An enormous ear-piecing scream broke the deathly silence of the night. Footsteps echoed along the narrow street, loud and fast paced as they raced along the street. It was a woman running along the cobbled road crying for help, her face wet from tears that ran down her face, and dark streaks from the mascara that once framed her eyes. She knew perfectly well that people could hear her calls for help, but with the events of recent weeks, nobody dared to leave their houses. Midnight was fast approaching. The woman stopped running for a split second to re-catch her breath. It was another cold night, and her breath could be seen in the darkness before her face; the only light given from the full moon watching her in the clear sky above.
‘Help me, please… anybody…!’
The young woman stopped in the doorway of one of the inns and began banging on the large old oak door; but nobody answered. Finally as the woman was beginning to admit defeat a gentleman emerged from the shadows and grabbed her by the arm.
‘What is the matter my dear?’ the tall man asked, his voice low and stern but the woman could see concern displayed across his handsome face. She gasped with shock at the sudden arrival of the man. The woman tried hastily to tell the man what the matter was but she could not speak. Her hysterical screams and running had caused her difficulty breathing and she could not get out the words. She simply grabbed the man’s hand and led him back along the cobbled street. The gentleman did not speak as he was whisked along the deserted street, his perfectly polished shoes clattering along the cobbles as he took large strides to keep up with the woman’s slow running.
The frost was beginning to set onto the cobblestoned road and the small windows that lined along the street began to sparkle in the moonlight. The small street was not very wide and got narrower still the further they ran along. Coming towards the end she pointed down a small passage between two buildings. A street sign named the alley as Tate Hill. The man paused; he knew that this minor passage lead straight onto a small beach, and a dead end. What horrors was he about to be faced with?
The man made his way down the passage; and wearily peered his head around the corner towards the small sandy beach, before he fully emerged into the open. The beach looked deserted and he slowly made his way along the sand. The beach sparkled in the moonlight, as if tiny diamonds were spread along the ground, leading down to the edge of the water, which was unnaturally calm for early February.
The tall man looked to his left. Whitby harbour was in darkness; the street lights had not been lit for weeks. Nobody had been seen after dark for such long time.
Suddenly the man spotted the outline of a woman lying motionless by the water’s edge. He ran to her side and immediately saw the horrific injuries that lay upon her. Her elegant dress was torn in numerous places; it was dirty and had small splatters of blood around the shoulders. The woman, who was clearly no older than 20, had severe bruises on her neck and arms; her hair was wet as the gentle tide crashed over it.
The man jumped unexpectedly as a hand grabbed his shoulder. It was the hysterical woman who had finally caught her breath and was able to talk.
‘Do you know this woman?’ he asked calmly.
‘She is called Mae, or at least that’s what we all knew her as,’ the woman replied, her voice trembling with fear as her eyes scanned the deserted beach.
‘What do you mean by, that’s what we knew her as?’ the gentleman quizzed. ‘Is she not from around here?’
The woman looked uneasy; she clearly did not know how to respond to this question.
‘Well you see sir… she is a streetwalker; although she hasn’t been around that long, so nobody really got to know her.’ She stopped abruptly and looked at the gentleman with wide guilty eyes. The tall man could tell that the women he spoke to was also a street walker, and in the current situation decided against questioning her any further on the matter.
Turning his attention back to the woman who lay on the ground he noticed something in her mouth, peeking between her lips. Gently the man removed the item to take a better look. It was a card, the size of a regular playing card. On the back it showed the silhouette of a large black dog, and on the front it displayed only one letter: D. It was painted on in a dark thick red liquid. Blood.
‘Oh no!’ the man said out loud. ‘Not again’. The fragile woman appeared at his side to see what he had found. Upon seeing the item her eyes widened and she looked at the man with horror. A moments’ silence passed as they looked at one and other, both unsure what to say next.
‘I thought you had caught this man, Detective,’ the woman hissed with pain in her voice.
‘I thought you were saying only this morning to the Gazette that the man responsible for these crimes was sat in your custody?’
The tall man froze and could not speak; he just gazed at the card with a puzzled look on his face.
‘Well,’ demanded the woman, ‘what is happening here Detective Matthews?’ She gave him a sharp probe with her finger.
Detective Matthews blinked harshly as he moved his stare from the card to look at the woman, her face filled with anticipation.
‘Well, Detective?’ she asked again, looking angrier as she waited for a response.
The detective inhaled loudly and returned his gaze to the woman lying on the ground before him, avoiding eye contact with the woman with whom he spoke.
‘I think my dear; I have arrested the wrong man.’
To continue reading Whitby's Darkest Secret visit Amazon where you can purchase your copy on Kindle or Paperback