November 9, 1888

For Marian’s prompt over at Toads: word for the day: Gormless. Meaning stupid, unintelligent. Synonyms: thick headed. dull, stupid, bone headed, witless.  WARNING:  I don’t believe in warnings. Life doesn’t give you warnings but in this case, I am making an exception.

November 9, 1888
“From hell. Mr. Lusk, Sor… Excerpt from letter from Jack the Ripper, October 15, 1888”

He had been looking after Mr. Dorian for several years now,
and it amazed him how pure and young his face still was.
Lately he had watched Mr. Dorian going out at night.
Returning late and in a most disturbed state of mind.
As a butler it was not his job to criticize his employer
but lately, Mr. Dorian had given him goose flesh.
He could be gormless about about Mr. Dorian
but something was amiss.
And those murders in Whitechapel had happened
the same nights Mr. Dorian went out.
Went out and returned late,
straight to his bath and destroying his clothes.
He had found the clothes in the dust bin, bloodied.
A cold dry night with a crescent moon
Mr. Dorian went out again.
This time, he followed him.
Straight to Whitechapel, wandering around behind him.
Searching? For what?
He saw Mr. Dorian with a prostitute,
Blonde and a beauty for this area.
He followed behind them to her room in Miller’s Court.
He stood outside and to be honest,
the hair on his neck rose.
Shadows played on the curtain but the shadows kept moving.
Then there was stillness.
And more stillness.
He decided to open the door.
He opened the door and almost fainted.
Mr. Dorian had posed the brick pincher
in a provocative pose but…
She had been flayed.
Never had he seen a more piteous and inhumane thing in his life.
Blood was spattered everywhere
dripping from the walls,
flung with glee from a knife that went up and down in a frenzy.
Mr. Dorian stood there in a stupor.
My God, Mr. Dorian what have you done?
Mr. Dorian just stood there, the knife in his hands covered in blood.
The room reeked with the metallic tang of it.
I have to get you home now Mr. Dorian.
Please, let’s go now.
He dragged him from the room and dragged him through Whitechapel
until he got to the main road and hailed a cab.
People assumed in the darkness he was helping a drunken friend home.
He spirited Mr. Dorian into the house.
Stripped him and bathed him several times.
Gutless, gormless, cowardly.
Yes he was all of these but…
The next day Mr. Dorian was back to normal as if nothing had happened.
the butler went about his duties as if nothing had happened.
But no more Whitechapel murders occurred.

photographic image of last letter from Jack the Ripper

18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sanaarizvi
    Mar 09, 2019 @ 14:53:26

    My goodness this was wonderfully dark and chilling, Toni! Makes me wonder .. do we ever really know the other person?


  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Mar 09, 2019 @ 15:58:22

    Oh… you made Dorian into Jack the ripper… but is the butler now an accomplice to murder or the one preventing yet more murder?


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 09, 2019 @ 16:08:09

      That is up to you. There are several viable theories as to why the Ripper stopped. I did quite a bit of research in London on him while researching for my MFA. I decided not to go into any of them for this piece.


  3. Magaly Guerrero
    Mar 09, 2019 @ 17:28:01

    Every now and again, gormlessness offers fantastic camouflage. I don’t think anyone who knows what the butler seems to know about Dorian would want to own up to such intelligence (some information can get a plainly astute body bloodied).


  4. Susie Clevenger
    Mar 09, 2019 @ 17:33:07

    Oh my goodness…That was quite a scene. It seems butlers are always cleaning up messes. Great write!


  5. Vivian Zems
    Mar 09, 2019 @ 22:29:31

    A brilliant tale, Toni! You know how much I love your Dorian series. What a faithful butler…at least he didn’t do it! (lol)


  6. oldegg
    Mar 10, 2019 @ 01:55:34

    It is terrible to think that the Jack the Ripper story has entertained so many for well over a hundred years now. Such is humans fascination with horror and death. What a curious species of animal we are!


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 10, 2019 @ 13:12:40

      I did quite a bit of research during my study for my MFA on this particular part of the late Victorian times. I found the victims more interestiby and how it wasn’t until the third murder that Scotland yard became interested, due to the poverty and profession of the victims.

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  7. Kerry
    Mar 10, 2019 @ 05:25:13

    lately, Mr. Dorian had given him goose flesh.
    He could be gormless about about Mr. Dorian
    but something was amiss.

    A great placement of the word. I have always found it fascinating how many writers of the 19th century conjured serial killers before they had even been “discovered”, so to speak.


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 10, 2019 @ 13:09:46

      Yes indeed. I find it ironic that Mary Kelly not only was his most horrific murder she was his last. Lots of theories out there about why. I have a theory myself.

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  8. coalblack
    Mar 10, 2019 @ 07:49:31

    Ay yi yi, this has all the immediacy and shock it should have. Chilling stuff, and a great way to flip “gormless” around.


  9. Helen
    Mar 10, 2019 @ 09:23:39

    Oh my, you gave new meaning to ‘faithful servant’ with this chilling tale!


  10. Marian
    Mar 10, 2019 @ 10:27:26

    Well, yes, the butler, my goodness. This reads like a Netflix series we might binge on a snowy day. Lifetimes ago I did some research on a related topic and this dug it up a bit for me, unexpectedly. Whoosh.


  11. annell4
    Mar 10, 2019 @ 11:05:11

    A hair raising tale!!


  12. Jim
    Mar 11, 2019 @ 00:20:02

    I was once the butler in a school play. In stories butlers often get a bum rap. Someone has to be the bad guy and the butler is a cinch for someone to pin a crime on.


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 11, 2019 @ 01:24:02

      Well nobody is pinning anything on this butler. He is helping the bad guy. Thanks for your comment on my poem.

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  13. jazzytower
    Mar 13, 2019 @ 20:09:27

    Dark and crazy…just like Jack. Love the tie in with the butler. He best watch his naps, he might be next on the list. Such an interesting write, Toni.



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