Legacy of the Ripper – Brian L. Porter, Author

July 27, 2009 at 10:42 pm (Crime Novels, historical, mystery, Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )


 

Legacy of  the Ripper

 

‘Does violent death have a name? Can evil truly be born into the world, evil so deep that it is bred into the genetic make-up of an individual? Until I came to this place and met the man who made me begin to suspect that such an evil could exist, I’d have been as dismissive as most of my profession at the prospect of such a possibility… Dr. Ruth Truman, Psychiatrist.’

Porter’s book A Study in Red tells about the Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper. As the story goes, Robert Cavendish, who was a psychiatrist in modern day, received the journal from his father, who received it from his father, who received it from his father. The original Cavendish was also a psychiatrist who had a patient he found to be no other than the famous Jack the Ripper. Thus began the story of A Study in Red – The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper.

After Robert Cavendish’s death the journal was passed on to his nephew Jack Reid.
Upon receiving his “legacy” Jack’s life becomes twisted in what will be known by modern day London as the “The Brighton Ripper Case.” Murders are taking place following the same pattern as those of the original Jack the Ripper.

Wright and Holland have worked the case from the first murder. With the help of Alice Nickels, who is a “Ripperologist,” a plan is set to capture the modern day Ripper hopefully before he strikes again. This plan ends with the capture, trial and institutionalization of Jack Reid. But did he really commit these gruesome murders? If so, did he do it alone? He insists that there were others that actually set him up and committed the murders. He even admitted to having received the journal and to the effect reading it had upon him. The police believe the journal never existed but was instead a fixation of his distorted imagination. So after Jack’s removal from society and the murders ceasing, it appears that the police really have found and caught their man. But what happened to the journal and legacy? Will the present owner, whoever it might be, pick up where Jack supposedly left off? Read Legacy of the Ripper and find out for yourself. I think you will be as surprised as I was.

Excerpt:

In the Beginning

In the year 1888, in what became known as ‘The Autumn of Terror’ a series of killings took place in the East End of London, which shook not only the people of the capital of the greatest empire the modern world has known, but reached into the lives of the population of the whole country as the murderer prowled at will through the dark, crime-ridden streets of Whitechapel, where he murdered and mutilated his victims, seemingly at will. The police appeared helpless in their search for this brazen and sadistic killer who history has recorded forever under the name by which he soon became known, Jack the Ripper!
As the body count grew, more and more police officers were assigned to the case and the largest manhunt England had ever seen was launched in a bid to bring the murderer to justice. Despite such action, and the questioning of dozens of potential suspects, no arrests were made in the case, and the speculation as to the identity of the Ripper began, and has continued to this day. Was he a single man, a loner, or could he have been a married man with a family of his own. Did he have children? Could his genes have been passed down by the heredity of birth through the years, thus allowing his descendants to walk among us, unknown and unknowing of their own ghastly and murderous heritage?
Many theories have been propounded over the years. Was he a doctor, a lunatic, a woman-hating member of the Jewish community, or was ‘Jack the Ripper’ a convenient cover name for a group of two or more killers operating as part of some great Masonic plot, or, perhaps the most outlandish theory of all, a member of the Royal family?
It’s likely that the identity of the world’s first officially recognised serial killer will remain a hidden secret, never to be revealed, and the only thing we can say for certain is that Jack the Ripper died a very long time ago, and thus his reign of terror ended with his passing…or did it?
 
My Name is Jack, A Statement by the Patient.

When did it start? That’s what they all want to know. Doctor Ruth is always asking me:
“When did it start? What are your earliest recollections of these feelings?”
I keep telling her the same as I’m telling you all now. It’s hard to put a time or a place on when it began, though I was young, very young, maybe four or five years old when I first realised I was ‘different’ to other children of my age. Even then I knew that my life was mapped out ahead of me, that I had a destiny to fulfil. At such a tender age, of course, it was impossible for me to comprehend what that destiny was.  Only much later did I realise that I was being guided by a hand far more powerful than mine, one whose intelligence and guile was such that I had no doubts, when the time came, of the course of action I must take.
I was different you see, different from all of those children who made my life a misery, the ones who called me names because I didn’t want to join in their silly games, or take part in stupid group activities after school. When I was very young, I didn’t know that I held the power and the means within me to put an end to their taunting and name calling. Only when I reached the age of nine did I suddenly make a stand against those silly, laughing, taunting voices. That was the day when a group of children cornered me in the school playground, out of sight of the watchful teachers and playground assistants. Somehow, they’d heard about my regular visits to the child psychologist. My going in itself wasn’t a secret of course. They all knew that I had to attend regular doctor’s appointments, but, as happens from time to time, word spread around the school about the real reason for my appointments.
“Bloodsucker, Dracula, do you eat your meat raw, Jack Reid?” they shouted in a cacophony of screeching, childish screams.
“He’s a vampire, he sucks the blood from living cats, that’s what I’ve heard,” screeched Andrew Denning, one of the ringleaders of the haranguing group.
“You’re a weirdo, Reid, that’s what you are,” Camilla Hunt shouted in my face.
I’d had enough. As Denning came closer to scream in my face once again, I waited until he was within touching distance, and, quick as a flash, I grabbed my tormentor with both hands, one either side of his face, and pulled him close to me. He struggled as I bent my head to the side and the others screamed in panic, but no-one came to his aid as my teeth sunk deeply into his flesh, biting hard on the tender mass of sinews and muscle that made up his ear. That was when the loudest scream of all erupted, this time from Andrew Denning himself, as I pulled my head back from his to reveal a large chunk of his ear still stuck between my teeth. Blood pumped from the side of the boy’s head and the other children stood screaming, rooted to the spot in their fear and fascination. In seconds the sound of an adult voice could be heard shouting,
“What’s all this commotion? If you boys have been fighting I’ll….Oh my God! Jack! What have you done?”
Miss Plummer almost fainted on the spot, but, to her credit, she maintained her equilibrium enough to send two of the other children running for help. How she did it I can’t remember, but she made me open my mouth long enough for her to retrieve the bitten remains of Andrew Denning’s ear, which she quickly wrapped in a handkerchief she pulled from a pocket in the side of her skirt. The others were quickly dismissed and Miss Plummer stayed with me and Andrew, who continued to scream until another teacher arrived and escorted him away. Soon afterwards a car disappeared through the school gates carrying the injured boy to the hospital. I learned afterwards that the doctors had sewn what they could of his ear back together, but in truth it would never look right again, and Andrew Denning I’m sure will never forget our encounter. I say that because I only heard these things second-hand. After that incident the headmaster summoned my parents to the school and I was removed from that particular place of education and sent to what is laughingly called a ‘special school’, where children with ‘special needs’ are taught. I thought it odd at the time, that no-one really seemed to appreciate what my own peculiar ‘special needs’ were.
It wasn’t until much later that I would begin to realise just where my life was heading, and what I was destined to fulfil, just after my eighteenth birthday in fact, my ‘coming of age’ as they call it. That was when things really began to fall into place in my mind, and that is why you and all those who follow you, and Doctor Ruth especially, will never, ever forget me. I’m sorry, I’ve been remiss. Perhaps I should introduce myself before going any further. My name is Jack, Jack Thomas Reid, and this is the letter that began everything that transpired after that fateful day when I received my legacy from Uncle Robert.

To my dearest nephew, Jack,

This testament, the journal, and all the papers that accompany it are yours upon my death, as they became mine upon my father’s death. Your Aunt Sarah and I were never fortunate enough to have children of our own, so it is with a heavy heart that I write this note to accompany these pages. Had I any alternative, I would spare you the curse of our family’s deepest secret, or perhaps I should say, secrets! Having read what you are about to read, I had neither the courage to destroy it, nor to reveal the secrets contained within these pages. I beg you, as my father begged me, to read the journal and the notes that go with it, and be guided by your conscience and your intelligence in deciding what course of action to take when you have done so. Whatever you decide to do, dear nephew, I beg you, do not judge those who have gone before you too harshly, for the curse of the journal you are about to read is as real as these words I now write to you.

Be safe, Jack, but be warned.

Your loving uncle,

Robert

As for the rest, I suggest you go and talk to Doctor Ruth. She’s the expert after all.

 
Chapter 1
A Career Move

Does violent death have a name? Can evil truly be born into the world, evil so deep that it is bred into the genetic make-up of an individual? Until I came to this place, and met the man who made me begin to suspect that such an evil could exist, I’d have been as dismissive as most of my profession at the prospect of such a possibility.
My name is Ruth Truman, and this, I suppose is my confession, my testament to the failure of all I’ve tried to do, of all I’ve stood for since the day I took the Hippocratic oath on becoming a physician, a healer, one who makes people better when they’re ill, who cures disease and puts a healthy smile back on the face of those who are beset by illness.
My career was always a fast track to the specialisation I’d chosen while at Medical School in London, and so, today, I’m a psychiatrist, and as such am charged with administering treatment to patients who suffer from some of the most dreadful and least understood diseases that afflict us as human beings, diseases of the mind. My career, until recently, has been one of unqualified success, as I rose through the ranks of my profession with almost indecent haste, becoming a senior consultant psychiatrist in one of our country’s largest teaching hospitals at the age of just forty one. My work with the most difficult of patients, and with those suffering from some of the lesser known but perhaps most interesting of psychiatric illnesses, in particular bipolar disease, more commonly known as manic depression and some of the more obscure dissociative disorders, led eventually to me being offered the post of Senior Consultant at one of the largest secure psychiatric hospital facilities in the United Kingdom. In this enlightened age of course, we now refer to such places as ‘Special Hospitals’ rather than the old institutional type of description which would once have been applied to such a facility.
No, in our politically-correct, pre-packaged, health and safety orientated nation of today, the word ‘asylum’ no longer has a place, and perhaps rightly so. Those who are incarcerated, or should I say treated in the hospital are no longer referred to as ‘inmates’ but are now simply ‘patients’. These patients, of course, by nature of the acts they committed that led to their confinement at Ravenswood, are some of the most dangerous individuals our society can produce. As such they must be treated with the utmost respect in terms of ensuring the safety of those who have to work in close proximity to the assorted rapists, murderers, arsonists and serial criminals of every variety whom the courts have chosen to label as being of unsound mind. Quite often, those patients can, of course, be a danger not only to those who must care for them, but also to their fellow inmates, er, sorry, patients, and occasionally to themselves. The number of incidences of attempted self-harm in a hospital such as Ravenswood are far higher than might be supposed by those on the outside. With the greatest of care and supervision that we can provide, a determined individual will always find a way to inflict grievous harm upon themselves, occasionally with fatal consequences. Such events are, thankfully, a rarity, as most patients are found and treated before they are able to complete the act of suicide.
This then, is the powder keg environment into which are cast a selection of the most damaged members of our society, mentally speaking. As doctors and nurses, the staff must be constantly vigilant and on their guard when dealing with such individuals, and while some achieve their goal of an eventual release from their incarceration in the hospital, others, not so lucky, may find themselves living out the long years of their natural lives within the confines of Ravenswood and other facilities of its kind. We have a number of other staff, not medically qualified, but who in any other similar environment might just be referred to as guards. These men and women are members of the prison service and assigned to take care of the additional security necessary for the calm and efficient running of such a high risk establishment. Without their presence, the ‘patients’ might just end up inflicting terrible harm on both staff and fellow inmates of the hospital, and pandemonium would reign.

#

The man whose tale I wish to relate, the man who has driven me to doubt the profession and the ethics that I have given my life to, shows no outward sign of being the proverbial monster, the thing of evil, the beast that I henceforth profess him to be. In truth, Jack Reid is one of the most handsome young men I have ever met. He has the good looks of youth, a cheerful and, at times, most charming disposition, and his fair hair and blue eyes, combined with his warm and gentle smile are such that the man is capable of ‘charming the birds from the trees’ to quote a much used colloquialism. At a little under six feet tall, he has the advantage of height over me, being a mere five feet two, but I have to admit that the towering young man has never used his size to try to intimidate me in any of our meetings. Jack Reid is politeness itself.
When I first arrived here, Jack had been a patient within these walls for just over a month. Not one of the three doctors who’d attempted to ‘connect’ with the sad and unhappy young man he was at that time had managed even a modicum of success. Jack Reid had been found guilty by reason of insanity of a series of three murders of innocent young women in and around the Brighton area. His barrister had successfully pleaded at the trial that, as Jack had no recollection of having committed the murders, which had been borne out by intensive pre-trail psychiatric examinations by a series of respected psychiatric consultants, then it would be impossible to convict him of ‘wilful’ murder. It was put forward by the prosecution that Jack had committed the murders whilst on a form of ‘fugue state’, almost a trance, or while undergoing a personality change wrought by a deep psychotic disorder, a severe schizoid episode.  Jack’s story, however, was very different and regarded as being so improbable that no-one, least of all the police and the prosecution, gave much credence to it at the time. That story, incredible though it may appear at times, forms the basis of much that I wish to record here.
A ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ plea was rejected by the judge, who directed the jury to disregard any such option when arriving at their verdict. Jack Reid, although apparently having no knowledge of his actions at the time he’d committed the slayings, was sufficiently aware of his crimes that he did all he could to cover up the murders after committing each of the killings. He said, and the psychiatrists who examined him believed him sufficiently to accept this, that he’d woken as if from a dream at each of the death scenes, and, knowing that he must be the one responsible for the scenes of mayhem he encountered, and not wanting to be caught and punished he therefore did his best to evade the due process of law. At other times he contradicted this story, saying that he didn’t kill the girls, that someone else was responsible, which is where the most elaborate and unbelievable part of his story came in, and which we will focus on quite soon. This illogical and a times pitiful changing from one story to another probably helped the judge to decide there was enough evidence regarding the accused mental state that a conviction could be made on the grounds stated by the prosecution counsel, and the jury agreed.
How could a man commit such crimes and yet have no knowledge of them, while at the same time take all reasonable steps to avoid apprehension and prosecution? Something about the case of Jack Reid caused sufficient consternation for him to be committed to Ravenswood, the most secure and technologically modern hospital of its kind in the United Kingdom. It was hoped the medical staff here would be able to get to the bottom of this strange and chilling case, and that of course is where I entered the picture.
The Director of Medical Services at Ravenswood, Doctor Andrew Pike, solicited my services with a well-timed approach some weeks before my first meeting with Jack. I’d grown tired of my post at a leading London teaching hospital and was ready for a new challenge. When a friend of mine who’d been privy to one of my long and boring lectures over lunch on the need for a change of career direction met Pike at a psychiatric conference a few days after I’d shot my mouth off, and Pike had told him of the impending retirement of his senior consultant, Paul suggested that Pike speak to me about the vacancy. After a telephone call from the Director, and an interview that was little more than a social meeting between the two of us, Pike offered me the position and I, flattered by the confidence he apparently had in my abilities, graciously accepted my new role. I really felt that I could make a difference, and perhaps bring a new dimension to the treatment of what at one time would have been described as the ‘criminally insane’ although such phrases are frowned upon in these enlightened times.
It took me only a couple of weeks to make the necessary arrangements for my move to Ravenswood, and to find a beautiful country cottage to rent a mere five miles from the facility. I left my flat in London in the hands of an agent to handle the task of renting it out for me, ensuring that the property would at least be occupied, and the sum of money I received each month would more than cover the rent on my picturesque cottage in the beautiful village of Langley Mead. My employers at the hospital were reluctant to accept my resignation, but there was nothing they could do to prevent me taking up my new post, and thus I found myself within the walls of Ravenswood far sooner than I I’d thought possible.
    It was April, and the tulips and daffodils were in full bloom in the flower bed positioned just outside the large picture window of my office on the ground floor of Pavlov wing, named in honour of Ivan Pavlov, to whom we owe much by way of our knowledge of modern-day behavioural psychology. A veritable plethora of colours, vibrant reds and yellows, tinged with a few pastel shades of pink and off-white gave the little flower bed the appearance of being awash with far more blooms than were actually planted within it. The illusion created by nature wasn’t lost on my logical mind. If the very plants that spring from the earth can cause us to doubt the reality of a situation, then how much cleverer are those whose minds have developed the most warped and misleading codes of ethics, and who would do all in their power to mislead and misdirect those of us who seek to understand them? The irony of the situation was that, although the flowers were free to bend in the breeze and to soak up the life-giving rays of the sun that gave them sustenance, my new patients were, like me, locked securely within the structures that comprise the hospital, away from the sunlight, in safe and secure isolation. Even the window to my office was fitted with bars in the inside, and alarmed to prevent unauthorised opening of the narrow ventilator slits at the top. Even on a hot and stifling day, the window itself didn’t open. Those of us incarcerated with our patients within those walls had to count on the air conditioning to maintain a comfortable environment. It is with those strictures in mind that it is, I suppose, possible to be envious of a tulip.
    My new secretary Tess Barnes entered my office, smiled a good morning greeting and placed a large pile of patient folders in my in-tray. She paused for a moment before leaving me and as I looked up I could see he was eager to speak.
    “Yes, Tess, what is it? If you have something to say please get used to the fact that I’m not an ogre of any sort of description. Feel free to talk to me any time you like.”
    “I’m sorry, Doctor Truman,” she replied. “I wasn’t sure how busy you are. It’s just that Doctor Roper asked me to ensure that you looked at the file on the top of that pile. He thinks, with respect, that you might want to take personal charge of that particular patient.”
    “Okay, Tess, that’s no problem. I’ll look at it straight away if he thinks it so important.”
    “Thank you, Doctor,” she said, and with that she turned on her heel and left my office, closing the door quietly behind her.
    Alone once more, I reached out to the in-tray and picked up the file designated as of special interest to me by Doctor Roper, who I remembered meeting a couple of times in the previous two days. He seemed a pleasant and affable man, and gave off an air of confidence and calm reassurance, the perfect demeanour for a psychiatrist. Wondering what he thought was so important about the file that he’d asked my secretary to specifically direct me to it, I placed the beige folder on my desk and looked at the name on the cover of the patient file before me. There, in a neat and ordered handwriting were written just three words.
    The file was that of Jack Thomas Reid!
 
Chapter 2
In the Beginning

Reading the file that had been left so invitingly upon my desk, I soon found myself drawn into the life of the young man whose future treatment, and to some extent, his life from now on had effectively been placed in my hands
Jack Reid had been born to doting parents in the year nineteen ninety six. Tom and Jennifer Reid were what could perhaps be termed an ‘average’ middle-class couple, with the husband being a respected if a little eccentrically minded computer engineer. Tom Reid worked for a company that specialised in the production of state-of-the-art military hardware for the British Armed Forces.
    Young Jack had lived a relatively happy and conventional childhood, though by the age of ten he had developed a marked and quite disturbing preoccupation with the sight of blood. His parents, understandably disturbed by their son’s rather macabre interest, took him to a number of different child psychologists and psychiatrists. Tom’s own cousin Robert, the boy’s official second-cousin, but always referred to as ‘uncle’, had been a psychiatrist until his death from the effects of a brain tumour in nineteen ninety eight, and though Jack had been too young to know his uncle at the time of his death, Tom had always held hopes that his son might follow either in the footsteps of himself or his late cousin. The manifestations of his young son’s mind seemed to preclude the second possibility however, as Tom realised that something far from normal was taking place within the cognitive sections of his son’s brain. Far from ever becoming a psychiatrist, it looked as if Jack could well find himself permanently under the care of one.
    That being said, both Tom and Jennifer Reid loved their son dearly and no expense was spared in their choice of the physicians they selected to try and elicit the best care and potential cure for Jack’s odd predilections. Though initially they’d relied on the resources of their own G.P. and the local NHS hospital to care for their son, it soon became clear to them that the overstretched resources of the National Health Service would never provide either short or long term relief for their son’s condition, nor would the ministrations of a general practitioner with limited knowledge of psychiatric disorders. They made the expensive decision to seek private care for Jack.
    Thankfully, Tom’s job with Beaumont Industries provided them with a more than adequate income, and though the family’s finances were at times stretched to breaking point, Jack was soon under the care of both a child psychologist, a Doctor Simon Guest, and a psychiatrist, Doctor Faye Roebuck. Between them the two noble members of my profession did their best for the young boy. Both concluded that Jack suffered from a personality disorder, but one which, with treatment, could be controlled and eventually eradicated. Their methods differed, of course, as befitted their different fields of medicine. As a psychiatrist, Doctor Roebuck had tried to work her way into the mind of young Jack, and attempted to control his urges by placing him a regime of medications that she hoped would temper his unusual desires and feelings. Doctor Guest, on the other hand, tried simply to identify anything in the boy’s background or home life and upbringing that might have led him to his unusual fixations. He spent hours talking to Jack and his parents and despite finding little to suggest that anything in his environment had caused Jack’s aberrant behaviour,  tried to instil a new and regimented system of life upon the young man in the hope that continuity and stability in his daily life could be used as a tool to regulate and control Jack’s feelings, to clarify things in his young mind, and slowly bring about a change in his mental attitudes resulting in a healthier and more rational outlook by the boy.
    Years of treatment followed, and appeared to have been successful when at the age of fourteen Jack was considered well enough to leave the special school to which he’d been allocated after the incident at his junior school, once more to enter the world of regular education, this time at the local Comprehensive school where he settled in nicely and with no further incidents of violence. Jack seemed happy and well-adjusted, and his doctors, and more especially his parents, breathed a sigh of relief.
    The teenaged Jack was a popular boy, and his circle of friends thought highly of him. He was academically bright and excelled on the sports field, being a capable footballer and an excellent wicket-keeper and batsman on the cricket pitch. Indeed, so adept was he at the game of cricket that he was selected for the local county schools association team, playing in competitions with other county associations. Jack eventually left school with a clutch of GCSE examination passes to his name, and moved onto the local college, where he began a course in graphic design, hoping to qualify and become a book illustrator. Halfway through his first year at college however his focus changed and without warning he gave up his studies and found himself a job as a trainee nurse at his local hospital.
    His parents were at first horrified at the thought that his close proximity to the sick and infirm, and more especially to his being exposed to almost daily exposure to those suffering from open, bleeding wounds, might bring about a recurrence of his earlier problems. Jack was able to mollify them, however, when he explained that one of his friends from college, a young woman no less, had also begun the self-same nursing course. As Jack put it to his parents, he had already received enough treatment from the health services and, as a qualified nurse, he would be able to give something back to the system that had helped cure him of his earlier childhood affliction.
    His mother was quite delighted to think that her son had become so responsible and mature in his outlook on life, but his father proved a little more sceptical about the whole affair and decided to reserve judgement on his son’s sudden change of career path. Hindsight would apparently prove his reservations to be well-founded.
    Initially, though, all appeared well and Jack was a diligent student, attentive to his teachers and scrupulous in his studies. All of his written work was handed in on time and his ‘hands-on’ practical work under supervision on the wards was reported as being exemplary. In his first six months, Jack Reid earned a reputation as a model student, and his nurse tutors reported in writing that he would, in time, become an excellent and valued member of the nursing profession.
As his eighteenth birthday approached Jack presented himself for his first official assessment of his training. After receiving a glowing report from all of his tutors he returned home that evening to inform his parents that he was considered to be one of the top two students on his course. His mother and father were elated at the news and agreed that at last they could feel a real sense of pride in their son’s achievements. Even his previously sceptical father felt sufficiently pleased to crack open a bottle of his very best Chablis, which the small family of three consumed with delight over dinner that evening.
Over dinner his mother tried to draw him to speak on the subject of the girl who’d enticed him to join her in the nursing fraternity. Jennifer thought that if perhaps a relationship was developing between Jack and the girl, she might consider inviting her son’s new friend, his first girlfriend as she put it, to dinner one evening. Jack, however, had totally rebuffed any questions from his mother on the subject. Apart from telling his parents that the girl’s name was Anna, that she was nowhere near as clever as he was and not worth investing any more of his time in her, she became a closed subject. Jennifer Reid was disappointed, believing that if her son could achieve some sort of normal relationship with a member of the opposite sex, it would be another step towards his total rehabilitation from his earlier, juvenile problems.  Perhaps, in the light of events that were soon to follow, Jack’s failure to cement any sort of relationship with Anna, who would later testify at his trial, was a blessing in disguise.
Two weeks after that first assessment Jack reached his eighteenth birthday. His parents had asked if he would like to invite any of his friends or fellow students to a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant, but Jack declined the offer. A meal with his parents would be enough, so he informed them. Sadly, his parents, tutors, and fellow students had failed to recognise the gradually expanding bubble of isolation in which  Jack was cocooning himself. Something had occurred within his mind that saw him withdraw more and more into himself, and though his studies hadn’t become affected, the once gregarious and popular student began to shut himself off from those around him.
Later, statements from his parents would confirm that the evening of Jack’s eighteenth birthday was perhaps the last really happy occasion they enjoyed together as a family. Though not particularly talkative, Jack had been in a fairly bright and happy frame of mind and grateful to his parents for the gold watch they’d bought for him to celebrate his birthday. The back of the watch had been engraved with the words, To Jack T Reid with much love on your eighteenth birthday, Mum and Dad. Jack loved it, and the evening of his birthday meal passed off amicably and with much good humour in the Reid household. No-one could have foreseen what lay ahead, just beyond time’s immediate horizon.
For now though all was well, at least on the surface, and it wasn’t until the Reids received notification through Tom’s late cousin’s solicitor that a package was being held in trust for their son, to be given to him after he’d reached his eighteenth birthday, that events escalated towards the calamity that awaited the family.
From the day the family visited the solicitor and the package was placed in the hands of their son, no-one’s lives would ever be the same again. A seed had been planted that was about to bear fruit, and for Jack Thomas Reid, the ripening of that seed would prove to be the harbinger of his own downfall, and the precursor to murder. The storm was about to be unleashed!

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