Jump to content

Absolution Black: Prequel 2

Absolution Black

Recommended Posts

Prequel 2

“Routine Patrol”

London, 1890

Knoffler was freezing. It was Mid November and the watch had got the ‘grunts’ out on patrol again. He knew damn well that patrol was just a joke, an excuse to get the youngbloods out from under the officer’s feet whilst they supped brandy and played cards in the mess hall. He stamped his feet in a desperate attempt to get some life back into them, causing the man beside him to jump slightly.

“Dammit Knoffler, must you keep doing that? You almost scared my dinner outta me”.

“Ah shut yer whining Briskett” Knoffler grunted, jovially slapping his comrade on the shoulder, “ So, have you got some smokes left?”

The other man rummaged around in his overcoat pockets, hoping to find some long lost cigarettes. He shrugged despondently when the search proved fruitless. Knoffler rolled his eyes and blew onto his fingers. It was a filthy habit he knew, but it sure did pass the time on these long winter nights. ‘Join the Watch’ the posters had proclaimed, ‘ A life spent protecting your loved ones and keeping the streets safe’. He smiled to himself. In reality the posters should have read ‘ Be the idiots who stand around on streets freezing their balls off at three in the morning’.

The whole city was tense, recruitment was on overdrive. It didn’t help that there was some madman roaming the streets: a serial killer the press had delightfully named Cut-throat Jack. There was no reason or method to his strikes; he was as likely to slit the throats of a whore as well as a high society gent. And this of course meant the likes of Knoffler and Briskett had to go out and almost freeze to death to keep the public reassured. As if the watch could really do anything anyway, a few hundred men in a city of thousands, a city miles from one dirty side to the other. The best the watch really hoped for was that Jack either got bored and left or slipped up.

Knoffler was about to squeeze himself into a shop doorway to hide from the biting wind when he heard the long drawn out shrill of a whistle piercing the stillness. A watchman’s whistle.

“Holy $$$$$$$$ Briskett,” he started, “what do we do?”

The other man looked just as non-committal as Knoffler probably did. They weren’t supposed to leave their watch post for anything. But this was a watchman’s whistle, a fellow officer in danger or pursuit. They heard the shrill once more, closer now and it snapped Knoffler into action. He stepped out of the doorway, made a split second decision on the direction to run and then disappeared into the gloom. He was surprised to see Briskett catch up to him, but was glad he had.

They rounded the corner into the old butchers quarter and found the source of the whistle. A watchman lay slumped against a wall of one of the side alleys, his neck slit, the blood steaming in the freezing air as it spilled over the cobbles. Briskett was trying not to wretch at the sight as Knoffler grabbed at his friends’ coat sleeve, trying to pull him away. He turned and saw their way was blocked.

“Going somewhere, mate?” came the soft lilting voice of the man silhouetted at the entrance to the side alley. “But we have so much fun to be had….”

He brandished a wicked looking cut-throat razor in his left hand, slick with fresh blood. Knoffler didn’t need to guess where it had come from. He could feel Briskett close by, hear the mumbled swearwords under the other man’s breath. It was now that Knoffler realised he hated the fact the watch didn’t supply weapons of any sort, unless you could count a notebook, pen and whistle.

“Cut-throat Jack I guess?” he ventured as he desperately sought a means to escape. He knew there were two of them and just one homicidal maniac against them, but he somehow didn’t fancy their chances.

“Now now lads,” the man laughed, “Lets not be having with such crude name calling. I’m Jack to all my friends….and we are friends, aren’t we?”

Knoffler was contemplating playing along for as long as he could, to buy some time to talk their way out of it, or maybe make a run for it. Jack was approaching swiftly now and the spaces were becoming smaller. Then, without warning, he saw Briskett run from beside him wielding a piece of downpipe. It was over in the blink of an eye: and Briskett’s body slumped to the floor, blood gushing from his ruined throat. Knoffler felt his stomach lurch – god that had been fast, inhumanly fast. He had hardly seen the man’s hand move: one small sidestep, a flick of the wrist, and his friend was lying dead in the street.

“Now that was just downright anti-social,” Jack moaned. “Of course, now I’m going to have to dispose of you too…no offence”.

Knoffler backed away, looking for a weapon of some sort, but nothing was close at hand. This is it he thought, dead at the hands of this madman, an urban myth. He felt the cold stone wall behind his back and instinctively raised his hands as the other man lifted his razor to strike. But the blow never came. Instead he opened his eyes to see the leering face of Cut-throat Jack inches from his.

Then he saw the thin red line expanding around the madman’s neck, and the head came away from the body, cleanly cut, landing on the cobbles with a dull thud.

Stood behind the collapsing body was a tall man dressed completely in black, a sword that gleamed in the streetlight lowering to his side. He had long dark hair that hid most of his face. Knoffler just stood there open-mouthed as the man cleaned the blade and re-sheathed it, opening his jacket and pulling out a small object that he tossed onto the prone body. Then he produced a hessian sack and grabbed the decapitated head by the hair, stuffing it into the bag and tying it shut before hanging it on his belt.

Knoffler found his words, even though his throat was bone dry.

“Th..Thank you sir, you saved my life”.

The stranger simply looked up at the shaking watchman and smiled.

“Not really. I guess you were just lucky”.

He turned to leave the alleyway and Knoffler called out after him.

“But why do you need the head?” It was a silly question he knew, but it was all his brain could think of at the time.

“Evidence. I need to get paid after all”. The other man replied before he melted silently into the shadows.

Leaving it a couple of minutes before he could get his legs to work, Knoffler advanced to the body of his friend Briskett, but knew he would find no sign of life. Then he checked the body of Cut-throat Jack and found the object the man had tossed onto it. He turned it over in his hand: a small card, completely black on both sides with no writing. He left it back on the body.

“Who are you?” he said to no-one in particular…….

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information