I just can’t understand it – were the last months with Rose just a dream? Everything has changed since that night in the XXXXX XXXXXXXgreat gallery. In the beginning it was just her file I was using to find out more about her. Then a visit at her sickbed in the infirmary. The risk I took was high, because such contacts with inmates are not tolerated. But the urge to find out what had happened to her and what the gin, she was carrying, was greater. Fuck those fucking hypocrites and their rules. No closer contact with the inmates, my ass! As if the prison management didn’t know that most guards mercilessly exploit their position of power over women. But this intriguing circle keeps closer than the pitch layer between some ship planks. Mercy to whoever steps out of this corrupt line. wretched gang!

Well, as long as I’ve stayed at my job, nobody’s ever cared what I do. Actually it’s the same as before – nobody wants more contact than necessary with a scarred outsider like me. That’s fine with me! So I can stay out of her horrible hustle and bustle and nobody notices the visits to Rose.

Read on ...

Besides, it was dangerous. Asking too often for the shifts of the escort service or taking too long for the tour between the cell and the kitchen wing – all this aroused mistrust. On top of that, it raised questions when I talked to her for a longer period of time or simply walked too close to her. But every moment with her, no matter how short it was, was worth it and made me survive the dull days and weeks at work in this miserable hole. If I had Rose, I didn’t need Mrs Ts’ao and her opium any more.

Until tonight! It had been over three weeks since the last escort service and I only got to see Rose once, fleetingly, on a tour of her cell. I couldn’t help it, I had to see her and decided to visit her at a later hour under an excuse in the kitchen. When I got there, the XXXXXXXX watchman slept in front of the door and could only be awakened by a strong kick. Fortunately the idiot believed the nonsense that I had to get bread for the infirmary. I couldn’t get rid of the queasy feeling of going one step too far when I stepped into the kitchen to meet Rose at work.

A gentle but nevertheless intensive scent appeared in my nose. I couldn’t match it, but there was something familiar about it. How could I be so stupid? It was the same smell I had in my nose when I smelled the XXXXX XXXXXXglass bottle that Rose was carrying. However, I didn’t have enough time to find the source of the scent before, because suddenly an elderly inmate stood in front of me. I recognized her! According to her file, she has been imprisoned in Newgate for over 20 years and has been in charge of the kitchen here for a long time. Her real name, Matilda. But she was only known as the Landlady of Walworth. Actually she was one of the quieter inmates. When she asked me what I wanted, however, a disapproving undertone in her voice was clearly audible.

It was at that moment that I saw Rose and I skipped this threateness. I was such an idiot! My facial expression seemed to change noticeably and my gaze seemed to stay on Rose for a few seconds too long. At least long enough for the landlady to look for her. Rose cringed, looked away and hastily continued scrubbing the pots and pans in front of her. Quickly I snapped at the Landlady to give me a loaf of bread. Even now this damn instruction sounds even more uncertain in my ears than it should. Before I could act even more stupidly, I took the bread, walked the few steps to the door and knocked harshly against it.

My shift ended and I left Newgate with an oppressive feeling. My thoughts buzzed around Rose, her frightened expression after the landlady looked at her and the juniper scent in the kitchen. If only it had been that for this one evening! But I needed something strong first to get my thoughts in order. So I went straight over to the Bucket of Blood and drank two glasses of gin. I was tipping down the last sip when a man I had never seen here before settled down next to me: Franz Sylvius. What was he doing in this pub? No idea! But he knew my name, spoke to me and asked with a smirking grin how my little friend from the infirmary was doing.

My answer was meagre. I raved something about “I had to go” and said goodbye immediately. Damn, why did that guy come to this shitty pub that night? What did he know about Rose and how are all these events from today connected to the night at the big gallery?