Genre: Young Adult Gothic Horror
Word Count: 66,000
Seventeen-year-old Dilly Rothbart finds body parts in her father’s hidden laboratory. When murdered prostitutes appear on the streets of Whitechapel with missing organs, she’s afraid her father is the man they call Jack the Ripper.
It’s my fault she’s a recluse.
A familiar feeling of guilt washes over me.
The changes in my twin sister Deirdre are as tiny as the jagged stitches that run around the edges of the skin sewn onto her right cheek. The right side of her mouth droops more, and there’s a pale milky glaze covering her right eye. Neither Mother, nor Father seem bothered by these changes. The firelight casts shadows across the room and gives her the appearance of a ghoul as she tips her head to let her hair drape. She doesn’t wear her veil tonight but she never does inside the house unless we have visitors.
We never have visitors anymore.
I’m supposed to be reading aloud to Mother, but lose my place several times.
My eyes drift to the hidden laboratory door behind a wall panel, and my desire to find a way in intensifies. Father insists he’s searching for a way to fix Deirdre’s scars but I know it’s more. I’m determined to uncover his secrets.
Father’s lips tremble as he watches Deirdre play a mournful song on the pianoforte. Her sad voice makes my eyes fill with hot tears. They drip on the open page magnifying a drawing of Alice with a bottle in her hand. The words, DRINK ME on the tag loom up at me. I close the book and lay it down next to Mother who dozes on the settee, an almost empty bottle of laudanum clutched in her hand.