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Recently we have found a case which is rather startling in the archive. It sheds light on many facets of Merrylin and how he interacted with those around him, and his collection. The case was alluded to in a diary dated the year of 1888. Much of the diary until around June details various expeditions or organising various trades, sales and acquisitions through his longtime henchman, Hoxton Butcher. The diary changes quite dramatically around june of 1888. It is an important diary as it includes many mentions of the fabled “Alabast” – an item that appears to allow Merrylin to witness and even move through different facets of reality. It also appears to be sentient. Whether you believe this or not, is immaterial. The words speak for themselves.
Thomas was living in London at the time, in a house close to Gower street and the university there. He had begun making inquiries into the possibility of taking his collection to America, under the guise of raising awareness of his research. In truth his desire to tour the collection was far from this, he wished to provoke various individuals, secretive folk who could aid him in his ultimate goal. This goal is still a little vague to us, but in actual fact begins to make a lot more sense now that we have this diary.
He was awaiting replies from various correspondents, when he received a series of bizarre letters. The first letter was received the morning of June 15th, and in broken scrawl wrote
“They will know of five, you can do nothing”
The second letter was not a physical letter, but a dream that Merrylin recorded. Merrylin was very interested in the concepts of transcendental thought and out of body experiences and often spoke of “dreams of kadath” – an unconscious state of mind which took the form of a landscape, traversable in REM sleep. He writes that a woman, whose face was blank, gave him a letter that read,
“Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.””
Merrylin wrote that this letter was as real as any given to him in the material world, we have a hand written version of this, which I assume is written by Merrylin. The final letter at the time is a physical letter, dated 21st June, and reads “My dear friend, climbing the echelons of existence, how lofty we feel here, how free we are to traverse. You are not the only one my friend, and I offer this to you, five will be known, none of which you will save”
Now it is important to mention that over the last few years we have begun to put together a record of Merrylins life and movements and various important occurrences in his life that are raised time and time again. One of the most prominent is Emily. Her name is mentioned, or invoked in such a way that it is almost a spiritual necessity. Despite much evidence to support it, we believe Emily was his sister, and that she died at the same time as his father. Merrylin writes fondly of his father but in such a way that begs the question of whether this is a forceful rewrite of the past, to cover the many shortcomings of Edward Merrylin. Edward was a violent drunk and although he raised Thomas well, and took him on many trips, our knowledge of his life with Thomas is from Thomas’s mouth. Colleagues of Edward speak very differently of Edward. A chauvinist, arrogant, head strong, and depraved, Edward was not a good man. Emily’s death has never been looked into a great deal, but it is starting to become more clear that much of Merrylins state of mind, and indeed life long journeys are pinned to his elusive sibling. To the point where we begin to understand that the collection, and all its eccentricities, are merely the bi-product of some greater goal, that points towards Emily.
This case is something different, its contents is somewhat disturbing, and poignant. Thankfully we have Thomas’s own words on this entire tale, and I will leave it to him to explain himself.
The dreams I have been having of late have now culminated. I sought the Alabast for the key. I have walked the planes of unknown Kadath in search of my correspondent, and although I feel his presence (I am assured he is a “he”) he remains elusive. I have read this morning of an event that has not shocked me, for I knew it was to come. The images of the fallen women in the streets of Whitechapel were clear to me days before her death, and yet I sit here, pen in hand, and I know I am not helpless. It is not a journey I look forward to, but I have conversed with the Alabast at length of what I will encounter and it believes that my sheer will of survival will assure me safe return. I leave shortly to undo this wrong.
November 11th, 1888
I write this after the events beginning on the evening of August 31st, 1888. It has been weeks since i have requested that of the alabast and with anxiety pressed on.
I am told that what lies beyond the event horizon that envelopes me each time I travel has the destructive power of a thousand suns, and that I would find something similar within the depths of a collapsed star. The Alabast calls it a singularity. Which is apt, i had a singular reason for taking this step into the breach. It seems like nothing more than magic as I felt the shimmer of reality spasm around me, the quakes of temporal bonds being broken, my own chrono displacement sending shockwaves through the aetheric miasma of causality. I was undone – and remade on the cobbles of Bucks row, two days into the past. I vomited uncontrollably. The nausea was almost unbearable, and then, as if it were nothing but a trifle, the Alabast dissolved some antiemetic into my bloodstream, and the sickness of my excursion resolved. I steadied myself, patted myself down and walked towards the place etched into my cerebrum.
I saw it before I even knew what I was looking for. He stood over her and he was blackness. Like strands of oil in water, his movements fluid, swift and disturbing. I had seen entities move like this before, the ancient Vampyr of the Order of Crasc, even the wanderer Nyarlathotep whose pirouettes are both beautiful and visceral. Yet this thing – I knew this thing, and it did not care that I watched it. In fact, as its knife cut her flesh, there was some theatrical quality to it all, as though it wished to impress me. It is only in this moment that i realise I was unable to move. The Alabast sent out tendrils to investigate why – my brain was forming marked levels of anesthesia within my blood stream, chemicals that my body could not manufacture. The Alabast attempted to offer an antidote. I struggled to move forward, and as I did so the entity completed its work. It moved sideways, crab like, without taking a stride, its very essence seemed to knit with the shadows that fell from the adjacent building. It looked up at me, and I saw a face. I knew this face! I continued to strain against that which plagued my senses, towards the poor victim that lay upon the floor, her body ragged. The entity smiled keenly through frightening teeth, and then without time for my eyes to notice, was gone.
I looked down upon the body of Mary Ann Nichols. I was not helpless. I lifted my hand and saw the weave of causality, I teased it back upon itself, back away from this, and I stood like an unmovable obstacle as events played out, I turned her away from her choices, like the hand of a god, and the events of that night melted away.
I returned to my home and awoke with a feeling of completion.
I spent the early hours sifting through my archives and files pertaining to people of power and interest. The face I saw was known to me, and I soon found the culprit. James Maybrick, a cotton merchant from Liverpool. This is the man who attempted to take the life of that poor girl, this is the man I sought. I acquainted myself with his movements and readied myself for a journey. He had a mistress in Whitechapel and stayed with her whilst in town. I proposed to make my way to this place and confront him. I do not know what he had invoked to allow such bizarre and inhuman abilities. The Alabast could offer me nothing and so I was forced to take my own armoury of wit and knowledge and rain down upon him.
To my terror and confusion, the streets were awash with fear, the murder took place despite my efforts. The girl was dead. Her name remained the same, he did not kill again, I was forlorn. I boarded my handsome cab and went directly to this man, this James Maybrick, yet he was no where to be seen. His mistress knew nothing of him, and I saw bafflement and unknowing in her eyes. Like someone snuffed him from existence, James Maybrick never was, and yet upon my table, photographs, bills of sale, he was a person! The murderer of Whitechapel. I returned home with little hope.
I spent the day collecting information, the Alabast painted a timeline of events yet to come, I made little sense of this confluence of possible outcomes, universes that existed for moments and then ended as decisions or moments or events no longer allowed them to form. The multiverse was still something intangible to me, and I could not yet find the mental capacity to comprehend the concept of space time. Yet the Alabast could collect this information, simplify it and offer me possibilities. It assured me one thing, in all universes, another girl would die at the hands of this thing.
Murder was rife in East London, the ghettos of Whitechapel were thick with crime, of passion and hatred as much as madness. Illness, destitution, these brought men and women to their bitter end before, during and after those that would fall at the hands of this particular malice, but my drive to seek this murderer was within my grasp. Emily is out of each, and yet this taker of lives was here, now. And I could stop this, with these abilities I have been endowed with. I could do this.
It was the 8th september. The smell of horse manure was heavy, the streets almost empty, men drunkenly stumbled home, singing out in raucous inebriation. I could hear a policeman’s whistle, a distant island of safety. it was 5.40 am, cold, dark and unforgiving. amidst the dark and dank, I saw her, buffeted like a rag doll by ashen columns of dust or soot or smog, curling around her. To look at it was to feel a nausea and pain inside I could not bear. She was within the clutches of whatever foulness I hunted. I moved towards it, and she saw me, she gagged as she clawed out towards me, and again I felt that numbing inability to walk, yet I had planned for this. The Alabast began to flood my body with unknown qualities that acted as a counter agent and my stride was strong, With assuredness I drew my pistol and aimed at the thing before me. With horror and in moments I shall never forget, the pace of reality sped to some unholy animation – his cuts and trophies taken with inhuman speed. In one moment, a face, his face – not that of James Maybrick, but another, a face I had also seen before, what trickery was this? but soon, before me lay her corpse, and the blackness was gone.
My despair was palpable. In the weeks that followed I spent every day and night searching for some kind of understanding of this enigma, this penumbra that seemed to haunt me. I delved into theories and mechanics I knew so little of. I took myself beyond the fringes of sanity, plunging deep into future times lines to scour my own memories to come, I met with men and women who cowered in my own presence for I was now the unknown wanderer, but I returned, empty handed. The face I had seen this time – that of shunned quack doctor and woman hater Francis Tumblety, a man I had encountered in an Opium den in New york years beforehand. Had this been the face of my ripper? With each night I indulged in narcotic fueled dreams in hope of some communication with it, yet the apparition continued to be unknown to me. Another night came forth and I stood in its line of sight, my bullets and incantations bounced off it like so much dust. It was immune to my efforts, and with each encounter a new face, and with each night I rewound his deeds and blocked the victims choices to walk down those darkened allies. Each morning I rose to more death. If I stopped the killer, a new killer would take his place. This was no more a person than a will. Was I dealing with a force of nature? I had battled gods in my time, the most vile of horned and alien, I had gathered magik of the most heinous and undone the many wretched corridors from which sickly and repugnant malevolences crawled. But this! Oh this was something else entirely.
The morning of september 11th I was greeted by a letter. The letter spoke volumes. It was now apparent that whatever this thing was, it wanted my attention and that in some small way I felt these murders, and my attempts to stop them, were games for this thing. It could have killed me at any moment, yet instead it let me watch and then feebly claw at reality in an attempt to stop it- a far worse fate perhaps.
Yet despite the malevolence, it was this letter that brought almost a smile to my face, how could I have been so blind? I took the letter to my bureau and removed the previous letter received; the handwriting was the same, and yet in that was the key. The handwriting. It seemed that the initial letter held some awkwardness in its penmanship, as though whatever had written it had forgotten its grasp of not only writing, but of a pen itself. it was erratic and uncomfortable to read. Yet the second letter was immaculate. One would say as good as my own.
The letter asked me to attend the lodging of one Mary Kelly at Millers Court, Whitechapel in the early hours of the 9th of November. I did not know what would befall me yet I was intrigued with morbid fascination. My inner monologue with the Alabast offered many ideas and I formulated a plan. It wanted an audience, therefor perhaps my answers finally offered. The intricacies of the alabast and its ability to occupy many facets of space-time gave us a number of possible alternative universes, with much effort, I would attend this meeting with the same arsenal as that which had thwarted me.
I was in a state of heightened sensation, events unfolded like plot points in some tense performance, i saw interactions and stole conversations before they occurred, seeing beyond that which lay before me. I was experiencing a number of possible outcomes, a skill I would later perfect. But it was inconsequential. My every move was already anticipated, and my entrance to the abode of one Mary Kelly was greeted with the saddest sight of my life.
I could see her every struggle, every attempt at rescue or escape. The display upon my retina of every distinct potential ruined and torn asunder, upon the bed her bloody remains.
He stood before me, half made of the stuttering shadows cast beyond the dwindling fire. The smell of blood and the terrible depravity before me made me wince. I steadied myself, and shrank against the wall. It wiped its knife against itself, no discernible clothing could be made out, just a face, cold and inhuman. I spoke out with a shaky croak. “why, god damn it, why! Show yourself you fiend!”
It looked up at me and the sharpness of that face scared me, I saw not one face but many faces, as the mechanism of the Alabast showed me every possible face that could now inhabit this form. I saw faces and names rise and wither – Walter Sickert, Aaron Kominski, even the the guise of Prince Albert Victor morphed like fluid upon the facade of this thing, but soon the faces fell away, only to be left with one face.
I looked at it and in this moment, it made perfect sense. I knew the handwriting on the letter was my own but had not seen it for the childlike inaccuracies, yet the later letter was clear, the tells were altogether obvious. I looked at this shadow before me and saw all that I knew in it. It was hollow, cold and unfeeling, and it craved something it had lost long ago. I sat down on the floor and it looked at me with its own confusion. As though somehow it had realised its own folly. I spoke.
“I guess it is somewhat obvious, that a man, given the power of a god, would somehow, somewhen, with in all possibility, turn that power to something as worthless and pathetic as playing Devil. What was it for? was it for me? did you want to show me my potential, or is it all just a game, for an old god run out of ideas?
The thing looked in me, it searched me for some kernel of fear, myself and the alabast felt its malign threads rooting through every thought for something, and i felt it, felt it within me, and when it found what it was looking for, it cried out. This was the potential of one path for me. It had spent a billion years looking for Emily, and had, at some point, forgotten what it was, what I was. What it was even looking for. And in me it had found that memory. I looked at it and smiled. “Do you remember her now? Do you remember why we did all of this?”
It looked back “I am the highest point of existence, I am the father of all of this, your petty whims are nothings, empty of the vehemence I hold within me. I knew this time, I had seen these events, all the possibilities, and how I was back then, all the enthusiasm and fortitude to go out looking for some answer. I remember solving these murders myself. I remember seeing his face as I drove his own knife into his stomach and tore his throat open for what he had done. I felt his warm blood on my hands and in that moment I felt a satisfaction that I had not felt, in all those years searching for Emily, all those discoveries, walking amongst the Lycan clans of Norway, or the ruined city Eldorado, witnessing the herds of Brachiosaur migrate on the lost plateau – in all of that I had never sated that lust, until the moment I took the rippers life. But it wasn’t justice I felt, it was blood. For all my wandering, and all my forgetfulness, I never forgot that moment. So I came back to find you, inhabiting the body of this lost soul with his bag of knives to see that boy, me, the child with the sentient artefact buried in his thorax, giving him a taste of the possibilities to come, and when I saw you, I saw the vigor and vitality I so missed. Yes I forgot Emily, but I knew there was a girl, a girl to fill the void, and in this I found my fill. So these girls were for you Thomas, I wanted you to see the blood, see it and feel it on your skin and know what it is to feel life in your hands. But what did you do? you tried to stop me! And now i know.”
I spoke up, “You know I am not the same as you. I am not that person. And now I never will be. You sealed your own fate!”
I sat back and lay the length and breadth of the multiverse before me, looking at the many layers of causality that lay with every move, every facet. I saw the branches that could lead to this monstrosity. It would take me perhaps a lifetime to end him, but it would be feasible, because I would live forever.
And in that moment, it looked at me with a sense of contentment, perhaps aware of what it had become, or some unseen foreboding i could not yet see. And then it was gone. At some point in the deep future I had ended it. But my task was not over.
The body of the man it had inhabited collapsed on the floor. This man, the true ripper, the man who had no preternatural ability, simply a sick mind and motivation to inflict misery. I stooped over him and saw that whoever it was, was still alive, although his mind was a quivering mess. I dragged him and his possessions from the house. I was not a strong man, but I dragged him out to my handsome and took him to the shores of the Thames. Once there I removed a whistle from my breast pocket and uttered the words“whistle and I’ll come to thee my lad.” I blew upon the tiny tin pipe and watched as the knotted water eddied upwards into the visage of a human, it looked upon me with hunger and I kicked at the body before me. “All yours”
With ribbons of stinking brown effluent for limbs, It dragged the man down into the inky depths. He would suffer for all time on the brink of death. There were still some malevolent entities I had ultimate power over. I returned to my home and took out a new diary to record the events of these past months. I am now more steadfast in my task to find Emily, and will go to the end of the universe to find her. But I now know my limits.
I keep the rippers box of tricks as a reminder of my own humanity. I don’t know the significance of this case. My fondness for keepsakes and boxes is before me. Was this the work of the ripper or “me who could have been?” I believe it is both. I see my handwriting within this case – diagrams of intention, mathematics I do not recognise. It is clear at some point, I lost the Alabast, but gained some new ability to move through time. So much is unknown.
I returned to the house of Mary kelly and with all my might tried to undo what he had done. I failed. I sat and cried for some time, with exhaustion and sorrow for those who had fallen. I would never become that thing, neither it nor the man he had occupied, the man who was all too human, whose namesake did not even touch the depths of the monster he had been. These women’s lives had been so very hard, but what right did he have to take them? No right at all.”
So much is revealed in this it is hard to know where to begin. We are now aware of Thomas’s relationship with Emily – that his work is far greater than the some of its parts. We know that in some alternative history, he caught the ripper and killed him, although if we are to believe what he writes, this man befell a fate worthy of his crimes. Yet of this future self, the malevolence – was this the result of the Alabast, which we are told from this letter that it is “buried in his thorax”. What is this thing, and where did it come from? Fascinating stuff.