The Ripper: Redux by Byron Lester - HTML preview

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“Jack.”

Jeff Speitzenberg looked on bemused.

 

Kevin Stone walked around the desk and moved to the window. He looked

 

out over the busy studio lot. Then he turned and looked at the Studio Boss.

 

His voice was like a knife slicing, driven, obsessive, and brutal.

 

“My pitch, in 1888 a psycho with an
appetite for death was on the loose.
London was the place, East End was
the ground, and Jack the Ripper was
the man. My pitch is to go back in
time and film the man with the knife
stroke for stroke…the legend
immortalized on 35 mm.”

 

Jeff Speitzenberg slowly smiled at this most surprising and original pitch. He

 

absolutely loved what he was hearing.

 

“The check has already been signed,” Jeff Speitzenberg told him with a wide

 

smile. Kevin Stone caught Mike’s eyes and they smiled. They both knew.

 

“They had just signed the deal that would change cinema history, and spawn

 

a whole new era of filmmaking.” CHAPTER 3

 

LONDON

 

Kevin Stone and Mike Parson stood in the center of the temporal platform

 

surrounded by their film crew and large cases of equipment at their feet. They

 

were dressed in Nineteenth Century attire. The semi-trailer truck was sitting in

 

the center of the platform. General Johnson was standing on the viewing

 

platform. The General gestured strongly for his Lead Scientist at the panel to

 

begin the charge up procedure for the temporal platform. The red lights began

 

to flash around the perimeter of the hangar like chamber. The scientists

 

intensely worked their stations. Kevin Stone looked so calm that he appeared

 

as if he was about to take a simple trip down to the local shops. Mike Parson

 

in comparison took in a long deep breath and steeled himself as if his guts

 

were about to be sucked inside out. The halo like structure that hung above

 

their heads began to make cracking and bending noises, as if it was about to

 

snap. The film crew looked up nervously at the halo structure above their

 

heads. The General looked on with a stoic expression from his elevated

 

position on the viewing platform as he conducted proceedings. Then the halo

 

structure let forth a large BOOM that caused the crew to shudder in fear. Mike

 

Parson jumped slightly at the BOOM. Kevin Stone did not flinch. The

 

hurricane of energy whipped up from the base of the silver platform and

 

whirled around the crew. It pushed the cases of film equipment wildly across

 

the platform, and blasted the faces of the crew as if they were standing in the eye of a hurricane. Kevin Stone began to loose sight of the General as the

 

hurricane of energy rose in ferocity. The film crew looked up and could no

 

longer see the halo structure above. The hurricane of energy exploded in

 

violent cracking sound as if the halo was breaking in halves.

 

The crew looked around frightened and fearful to what was happening. The

 

hurricane winds of energy continued to wind around them at gale force power

 

blocking their vision.

 

Then there was a large CRACKING sound as if the halo structure had

 

SNAPPED. The hurricane of energy slowly began to die down. The film crews

 

eyes were fixed on the energy winds all around them. The energy winds were

 

beginning to die and they were desperate to see what lay beyond. Slowly, the

 

faint vision of the rusted iron walls, and shabby roof came into view. Mike

 

Parson saw the energy disappear into the base of the platform. Mike’s eyes

 

took in the rusted and shabby warehouse. The strongly built men dressed in

 

Nineteenth Century clothing stood within the apparently derelict warehouse.

 

They had watched as the energy had swirled down to reveal the film crew.

 

They now began to move towards the silver platform. The film crew looked

 

worried as they saw the Nineteenth Century and heavily muscle men

 

approach. Kevin Stone wrapped his arms around his body simply as if he was

 

cold, and said bluntly.

 

“It’s chilly.”

 

He stepped off the platform casually, as a tall, wide faced man in Nineteenth

 

Century dress approached him. Mike Parson watched the director stop in front of the tall man. The film crew

 

warily watched the strongly built men that stood around the platform.

 

Kevin Stone eyes met Commander Benson, about 35, tall, disciplined,

 

dressed in Nineteenth Century tweed jacket, and leader of the ‘film crew

 

security team.’

 

“The perimeter is secure Sir. The warehouse is ready for your crew to begin

 

setting up,” the Commander reported curtly.

 

Kevin Stone shook his hand.

 

“Good work Commander,” Kevin Stone told him.

 

Then Kevin Stone frowned wryly and commented.

 

“Even in the nineteenth century London has bloody awful weather.”

 

Commander Benson laughed lightly. He commented as he pulled the twenty

 

first century high powered rifle from his nineteenth century jacket. It was a

 

subtle but strange sight.

 

“And it doesn’t get any better.”

 

Commander Benson moved away and began to instruct his soldiers. Mike

 

Parson stepped off the platform and walked across to Kevin Stone. The

 

Director was silent for a moment. The film crew began to move the film

 

equipment off the back of the semi-trailer truck and lugged it from the silver

 

platform.

 

“The crew is setting up the gear,” Mike told him.

 

Kevin Stone nodded. Then he gestured towards the large sliding front doors

 

of the warehouse. They were closed shut. “Let’s go,” Kevin said simply.

 

“Where?” asked Mike curiously.

 

The two armored guards stood alertly on either side of the doors. Kevin Stone

 

walked strongly towards the front doors. Mike Parson kept pace with the

 

Director.

 

“To survey the terrain,” Kevin Stone said sharply.

 

The armored guard at the warehouse door watched the film director and

 

producer approach. He lifted the com-link attached to the top of his armored

 

jacket.

 

“Alley status!?” armored guard questioned into the com-link.

 

The hoarse-voice came back over the com-link.

 

“Not a sole.”

 

The armored guard nodded firmly to his fellow guard. Kevin Stone and Mike

 

Parson had almost reached the large sliding doors. The armored guards

 

grabbed the sliding doors on either side and pulled them open strongly. The

 

rusty and creaking sound emanated from the rusted doors. The black night

 

filled their vision as the sliding doors were pulled part.

 

Kevin Stone and Mike Parson walked from the warehouse filled with twenty

 

first century film gear and into the cold alleyway of Nineteenth Century

 

London.

 

The warehouse doors slid closed behind Kevin Stone and Mike Parson. They stood in the cold, dank, and narrow alleyway. They were soaking up the

 

magnitude of the history making steps they had just undertaken. Then they

 

heard a light cough. They turned to see the grubby man lying on the ground

 

with his back against the warehouse wall. He was clearly drunk. His

 

nineteenth century style pants and jacket looked as if they had not been

 

washed for months. There was a half-empty bottle of alcohol in his hand. It

 

was difficult in his current state to tell whether he was conscious or not. The

 

eye of the man drunkenly opened. He stared apparently dazed at Kevin and

 

Mike. He slowly pulled aside his jacket to reveal a twenty-first century high

 

powered rifle. He gave a quick wink. Kevin Stone gave a quick smile. The

 

alleyway guard pulled his jacket over the rifle again and closed his eyes to

 

descend into a fake apparent state of drunken semi-consciousness again.

 

Kevin Stone and Mike Parson walked along the narrow alleyway towards the

 

street that was filled with Londoners of every description who were carrying

 

on their business on a normal night in London’s East End.

 

Kevin Stone stood on the vantage point overlooking Nineteenth Century

 

London's East End. Mike Parson stood by his side. Stretched out below them

 

were the houses of the East End crammed together, with the smoke,

 

darkness, and scattered light, sailing ships in the distance, and the light

 

sounds of thousands of people filtering up from below. It was an amazing

 

visual scene. Kevin Stone and Mike Parson paused as if soaking up history. It

 

was a reverent moment between director and producer. Kevin Stone observed the historic landscape that lay out before them.

 

“The autumn of 1888, London’s East End, described by American novelist

 

Jack London as a social abyss where men live worse than the beasts, and

 

have less to eat and wear and protect them from the elements than savages.”

 

The director looked slowly over the East End.

 

“Some 150,000 men, women, and children homeless, another 130,000 are in

 

work houses, and the foggy streets, alleyways, courts and yards are prowled

 

by more than 80,000 prostitutes,” detailed Kevin Stone.

 

He breathed deeply to soak it all up before commenting.

 

“Amazing, fucking brutal, but amazing.”

 

He frowned, and added dryly.

 

“It’s not difficult to understand why Jack the Ripper chose this place to commit

 

his vicious attacks.”

 

He smiled as he gazed over the East End again.

 

He turned to Mike.

 

“The greatest set you could ever imagine. Let’s go make a movie.”

 

They turned and walked down the stairs towards the busy and narrow street

 

below. CHAPTER 4

 

MARTHA TURNER

 

Mike Parson moved to the door of the warehouse’s converted briefing room. It

 

had been clearly attired by the military with the tactical like display screen on

 

the wall, with simple, no fuss chairs, and podium. The crew was talking

 

energetically obviously still excited at the prospect of being back in time.

 

Kevin Stone stood behind the podium and nodded at Mike Parson who

 

dimmed the rooms lighting. The tactical display came to life with the sketch of

 

a middle age woman. The crew went quiet. The glow of the tactical display

 

screen hit the back of Kevin Stone and spread out giving him a dark, and

 

dominating appearance. The room was deathly quiet. Kevin Stone glanced

 

backward at the sketch of the woman on the tactical display.

 

“Martha Turner, prostitute, 35,” detailed Kevin Stone simply.

 

The tone of Kevin Stone’s words and his dark appearance from the effect of

 

the light hitting him from behind served to pervade the room with a menacing

 

atmosphere. The tactical display changed to a sketch of London’s East End.

 

Kevin Stone began to detail sharply.

 

“It is August the sixth, 1888, Monday, the Bank Holiday.”

 

The tactical display changed to a century old sketch of a pub in a bustling

 

street.

 

“Monday evening. Martha had been drinking in one of many of the drinking

 

holes in the East End...her company…soldiers along the Riverside in Limehouse.”

 

Mike Parson stood quietly as the crew listened to the director’s words intently

 

and watched the screen. The display changed to that of a sketch of an

 

accommodation house. There was a lack of emotion in Kevin Stone’s voice. It

 

was cold, and analytical.

 

“As with most prostitutes, they lived day to day…and this night Martha

 

needed a customer for money for a bed.”

 

The display changed to a centuries old picture of the mutilated corpse of a

 

woman. It was gruesome sight. It seemed so cold, unmerciful and lonely an

 

end.

 

Kevin Stone’s voice continued to reveal no hint of emotion. He was focused to

 

an almost obsessive level.

 

“Her body was found with thirty nine knife wounds in it.”

 

The light, repulsed, and horrified sounds of the crew lofted through the dark

 

room’s air.

 

“Jack the Ripper had made his debut,” Kevin Stone said sounding almost

 

excited.

 

The tactical display changed to a sketch of a medical examiners room. The

 

sketch of the doctor stood over the mutilated body of Martha Turner that lay

 

upon the medical table. The sketch of a Police Officer stood in the

 

foreground.

 

“After he examined her, the doctor said, ‘he knew how and where to cut,”

 

Kevin Stone detailed. The tactical display switched back to the sketch of Martha Turner. Kevin

 

Stone’s voice tightened like a knife-edge to emphasize the importance of his

 

next words to his crew. It was clear he was determined to make them

 

understand the importance of his next statement to the shooting of the film.

 

“This is the moment where this killing went from a simple death, one of

 

thousands familiar to the East End in its history…and into the territory of the

 

Grand-daddy of all serial killer reigns,” detailed Kevin Stone as if slicing into

 

his film crew psyches with a hunting knife. They were unnerved, while he was

 

adrenaline fueled.

 

There were low murmurs from the crew as if they had grasped the importance

 

of Martha Turner’s death. Mike Parson moved to the wall and increased the

 

lightning in the room again. Kevin Stone looked at a particular section of his

 

film crew that was sitting at the back of the room.

 

“‘He knew how and where to cut,’ for our audio people, the line is worth more

 

than your organs…and check your contracts because if you miss that line,

 

they become my property and I love my on shoot barbecues,” he warned

 

them.

 

The face of Kevin Stone was tense, and his eyes piercing. “His obsessive

 

focus overpowers the personalities of all around him. He will not tolerate any

 

deviation from his vision. The crew visibly respects but fears him.”

 

The audio people looked subtly down at the floor.

 

Kevin Stone glanced back at Mike. He moved backward from the podium. He glanced back at Mike.

 

Mike took over the briefing and began to detail in a calm tone.

 

“For the time being, at all times when in the streets of London you are never

 

to utter the words Jack the Ripper. You will refer to him only as, ‘Leather

 

Apron.”

 

The crew seems puzzled by the producer’s statement. Then Kevin Stone

 

spoke up firmly to strengthen this particular point.

 

“The name Jack the Ripper did not exist until he was branded such in the,

 

‘Star,’ newspaper the day after he took his fourth and fifth victims in one

 

night…the natives cannot hear those words uttered from your mouths outside

 

of this warehouse until that time…I don’t care how drunk you are…we’re here

 

to make a film…not fuck with history…”

 

Mike informed the film crew.

 

“Each department will be supplied briefing instructions for the set up, and

 

filming of the first murder.”

 

Kevin Stone gestured to his personal assistant, about 30, obedient, and with

 

long blond hair, who was sitting in the front row. She had a pile of booklets in

 

her hands.

 

“The first crew will set up at the first location for the scene in an hour’s time at

 

Commercial Street,” Mike instructed.

 

The personal assistant handed out the briefing booklets to the film crew.

 

“While second crew will carry out the prep work for filming tomorrow morning

 

in the Police Headquarters morgue…specifically installation of the hidden camera,” Mike continued to instruct.

 

The personal assistant finished handing out the briefing booklets and then sat

 

back down again.

 

Kevin Stone moved forward, and looked over the film crew.

 

He told them piercingly.

 

“My overriding vision is to film the murders of Jack the Ripper for the worlds

 

first of a new genre of films, ‘Historical/Reality,’ movies.”

 

A small smile came across Kevin Stone’s face as he savored on the

 

exhilarating prospect.

 

“In the first of a new lucrative genre of film making, ‘historical/reality,’ movies

 

where any major event or mystery throughout history can be filmed in real

 

time, and cut into the structure of a feature film, with characters, and events

 

unfolding with raw historical reality.”

 

The crew seemed to relax a little at his changing demeanor. Then Kevin

 

Stone’s voice tightened up again. It was cutting as if a final warning.

 

“And needless to say we cannot just cut during a scene and start again. Jack

 

will be the one doing the cutting.”

 

He looked over the crew as if he knew what they were thinking.

 

He added.

 

“We have all the booze here we need and we can send slabs back through

 

time if we want so there’s no need to go into the pub, BUT, if you do, for god

 

sake, don’t fuck the same prostitutes Jacks going to kill…or else you’ll never work in Hollywood again.”

 

Mike Parson gave a small smile.

 

“If any of you are entertaining thoughts of getting up close and personal with

 

Jack for some holiday snaps…I’ll leave you with what feeds Jack…’an

 

appetite for blood, a love of carnage for its own sake,’ so if you break the rule

 

of non-contact with Jack under any circumstances…I will but have to clean up

 

your corpse and send it home…because I won’t allow one of you to

 

contaminate my vision by becoming Jack’s seventh victim,” Jack told the crew

 

without a hint of emotion.

 

Kevin Stone looked at Mike Parson as if sharing a private joke as he said

 

aloud to the film crew.

 

“You think the movie business is brutal? Well, just introduce yourself to Jack.”

 

There was dead silence in the room.

 

Kevin Stone turned back to the film crew. He said simply.

 

“Good, now enjoy the sights for an hour or so. I recommend the Thames at

 

this time of day…then we get to work.” CHAPTER 5

 

PREDATOR DRONE

 

The predator drone coated in jet-black paint was near invisible as it hovered

 

in the dark night high above the street. The thick clouds surrounded the drone

 

as the faint figure walked along the street far below. The predator swung

 

around as the cloud momentarily enveloped it. The silent predator’s nose

 

fixed camera refocused on the street again.

 

$XJWK

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