Deus ex Machina
One day men will look back and say I gave birth to the twentieth century…
- Jack the Ripper
Ernest drew the wrong type of attention, loitering in a rival gang’s part of London. A quick chase through tight and dark alley-ways enabled Ernest to escape but he was thoroughly lost. Curling up under a carriage he found some rest in a deep, dreamless sleep.
The next afternoon found Father John conducting confession at his church, St George in the East. The disturbed individual confessed to being an agent of God though doubting the goodness of his actions. Since these actions involved murder, Father John suggested that he was not driven by God’s desires but by the Devil himself. The confessor’s tone changed as he challenged Father John to join him in doing God’s work. The individual then thankfully disappeared and Father John was greeted by a police officer who had been waiting for him. The officer told him that Chief Inspector Abberline wished to see him, and after finding his best hat, Father John departed with the officer.
The Ripper had struck again in Miller’s Court. Upon entering the abode, Father John was greeted with the most ghastly of crime scenes. The deceased was Mary Jane Kelly and Abberline asked his old friend, Father John to consecrate the building after what could only be described as the devil’s work. He asked a further favour that he meet with him and Ernest later in the evening to discuss a disturbing matter. He agreed and returned that afternoon saying a prayer in the still blood-stained room. Whilst cleaning up he found a small gear, about the size of a coin, which he pocketed.
That evening, the three of them met at St George in the East. Abberline brought bread and cheeses which Ernest thought of as a great feast. After eating, Abberline discussed how Sir Charles Warren, commissioner of the Metro Police had retired the previous day. He mentioned that he resigned after several criticisms were levelled at him due to failure to catch Jack the Ripper. Abberline had his own doubts about some of the decisions that Warren had made and asked whether, as a favour, they could investigate for him since he may not be able to trust anyone actually within the police. After agreeing, Abberline took his leave.
Later that night, Ernest snuck out of Father John’s home to pursue leads regarding his mother’s disappearance. After breaking into a plague ridden hospice and disturbing the residents inside, he managed to return home for a couple of hours sleep before being woken up to tend the vegetable patch. Sitting down to breakfast, Ernest and Father John began discussing the task set before them.
After discussing what they each knew about Sir Charles Warren, Ernest and Father John came up with two different and distinct plans. Father John upon recalling that Sir Charles was a Freemason, decided to go to the local lodge and seek admittance to further his inquiries. Ernest, upon recalling that Sir Warren was a cultist who ate small children, headed to the local street witch Ragged Annie to purchase supplies. Whilst Father John’s investigation promised possible entry into the lodge on the morrow, Ernest’s plans involved selling Father John’s bible for a jar of rock salt and a cold iron horseshoe when he discovered that ghosts really do exist (despite what Father John says).
Returning to his home, Father John came across a distressed woman called Angelica (or Angel for short). Convincing her to come back to his house, he uncovered her sad tale that a local member of the Nichols Gang named Blyth was harassing her for protection money. Father John promised to look after and shelter her and decided to go to the Ten Bells to discuss with this young man the jeopardy of his mortal soul. Angel attempted to thank Father John in the only way that she could afford as Ernest walked in. Leaving the two behind, Father John grabbed his best hat and headed towards the Ten Bells with Ernest shadowing his movements.
Finding Blyth inside the pub, Father John began protesting the man’s obscene actions against the poor prostitutes of the East End. Blyth wanted a name of the woman who had dobbed him in and when Father John refused to give it, he invited the Father outside to talk in private. Down a back alley he drew a very sharp knife and placed the point a millimetre from Father John’s eyeball. Ernest sprung from the shadows stabbing Blyth in the leg. Father John Stepped between the two as they fought calling for order and earned a knife wound in his side for his effort. His frantic arm waving got in Ernest’s way as Blyth (who was badly wounded) escaped into the Whitechapel streets. Ernest discarded his blade and after some quick first aid for Father John, they both headed home.
Informing Angel of what had occurred, they realised it was not safe for her out on the streets (and maybe not safe at their home). Father John gave her a job working and cleaning around the church. With the busy day at an end they all headed to bed…
…Ernest snuck out and headed to Sir Warren’s house. Sitting and waiting patiently in the cold night air, eventually a carriage pulled up to pick up the man. Running after the carriage he intended to jump aboard in order to find out where he was going at such a late time in the night. However, his fear of the man got the better of him and instead he ran off into the streets looking for his lost mum.
The next day Father John decided to visit Sir Charles at his house. Father John’s polite manner earned him a meeting with the man. Whilst Sir Charles would not discuss the Ripper case, he was more interested in talking about masonic architecture and St George in the East which was built by the “devil’s architect” – Nicholas Hawksmoor. Sir Charles invited Father John to visit the Masonic Lodge the next day where they would look at the old building and discuss Hawksmoor.
Meanwhile, Ernest had broken into Sir Charles house through the back door and wanting to verify the rumours of Sir Charles eating children, went straight to the Cellar to find any unfortunate souls. There were no children however there was a well equipped weapons rack, a writing table and drinks cabinet and books. Mounted on the walls were various hunting trophies and to Ernest’s surprise and horror, a fanged human head decorating the room. Turning to flee he heard movement at the top of stairs, behind the cellar door.
The cellar door was locked, but Ernest worked well in the dark despite his fear and expertly picked the lock, escaping into the London streets. Returning to St George in the East, Ernest gave the journal that he had stolen from Sir Charles’s house to Father John to read. After some lengthy convincing, Father John did so revealing some information regarding Lusk, a person called Kominski and some sort of Abbey. Father John wanted Ernest to return the journal back to Sir Charles which he reluctantly agreed to do (concocting another bullshit story about finding it in the London streets) and then they both decided to check in with Inspector Abberline.
Father John tells Abberline about his lunch with Sir Charles that will be happening latter that day whilst Ernest tells of his experiences in the underground dungeon with heads mounted on the wall. The child is humoured and warned against spreading rumours about Sir Charles. Abberline encourages them to keep digging, maybe investigating Lusk might turn up something and he also suggests that maybe Ernest might want to be a copper one day.
Father John visited the Doric Lodge where Sir Charles met him for lunch. They had an excellent lunch and discussion which greatly impresses Sir Charles, so much so that he brings up the possibility of membership into the Freemasons and that he may be willing to be his sponsor. Part way showing Father John around the Lodge, Sir Charles in interrupted by Lusk who have a quick discussion just out of earshot.
Post lunch, Father John sent Ernest to Lusk’s work to invite him around for dinner. Using the security of the church as an excuse for a meet and greet, Lusk agrees and comes for dinner that evening where they discuss Father John’s recent troubles with the Nichols Gang and Lusk’s involvement with the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. During dinner, Ernest visits Lusk’s house to do a bit of snooping.
Later that night whilst getting ready for bed, Father John heard a disturbance outside. Investigating he was ambushed to two thugs from the Nichols gang, one of them being the still injured Blyth from the other day. Ambushing Father John they began to beat him before Father John ran inside only to have the door kicked in and his attackers grapple him to the ground. They continued to thrash him into unconsciousness.
Father John stirred, his body an aching mass of pain. He was in the confession booth in the church but on the opposite side he was used too. The confession screen slid open and the voice of the madman from the previous day enquired about his health.
After successfully breaking into Lusk’s house, Ernest immediately began searching for a cellar and possible torture equipment that he would find within. After being disappointed with the lack of cellar he searched the rest of the house and found a trapped attic door which he managed to navigate past. The attic contained a number of items of interest including an occult map of London, a weapons chest and a letter to Sir Charles Warren. The letter was of particular interest in that it discussed the disappearance of a former member of an organisation called Ashwood Abbey who may be the Ripper.
Returning back to the house, he found Father John in a bad way. After telling him “I told you so” he attempted to perform first aid upon the man whilst Father John became obsessed with the spatial arrangements of his lounge which seemed to correspond with the strange map that Ernest had uncovered.
Ernest was sent out to find Chief Inspector Abberline and show him the letter that seemed to incriminate both Lusk and Sir Charles Warren in some sort of conspiracy regarding the identity of the Ripper. However, instead he went and saw Ragged Annie to get her advice about the map and to find out more about Ashwood Abbey.
The following day, a tired and bruised Father John went back to Doric Lodge to talk with Sir Charles. Convincing him of sincerity to be of help to Sir Charles and his genuine desire to join the Freemasons to further his career, Sir Charles took him into his confidence. He asked a favour of Father John to gain his sponsorship into the Masons and indicated that he thought that Abberline had employed a young boy (Ernest) to follow Sir Charles and cause him problems. The favour he asked was to find out whether Abberline had any information about a man named Nathan Kaminsky and to report secretly back to him if he was to uncover anything.
Searching for Abberline that day and night proved fruitless for both Ernest and Father John as Abberline was busy with casework. The next day they decided to try him again at the police station but before they left, one of the staff reported that Angel was missing. Retracing her steps led them to the outside toilets were a brief struggle indicated that she was kidnapped and thrown into a waiting carriage.
Ernest and Father John headed to the police station where they found Abberline and they reported Angel’s disappearance. Fearing that the abduction was the work of the Nichols Gang, Abberline decided to round up the gang but first he would come and investigate the scene. Father John also asked whether the name Nathan Kaminsky meant anything to the inspector which it did not.
Instead of returning back to the church with the other two, Ernest decided to find out some more information about Kaminsky since his previous questioning of Aaron Kominski had gone sooo well. After finding the man’s house, he staked it out until nightfall when he broke in only to discover that someone had already ransacked the place. He did find a number of portraits on the walls, all with the woman’s face scratched away. A deed to an old warehouse in the name of Judas Kaminsky was also found amongst the junk, probably overlooked by those who had searched the place previously. Grabbing a couple of journals, Ernest turned to leave before being confronted by two of Lusk’s vigilantes who carried big sticks and shitty attitudes.
One of thugs sent the other away; A member of Ashwood Abbey, he wanted to deal with Ernest himself. Ernest stabbed the vigilante in the side but was hit a nasty blow by a steel club. Ernest’s hands were drenched in blood as he thrust his blade into his opponent’s throat.
He ran through the mist filled streets of London, and back to St George in the East. Unable to find Father John, Ernest did his best to clean himself up before heading the warehouse owned by Kaminsky.
Father John once again found himself bound, hooded and at the mercy of some strange entity. The person who abducted him revealed himself to be an agent of the Lord, a Guardian Angel sent to ensure that Jack the Ripper managed to complete his ritual. But he was full of doubt whether God’s will was the right thing to do. Father John began trying to convince this angel (which took on the form of Abberline that Jack the Ripper was not fulfilling God’s will, but was merely a madman conducting an insane murder spree.
Ernest arrived at the warehouse and broke inside. Passing strange cables and cords that ran along the walls, he found the blue lit main room which was decorated with the internal organs that the ripper had taken from his previous victims. Angel was unconscious and strapped to a grandfather clock whilst the Ripper chanted in Yiddish.
As he snuck up behind the madman, the Ripper called out “What has Risen may Fall…” and the wall opposite him split open look a wound, blood spraying across the floor. Ernest raised his blade and the blue light strobed as time bent around them. He saw all the variations of his life, his birth, the tragedy of his life and the multitudes of his demise. He walked through time with the Ripper, stalking him through the ages and even killing him whilst in Ancient Rome.
Father John continued to convince the Angel that the God he served was not the one true God. The Angel (who now wore the form of Father John) finally agreed to help them and Fell. He told Father John about the lynchpin holding the ritual together and how to turn the machine off and then disappeared. Father John found the console and the set of 12 keys that he needed to turn to shut off the machine. Turning it once dealt Father John tremendous shock and he reeled back from the console. He needed to turn it one more time, but doing so would most likely kill him.
Stepping through time, Ernest finally reached Jack the Ripper and struck him as he was about to sacrifice Angel. He could see through the portal into a black fog and beyond that various bits of wreckage strewn across a bleak junkyard. A mechanised form was making its way towards the portal. The Ripper fell dead at his feet just as a blade slid between his shoulder blades and a voice in his ear asked “What is the Fourth Dimension?”
Across the room, Ernest saw himself die. He saw Jack the Ripper step out of different shadows around the room, there were multiple copies of him, split away from reality because of the strange time ripple. Multiple copies of Ernest appeared as well and the stabbed and clawed at the other versions of the Ripper in a grand melee.
Ernest ran across the room to free Angel, cutting down another Jack the Ripper before he could complete the ritual. Looking around the room he could see that he was losing. The portal still yawned open as sand and grit blew into the room from the Underworld. Then the blue light that thrummed through the room went out and the wind stopped blowing. Everything was still for a fraction of a second before the portal started sucking everyone into it. Ernest was whipped off his feet but was grabbed by Angel. They watched all the Rippers fall into the portal except one so Ernest hurled himself at him and dislodged him from his place of safety. They hurtled towards the portal before Jack grabbed onto a floor grill. Ernest stabbed at him but he would not let go as he kicked out at Ernest.
The ghosts of the Ripper’s victims flooded out of the portal and grabbed the Ripper pulling him up into the air and dragging him screaming into the Underworld just as the portal sealed close. Freeing Angel, Ernest made his way out of the warehouse. Near the console he spotted a dark figure crouching over the still form of Father John. The figure regarded him with sapphire eyes before bursting into a murder of ravens and flying out a broken window. Father John was alive but unconscious. Stealing a carriage, Ernest got them back home to the church and safety.
The Ripper’s killing spree was over and his mad ritual to summon something unholy from the Underworld thwarted. Ernest and Father John licked their wounds though they would be forever changed by the experience. And what is the deal with that strange set of 12 keys Father John found in his pocket.
One of the Ripper’s was not sucked into the portal. He was found a short time later by members of Ashwood Abbey. They took in their former member and did unspeakable things to him though he was little more than a ranting lunatic, his mind fractured by his actions and his trip through the Fourth Dimension. They let him loose on the streets a few weeks later where he was found by the police and incarcerated because of his madness. He spoke nothing but Yiddish and was incomprehensible. Since he could not provide his name and no one recognised him, he was given the name David Cohen and eventually transferred to Colney Hatch under restraint. In October of the following year he was confined to his bed and died a few days later. The man was dead, but the legend continues.