(Posted in two posts cuz of character limit)
Polly Nichols shivered as she walked down the road, desperately trying to wrap herself up against the bitter wind in her old motheaten shawl. Polly was cold, hungry and in need of sleep, but still she walked the streets, looking for a man to spend the night with for a few pence. Polly had spent what little money she had on a few glasses of gin, and now all she wanted was a bed for the night.
The East End was a grim place; there were many women like herself roaming the streets, and several men looking to take their services; gentlemen and rogues, the danger didn't matter, it was the chance a girl took when she took to the streets. Polly's life had been a hard one, moving from workhouse to workhouse; she was destitute, living on the streets, and constantly craving alcohol. She had no inkling of the nightmare that awaited her that night...
Mary Kelly walked arm in arm with her only friend, a fellow prostitute named Jenny Lyons. The girls were luckier than Polly; they shared a house together down the road. The house was draughty and the rent was high, but together they could just about pay their way. Also, Mary's gentleman caller, Joseph, sometimes helped out with the rent at times when the girls couldn't quite afford it.
Mary was in quite a good mood, despite the biting cold of the wind. She and Jenny had had a few tots of gin at the local gin house, and were now on their way to see if they could pick anyone up. The girls had a system, that unless they were picked up for the night, they'd stick together and protect each other, and so far the system was working well.
Jenny walked closely next to her friend down the street. She smiled when Mary took her arm, and helped support her friend; both of them were slightly the worse for wear after an afternoon spent at the gin house. Gin was cheap, it warmed a person up, and it made everything seem just that much better. Jenny certainly needed that feeling; she shot a look at Mary, and sighed; she wasn't as pretty as Mary was, what with that long blonde hair and china blue eyes. Never the less, Jenny did what she could with what she had, and there were a fair few men who prefered red hair in any case.
The girls passed a woman who neither of them knew very well, just by sight and nickname. She was one of the destitutes who scraped a living on the streets; the name Jenny knew her by was Pretty Polly. This was probably not her real name, but Jenny knew about that; her real name was Kate, after all. They passed the woman by, staggering slightly as they walked.