Ripper Chronicles: Whispers in Rome

In the Beginning

He reached a pale shaky hand across the bar and gripped the neck of the wine bottle. Slowly he dragged it towards him and refilled his glass. Downing the wine, steadied himself on the stool and repeated the process. He hated this part of the job. It always took a toll on his nerves but day was the worst he’d been involved in for a long time.

The day was meant to be a simple one. Get to the scene of the unnatural activity, find out what was going on, preform the necessary exorcisms or rituals and burn the taverna to the ground. They hadn’t expected there to be survivors. They hadn’t even been injured. It was quite impressive if troubling.

The question then arose of what to do with them. They couldn’t just be let to walk away, not after what they’d seen. There would panic in the streets of Rome if word got out. They needed to disappear but by God’s grace they were stubborn.

A shiver ran up this back as he recalled that frightful woman. The sigil around her neck had hinted that she was a person of importance but it hadn’t provided a much-needed warning about her fool temper. He shuddered and downed another glass of wine.

“Easy Father, it’s not yet midday and you have a mass to give at 5.”

A reassuring hand gripped his shoulder as another priest sat on the stool next to his. A man in his mid-40s and beginning to bald, he looked surprisingly relaxed sat at the bar of the wrecked and blood stained taverna.

“Put those troublesome thoughts from your mind and remember we do God’s work here.”

“I haven’t forgotten that Father Sensini but that woman’s threats way heavy on my mind. I’m not sure who she was but she has some pull of that I am certain and I believe she sees me as an enemy.”

“Do not trouble yourself so. She, like all her kind, is all bark and no bite. It’s the other one I’m worried about.”

“Which one was that?”

“I’m not surprised you did not notice her. Small woman, hooded and cloaked. Quiet. It’s always the quiet ones you need to watch out for. Watched like she was looking for weakness and escape routes. Cloak and dagger type you know.”

“hpm” Father Vincenzo puffed. “And the others?”

“A thug and an eccentric from what I could see. Old soldier type in a dress and a young grease stained mechanic. Nothing to worry about really. Soon they will be within God’s embrace and we can get back to the business of keeping the people safe.” Father Vincenzo shuddered at the thoughts of the catacombs under Rome. No-one ever came back.

“Where is Father Bianchi?”

“He’s upstairs giving the remains of Hanz the proper rites.”

“Poor Man. He is with God now.”

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