Night had fallen over nineteenth century London. A hunched figure in a dark long coat, the collar pulled up and a hood hiding his face, hurried through the darkness. Clouds drifted across the sky obscuring the moon. The figure reached inside his coat and withdrew a short silver sword with a golden hilt.

An ear splitting scream filled the night.

‘Looks like another one of them street urchins ‘as been murdered guvnor.’

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The body lay in the middle of the room; it was a young lady, a look of shock on her face, her eyes staring wildly into space.

‘As far as I am concerned, every single one of them deserves the same fate as her,’ replied the Police Chief grimly.

He was a stout man with a large ginger moustache covering most of his rosy face. His piercing cold, blue eyes inspected the body with obvious distaste.

The heavy oak doors to the room burst open as two men strode in, dressed in matching tweed overcoats and caps.

‘Ah, detectives Evans and Brumbley,’ exclaimed the Chief.

‘Nedler,’ Evans acknowledged the Chief with a slight nod.

Evans was a tall and rather weedy man with calculating eyes behind thick-rimmed glasses. His partner, Brumbley, was a thickset man with close-cropped hair and piggy little eyes.

‘I would like to inspect the weapon used in the murder,’ replied Evans in clipped tones.

‘Of course,’ nodded the Chief.

The sword was brought before Evans, he turned it round and round attentively in his hands, searching for clues, any tiny little bit of evidence left behind by the murderer.

The Chief had lit up the vulgar pipe that he smoked, getting tobacco everywhere.

Evans coughed, he couldn’t find anything, and the murderer was obviously a professional. He sighed, turning towards Brumbley, ‘perhaps that dealer in Smith Street will know something about this sword.’

Brumbley nodded demurely.

‘Yes! Perhaps we will pay him a visit.’

Nedler was fiddling with his moustache apprehensively, frowning. He shook hands with Evans before the two departed. Just as the two detectives were leaving the building Evans noticed that he had tobacco all over his hands. Sighing, he removed a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe his hand clean; it must have been from the Chief.

It was just reaching midday when the two detectives arrived at the little dealers shop.

Evans marched up to the counter and lay the short sword down before the slightly rotund man behind the counter.

‘Can you tell me anything about this item?’ asked Evans curtly.

The man looked at it with slight revelation, ‘Yes, I sold a set of three swords, including this one, just a month ago,’

Evans stiffened up, ‘Whom did you sell them to?’

‘Malignant Turpitude.’

The famed gangster kingpin. He had something to do with almost every crime that went down in London and yet always managed to slip from the polices grasp. He was just too clever.

‘Where will we find him?’

‘The opium den.’

The room was filled with a dense, almost suffocating, cloud of smoke.

They soon found Turpitude in a corner with his servant.

He was extremely thin, almost resembling a twig, his shoulders were hunched and his face was pale and lifeless, the skin hanging loose from his cheekbones.

‘Turpitude,’ grunted Brumbley.

The old man glanced up, ‘detectives! What a pleasant surprise,’ a smile tugged at the corners of his lips.

‘Do you recognise this?’ asked Evans thrusting the sword into Turpitudes face.

‘Hmm… I believe I do.’

‘Well?’ prompted Brumbley.

‘I sold that sword about a week ago,’

‘To who?’

‘A rather portly fellow, he didn’t tell me his name and most of his face was concealed.’

‘What about the other swords?’ Evans queried.

‘I sold them about five minutes ago, to the same fellow in fact.’

‘So he could still be here?’

‘Quite possibly…’ he trailed off. ‘There he is!’

Brumbley spun around, Turpitude was pointing at a figure in a shabby overcoat and a trilby pulled down over his face.

The figure turned and fled when he saw Brumbley charging at him, his head lowered like an angry bull. With a cry the figure stumbled and fell, he was still struggling frantically to get up when Brumbley caught up with him.

‘Well well,’ muttered Evans, strolling over, ‘what have we here?’

Brumbley smirked, hoisting the figure to his feet and pulling the trilby off to reveal a distressed young man.

‘What are you doing? Please don’t hurt me!’ he cried.

‘We are detectives and you have just been condemned to death for murder,’ replied Evans.

‘I’m innocent! Don’t I even get a trial?’ pleaded the young man.

‘Oh please,’ Brumbley retorted.

Brumbley led the young fellow out into the street followed by Evans. The man had an appointment with the gallows in three days.

Inside the opium den a figure huddling in the corner looked up and chuckled. He dropped the resin to the floor and substituted it with a pipe and tobacco from his coat. He got up and left…

Evans and Brumbley departed outside the opium den, Evans with the young man and Brumbley hurrying off in the opposite direction. It had started to rain and it was getting darker.

Evans decided to take the man straight to the Chief to be locked up in the cells. But when he arrived at the station he could not find him anywhere, apparently he had been out all day. He handed the man over to one of the officers on duty and started to make his way home, he was just turning down Southwalk Lane when he saw the body. It lay limp in the gutter, another street urchin, the second sword thrust into his chest. Evans inspected the sword, there was some strange dark substance smeared over the handle.

So they hadn’t caught the murderer, the murderer was still out there somewhere.

Evans hurried back to the station.

Brumbley crossed the river and headed down Temple Street. He kept on glancing over his shoulder to check that he wasn’t being followed, his eyes were restlessly darting from side to side, and his brow was furrowed.

He glanced back once more and then slipped down a dark side alley. He reached the end and pushed open a door in the side of a grotty and decaying building. ‘How could he have let this happen? How could he have let everything get so out of hand?’

He stepped into the building; inside it was dark, damp and dingy. Rats scurried across the floor. Dusk was falling; rain was lashing against the windows. Brumbley hurried over to a little desk in the corner of the room. He had enough evidence to stop all this once and for all, but what would the consequences be for him?

He shook his head; this had gone on for long enough already. There was a sudden clap of thunder and Brumbley shuddered.

As he opened one of the drawers in the desk he noticed something wrong, something missing, but he could not quite figure out what.

A shadow fell across the door, Brumbley spun around and gasped. His pistol.

‘Goodbye…’

Evans was reading the paper the next morning when a headline caught his eye.

MURDER MYSTERY

DETECTIVE FOUND DEAD

In the early hours of this morning Detective Lucas Brumbley was found dead in a warehouse backing onto the Thames.

Brumbley had been shot in the chest early last night. Startled witnesses claim that they heard a loud gunshot then saw a dark figure fleeing the scene shortly afterward. By the time the police had arrived there was no trace of the murderer but an inquest is being launched and any witnesses are urged to come forward.

It is believed that Brumbley was on the case of the murders of the street urchins at the time with his partner Detective John Evans, this murder could not of come at a worse time for Lond-

Evans turned to page eight but it was just more about London’s deteriorating Police force and the increase of crime.

He got up from his chair, the newspaper shaking in his hands. ‘Why had Brumbley been murdered? And why was it just the street urchins being targeted?’

The two questions went round and round in his head. ‘Why did life have to be so complicated?’

Sighing, he put on his overcoat and set off for Temple Street on the other side of the river. He was going to have a look at the warehouse, and buy himself a pistol on the way.

Over in Canary Wharf a new shipment of opium had just arrived. Nedler was waiting for the ship to come in, a lone figure in the docks, his hands in his pockets and his pipe in his mouth.

‘Foul stuff,’ he muttered to himself.

The ships captain approached him, “ere, what ‘appened to ol’ Brumbley?’

‘He proved unreliable,’ Nedler replied stiffly.

‘A full cargo we got today!’ said the captain, shrugging off Nedlers piercing glare.

‘I suppose I can trust you to load all of the opium into the warehouse can’t I?’

‘Yessir.’

‘Good, there are a few documents I need to pick up,’ and with that Nedler turned on his heel and disappeared into the morning mist.

Meanwhile, Evans had picked up a pistol for himself and was making his way to Temple Street. As he was crossing the bridge he was spotted. Nedler was just coming out of a side street when he saw Evans, he froze and Evans hurried past without glancing up. Nedler started to follow the detective with growing trepidation.

Evans soon found the side alley and made his way down it to the door in the wall. Cautiously he pushed it open and made his way in. It took a while for his eyes to get accustomed to the dim light but he managed to pick out the small desk in the corner. He hurried over to it and searched all the draws until he found what he was looking for, a bundle of papers, he began to leaf through them, not quite sure what he was searching for. He gasped. It was…

‘Drop the papers, and don’t try any tricks,’ the voice was layered with menace and venom.

Evans turned around slowly, ‘Nedler, it was you all along,’

Nedler grinned, bending to pick up the papers, ‘fancy you to come snooping around, but yes it was me!’ he rolled the papers up and pushed them into a small crack in the wall.

Evans slowly inched his hand into his pocket, groping around for the pistol.

‘But why?’

‘Well it all started a while back, Brumbley and I were shipping in low-grade opium; we were making a great profit! Horrible stuff opium though, it destroys lives, tears apart families…’

‘So why ship it?’ replied Evans finally getting a grip on the cold steel of the handle, slowly he pulled back the hammer. There was a faint click. Evans heart skipped a beat but Nedler had obviously had not heard for he carried on.

‘Money, it was the perfect plan! But then Brumbley started to have doubts, he was going to tell you everything so I had to dispose of him,’ answered Nedler simply.

‘What about the street urchins?’

‘We hired them to carry the opium for us, but their tongues got a bit loose so I had to dispose of them too; and I suppose I’m going to have to dispose of you now as well.

I congratulate you Evans, you nearly did it, you nearly figured out what was going on!’ and with that he withdrew the final sword from within the depths of his coat.

Evans lifted his hand and fired.

Nedler gasped, his hands grasping at the air and pitched forward. Dead. A dark pool of blood started to form around his body.

Evans knees buckled underneath him and he fell to the floor sobbing.

28 November 1832

THE TIMES

Detective Kills Officer

Chief Police Officer, Michael Nedler, was shot by Detective John Evans late yesterday morning.

The murder took place at the same location as Detective Brumbley’s murder just two days before. The Chief Police Officer was believed to have been investigating the street urchin murders when he was savagely attacked by the detective. He was shot in the chest by the detective who also had a knife on him at the time matching the ones used in the street urchin murders. He was in hysterics when he was found.

The detective has now been held responsible for his partners (Brumbley) and the street urchins deaths as well as the Police Chiefs and has been locked up.

This series of events has proved what a state the police force of London is in. But with the capture of this immoral, malevolent, cold and heartless

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