A Tale of Two Sisters, Vickie & Bergeron

When Vickie enters her flat, her friend Alice is pacing and wringing her hands. She rushes over, clasping Vickie’s shoulders and saying, “Where you been Vickie? I’ve been worried sick.” She sees the blood on Vickie’s dress and lets out a startled, “Oh! What’s all this?”

“It’s blood. I think it’s my blood.”

“How can that be? You don’t have a scratch on you. What happened?”

“There was this man, he took me into an alley and choked me with some kind of cord,” Vickie says. “Then when I woke up there was all this blood. I don’t know what happened.”

“You met the Ripper, that’s what happened,” Alice says pointing at her. “You met the Ripper and lived to tell about it. Dark Annie Chapman weren’t so lucky.”

Alice leads Vickie to one of the beds and says, “You lie down here. I’ll see if we’ve got something to help take the edge off.”

“I’ll be all right,” Vickie says. “I just want to sleep. Try to forget about everything.”

Vickie removes her outer garments but leaves on her slip and shoes.

“Bloody ‘ell,” Alice says staring at a nasty scar on Vickie’s neck. “Where’d you get that?”

“What?” Vickie says.

Alice pulls her over to the mirror. Vickie nearly faints when she sees the scar.

“Oh god,” she says. “Do you think that’s where the blood came from?”

“Can’t be,” Alice says. “That looks like it’s long healed over.”

“But I didn’t have it yesterday morning,” Vickie says.

“I can’t explain it then,” Alice says. “Nobody heals up that fast.”

“The sooner I get some sleep, the better,” Vickie says. “Maybe I’ll wake up and find that this was all some kind of dream.”

“If it is, you and me’s dreaming the same thing,” Alice says. “But you rest now, dear. I’ll be here to make certain nobody harms you.”

In the morning, Vickie heads off to the park in hopes of seeing her brother Billy. She hasn’t spoken to him in nearly twenty years, but occasionally spies on him and his wife when they’re in the park on Sunday. She does not plan to speak to him, as their last meeting ended with him throwing her out of the house and his wife telling her “stay away from our family you filthy whore.” She just wants to see him, to know he’s well and in good spirits.

She sets out at half past eleven and reaches the square within ten minutes. She has not noticed the man trailing her from several yards back, the man from the previous evening, known to most who know him as Bergeron. He has a scarf wrapped around his neck, which obscures his face. As she reaches the square, Bergeron picks up his pace until he’s right behind her.

“Miss?” he says feigning a cockney accent. “Could I have a word?”

Vickie turns and does not recognize him.

“Yes sir?” she says.

“I wonder if I could have a few words with you,” he says. “I’ve got something important to tell you.”

“Do I know you?” She searches her memory for where she’s seen him.

“We met once before, but it was a brief encounter,” he says.

“I ain’t working now,” she says waving him off and turning away.

“That’s not what I mean,” he says stepping in front of her to block her exit. “Please, ma’am, it’s very important.”

The wind blows the scarf away from his face and Vickie gets a good look at him. She focuses on his eyes and within a split second, remembers where she’s seen him. She starts to back away, fear in her eyes, points and says loudly without yelling, “I know who you are. You’re that man what tried to kill me last night. You’re the Ripper!”

Bergeron throws up his hands and leans toward her saying in a soft voice, “Please, don’t be afraid. I’m not going to hurt you.” He considers this then adds, “Any more than I already have.”

Maintaining her distance, Vickie says, “What you want then? Come to finish the job, did you?”

“No, I assure you, I just want to talk.”

“Talk about what you done last night is it?” Vickie says.

“No, I’d rather talk about what happened after,” Bergeron says.

“What you mean?” Vickie says, eyeing him suspiciously.

Bergeron leans closer to her and says in a low voice, “I didn’t try to kill you. I did kill you. When I left that alley, you weren’t breathing, and your throat was cut. And then, just minutes later, you got up and walked away as though nothing happened.”

Vickie moves away and says, “But something did happen.”

“Yes,” Bergeron says, “and I am truly sorry. I never would have touched you if I had realized who you are.”

“Who I am? I’m nobody, nothin’.”

“You have no idea how special, how unique you are. But I can help you understand if you’ll only let me.”

“Why should I believe anything you say after last night?” Vickie says.

“You’re right. You have no reason to trust me and I don’t blame you. But if you will give me a few minutes of your time, I can tell you incredible things about yourself. Things it will take you years to figure out on your own.”

She seems to be considering what he’s saying.

“If it will help to convince you, I have a very good cook and more food than you could eat in one sitting. You look like you could use a good meal.”

“I ain’t going nowhere with you alone, ‘specially your house.”

“We won’t be alone,” he replies. “I have a full staff. If you say so, one or more of them can be present while we talk and can escort you from the house when we’re done.”

Vickie considers his proposal a few seconds then looks at him sideways, narrowing one eye. “Have you got pastries?”

“I certainly do,” Bergeron says. “And veal, pork, beef, potatoes, and every kind of fruit you can imagine. And if I don’t have it, my staff can get it quickly. Anything you want, anytime, day or night.”

“I could do with a hot meal,” she says more to herself than Bergeron. “But you try anything funny and I’m going to scream me head off, you got it?”

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