Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 11 )

  To my surprise and delight, Isabelle chose me. I must admit, it came as something of a surprise, I didn’t expect it, as Roly was from a better class family than I. And obviously with his family connections would find procuring wealthy patients, much easier than I.

Roly, took it well, although he found it hard to hide his disappointment. But he, nonetheless, agreed to be my best man. My brother, Giles, now ordained as a minister, was to officiate at the ceremony.

My Father took to Isabelle instantly, but then, he had met her before, and was a friend of her Father, the Dean. My Mother, that pious soul, did not approve, but then she seldom approved of anything I did. I wasn’t concerned, I loved her, and that was enough for me. She was beautiful, intelligent and she was mine. She was all that I needed to make my life complete.

On the day of our wedding, just before we left for the church, my Mother had her final say, ‘She is too flighty, she will not make you happy, I know her type, you want a plain girl, someone who will cherish and respect you!’ But then my Mother had no idea about me, and the person I had become. In her eyes I would always be that needy little boy.

When I arrived at the church, Roly was waiting, all spruced up, with the rings safely in his inside pocket. We exchanged pleasantries for a moment, then entered the church, to await the arrival of  Isabelle, my, bride to be, and the only woman I had ever loved.

(C) Damian Grange 2017

Casanova – One Girl too Many ( Excerpt 3 )

  Giacomo turned towards the door, his hand on his sword hilt. But he was too late, one of Francesca’s brothers guarded the exit, he had a sword in one hand, in the other a cocked pistol, he had Giacomo at a disadvantage. Giacomo bowed his submission.

‘I knew we would have you, Vampire, there is nothing like a bitch in heat, to attract your kind, instead of using your brains, you think with that thing tucked inside your breeches, it will always be your undoing!’

‘How very true!’ thought Giacomo, but it’s early days yet. ‘ Sister, come over here, take off your cloak, show the Vampire what he is missing?’ Francesca looked me in the eyes, as if she were begging my forgiveness, could she be a victim too?

She did as ordered and removed her cloak, beneath it she wore a diaphanous gown that displayed every contour of her body. She did not look at me, but kept her eyes downcast, as if she were ashamed to be seen this way. I was at a loss, I bit my lip, I was trying not to become aroused, I had no wish to give her brother the satisfaction of my shame.

She was beautiful, looking at her, dressed the way she was. She reminded me of a Vestal Virgin, just waiting to be deflowered. But I had other priorities at the moment, starting with the young fool pointing a pistol at me.

‘ There is an awful stench in here, Pup, it smells like dog piss, did not your Father teach you to piss standing up?’ It had the desired effect, he growled and part morphed in to the creature that he was, then realised I had tricked him, but not before he had taken a bite at me, I ducked, but smelt his fetid breath as it passed over my head.

(C) Damian Grange 2017

Double in Trouble – ( Excerpt 11 )

  ‘Mayhew, who purports to work for the Foreign Office And his side-kick, Schultz, who Mayhew says is C.I.A. Personally speaking I wouldn’t trust either one of them as far as I could throw them, they are just a little too confident.

‘This may seem a silly question, in view of your last statement, but do you have a specific reason for not trusting them. ‘Yes!, I certainly do, as I told you i’m a pro – photographer, well in my business you do all kinds of work, using all types of people, in time, I suppose, you develop a photographic memory.’

‘The two Taliban, as soon as the lights came on, I knew them. I’ve checked them out, they are Film and Tv extras, based in Birmingham, That’s how I know I’ve been conned, that’s the one thing they didn’t plan for!’ I explained. ‘Have you got a contact number for these men?’ queried Kat.

‘I can easily get hold of one, But I have a feeling that they were only hired for the one – off part, purely to frighten and intimidate me, to set me up for the real con, which was my release,’ I tried to explain as best I could, but I wasn’t convinced myself.

‘And if I was to ask you, now ,today, where you had been imprisoned, what would your answer be, Think carefully?’ said Kat. ‘I don’t have to think about it, I’m quite certain it is somewhere close to Birmingham, probably on the outskirts. That would explain taking me to the Airport in the back of a van, It wasn’t that we were in a hostile country, more a question that I might see something that I might recognise later!’ I stated confidently.

(c) Damian Grange 2017


Jack The Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 10 )

  I had no doubts, that she would be a good catch, She was beautiful, intelligent, relatively unspoilt, she would make the perfect wife for a successful young doctor. I looked across at Roly, by the far away look on his face, he was harbouring similar thoughts as my own. This was cause for concern, I didn’t want rivalry, ruining our friendship.

After an excellent meal, we once again thanked the Dean for his invitation and took our leave. Isabelle escorted us to the door, kissing each of us on the cheek, as she hugged us to her. We were both surprised and delighted by this unexpected show of affection, but as we landed outside on the pavement. Even more confused?

Were we both being manipulated by the Dean and his Daughter, or were we both making mountains out of molehills, we were young and unsure. We may know everything about the Human Anatomy. But we knew nothing of the whiles of young ladies seeking husbands.

From that moment on, Roly and I had gained a third. At the weekend, and after classes, and whenever her own duties would allow it. Isabelle became an integral part of our group, it was looked on with humour by our other friends.

I can understand that, Both Roly and I appeared to be paying court to the lovely Isabelle. But to us it seemed normal, there was no malice or rivalry between us!

But then Isabelle, was a very sophisticated and independent young lady. My friendship with Roly had nothing to do with my feelings for Isabelle. And I am assuming that friend Roly thought likewise, he certainly never hinted otherwise.

Life continued this way for the next three years, until just before our graduation as fully-fledged Doctors. Both Roly and myself had excelled in all aspects of our training and were both expected to go on and have highly successful Practices.

Now, unfortunately, it was decision time. Isabelle, if she wanted to marry, had to make her choice. Either me or my friend Roly, it was her choice, neither of us intended to pressure her. We both loved her, we both wanted her as a wife, it was that simple, or was it!

(c) Damian Grange 2017




A Hell Of A Night

  Many years ago, when I played bass guitar in a Show Trio, we were just about to leave for our Sunday night gig, When our Agent rang, and said I appreciate that its rather short notice, but can I change your venue, Apparently the singer in one of the Agents other bands had taken ill, and he was having to do a little juggling to make it right. It wasn’t a problem, so we set off for the altered venue.

Distance wise it was a few miles farther, than the original venue, we arrived on time, but with little time to set up our equipment. Which at that time consisted of four Keyboards and stands, a full drum kit with two bass drums, my bass guitar and all the amplifiers and speaker units.

Due to time constraints we set up behind closed curtains. As it was a Miners Welfare we expected we were doing our normal cabaret set, We went to the dressing room, changed in to our evening suits, frilly shirts and bow ties. We were ready to start.

We went in to an instrumental version of George Shearing’s classic, ‘Lullaby of Birdland’ as the curtains opened, Shock, Horror, we were playing Jazz Piano to a roomful of angry looking Hell’s Angels, not a particularly auspicious opening to the night.

But being hardened musicians we changed tack, programmed a Sitar Patch on the Moog Synthesiser and went in to the Rolling Stones, ‘Paint it Black’ our version lasted ten minutes, including two drum solos and a sitar solo. Then we did another ten minute version of the Spencer Davis classic ‘Gimme Some Lovin’

These two songs were the length of our first spot, we announced who we were, and said we were taking a short break. Initially deadly silence, then as one, they all started clapping and cheering, it seemed we had won the over.

As we headed for the bar, for some liquid refreshment, one of the Angels stopped us and said, ‘Great Music, but what are you wearing?’ i’m afraid our only answer was to nod our heads and head to the bar, Rapidly!

(c) Damian Grange 2017



Photograph – Courtesy of Pinterest







Casanova – One Girl too Many ( Excerpt 2 )

  Giacomo was getting increasingly impatient, damn the girl, where was she, he was stood here exposed to the elements, shivering from the cold, when he could in all fairness be in the warmth and comfort of another’s bed.

But, then he thought once more of Francesca Lupino and her veiled promises, he couldn’t help but smile, so young, but so much to offer a man like him. Then his thoughts turned to the missing girls, he was not involved, but someone in Venice was attempting to implicate him, Who? a jilted lover, a cuckolded husband, the list was endless.

Surely all his past mistakes, were not coming back to haunt him, He was a libertine and seducer, didn’t people understand his calling. The fact that he was also a Vampire was co incidental, but could that be the answer he was seeking. Was he the only Vampire in Venice or was it something much worse!

He heard a noise and his hand moved to the hilt of his sword, but it was just the rippling of the waves, as a boat passed by, deeper in the lagoon, Damn, he thought now I am jousting with shadows. I’ll give her a moment or two more, and then I’m off to another warm bed, there is no shortage of offers, I do have a certain reputation with the fairer sex. Which I work hard to keep!

I was just about to go, when I heard a feminine voice whisper, ‘Giacomo, are you there, my love?’ It was Francesca, finally. ‘ I am here, Francesca, let me see you!’ a door opened in the wall and I could see the arc of light shining from it, I went to the door and entered the Pallazzo, Just in front of me I could see Francesca beckoning me inside. I walked towards her and the door slammed shut behind me. Had I walked in to a trap!

(c) Damian Grange 2017

Double in Trouble – Excerpt 10

  My contact from M.I.5 arrived almost to the second, as we had arranged. When I admitted her I was pleasantly surprised, she was both young and attractive. She introduced herself as, ‘ Katrina Villiers, but please call me Kat, this is after all, an informal chat!’

‘ I’m Jim Swanson, a professional photographer by trade, where would you like me to start, it’s a rather long and confusing story, I’m stuck in the middle of it and groping for a safety net !’ was my opening remark. ‘ I suggest!’, said Kat, ‘That you explain it, the best way you can, and then we’ll pick over the bones and see what’s left.’

‘ To the best of my knowledge, this all started a month ago, I was filming in Belgrade, when a man comes over slaps me on the shoulder and calls me Pyotr, I tried to explain that I wasn’t Pyotr and things got a little heated, from what little I could grasp of his language, the guy was insistent that I was Pyotr.’

‘ I found out later that Pyotr’s given name is Palenkov, and I believe you may have him on file, among your most wanted!’ I stated, pausing for effect. ‘Yes!, I am very aware of Pyotr Palenkov, what happened next ?’

‘ We finished the shoot, came home, then bang! Next thing I know I’m in a cell, presumably somewhere in the Middle East, presumably a prisoner of the Taliban, I’m kept incarcerated for what I guessed was a week, it may have been longer, I had to obviously have been drugged!’

‘You are certain you were drugged?’ ‘ I must have been, one minute, I’m here, Next I’m in a cell, my clothes are gone, all I have is a black tee shirt and tracksuit bottoms, no shoes or socks, I was given three meals a day, if you can call lukewarm watery broth, food!’

‘Have you any idea why you might have been imprisoned?’ Kat queried. ‘I know why! so that my so – called saviours, would have a hold on me, they are working some con of their own which involves me impersonating Palenkov!’ I angrily replied. ‘ You say, your saviours! who are they? she asked, I thought that she might know?

(c) Damian Grange 2017


Jack The Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 9 )

  So, here we both were at the Dean’s door, suits brushed, ties straight, shoes polished. We had done our level best to appear like we deserved this honour, let us hope that he thinks so too. After all, one word from him, could make or break our careers.

I rapped on his door, after a moment it swung open, it was Isabelle, the Dean’s Daughter. But this was not the Isabelle that I remembered. She was taller, even prettier, and no longer the awkward child, she was now a confident self – assured young woman.

She was wearing a green velvet gown with a low neckline, which showed off a little cleavage, which looked enticing, especially with her pale skin and russet hair, I was smitten!

And by all accounts I wasn’t the only one, judging be the way the usually self – possessed Roly was blushing and stammering. I have no inclination as to whether Isabelle wore that dress to make an impression on two available young men.

But the fact is, she certainly did. it was almost impossible at dinner, on the one hand trying to pay attention to the Dean and be attentive to his questions. When the bulk of our attention was being squandered on his, so beguiling Daughter.

I got the impression that the Dean was aware of this. But he made no sign, and then I had a sudden thought. His Daughter was of marriageable age, of his students, Roly and myself were possibly the ones he deigned to have the greater chance of success in the profession. I never would have considered it! But was the Dean match – making for his Daughter ?

(C) Damian Grange 2017

Casanova – One Girl too Many

  Giacomo Casanova stood trembling, not with anticipation, but from the damp breeze blowing off the lagoon. Despite the chill it bought in it’s wake, Giacomo loved the smell it sent his way. That odour of damp and decay, that smell that pervaded Venice. It was almost evocative of his favourite aroma, the smell of rotting corpses in the charnel house.

He was growing exceedingly impatient, he was stood close to the side door of the Lupino Pallazo. For several days he had been pursuing the eighteen years old Francesco Lupino. She had led him a merry dance, but he had held her in his arms, and now he waited, for tonight he would consummate her love, and make her his creature.

But above all, he had to be cautious, many girls were going missing in Venice, and he had heard from his confederates that his name had been mentioned as a possible suspect. He had considered going away, somewhere warmer like Florence or Padua, but his reputation would no doubt precede him and Venice suited his lifestyle.

He made no apologies for being a libertine, if a woman or girl attracted his attentions and welcomed it, then she was fair game and she took her chances with him. Accidents may have happened from time to time, but not on the scale that was happening at this time, he had no part in it, neither did he want any!

Francesca Lupino, The girl who was supposed to admit him to the Pallazo, was the daughter of one of the richest men in Venice. Although a relative newcomer, he had his fingers in many pies in the city. And a man like Giacomo, could have use of a sponsor like him, the mention of his name alone could open many previously shuttered doors.

To be Continued …….

(c) Damian Grange 2017

Double in Trouble – Excerpt 9

  The second that I was safely installed in my flat, I searched for a telephone directory and located the number of M.I.5. before I jumped in to the frying pan, I wanted a second opinion. I sneaked out of my flat through the basement door, I didn’t trust them, so why would they trust me?

I sneaked around the corner to the phone box and dialled the number I had written down, It, was answered immediately. I explained that I was calling on a matter of National Security and could they please, I know this request will sound strange, send a young attractive female, around to my address that night.

I had my reasons, which I would explain to the agent, when she arrived. They took my address, and said she would be there at 7.30p.m.

In the meantime, I went on my computer and back – tracked through some of my old assignments and sure enough, I found my captors, I knew that I knew those faces.

They were Father and Son, based in Birmingham, I wonder if that is where I was incarcerated, it would seem highly likely! I’m sure that once I get the Security Services on board, they will get to the bottom of it.

I had done pretty much all I could do for now, I thought I had better get my story straight before my contact arrived. I wouldn’t convince anyone by jabbering like an idiot!

To that end, I made a few notes, a somewhat vague chronological order of events, and my part in them, and hoped that after hearing my story, I wouldn’t be sectioned as possibly insane, pending examination.

(c) Damian Grange 2017