From December 1884 to December 1885 a series of murders occurred in Austin, Texas which became known as the Servant Girl Annihilator murders. One of the suspects was a Malay cook, known only as Maurice. Before he could be apprehended, Maurice disappeared. It is presumed he went back to the ships to work. He told his employer at the Pearl House on Pecan Street that he was going to work his way over to London. When Maurice was gone, the murders mysteriously stopped. Three years later, in 1888, the Jack the Ripper murders began. Among the hundreds of suspects was a Malay cook who called himself Maurice. A seaman named Dodge, told London police that the cook threatened to kill every prostitute in London as revenge for being robbed. This is Maurice’s story, from his point of view. However, Maurice is innocent, but he slowly begins to realize that the true killer is his friend and life-long companion named Mawken. How far will Maurice go to stop the bloodshed?
He is with me always, even from the beginning. He is with me yet. I am not sure when I first became aware of him, but it was long ago when I was yet a boy.
I was born in the small fishing village of Kadan Kyun on King Island across the channel from Mergui on the archipelago in Burma. I am called Maurice. You will forgive me if I use that name only. You will understand why by and by. I am Moken, although people who know no better say Malay. The Burmese of my homeland call my people Selung or Selone. After many years, I grew tired of correcting people, and now identify myself as simply Malay. For some reason, that seems to satisfy most people. I have far fewer questions now. I do not like questions. Perhaps what offends me are the answers.
I was born on the island sometime around or just before 1865. My people were known as sea gypsies. They roamed from place to place, without a true homeland. We spoke a common language, but I have not used it for so long I can no longer remember. My father grew rich in the spice trade, and settled on King Island before I was born. His wealth afforded me all of the luxuries of life. I had no siblings. I had loving parents but they were very busy, and allowed me much freedom to roam. I spent my early years running free on my island and exploring the area around my home, including the heavily jungled forest. When I was old enough for school, my parents hired a teacher – an Englishwoman who taught me English, reading, and basic arithmetic. It has been so long now since I spoke my native tongue, I converse, think, and dream in the English language. I am told I have a British accent, which amazes most people. I am a brown man with an English accent, which is quite a novelty in some places it seems.
At the age of ten, the local authorities, despite my race, allowed me to attend their local school. I am quite sure my father’s money had something to do with the decision. It was around that time when I first met … shall we say, “him.” Perhaps that is not the right expression; it was about that time when I first became aware of him.
This is the story of myself – and of him. Of how we met and became close. How I took care of him all these years. How he became obsessed with me, and how I tried to get away from him so many times. How he always his way back into my life somehow, and how I protected him when I believed he was innocent. Mostly, it is the story of why I now sit in a darkened room, waiting for … “him” to come home, so I can kill him in cold blood.
About the Author
Ernie Lee is a Texas award-winning novelist and poet from Canyon Lake, Texas. He is a songwriter (BMI), storyteller, author, and poet of long standing in the region. Ernie's music is at www.reverbnation.com, and MTV Artists. Ernie has published technical professional books and academic guides related to public procurement for the University of Texas at Austin, and UT San Antonio and NIGP. Ernie’s first novel, AQUASAURUS was selected as the 2017 suspense novel of the year by the Texas Authors Association. Ernie is married and lives in Canyon Lake, Texas with his lovely wife Donna.