By Michael Rappa
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, organizations, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright 2017 by Michael Rappa.
All rights reserved.
Cover by Michael Rappa.
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only and may not be re-sold or given away to other people. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means without permission in writing from the author, except in the course of writing a review, for which short excerpts may be quoted.
The following short story is part of a series of tales excerpted from my novel, The Eyes of Mictlan. Although the novel is primarily a dark fantasy, I designed the flashback chapters to be self-contained origin stories that would allow me to play around in different genres. The installment you are about to read, Marina, blends historical fiction with the supernatural.
All of these stories are available for free as part of my The Eyes of Mictlan Origins series. If you enjoy this story and would like to venture deeper into this world, I invite you to read the full novel, which can be purchased for $0.99 at all major booksellers. Visit for more information.
Thank you for reading,
A dense fog flooded the city of London. In the slums of Whitechapel a solitary woman strolled along the eerily quiet streets, white puffs of breath escaping her lips before dispersing in the cold November air. If any of her contemporaries had seen her they would have called her crazy, but they were too busy hiding. A serial killer had recently claimed his latest victim in an act of brutality so gruesome and shocking as to drive most of the district’s prostitutes behind closed doors. Any woman foolish enough to walk the streets of Whitechapel in the middle of the night by herself was practically begging to become his next victim—which was exactly what Marina was counting on, for on this night she was the predator, not the prey.
The sick bastard would pay in blood for what he did to Ginger. Marina would never forget seeing the pile of gore that had once been her dear friend. She had screamed at the top of her lungs, tears streaming down her face, as a constable dragged her out of the room. Why had she pushed past the policemen and photographers gathered around Ginger’s place? She knew something horrible had happened; why did she have to see it? The image of Ginger mutilated beyond recognition had burned itself into her brain. To everyone else she was just another chapter in a sensational story, a curiosity, a headline: Mary Jane Kelly, Latest Victim of Jack the Ripper. But to Marina she would always be her friend and lover, Ginger.
It still sounded funny to call herself Marina after going by the name of Maria for her entire life, but it was only a one-letter difference, and she did so to honor the man who had changed her life.
Maria had first met Xavier at an outdoor market when someone tapped her on the shoulder while she was perusing produce. She turned around to see a well-dressed, dark-haired man staring at her in disbelief.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
“You look just like someone I once knew. The resemblance is uncanny.” He bowed his head. “I apologize for the intrusion.”
Maria interrupted him as he turned to walk away. “Wait. What’s your name?”
He was obviously a wealthy man and Maria could see in his face that she was the spitting image of a woman who had once meant a great deal to him. She could turn that to her advantage. “Care to buy a lady a drink?”
Over the months they had developed a close relationship. Xavier hadn’t even minded when Maria revealed her profession. On the contrary, he paid very well, and he wasn’t like the multitude of perverts she had dealt with in the past; his only quirk was that he wanted to call her Marina.
Honey, for the price you’re paying you can call me anything you want, she had thought at the time.
Xavier always made her feel like more than just a common prostitute. He even allowed her into his home, an extreme rarity for a woman of her profession. He was the only man who had ever really understood her. Thus, after the murder of Ginger, the first person she thought of was Xavier.
She desperately needed to see him, to have him hold her. She could not get the image of Ginger’s lifeless corpse out of her head; she needed to replace it with something, anything. She wiped fresh tears from her face as she turned the corner toward Xavier’s house. She ran up the steps and banged on his front door.
In a moment the door opened to reveal Xavier. “Marina? What is it?”
“She’s dead! That sick son of a bitch killed her!”
He took her arm. “Come inside.”
Xavier led her into the parlor and together they sat on the sofa.
“Tell me what happened.”
“Ginger’s dead! That Ripper fuck tore her to shreds!” She sobbed openly, burying her head in Xavier’s chest.
“I’m so sorry. Is there anything I can do?”
Maria lifted her watery eyes to meet his with a look of fierce hatred. “You can help me kill the bastard.”
Xavier leaned back, his lips rising into a thin smile. “I could help you, but revenge is sweeter when carried out personally.”
Maria looked astonished. “You won’t help me?”
“On the contrary, my darling, I can help you in ways you couldn’t possibly imagine.”
“What does that mean?”
Xavier leaned forward and took her hands. “What would you say if I offered you immortality?”
“I . . . what are you talking about?”
“Would you like to have the power to tear this Ripper limb from limb?”
“Of course, but I don’t—”
“I can give you that power. I can make you stronger than 20 men. We can live together for thousands of years, never growing old, never getting sick.”
“Xavier, you’re not making any sense.”
“What if I told you that I was almost two-thousand years old?”
She jumped to her feet. “You’re a nutter!” She stormed out of the parlor and around the corner toward the front door—to find Xavier standing right there. “What? How did you—”
“Like I said, I have great power. I can give this power to you and you can take your revenge. Normally I do not give people a choice in the matter, but I have too much respect for you than to bring you across without your consent. The choice is yours.”
The rest, as they say, was history. Maria had accepted Xavier’s offer, which he had granted with only one condition.
“Your name is now Marina,” he had said.
Thus, Maria was reborn as the much more powerful Marina, who now prowled the streets of Chapel Hill in search of Jack the Ripper.
Marina thought back to the last time she had seen Ginger alive on the night before her murder. They had eaten an early dinner and then made love. Marina left shortly before 7 p.m. to begin her nightly search for clients. Ginger had asked her to stay and skip the night’s work, but Marina could not afford to take even a single night off, so she said goodbye with a kiss on the cheek. After Marina left, Ginger had apparently decided to go out after all—only to meet her doom. Marina blamed herself. If she had stayed Ginger would still be alive. She couldn’t bring herself to go to the funeral but she visited the grave afterward.
Now, only she could speak for Ginger—and the Ripper would hear her message loud and clear. She had tried to lure him out the last few nights to no avail. On the previous night she thought she had finally hit pay dirt, but the man turned out to be nothing more than your average sex-crazed bully. She thanked him for his patronage by slashing his throat and drinking his blood.
The Ripper had changed his modus operandi with Ginger. The previous victims had all been killed quickly on the street and then partially mutilated, but for some reason he had entered Ginger’s home and taken his time turning her into a pile of meat. Perhaps this was what he had wanted to do with the other women but had not had the time. Either way the sick fuck had murdered his last woman; Marina would see to that, even if she had to patrol the streets all night long, every single night of the week until he surfaced again. Fortunately, such vigilance would prove unnecessary, for this was her lucky night.
Marina turned down an alley to find a tall man dressed in a long black coat standing before her. The fog obscured most of his face but Marina could see that he was very well dressed, with a white cuff protruding through the left arm of his coat and a long white collar that came down over the front. In his left breast pocket he wore a bright red handkerchief. He appeared to be carrying some sort of bag in his right arm.
The man bowed politely. “Good evening, my lady.”
This had to be him. Marina wanted to kill him on the spot but she held herself back and turned on the charm. “Good evening to you, sir. Care for some company?”
“Indeed I do. Is there somewhere we can go to be alone?”
She kept up the act of a desperate prostitute. “Let’s see some money, first.”
His face contorted into a malevolent smile and he pulled some gold coins out of his pocket. “Don’t worry my dear, money is no issue. You will be handsomely rewarded for your services.”
I bet I will, she thought. “Very well, we can go to my place. What’s your name?”
He hesitated for a moment. “I prefer not to use names if that’s all right with you.”
“Whatever you say, you’re the boss. Follow me.”
Marina led him into her apartment, which she no longer had to share thanks to a generous donation from Xavier.
“Make yourself at home. Can I take your bag?”
“Uh, no thank you. I prefer to keep that near me.”
She turned away and smiled. Yeah, I’ll bet you do. “Would you like something to drink?”
“No thank you. Why don’t you have a seat on the bed and start getting undressed?”
“As you wish.” Marina sat down on the bed while the man remained standing. “Aren’t you going to join me?”
“In a moment, after I have made myself more comfortable.”
Marina began to remove her clothes as the man, still holding the bag in his hand, walked to the front door and locked it. “So we’re not disturbed.” He then removed his coat and hung it on a hook while placing his bag on a table. He turned to the bag and zipped it open.
Marina had stripped completely naked, the better to lure him into a false sense of security. “What’s in the bag?”
The man smiled with his back to her. “It’s a surprise.” He walked to the bed with one arm behind his back and stood over Marina. “Lie back.”
Marina complied. “What’ve you got there? Something kinky?”
He crawled onto the bed over top of her, still fully clothed, straddling her at the hips. “Time to play.”
Suddenly his arm flew from behind his back to reveal a large knife that he slashed at Marina’s throat. Marina grabbed his hand, the knife mere inches from her neck, and squeezed. The knife dropped harmlessly onto her breast while the man screamed in agony as Marina broke every bone in his hand. She then threw him off the bed and sent him flying, still screaming, into the far wall.
Before he could react Marina was on top of him. “We can’t have any more of that screaming.” She bared her fangs and thrust them into his neck.
He sank motionless to the ground as Marina rose to her feet, stalking back and forth over his prone body. “So, you’re the infamous Jack the Ripper. I’ve been waiting for you. You see, the last woman you murdered was my friend Ginger. I’m going to take your knife and carve her name into your chest so you don’t forget.” She walked over and picked up the knife. “In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Jack, you are paralyzed. You can’t move, you can’t scream, nothing. But the good news is that you can still feel pain, and oh the things I’m going to do to you.”
After she finished carving the name into his chest she walked over to his bag. “Let’s see what goodies we have here.” She carried the bag over to his body and dumped the instruments on top of him. Tears streamed down his otherwise blank face. “I’m going to use every single one of these on you before I let you die. And then you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to erase you from this planet. No one will ever know that you were Jack the Ripper, and for you, obscurity would be a fate worse than death. That’s why you write all those letters to the police and the papers. You want to be caught. You want them to know who you are. You want to be famous. Well you can forget it. You will die, in considerable pain, as a nobody . . . and Jack the Ripper will just disappear, never to rip again.”
Marina visited Ginger’s grave one last time to say goodbye. “Rest in peace, Mary Jane. I got the bastard for you.”
She then took one last stroll along the streets of Whitechapel on her way to Xavier’s house. In the morning they were leaving for America. He said he had something wonderful to show her there—a whole world of their own where they could rule as king and queen. Part of her was sad to leave behind the only home she had ever known, but there was nothing here for her now. Her old life had ended the day she became Marina. Now, she would embark on a new life of endless possibilities . . . and limitless power.
About the Author
Michael Rappa has been writing stories and poetry since early childhood, eventually parlaying his love of the written word into a Communications degree from Rowan University. The Eyes of Mictlan is his first novel. Michael is also an avid traveler and photographer who blogs about his experiences at . In the real world he works as a web designer in New Jersey, where he lives with his wife Jen and his dog Oliver.
Follow Michael on Twitter and Instagram at @njrappa, on Facebook at , or visit his website at .
Marina strolls along eerily quiet streets in the foggy slums of Whitechapel, London. Jack the Ripper has just brutally murdered her friend and lover, the latest victim during a reign of terror that has forced many of Marina’s fellow prostitutes into hiding. Any woman walking the streets of Whitechapel alone in the middle of the night is practically begging to become his next victim—which is exactly what Marina is counting on, for she is no ordinary woman, and on this night she is the predator, not the prey. "Marina" is part of "The Eyes of Mictlan Origins" series, a collection of free short stories excerpted from the dark fantasy novel, "The Eyes of Mictlan."