by Joseph Grant
Nearly all of the newspapers of 1895 said nothing, choosing to bury the story, while several of the Hearst-run newspapers reported a lurid account of a wild dog mauling in Central Park and then a few days later, revamping the piece, saying it was the malicious work of a madman, certainly a fiendish lout from the lower classes. One of worst of all of the yellow journalism rags even hinted that it could have been the work of Jack the Ripper himself, transplanted fresh from a successfully elusive killing spree in the foggy White Chapel District of London. This implication did not trouble the doctor on graveyard duty at the Bellevue Morgue as he put down his folded paper beneath the sputtering gas lamp and proceeded to ready himself with the worn leather butcher’s smock for yet another routine autopsy. He ruminated on how awful a disgrace it was the way the man on the examination table had died, a defrocked priest from the nearby maritime mission who was pulled from the East River. He knew that it was uncommon for clergymen to kill themselves let alone by jumping off the decade-old Brooklyn Bridge, nor were they drained entirely of their blood before doing such; therefore the conclusion was an apparent one: the man was undoubtedly murdered. As the coroner fixed his pince-nez and turned to sate his salacious thirst and read again from the depraved report, he did not notice his impious guest sit up with eyes fiery red lunging for his jugular until it was much too late.
Joseph Grant, author of The Drowning Man, has been published in over 55 literary reviews and e-zines, such as Byline, New Authors Journal, Howling Moon Press, Hack Writers, New Online Review, Indite Circle and Cerebral Catalyst.