Josephine by @Tamoja

195 26 46

"Pick up the damn saw Josephine


"Pick up the damn saw Josephine. The body has to be ready by six!"

Josephine took her hands out of the pockets of her apron and walked closer to the table in the center of the room. Cascading over its edge, the long dark hair of the dead woman dangled just above the draining bucket. Her face uncovered revealed plain features and slack muscles. Josephine looked closer noticing that even in death she looked haggard and old. This was the face of a Whitechapel occupant, here even the young wore the look of struggle.

Josephine picked up the hacksaw- noting the leftover bits between the blades not cleaned from the last corpse he'd worked on, Mr. Klein. The Jewish man who used to be a baker before the tank on the economy sent him and his family here to the slum. She shivered at the feel of the cold metal in her hand and put it in her father's wrinkled shaky palm.

"Who was she?" Her voice came out raspy, wavering, mousy. She cast her eyes down to the pan. Thick viscous blood had congealed together and a thin shiny skim covered the top.

"Nobody. A street whore." His words were gruff and hurried and even from across the body they assaulted her nose with the smell of rum leftover on his breath from last night.

Josephine balled her fists and held her temper. There was no reasoning with him in a mood like this. If it were a woman from the street he probably knew her. Which would explained his leftover stupor and cranky attitude. Ever since mum died giving birth to little Jack he'd been spending every bit and pence he made on the Whitechapel strip. Between the bars and the girls they barely had enough to put food on the table.

She left the topic alone and walked toward the head of the long metal table gazing down at the woman. The eyes, empty and glazed, were rimmed with red and splattered in veins. Purple splotches gathered across her cheeks a deep wide gash ran across the width of her throat.

"Goodness me, is her throat cut?"

Instead of an answer he hissed at her and began sawing across the sternum. The weighted screech of metal against bone traveling down Josephine's spine and causing her mouth to lose every bit of moisture and fill with the taste of bitter acid.

"Just like you Jo, always seeing the obvious. That's why you'll never be anything more than what you are now, a leech bleeding me dry...the key to this business isn't in what you see, it's all about what ya don't see."

"So she didn't get her throat cut?" She knew better than to start idle nervous chattering when he was working but she couldn't help herself. She wanted the story from his mind, to know what he thought and felt and believed.

"Of course she has you idiot. But... that doesn't mean it's what killed her." He flipped back the sheet and tossed it on the floor. The tip of it landing in the drain pan of blood as it slowly began soaking up the dark red syrupy liquid.

Josephine peeled her eyes from the floor and tried to see what her father did. . A wide choppy incision so unlike her father's precise cuts gaped and winked as he yanked at the bone with one hand and pushed the saw with the other.

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