By
P.J.Lawton

The dirty, rumpled woman stumbled as she left the Bishopsgate Police Station then slowly ambled toward
him. It was almost one o’clock in the morning and the streets were empty.  The hand holding the long
bladed knife trembled in anticipation. It had been several weeks since his last kill. He knew he should time
jump to a new place but felt he still had time for few more.

As the still intoxicated woman neared, he leaped out and grabbed her by her long unkempt hair. His left
hand forced her head backward and his knife and slashed her throat from left to right. She didn’t even
have time to scream as bright red arterial blood spurted. With a sigh of satisfaction he felt her life force
quietly slip away. In less than a minute she was gone. He dropped her lifeless body into the filthy gutter.
She was victim number four.

Early mornings were usually chilly and damp which was not unusual for London even in the summer.
Dampness, fog, and very little foot traffic were precisely why he chose this particular place and time. Here
he could play out his evil fantasies with little chance of being seen, much less apprehended.

Of course he always had the option to jump to another place but reading about and watching the search
for the killer was all part of the fun. Besides, he liked the name they had given him. It sounded strong
mean and dangerous, just like him. Anyway, he wasn’t ready to leave yet. He knew that the TEDs, the
Time Enforcement Division operatives, would be on him soon. Unfortunately time jump gauntlets left
telltale signatures when they were used. It would take the TED monitoring technicians some time to read
the signature but soon they would and an enforcement team would be coming after him. He would just
have to anticipate their arrival and be prepared.

***

Kill number five attributed to Jack under his current guise was in November 1888. It was almost his last,
period. Just as his latest victim died there was a noticeable shift or ripple in time and two heavily armed
TEDs stepped through. They didn’t hesitate but immediately fired their electro dischargers at him. Luckily
he noticed the time ripple in time and dived away as both electro charges missed.

Jack knew for some time that he was enemy number one on the TED most wanted list because, after all,
his first kill had been a TED. After the kill he had removed the jump gauntlet from her wrist and had been
running ever since. With this in mind he anticipated such a TED encounter and had preset his time jump
activator. Although he hated to leave this place and time period, he knew it was time to go.

With a laugh and a sarcastic salute he pushed the jump button and disappeared. It would take them
several months to trace him. The Ripper was gone but he could now start his fun again in a new time and
place.

***
The murders of eight young women associated with the University of Wisconsin began suddenly in 1968
and ended without a clue in 1984. Jack always liked the American heartland, especially Wisconsin, and
made several jumps there. Everything had gone smoothly except for one little incident. At one point the
serial killer Henry Lee Lucas confessed to several of the killings but then later recanted the confessions.  
Jack just couldn’t understand why some people insisted on taking credit for someone else’s work.        
As time passed, he didn’t limit his ‘hunts’ solely to mid-America and England but visited several other
places as well. Over and over wherever he went, violent death occurred. That is until one early morning in
Yorkshire, England when everything changed.  It was Friday January 2, 1981 and the bold news headlines
fairly shouted.  “Yorkshire Ripper’s 5-year Reign of Terror Ends”.  Jack laughed as he thought, so they
finally caught the copycat huh. The infamous “Yorkshire Ripper” behind bars! Of the twenty women
attacked, twelve had died by his hand. The seven that had lived and the other one that had died had
been the work of the copycat. The imitator hadn’t been a very good serial killer, he just thought he
was.                          
                                                                   
Disgusted, he threw the paper aside and thought about what was next. He’d been able to stay a step
ahead of the TEDs for some time now by only sparingly using the time jump device. That’s why he had
remained here so long. The TEDs were getting smarter though, it was time to move on. A change of pace
would do him well for this was getting a little tiring. Maybe he was just weary of the killing. The intense
pleasure he had once felt just wasn’t there anymore.

***

Jack always liked the point in time just after the turn of the century so he randomly set the jump clock
and pushed the activator. In an instant he was standing on the docks in Southampton. Immediately
behind him another jump point opened and a heavily armed TED stepped through. He was thoroughly
and completely trapped. Standing perfectly still he looked to the officer and asked, “Okay, how did you
find me?”
                                                                                                                                     With utter
contempt the officer responded. “Well Jack things have changed in the past few months. Recently
introduced technology has advanced detection to the point that all we had to do was wait for you to
trigger your jump activator and lock on the signal. Turn around, I need to disengage your gauntlet and
then I taking you back.” With a smirk he continued, “I knew we’d get you sooner or
later.”                                                                                                                           

Jack pretended to turn then under the guise of surrender whipped out a small handgun.  He dropped to
one knee and fired striking the officer three times. The TED died before he hit the ground. Jack stood for
a while staring at the body trying to decide what to do. He didn’t have much time and the new
information provided by the TED changed everything. What was he to do now? After a few moments a
touch of an idea formed. Maybe if he could jump to a different place but in the same time period it would
fool the TEDs long enough to give him the time to disappear. He’d never tried it before but it should
work. All he could do was try. After all, he was running out of options.                                         

Looking out to sea he spotted a gigantic outbound ocean liner just rounding the point. Without a second
thought he completed the adjustments and hit the activator. In a second he was on board. He wasn’t
sure where he was going but anywhere was better than where he had just been.  He slowly walked along
the deck. He needed some information and he needed it right away. A short few minutes later out on the
fantail he noticed a gentleman standing alone smoking an after dinner cigar. After striking up an
acquaintance and during casual conversation he learned that the gentleman was traveling alone and didn’
t know a sole on board. The purpose of his trip was to relocate to New York was to start a new business.
After the untimely death of the gentleman’s wife, he had no children; the gentleman had sold all his
European holdings and thought a new start in America would do him good.

Jack felt the chance meeting with the gentleman was too good to be true but didn’t hesitate. With one
quick thrust he buried the knife to the hilt into the gentleman’s chest. Holding the thoroughly dead man
upright, he quickly riffled the man’s pockets taking everything. After a quick glance to see if anyone
noticed anything out of the ordinary he hastily shoved the body overboard. He now had a new identity
complete with money to invest. With his knowledge of future events he figured he would be very wealthy
within a few months. In a year he would be filthy rich. Now all he had to do was elude the TEDs.
In celebration of his new found identity and wealth Jack lit up one of his newly procured cigars and
thought about just how to handle that little problem. He finally determined that the only way to be sure
was to dump the jump gauntlet. Yes, he would be stuck in this time forever but he could live with that,
especially now that he would be so rich. With his mind made up and without faltering he pulled the
gauntlet off and quickly tossed it over the side. He watched fascinated as it slowly toppled end over end
into the darkness of the sea. Let the TEDs just try to find him now.                                           

He stayed out on deck for some time enjoying his cigar and planning his rise to riches. If he got bored he
could always pick up his favorite pastime again right where he had left off. As a chilly fog came upon the
evening air he decided to move into the lounge for a late drink before turning in.            
          
Just as he stepped to enter the brightly lit lounge he happened to glance at one of the lifeboat docking
stations. He stopped in mid step as a sudden feeling of shock, fear and then desperation overcame him.
His stunned eyes stared for a moment in disbelief. He suddenly realized that he had made the greatest
mistake of his life, a mistake from while there was no recovery for painted on the side of the lifeboat in
large bold lettering were the words R.M.S. Titanic.

End
Time Ripper