Delusions of Terror (Part two)
Maurice had already made up his mind that morning. Deciding to skip work, he drove immediately to the main library. He ignored his wife’s advice to call Philip, insisting this was something he had to find out for himself.
Carrying the tape recorder into the library, he settled down at an isolated table. He turned on the machine and attempted to jot down the strange words.
Pozwalany on udaje sie.
Time and time again, he endeavoured to write down the words. He turned on the PC and surfed the Internet. Locating a foreign translation website, he typed in the words.
Several times he was notified that no translation existed. He persisted, and his eyes lit up when eventually the words appeared before him.
Let him go. Pozwalany on udaje sie. Let him go.
“Polish? The words are Polish?” he whispered.
Although Maurice looked forward to their short break in London, he had no inkling that Philip and his wife Vanessa were to accompany them. The psychiatrist had not mentioned the nightmares up to now, but with his wife and sister on a shopping spree, he realised his opportunity.
Philip knocked on the hotel door and entered, without being invited to. Maurice was relaxing in an armchair, and reading a book.
“Hope I’m not interrupting, Maurice. What’s that you’re reading?”
The disgruntled gynaecologist closed his book and scowled at the intrusion. “I thought you’d gone shopping with the girls?”
“No way. I think now would be the appropriate moment for a chat.”
“I don’t feel like talking.”
“So you speak Polish, eh?”
Maurice strolled towards the drinks cabinet, and his companion took the opportunity to read the book cover. “Slaughter of the innocents? Didn’t know you were in to this sort of literature, Maurice.”
Maurice handed Philip his gin and tonic and confiscated the book. “Did you know that the Jews practised rituals throughout the ages, which involved the taking of lives of young Christian children?”
“And why would you be interested?”
Maurice swilled his whiskey and pondered over his decision to enlighten his friend. “I gather it was Cheryl that filled you in about me speaking Polish, so I’ll give you my interpretation, on one condition.”
“No more shrink-patient banter, and definitely no more talk of hypnotism.”
“I believe now that I was this boy in a past life.”
Philip raised his eyebrows. “Why the change of heart?”
“If I’m correct, then I lived in Poland during the mid nineteenth century. You see, the Jews were persecuted by the Poles, and yes, Christian children were sacrificed and their blood was drained, and sometimes drank... I witnessed such an occurrence in my nightmare.”
Philip smiled and clapped his hands together. “I suppose it’s possible, but there could be a number of reasons why you’re having these nightmares.”
“No. I’m there just as I’m here now. It seems so real.”
Philip cleared his throat. “Do you know, once I had a patient who experienced vivid dreams, where he convinced himself he was once a Roman centurion? During therapy, he explained to me with so much detail about things that could only have been read in books. So either, he was genuine or he was a fantasist. I followed him once, and he led me to the library. Do you know that he withdrew Legions of the Roman Empire out for the twenty-seventh time?”
“Are you saying I’m making this up?” asked Maurice.
“Not making it up, but wanting it to be true.”
“But, I don’t want it to be true. For Christ’s sake, man, I just want to learn the truth.”
“And what if the truth hurts?”
Maurice hesitated. “That’s possible... You see, my latest dreams also are not pleasant. I’m now in my teens, and I’ve attacked my sister with a knife.”
“Bloody hell, Maurice.”
“No, I didn’t seriously hurt her... You see, we had an argument about her hair.”
“In my dreams...nightmares; I’m now working in a hospital as a hairdresser. It seems I made a mess of my sister’s hair, and she slapped me.”
“But you hear no words?”
“No. Everything is so unreal, as though my life is in slow motion.”
Philip finished off his drink. “In my opinion, you need medical treatment. Just how far will you let this enigma of a life take you?”
Maurice sighed. “I have to see this out; don’t you see? I want so much to find out who I was.”
“You’re certainly not the man that I once knew, Maurice. Damn you, man. Think of Cheryl.”
“I think you should go now, Philip.”
The taxi driver glanced yet again through his mirror at the smartly dressed man who seemed to be in a trance. He pulled up at the destination and turned to his passenger.
“Goulston Street, mate. You sure you have the right place, guv? It’s three in the morning.”
Maurice handed the driver a twenty-pound note and left the cab.
“Your change, guv.”
Maurice ignored the offer and walked on slowly, feeling the cold snowflakes numb his face. He pulled up his collar to help ward off the cold and advanced towards the row of shops.
With unblinking eyes, he focused on the building. The arched windows that were covered by cream blinds and the red brickwork seemingly familiar. His head throbbed and his throat was arid, when the scenery warped before his eyes. He paced forward along the cobblestones, until he was inches from the wall. Unconsciously, he reached into his pocket for the chalk and began to scribble.
Out of the side of his eye, he noticed a remnant; red, and so out of focus with the other black and white surroundings. Without reading what he had written, he turned and walked away, strolling incoherently, as if being pulled towards his destiny.
The mist came, and with it a sense of walking on the clouds. Was this heaven? He found his answer when entering the doorway of a shabby house. He opened his mouth, unable to scream. He felt his heart pound rapidly and the veins pulsate from his head.
What had once been a woman was lying on the threadbare carpet, her throat cut and her mutilated face minus a nose. Her bloody abdomen was slit, and her liver lay beside her.
Maurice ran, his eyes filled with tears. He strived to run faster, but gravity prevented his progress. It was as if everything was in slow motion. He turned into the alleyway and passed the wall that had intrigued him so, just minutes before. He turned his head and halted. He edged closer and read the words.
THE JEWES ARE THE MEN THAT WILL NOT BE BLAMED FOR NOTHING.
Maurice stirred when he heard the rattling of cutlery. He sat on the edge of his bed and considered what had been his worst nightmare. He felt afraid and so lonely. The memory of his nightmare was still so fresh in his memory. He left the bedroom and joined his wife in the kitchen.
“You’re awake early,” said Cheryl, nibbling on a piece of toast. Philip and Vanessa sat opposite her. “I hope you didn’t mind me inviting Philip and Vanessa for breakfast. I didn’t expect you up, and you know how much I hate to dine alone.”
Maurice joined them and poured himself a cup of tea. “Why didn’t you expect me up?”
“You didn’t come in until almost six this morning, dear. Wherever did you go?”
Maurice dropped his teacup.
“Are you okay?” asked Philip.
Maurice trembled and muttered. “The Jewes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing.”
There was a prolonged silence as the trio regarded Maurice.
“Why did you say that?” enquired Philip.
Maurice swivelled his heavy eyes. “I don’t know... Where have I heard those words before?”
Philip had suggested the early evening drink to Maurice, and they opted for a table that offered them solitude, in the far corner of the hotel bar.
“So where did you go early this morning, Maurice?”
“I needed the fresh air and so went for a walk.”
“You’re lying. I checked with the hotel clerk, who told me you ordered a taxi to Goulston Street.”
Maurice remained silent.
“You do know where Goulston Street is, don’t you?”
“I have no idea. There must be some mistake.”
“Those words you spoke at the breakfast table. Why did you say them?”
Maurice buried his face in his hands. “I don’t know.”
Philip continued. “You see, I’ve seen those words before. They were scribbled on a wall in Goulston Street, Whitechapel, one hundred and nineteen years ago. Some say they were written by Jack the Ripper. Because of the misspelling of Jews and the appalling grammar, the murderer was believed to have had a fractured education.”
Maurice shook his head and his eyes bulged. He recalled the bloody remnant lying close to the wall. “I don’t know why I said those words.”
“I do. Take a drink, my friend; I think you might need it. You see, when you uttered those words, it ignited me. Something in the far recesses of my mind had been bothering me, and now I know what it was. I visited the library this afternoon, just to verify my suspicions.”
“Let me finish... It was when you mentioned the child sacrifice. I knew I had come across that story before. You see, there was a man of Polish descent, who was born probably in Russia in 1864. His family and friends were victimised, because they were Jews. It is believed he may have witnessed the murder of a Christian child by his own people. After working in a hospital as a hairdresser, he emigrated to London with his family in 1881. The family lived in the Jewish community of Whitechapel in Sion Square. His name was Aaron Kosminsky.”
“No. They were nightmares.”
Philip continued. “After the Ripper murders, Sir Robert Anderson the head of the Criminal Investigation Division of the London Metropolitan Police claimed that the police had in fact learned the identity of the Ripper, but had declined to publicize the fact, because in his words, “no public benefit would result from such a course, and the traditions of my old department would suffer.”
“Why are you persisting with this drivel?” moaned Maurice.
“Drivel? An internal police memo was written by Anderson’s second in command, Melville Macnaghton, and only discovered in 1959. You see, there was a witness, but he refused to testify against a fellow Jew. Kosminsky was insane, owing to many years of self-abuse, believed to be public displays of masturbation. He was released from Colney Hatch Asylum, and finally transferred to Leavesden Asylum for Imbeciles in 1891. He died from gangrene in 1919... So there you have it, Maurice.”
Maurice ran his trembling fingers through his hair. “My God. Oh, my dear God. I’m not an evil man, Philip.”
“I know that. If indeed you were this Kosminsky fellow in another life, then how could you be possibly deemed responsible? In fact, there’s no conclusive evidence that Kosminsky was Jack the Ripper. Numerous authors, police officers, sceptics, and even people who swore they knew who the Ripper was have made their views public, but nobody knows the truth, and probably will never know.”
Maurice seized the arm of his friend. “So why did I go to Goulston Street? Until last night, I had only dreamt of these events.”
“Perhaps you were dreaming, Maurice. Sleepwalking is more common than you can imagine... Listen, the brain is so complex, and who knows what secrets and mysteries the subconscious harbours. May I put it to you that you possibly read about Kosminsky and somehow adopted his persona?”
“But, I’ve never heard of this Kosminsky?”
Philip was adamant. “Maybe you read about him as a child. That would explain your choice of career as a gynaecologist.”
“So, what do I do?”
“Do? I beseech you to seek medical help. If not from me, then I have several colleagues who I can recommend.”
Maurice held out his hands and stared at them glassy-eyed. “God forgive me.”
Three months had passed since his conversation with Philip. He sat alone in the padded cell, staring at the hundreds of lines of scribble on the bare walls. He held his knees and rocked back and forth, chanting to himself. His filthy bed sheets were stained with semen, and pools of urine added to the unpleasant odour.
Maurice ceased his chanting, his eyes bulging and manic. “Why? Why won’t they believe who I am?” He raised his voice. “I’m Jack! Jack the Ripper, do you hear me? The Jewes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing!”