penetrate through the thick black ashes that covered the once star streaked sky, the only light sources being scattered gas lamps throughout streets that shined ominously and weakly like a group of still will-o-wisps in the wrong colour. The equally black river clawed its way through London like a serpent, twisting and twining many times with a bridge or two across its still, mirror like surface. The occasional carriage rocked by, the horse’s hoofs clopping across the pavement while multiple prostitutes patrolled the streets like tigresses, on the prowl for sailors and sailors on the prowl for prostitutes. If I were Jack the Ripper this would be a perfect night for a spot of murder and havoc, although, my weak stomach would most likely introduce me to my dinner if I even saw a single drop of blood.
I ignored the mewls of the harlots and continued on my way, passing into the light of another street lamp and disappearing into the shadows like an Arabic jinn. I loved the night; it was the only time of day that the dreadful steam-driven factories were silent, the pistons frozen in mid cycle and the cigar-shaped chimney’s gaping round mouths free of filthy, sooty ash.
As I passed into the light of another weak street lamp, an ear splitting whine caught my attention. Across the empty street, I looked, littered with the occasional horse piles, was a squat, dirty building with a woman standing at its balcony. It reminded me of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet I saw a year ago and I foolishly half expected Romeo to come out of the shadows.
She was young, most likely over twenty, her pretty face streaked with tears and her eyes red and puffy, was nursing a wailing baby with little to no success, muttering comforting words the baby did not understand.
Yet, as I was watching this, another sound drifted into earshot, this time directly above me. Looking for any carriages, I walked backwards onto the road and gazed upwards. From the illumined windows I could spy a woman cursing, half naked and throwing clothes at a man whose cursing was equally foul.
I could not stand it another moment longer, with the combined wails of the newborn and cursing of the harlot, I stormed back onto the pathway towards my home, physically leaving the depressing sounds far behind me but unfortunately, not the mental .
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