Chapter 523 The Truth
Irene Adler watched in dread as the pale man got up from the bed and approached her. His eyes darted around in excitement, like a child who had discovered a new toy, not to mention how he seemed to have a perverse attachment towards her. The demented smile on his face reflected off the scalpel in his left hand.
The knowledge that she was all alone, and that no one would be coming to her rescue slowly sank in. Irene Adler shut her eyes in despair. A few seconds later, there was a loud rumble right above her, the sound of someone opening the entrance to the secret room. When Zhang Heng and Holmes rushed down with their revolvers, they were bewildered by what they saw. They never expected to bear witness to such a peculiar sight.
Irene Adler’s hands and feet were still bound, unable to move. Father Jacob stood beside her, with no emotion on his face. A middle-aged man was lying in a pool of blood beside Father Jacob, and engraved on his face was an ‘I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening-to-me’ look; his eyes staring woefully at Father Jacob as if asking why.
When Father Jacob saw Zhang Heng and Sherlock Holmes, he threw away the bloody knife in his hand and said calmly, “I’m glad that both of you are here. I’m the one that killed him.”
Holmes squatted, examining the middle-aged man. He saw the wound on the back of his head and shook his head.
“It’s too late.”
Zhang Heng walked past the corpse, approached Irene Adler, untied the ropes on her hands and feet, and removed the rags from her mouth. Once free, she spat on the ground, getting rid of the strange taste in her mouth. Earlier, Zhang Heng had his Evil Wall ready for its final usage, but fortunately, Holmes managed to find the entrance within three minutes.
When the two rushed in, they thought that they would encounter a hostage situation, but the result turned out a surprise. Zhang Heng subsequently heard a system notification from the game that his main task was completed. Although he still had many doubts in his heart, it was not the time to dwell on such matters. The two detectives tied Father Jacob with the rope that bound Irene Adler, then notified the authorities.
Holmes stayed in the basement, guarding Father Jacob while waiting for backup from the police to arrive. On the other hand, Zhang Heng sent Irene Adler home, staying there until six in the morning before returning to 221B Baker Street. At that time, Holmes had already returned from the police station.
He looked content, and he even ignored Mrs. Hudson’s protests, going straight ahead to his room to rub on his fiddle. It’s loud and unmistakable melody echoed around the walls of the old apartment. Playing the rather raucous instrument in the wee hours of the morning, the neighbors might just come over and silence him for good.
“It seems you’ve got ins and outs of the whole thing figured out,” said Zhang Heng. “It seems you can watch the operas for free in the future,” replied Holmes at almost the same time.
“This might not be the most complicated case I have encountered, but indeed, it can be regarded as the most interesting.” Holmes put down the violin and finally turned the topic back to the case.
“Father Jacob made a mistake when he was young and, he had an illegitimate child with a prostitute. Although I don’t think he was really his child, all of that doesn’t matter anymore. The important thing is that the matter had always been a knot in his heart. He is willing to treat that child as flesh and blood, or perhaps, is simply punishing himself, hoping to atone for his past mistakes.”
Zhang Heng had already learned about these from Irene Adler, hence he wasn’t surprised. He signaled for Holmes to continue.
“The birth of this child was a mistake. He is the fruit bore of a priest and prostitute after allowed their desires to rule over them. They are not even considered to be in love. To protect his reputation, Father Jacob had no choice but to send him to an orphanage. Having such an environment for a childhood, his character inevitably became withdrawn and gloomy. Father Jacob said that seeds of evil were buried in his body. I have a way different view on this matter.”
Holmes lit the pipe. “The police and Father Jacob himself believe that Jack the Ripper murdered those trick girls out of revenge for giving birth and abandoning him. However, I think the murders were some sort of ritual to trace his life’s origin. Of course, not to mention how he must be dying for attention, much like the rest of the serial killers. The letter sent to the newspaper is the best proof of my speculation.”
“How about the uterus?” Zhang Heng raised his eyebrows.
“Yes, I think that the uterus, in this case, is a significant symbol. It’s an important organ relating to reproduction, and it is also a place where the fetus grows. Jack the Ripper ripped out the victim’s uterus, indicating that he hopes to find a sense of belonging. For instance, he chose prostitutes who had given birth to children, drunkards, and those who constantly lived among men. Through these characteristics, he connected these victims with his biological mother. Each time he committed those crimes, it was then that he felt the closeness between himself and his victims. He feels as if he had found his mother…amazing. Emma gave him life, and he took that very life away from those prostitutes
-a perfect cycle.” Holmes blinked, “Of course, the latter part is just a speculation of mine. Jack, the Ripper, is dead, and I guess my speculations will probably never be confirmed. Speaking of Jack the Ripper, let’s talk about Father Jacob-I have to admit that his role, in this case, went beyond expectation. Remember our previous speculation?”
“We had all agreed that there was no accomplice in this case. In the end, when you connected Father Jacob to Jack the Ripper through Mark Cohen, a brief period of confusion hit me. The fact also proves that Father Jacob was not an accomplice of Jack the Ripper.”
Holmes continued, “Jack the Ripper nestles silently in the secret room under the Church of the Sacred Heart’s confession room. This allowed him to eavesdrop on many secrets, secrets that should have always stayed within the confines of the cubicle. Father Jacob didn’t realize that his son had committed the first crime until he took the initiative to confess to him. At that time, Father Jacob was caught in a dilemma. He did not want Jack the Ripper to continue with his killing, but on the other hand, the murderer was his and Emma’s child. This is where he found a reason to protect this child, hoping to atone for neglecting his son throughout his youth.
“So he made another wrong choice. He decided to hide this matter and hoped he’d be able to control the beast. At the same time, he began subconsciously guiding Mark Cohen, who has a mental health condition, intending to use him as bait to misdirect the police. From a father’s standpoint, it all makes perfect sense to me.”
“But he obviously overestimated his abilities and Jack the Ripper’s long-repressed mental health troubles. Hence, the second and a third murder case. When the whole thing began to go out of control, Father Jacob realized that he couldn’t stop Jack the Ripper. Then, when Miss Adler came to look for him, Father Jacob saw her be the perfect target for Jack the Ripper. So he kidnapped her, but not to let his son kill her
—he was using her to test his son. “He wanted to see with his own eyes if his son had defeated the devil in his heart or not. He had repeatedly promised that he would not commit those crimes again, but the results disappointed the father… From Jack the Ripper’s reaction, Father Jacob knew that more people would inevitably lose their lives as long as his son was still alive. Thus, he was left with no choice but to end his son’s life.”