Darkness Is The Coldest Colour (complete)
A murderer is at large. Named Jack the Ripper, he strikes terror into the heart of Victorian London and it's Victor Stride's job to bring him to justice. With the help of two old friends, Victor sets out to capture the killer, but will he become a target of the Ripper's cruel game, killed before the investigation is completed, or will his findings reveal enough to tilt his world off its axis forever?
The Hooded Man
â€œStride,â€ he yells, â€œfollow me!â€
Feeling a tad peeved that my assistant had a plan before I did but too short on time to care, I follow him over to the nearby house. Penbar takes a step back before kicking the door down with his iron-toed boots.
â€œPenbar,â€ I shriek, aghast. â€œYou can't do that! Iâ€™m on the police force and thatâ€™s someoneâ€™s house! What will people think?â€
I donâ€™t expect him to turn around and he fulfils my expectations. Instead, he charges up the stairs and into a bedroom, where an infant is sleeping, miraculously oblivious to the commotion. Penbar doesn't notice the child, too intent on the case, as I should be.
After yanking the window open he hastily places his feet on the sills before disappearing from view. My stomach plummets like a stone when I realise that he is on the roof, and that I am meant to follow.
Obeying his command to follow, I too execute the manoeuvre, trying not to think about the consequences should I lose my grip. After hauling myself onto the roof (which is licked with a thin layer of glistening frost) I catch a glimpse of Penbar giving chase to a figure, whose midnight-coloured cloak billows in the Arctic gale.
I charge across the sloping roof (setting several tiles tumbling down to the cobbled streets below, but not listening long enough to hear them smash) and with a miraculous amount of energy I never knew I had, I somehow manage to catch up with Penbar. The two of us are but a few feet away from catching the killer and I reach out, trying to grab his cloak.
â€œShoot him,â€ I order my assistant.
â€œI canâ€™t; I havenâ€™t got any more bullets.â€
I swear under my breath and make a grab for The Ripperâ€™s cloak. My fingers brush against the silk of his cloak and for one blissful moment I almost have him, almost. The killer launches himself into the air and I hear his boots slam into the ground. I peer over the edge of the rooftop to see him disappear down a darkened alley.
I skid to a halt, my heart pounding so hard I'm afraid it'll burst right out. Watching his figure disappear from sight I feel a surge of anger roar inside me. A river of obscenities flows from my mouth freely as I kick a roof tile down onto the pavement below. Beside me, Penbar's chest rises and falls underneath his waistcoat as he gulps down air. With an angry scream he throws his empty pistol and I watch it ricochet from the gutter onto the cobbles.
â€œWe were so close,â€ he yells and a vein in his temple pulses wildly.
My eyes flicker around and with a sinking feeling and a surge of humiliation I realise something.
â€œPenbar,â€ I stammer. â€œUm, how are we going to get down?â€