The last shivers of light from the setting sun slid behind the copious spread of trees about his mansion, settling his attic bedroom in a comfortable radiance of darkness. While vampires are immune to the effects of sunlight, they don't prefer it, instead preferring the more gentle light of the moon. As he slept upside down, his bare feet clinging to his favorite bed rafter, his eyelids slowly phased open, allowing more and more light to caress the weariness of the day before.
Dying to the Light
A Sherlock Holmes Story
By John Pirillo
Its tracks were as plain to see as if one had held a lantern up to a wall streaked with mud all over it. He could smell it as well. It stank of death and dying. Of fear and horror. Of an ending to what might have been longer, but now would never be.
He touched very carefully the beginning of a spot on the rug, then traced it with his carefully manicured nail until it stopped about eight feet above the floorboards, the beautiful tapestry of the wall paper, the molded window frame, the silver backed glass, the embroidered flags that countered each side of the window, and resting just below the ceiling, where the reddish ooze had begun to drip.
"Definitely here." He told his companion.
The man stood in the shadows of the bedroom, examining the body that they had discovered only minutes ago, purely thanks to the very excellent nostrils of Count Dracula.
Sherlock hammered his chin with his right index fingernail over and over as he pondered the juxtaposition of the dead woman and the spots of blood on the pink carpet beside the bed, and the spots on the floor beside the ornately designed window where Count Dracula had seen and smelled the initial impurities of death and blood from outside.
"Perhaps." Sherlock said, not so sure himself.
He raised his eyes from the pallid figure on the bed, whose throat had been torn open by brute force, allowing a secondary flow of blood to light up the pure white silk sheets it lay upon. Her eyes stared up at him, as if accusing him of not being there sooner, as if saying, why you allowed this. That look always haunted him, though he never spoke of it. Perhaps that was why the original allure of the opiates had been so strong in him at one time. Over the years he had diminished that, suppressing that futile urge and replacing it instead with a sharp insight honed by clinical knowledge and experience.
Forensics was still a new science in Queen Mary's Victorian England, but one that was gaining more and more proponents, thanks to his and Watson's work. His and that of the Baker Street Team, that is.
"I'm afraid we shall have to call off the opera tonight." Sherlock finally said.
Count Dracula said nothing. What was there to say? He was a patient man when it came to facts, and the facts were obvious. Someone or something with very sharp teeth and an enormous amount of strength had destroyed this person.
Personally, he found no attraction to these men who deigned to dress like the opposite sex, and pretend to be women, but he also had no particular distaste for them either. People had choices they had to live or die by. This one had chosen to live under a different sky, and their sky had collapsed and fallen upon them for whatever the reason. Perhaps lust, perhaps the thrill of dangerous liaisons, who could tell? Surely not Dame Evans who lay on her regal throne of a bed, her...or rather his...life stricken from him in one horrid, vampiric moment.
"Watson, come here, we need you!" Sherlock remarked loudly.
They both heard a thumping from overhead, as if a horrible monster were awoken from its repose and was storming for the exit to attend to the intruders below who had disturbed it. The noise grew louder and louder, and Count Dracula tensed, not sure if he was hearing Watson, or something worse.
Then Watson rushed into the room, but without a sound.
Count Dracula, without speaking a word, flung himself out the right half of the window, which lay open and soared upwards like a swift, dark arrow.
"I say, Sherlock, whatever got into him?"
"Anything?" Sherlock demanded, not commenting on Watson's remark.
"The body definitely perished here in this room, and I cannot for the world of me decide how the blood could possibly have flowed upwards into the room above. It's just an attic, devoid of windows, chimney or any exit but that which I entered and left but moments ago."
Sherlock went to the open portion of the double glassed window and gazed at the lawn below. They were two stories up. The attic on the third. He turned slightly to peer at the gabled roof. Searching for the minutest traces of clues that could be there, but found nothing.
"It would seem our murderer either had wings, or another method of entering and exiting this home." Sherlock decided.
Watson gently shut the eyes of Dame Evans, shuddering, not because of what she was, but what she might have been... a soul with great potential. Dame Evans had been on the brink of a great discovery, one that could have revolutionized the tech industry that had been blossoming under Tesla and Edison.
"Always." Sherlock joined in, sighing.
He steepled his fingers beneath his chin, then sighed again and headed for the exit. "We must let the Inspector attend to this now; we have done all we can."
"He's going to be disappointed we waited so long to contact him."
Sherlock gave Watson an amused smile. "Usually, it is he who wakes us. Turnabout is only fair, wouldn't you say, Watson?"
Inspector Bloodstone exited the Constabulary Wagon alongside Constable Evans, cursing lightly and rubbing his bloodshot eyes, until he spotted Sherlock and Watson waiting for him at the doorway of the three story mansion that had once been the home of Dame Evans.
Several older men of a colorful nature stood around them, chattering obsessively, wiping at their eyes.
"Oh great!" He muttered, cursing the hour and the time of this death.
"Why is it always at night this happens, Constable Evans?"
Constable Evans gave his father an amused look. He said nothing. He knew better. He rubbed his own eyes, which had barely closed yet, and smiled. Tomorrow should test them both. But tomorrow was tomorrow. Almost as if reading his mind, Sherlock looked over and locked onto his eyes for a moment, his hawk like stare unnerving to most, but to Constable Evans only a sigh of the certainty of the man's giant intellect.
"Where?" Inspector Bloodstone demanded.
"Watson, please do the honors."
Watson nodded and headed inside, followed by the Inspector.
Constable Evans gave the three men about Sherlock a penetrating stare.
The tallest of the three, dressed in all yellow, and with long hair that was braided like a pirates, painted nails and red lipstick, stepped forward and extended his hand. "I am Harold Pinter. A friend of the late Dame Evans."
The second man snickered. "And lover."
"Please." Sherlock demanded. Both men shut up and stood back. The third watched silently, no words upon his lips.
Sherlock gestured to Constable Evans. "Let's take a walk."
Sherlock didn't answer. Instead he stepped down from the high porch, which was laden with ornamental flowers and guardian angels, and led Constable Evans about the mansion, his eyes tracing something along their path only he could see. Finally, he stopped.
When he did a dark form descended from above and lit beside them.
Count Dracula eyed the startled Constable, who was reaching for his weapon. "My apologies, Constable, I had forgotten you are a bit nervous about us."
Constable Evans eyes narrowed. "The woman I loved was drained dry of her life by one such as you." He accused.
"Not one like I, but one whose thirst went above and beyond the mortal boundaries of dignity. I apologize once more for your loss and offer my condolences."
He gave a regal bow, his eyes filled with true apology and a touch of sadness. He felt that way because he never drank human blood, nor ever would. But there were rogues in his life stream, who might and did.
Constable Evans looked to Sherlock. "So why are we here?"
"Did you notice anything special about any of the men on the porch?"
"Three men of a different taste."
Constable Evans raised an eyebrow.
Sherlock pointed to the roof. "Our friend here, Count Dracula, found a forced entrance upon the roof."
Constable Evans gave Sherlock a puzzled look. "But why would they enter that way? Why go to all that effort?"
"Why indeed?" Sherlock asked.
He plucked from his cloak something heavy and handed it to the Constable. "When I give the word you are to stab that immediately into the heart of the man I urge you to. You must not hesitate or he will flee."
"Because the Count would give himself away and because I have another mission. Will you do so, or not?"
"What of Watson?"
"Again. Another mission."
Constable Evans sighed and hefted the small, but quite heavy silver knife.
Count Dracula shuddered at its shape and its deadliness. One of the few things a mortal man could use upon him with success.
"Follow me." Sherlock said. "Count."
The Count flew upwards, vanishing into the shadows of the roof.
Sherlock led Constable Evans to the porch where the three men still stood. He stepped up the steps, followed by Constable Evans, whose right hand was out of sight in the pocket of his trousers.
"I know who murdered Dame Evans."
The two men beside Harold Pinter both headed down the steps, one to the right and one to the left. "We'll see you later, Harold." One said. "Later!" Said the other.
But as they strode onto the pavement of the sidewalk Watson stepped into view from the right and Inspector Bloodstone from the left.
"What's the meaning of this?" Harold Pinter demanded, his eyes blazing with anger. "Just because we are different is no reason to treat us so unmanly!"
"Now!" Sherlock hammered Constable Evans with his voice.
Constable Evans pulled out his silver knife and plunged it into the heart of Harold Pinter.
The two men on the sidewalk tried to rush back to help him, but were blocked by Watson and Inspector Bloodstone.
Harold Pinter screamed like a banshee, his voice so horrible that the air was shattered by the terror and anger of it.
He grabbed for Constable Evans.
Sherlock immediately threw a rope of silver about his hands, and then pulled him face down onto the flat of the porch.
Count Dracula descended from above and stood on Harold's back. "Do not move if you value your life, scourge of the night!"
"I shall kill you all!" Harold cried out, frothing blood from his mouth.
From inside the home a horrible cry broke forth, then a second and a third. A horrible sound like a monster descending from inside erupted, and then Dame Evans stepped forth from inside, his body no longer resembling that of a mortally wounded human, but instead something worse. Something from a nightmare.
"Where is he?" He demanded.
Sherlock very calmly blocked the path of Dame Evans.
The monster ground its enormous teeth in his face a moment, then his horrid shape began to dissolve into that they had seen laying upon the bed. He broke into tears and wept like a woman. Sherlock did a very peculiar thing for him, and put a hand on her shoulder to comfort her.
Harold Pinter and the other two men were led into the back of the Constabulary Wagon, all three chained in silver. Several Constables herded them inside, and then climbed in to guard them.
Inspector Bloodstone eyed Sherlock. "How did you know it was them?"
Sherlock smiled. "A little birdy told me."
Watson laughed. "Inspector, all three men had bird droppings on their shoes. The only way they could have gotten that..."
"Was from the rooftop." Count Dracula added with a smirk. "This is why I flew there."
Sherlock nodded. "You see, these three men are part of a variety of vampires that can only extend their family by ingesting the blood of one such as Dame Evans, a man deluded into thinking he was different from humanity, because of his sexual preferences."
"And he wasn't."
"Isn't, my dear Inspector. You see each of us has the same Divine Spark and Dame Evans' only problem was his overwhelming desire to belong somewhere he was loved, even if it meant dying to our world to joint theirs."
Dame Evans stood on the porch watching the door of the Wagon closed. "But what now? Constable Evans demanded. "He is one of them. Just look at him. More alone than ever before."
"Yes. But now, he knows them for what they are. For their intent was not to convert him to their cause, but to take his life. Had you not stabbed Harold in the heart as you did, the unholy bond they had forged upon him would never have been broken, and he would've awoken..."
"As an Undead Monster." Count Dracula said, shivering with the idea. "Such monsters are the slaves of men like these. Preying upon the innocent."
"And helping them to accumulate wealth." Watson added.
"Yes, Watson. Even monsters have sometimes...peculiar mortal needs."
They all turned to look as the Constable Wagon drove off.
Behind them Dame Evans wept softly.
Sherlock sad sadly. "What is sad is that he thought he was being born anew, but in fact he was dying to the Light. Better to learn how to love ourselves as God created us"
He smiled at Watson. "We must rejoice in what we have, not curse that which we do not."
"I could use a raspberry scone right about now." Watson muttered with a yawn.
Everyone broke into laughter. It had been a long night.
The Legions of Tomorrow
His swarthy complexion always confused anyone who first met him, as they always assumed that the undead were...undead looking. He would take their stares with good grace and let them off easy with the words..."I do not drink...blood!" A direct contradiction to those who had seen the once famous Bela Lugosi movies that had been perpetrated on the masses to scare and frighten them. The aging actor had been a distant cousin of the Count and had to apologize to him for the bad press, but he needed the work at the time and the Count had encouraged him to take the work. He didn't care about superstitious people's beliefs. Everyone knew there were good and bad in anything, good wolves bad, bad wolves; good vampires, bad vampires; ghosts that meant well, ghosts that had no such intention of every doing anything well for anyone. Demons who rocked the foundations of the earth to destroy it and demons who were working on getting their angel wings.
So what others believed...he really didn't care or mind. Take your pick. Had he been featured in a vampire movie, he would be more like that famous Latin actor who had made Dracula a dancing hero. He also loved to dance, thought at this particular moment, as he hung upside down from his bedroom beam, thinking about what he had in store for the morrow, he had no particular juice on any kind of dancing, except dancing to the bathroom as soon as possible. He had drunk a lot of blueberry wine the last night and his bladders...yes, he had two...his bladders, as strong as they were were screaming to be emptied.
So he dropped from the beam, flipping over nimbly midflight, and landed lightly on his feet. He yawned, then stretched and stumbled. Yes, even vampires wake up slowly and sluggishly. He stumbled into the lavatory to relieve his bladders. His eyes felt like they were going to pop until he was able to empty them. So many there was some truth to the eyes floating in...well, you know.
He took out his favorite razor, lathered it with a fine soap he had imported from the India Isles, and began drawing it delicately across his chin, then throat, until the fine mist of hair he was growing had been mown down like a savage forest trying to overtake a city.
He yawned again, revealing his two largish front incisors, which had given him and his father their legendary appearance in most modern horror tales of fanged monsters. The fangs could indeed suck blood through them, but never by force, always by free will. They never took what wasn't freely offered, and many friends would offer them a drink in exchange for the favors done for them, not because the Count or his father demanded them, but as a showing of appreciation and gratitude.
"Now what?" He thought as the huge bat knocker on his front door clanged loudly, making a shrieking noise up and down the hallways of his two story mansion. He smiled. Any guests were always startled by the joke he had installed, but after another visit or two caught onto his sense of humor and came to appreciate it.
He leaped from the second floor landing to the floor below, ignoring the beautifully carpeted steps and opened the front door. His good friend, and servant, Charlie Fritz, was not in the house at that time. He had been given leave and a good sum of money to fly back to Rome in one of the new fangled Tesla dirigibles to stay with his family for a month. The Count was not afraid of a little housework and since he only needed a few hours a night or day to refresh himself, he never had too little time to take care of the details of household chores.
"Ah!" He said as he looked at Sherlock, resplendent in a tux with Watson next to him, and James Moriarity, their mutual friend.
"Come in! Come in!" He said, motioning them inside. He glanced outside. It was a full moon. He expected more guests and one in particular.
"I've had the table prepared since this morning for our repast. I hope you don't mind Charlie not being here. I shall happily serve you just as well. Or at least as well as I am capable."
Sherlock smiled. "It is not the service we have come to visit, my dear Count."
He stepped inside, throw his over cloak onto a hanger by the door, allowing Watson to do the same and they headed into the dining room.
"Good doctor, how's your fiancée?"
"Marvelous. She sends her regrets for not coming, but was struck by one of those obnoxious colds that strike this time of year. I prescribed some sleeping potion to help her rest. By this time she should be comfortably between her sheets and covers and resting well."
"Very good. This way." The Count said, guiding them the rest of the way into the dining room. Inside was a very large table that shone like glass with settings for twelve.
"When will the others be coming?" Sherlock asked, seating himself at the near end of the table.
Watson sat on the corner near him and looked at the Count.
"I would imagine they'll all trickle in as usual."
The door bat slammed home again, sending shrieks through the home.
"Excuse me. I think we have more guests."
He went to the door and let in Lord Graystone and Lady Shareen, who were followed by Professor Challenger and Conan.
"Harry's on his way with Tesla and Edison." Conan explained as he and Challenger set their hats and cloaks on the hanger by the door.
"Very good." The Count said, then led them into the dining room.
He began bringing out food and drink for everyone, who all insisted that he wait for the others, but he insisted he had more than enough for everyone several times over and they shouldn't wait for one more minute.
Watson and Challenger tucked in immediately, their bellies almost screaming for food, they were such stout men.
James went into the kitchen with the Count and helped him bring more food out.
"You look good, James. The sea life must have agreed with you."
"Very much so."
He helped the Count set out the last of the food and drink as the Count went to answer the next shriek of the Bat ringer.
Tesla, Harry and Edison came in chatting up a storm.
Everyone sat down and after hurried greetings began eating.
Sherlock looked up. "We're missing a guest."
The Count looked at the empty chair. "I suspect there's a good reason."
A loud bang came from the door.
The Count smiled. "I think our guest has arrived."
He sniffed the air, then smiled.
He went to the door and opened it. Larry was there, his hat in hand. "I hope I didn't keep you. The moon has made me miserable. It's almost full."
"Don't worry, I have a nice room for you to stay in if you want to wait for the moon to pass."
"Thank you, Count. You're a great host. As always."
After everyone had eaten to their heart's content, the Count rose and held up his glass. "A toast to our brotherhood. To each other, our friends, and to those whom we serve."
"Here, here!" They all joined and drank their toasts.
They set down their glasses and looked at him expectantly.
"The reason why I've invited you all here this evening is not only for the companionship we all enjoy and share with each other, but to give you warning."
Sherlock tensed for a moment, then relaxed.
Conan cocked an eye on the Count.
Watson shook his head. "Always something to sour the milk, isn't there Holmes."
James leaned over and whispered into Watson's ear. "No one drinks milk here."
"I do." Watson declared.
Everyone broke into laughter.
The Count waited for the laughter to subside, then spoke again. "We all know that the Hollow Man for quite some time now has been amassing an army."
Lord Greystone nodded. "I spotted some of his forces on my last patrol of the Isles of the Behemoth."
"Aye." James agreed. "Captain Nemo has spotted them as well."
"The Count nodded, then eyed his friends.
"My warning is the Legions of Tomorrow are on their way!"
The room became deathly silent.
"Have Wells and Verne confirmed this?"Sherlock demanded.
"Yes. And it's a very real threat. But that threat is still some time away. For tonight..." He said, raising his glass again in a toast. "Let us rejoice in our friendship and pray that we can continue to protect the innocent from the hordes that surely will soon be storming our gates."
"Here, here!" Everyone said and joined in the new toast.
Their jollity filled the ancient hallways of Count Dracula's home, but coming nearer and more near were the hordes. The Legions of Tomorrow, who had a more deadly agenda in mind.
Check out this classic 3D animated short film about an old watchmaker who is carefully working on a miniature toy set when one of his creations comes to life, created by the talented team of Valentin Gueu, Romain Maleyrot, Jérôme Oudo while at Ecole Supérieure des Métiers Artistiques (ESMA)! For more information, please see the details and links below:
Participation : Didier Deschamps, Shirley Pons.
Music : Arno Riva
Additional Score : David Cellier
Sound : José VICENTE (Studio Des Aviateurs)
For more information, please see the details and links below:
SUBSCRIBE - to TheCGBros for more inspiring content!
by John Pirillo
The Jungle Lord, for he had shed his civilized clothing for a reason, was all that he should be as he leaped from roof-top to roof-top, his nostrils flaring to catch the scents and fragrances that wafted in the air. He was looking for one in particular, the one he had caught near the famous authors. The reason he had paid any attention to them at all, for the fragrance he caught was on them, and yet not. It was curious to him, as usually he could tell what a smell was the first time. It was as clear to him as seeing a diamond was to a jeweler.
But not one to intellectualize for long, he just savored the crispness of the air snapping against his bronzed skin, his muscles ripping in joy as they stretched and tightened leap after leap. He even caught an occasional antenna that was stout enough and swung from them, like a monkey might from a vine to another, or a branch to trunk or a new branch.
He was the Jungle Lord now, in the elements he preferred, his body exposed to whatever hand that nature dealt. He would not freeze, for he would not be still long enough to do so, and his body chemistry was unlike that of ordinary Englishmen. His time spent under the tutelage of the Grand Sorceress of Ar had taught him how to control his body temperatures in all extremes of weather. He smiled as he leaped onto a roof-top where a grandmother was pinning some clothing on a stretch of rope.
She looked startled for a moment, then recovered as he paused a moment to sniff the air. "You're that ape man fellow, aren't you?" She stated, not asking, but asking all the same. She eyed him like a young woman might, but without the lust or desire. She was admiring the finesse of his body's sculpture. He appreciated her honesty of purpose, which was seldom found in this city of imposters, miscreants and confused humans.
He thought confused as a description because even though the majority were good people, they hadn't a clue as to their true origins, very little contact with what made them human, and most preferred to live and die in the shadow of what they might have become, rather than what they could be.
A few rose above the masses, such as Professor Challenger, or Conan, his best friend, even Sherlock Holmes and Watson...and then sadly his thoughts plumetted. Moriarity. A grand soul, a great light now missing from the world.
Once more he gave into that darker memory and then snapped out of it when the grandmother reached into a basked next to her and pulled out a piece of fruit. "It's my guilty pleasure, but I suspect you will appreciate it." She told him as she offered him a fresh banana.
He didn't ask her where she had gotten it from. He just took it and then her hand, which he pressed to his lips in gratitude, then he ran away, leaping for the next roof top, leaving an old woman with fond memories and a great story to tell to her grandchildren of the day that the Jungle Lord had swung onto her roof top and kissed her hand.
As he continued his roof-top search he thought about the two young authors again and their cryptic conversation. Was it possible that they were not truly native to his world, just like himself? A secret he had kept from all his friends, even his beloved Lady Shareen. His entrance into this world had not been from the jungles of Africa as many had reported and made stories about, but instead he had been born and launched from a much harsher environment, where trees grew as tall as the Eiffel Tower and taller, and where animals the size of dinosaurs randomly plundered the lands, frightening the few humans there into hiding inside the great trees and beneath the earth.
His mother had not been an ape as was popularly believed, but rather a green skinned being with multiple arms. On this planet she would have resembled the infamous demon Kali, but in his world she was kind and gentle, but stood over fifteen feet tall when stretched, but only nine when seated, which she was much of the time with him as a child. It was only later on that his Ra, or mother as she was to him, had let him realize just how big she was. Most of his tender years, she kept him close, giving him much to do with her many arms, teaching him how to defend himself, how to leap, how to crawl, how to hung.
She had done a magnificent job of it, sharpening his already heightened senses to a sharpness not even her own people could reach.
She was his Ra, his mother, and he her Cur, or cub, or youngling. She had never had any of her own, because she could never find a male of equal heart and stature. The males of he race tended to be reclusive and extremely violent, which is probably why they were a dying race, as any race of beings that kills its own, is doomed in the long run...to extinction!
He had little memory of how he came to be in her charge, or even if he was originally of that world. She never ventured, and he never asked. He was happy for her love and to this day remained so. Should she ever have wished to reveal more, she would have. He was content enough of his life to let go of unwanted memories or to want memories that were not his own, or meant for him.
So between Ra and the Grand Soceress of Ar, Lah of Torn, he had learned how to deal with any kind of environment, weather or situation and be peaceful with it. He could regulate his body temperature and he never aged. He looked the same at the appearance of twenty-two as he had over five hundred years ago, for that was how old he remembered himself to be. Lady Shareen suspected the depth of his years, but never pried. He never told her for her own safety, for anything he revealed to her, could be used by his enemies against him and her in the long run, if they thought her to be a vessel of destruction to him.
He had not had any recent bouts with the Ancient Enemies who had followed him from Torn, but that did not mean they weren't preparing something. Some things never changed.
He landed on a last roof-top, near the docks. He stood there on the ledge, sniffing the air. He caught a familiar scent. But it couldn't be, could it? He ignored it, thinking it was a trick of his imagination or a combination of spices that had struck his memory cords. And in so doing he didn't notice the very large man below, known as Giant, and also as Moriarity, as he boarded a merchant ship with his few belongings over his shoulder.
The man looked back and up once, spotting the Jungle Lord, but he failed to recognize him. His memories were jarred by the imagery, but not enough to bring a clear recollection. He shrugged it off as to something he had seen in the papers perhaps, and boarded the ship.
He tossed his belongings to the deck, and joined the other Sailors in withdrawing the boarding ramp, and helping to get the ship ready to embark back to the ocean it had left a month ago.
The Jungle Lord looked down, but the Giant was already descending into the hold, to help tie up the cargo for the what would probably be violent rocking of the ship in the high tides as they emerged from the Thames out into the freezing, rugged waters of the Atlantic.
A new scent caught his nostrils. The one he had been seeking. And strong. He leaped down from the rooftop as nimbly as a cat might, landing on his two feet with little effort from the thirty feet he had dropped, then ran towards a warehouse.
He reached the doors of the warehouse as a horrible scream emitted from within, causing Sailors who were already gawking at the Jungle Lord to cross themselves and scatter for safety, as all were aware of the demon loose in the city and wanted none of it.
The Jungle Lord threw open the warehouse doors and launched himself inside, his right hand clutching his very sharp knife that was ready to defend him and strike down mercilessly the foul creature he had scented.
Will the Jungle Lord find out that his knife is useless against the savage mummy from the museum? Has the Jungle Lord finally found an opponent he can not defeat? Will Lady Shareen lose the one and true love her life?
Come back tomorrow for the next exciting episode of "The Revenge of the Mummy."
For those of you who are just dying to learn more about the famous Jungle Lord and how he figures into the Baker Street Adventures universe, then pick up a copy of The Baker Street Adventures, "The Jungle Lord." at Smashwords for 99 cents.
The Jungle Lord seeks to explore his new domain in the Land of Fairie and becomes entangled in the charms of a lovely English lady explorer, as well as the wrath of a dragon the size of a small mountain, who fancies the English noblewoman for his own tastes. LessLord Graystone is exploring the Land of Fairie, his new jungle home, when he discovers a fellow explorer in danger. He rushes to her rescue, battling a horrible
spider monster to free her. In the process of freeing her he enrages the King of Dragons, who is now dead set on adding Lord Graystone, the Jungle Lord to his main menu.
In London the Baker Street Adventurers learn of the missing female explorer at the same time they learn that Hyde is back and has taken over Conan's body in an attempt to enter Fairie where he plans to take over the body of the King of Dragons so he can return to London and destroy it.
Chapter Sixty-Two, the conclusion of "Things that go bump in the NIght," a Sherlock Holmes Baker Street Adventure is now posted.
"Things that go bump in the Night"
by John Pirillo
Inspector Blackstone sat ramrod straight between Holmes and Watson, both of whom seemed to be in an incredibly positive mood, despite the outcome of the day.
"I just don't see how you two can be so cavalier about all of this." Blackstone commented.
"Have a scone dear." Mrs. Hudson urged him. "I'm sure it will improve your outlook remarkably."
Watson nudged Blackstone slightly. "She added a little extra to it for tonight."
Mrs. Hudson gave Watson a warm smile and Blackstone a wink, then began serving the other friends gathered about the sitting room, which was usually quite large enough, but was quite crowded now.
Challenger and Conan sat near the window, commisserating with Dracula over the hole in his shoulder and back.
"I'm sure a vampire as young as yourself will grow back the missing pieces soon enough." Challenger said kindly.
"I will help in any way I can." Conan reassured the Count.
Dracula sighed. He looked over at Madame Curie and Shareen. "If only..."
Challenger nudged him. "Don't even think it!"
Dracula gave him a nasty look. "I was merely thinking that if I had remembered to bring my rain coat with me, I wouldn't have to worry about getting water inside my body tonight."
"Oh!" Challenger said contritely.
Madame Curie and Lady Shareen sat with Professor Langston and Larry Talbot, who were joking like long time friends.
"You know what the werewolf said to the other werewolf who had just got run down by a Tesla truck?" Langston asked with a smile.
"Now there's a hairy situation if ever I saw one." Larry said with a vague smile, having heard that one a hundred times before.
Lady Shareen got up. Madame Curie looked at her. "Going so soon?"
"I've got a women's liberation meeting tomorrow in London Square. Mustn't be late and this has been much too long of a day...and night."
Madame Curie got up as well. "In that case let us share a cab, there's a few more things I'd like to discuss with you on the way home."
"Surely." Lady Shareen said with good grace.
They turned to Mrs. Hudson. "Do give Holmes and Watson our best and thanks for the evening." Lady Shareen said with utmost sincerity.
"I will." Mrs. Hudson said, leading them down the steps to the front of the flat.
A Tesla Cab was parked directly outside the door. She looked to her right and there was a long line of them. She smiled. "It never hurts to be prepared." She said to her friends with a wink.
The other two women laughed, shook her hand and headed to the Cab.
Upstairs Blackstone was still remorseful, but now he was nibbling on a scone. His third to be exact. His cheeks were getting a bit ruddy. "Not that I wanted a beheading. That would be unsportsmanlike of me."
"Undoubtedly." Holmes remarked, taking a puff of his pipe.
"Only thing that really bothers me about all of this, is how all the serial killings were tied to just one man." He finally said after his fourth scone.
Holmes looked to Watson, who took a sip of his tea, then sighed. "You see, Professor Moriarity never works alone. He never does his own dirty business, except in the torture of James, of course. But the serial murders he used a very nefarious gang of thieves known as the Bloody Hand Gang."
"Dear God! Do you know what you're saying then?"
"Yes." Watson replied. "The game is still afoot!"
"Things that go bump in the Night"
by John Pirillo
Atop one of the older buildings stood a solitary figure its shape similar in shape to someone we should recognize. It watched the Cremarg fly overhead with Moriarity dangling by the lasso around his shoulders, struggling to break free.
The Cremarg looked down at the figure and screamed in outrage, but didn't veer from its course, which was across the channel towards France.
Lord Graystone adjusted his grip on the lasso, then slowly pulled Moriarity up until he could climb behind him.
"Who are you, sir, and why do you haul me so rudely through the skies over London and now out to sea?" Moriarity demanded.
"I am your friend."
"I have no friends. I am Giant. A stranger to this country."
"Why did you try to kill your friends in the cavern?"
"I did no such thing."
Lady Shareen placed her hands on Moriarity's shoulders and he looked back at her. "You look familiar. You both do. Should I know you?"
"Yes." She said calmly, soothing the anger that was rising in his breast.
He sighed. "I feel as if I have been living in a dream."
"You're safe now, James. Safe with friends."
"Why do you call me James?"
"Because you are." She said tenderly.
Lord Graystoke banked the Cremarg sharply a moment to avoid the mast of a tall ship in the way. "You have been used, dear sir."
"The very man who tortured you and imprisoned you for months." Lord Graystone replied, anger in his voice.
"The man we thought dead." Lady Shereen added.
"Who is that?"
"Moriarity. Professor Moriarity."
James cried out and grabbed his skull, striving to crush the memories that came rushing back to him, of the torture and humiliation he had faced hour after hour, day after day by the hideous Professor Moriarity. "I thought him dead when I entered you world."
Lady Shareen gently took James' hands from his skull and held them tight. "It seems we have a surplus of Moriarity's on our hands."
James suddenly remembered. "Infinite Worlds, Infinite Choices."
"And not always good ones." Lord Graystone admitted, as he gently steered the Cremarg to the rapidly growing coast of France across the channel.
Before the Queen could respond to the crisis at hand, a solitary figure in the crowd, its face and head shrouded in a hood like monk's clothing, ran up the stairs to the platform and threw itself at the feet of the Queen before her Guard could respond.
Queen Mary looked down at the figure who prostrated before her, weeping and sounding like a lost soul. "Rise."
"I cannot." The figure responded.
"You must!" She said firmly.
"If I do, then I shall never forgive myself."
"If you do not, I shall never forgive you. My son."
The figure slowly rose, until he towered over her. He threw back the hood from his face and revealed...
"Mother?" He asked.
Queen Mary began to tremble. The Guards grew alarmed and closed in on the figure, but she held them back. "It's been so long. I have wanted to hold you every day of your life, but I could not. I dared not. For had I done so, he would surely have taken your life or done far worse. I could only pray that you learned from the darkness you were exposed to, that you held that light of goodness I first gave you and crushed it to your breath."
She opened her arms and he went into them.
Below Holmes and Watson watched in surprise.
"It seems our day is just full of surprises, Watson."
"Aren't they always?" Watson said with a sigh.
Mrs. Hudson pulled on Watson's arm. "Come dear, I think we could all use something warm to eat and drink."
Watson looked to Holmes. "Coming?"
"No, I think I shall watch this play out."
Watson nodded and passed his other friends, who all looked to Holmes, then when Watson shook his head, they all followed him and Mrs. Hudson through the crowd which was growing restless and confused by the moment. Bobbies began spreading out to control the crowd as the Adventurers headed back towards Baker Street.
On the platform the Queen finally released her son and he turned to face the crowd. "How will you tell them I am Mister Dark?"
"I will not." She said sadly. "They must never know your plight, nor the depth of your involvement in the murders. "
"But I have much to atone for." He pleaded.
"And you shall do so, but you shall do so in a way that befits your rank and station and in a way that truly benefits the citizens of London. Through service to the poor."
He gazed into her eyes. "Mother, I swear I shall dedicated my last breath to the cause of helping the poor."
"Good." She said with a smile. "I shall be right there with you by yourself as well. Come, my son, we have much to catch up on, and much to do."
The Queen and Mister Dark, her son, began descending the stairs to the platform as the Guards closed ranks behind them, leaving a lonely Executioner with no one to behead. He shrugged, gathered up his axe, then descended after them, whistling a merry tune.
Inspector Blackstone climbed from the Police Van and gave instructions to his man to wait for him, then he went up the flat stairs to 221B Baker Street and knocked on the door. A bit of a pause, then Mrs. Hudson opened the door. "Come in, Inspector, we've been expecting you."
"I'm sure you have." He uttered, then followed her inside.
Upstairs, Holmes sat by the hearth smoking his pipe, lost in thought as Watson, Conan and Challenger went on and on about their next adventure. They wanted to explore the Middle of the Earth.
"You're kidding. Right?" Harry scowled at them. "Hollow earth. That's preposterous. It's not hollow, it's quite crowded."
"Exactly." Challenger cried out. "And I, for one, intend to be the first man to discover that great land that extends beyond the poles."
"So you truly intend to sail through the ice and snow to discover the entrance." Conan asked, intrigued but a bit wary of it.
"I shall not. But Captain Nemo reassures me that his vessel is quite capable of doing so." Challenger uttered with the utmost confidence.
Count Dracula sat between Professor Langston and Madame Curie, his clothing was immaculate as always. "So I wonder how our friends in France are doing this very moment?"
Professor Langston finished nibbling on one of Mrs. Hudson's famous scones, then delicately wiped at his lips. "I should imagine, quite well. The Jungle Lord can be very persuasive."
"I fear for the sanity of James." Count Dracula responded.
"Why is that?" Madame Curie asked, confused as to his response.
"Why? Do you have any idea of what idiots he is being put into the hands of?"
James sat in a plus apartment that overlooked a view of the Eiffel Tower. His eyes were quite somber and thoughtful. He had much to think about. Some memories were lost forever, others tumbled in and out of his consciousness, but he knew in time they would all return. He had a secret place he would retreat to soon to recover what had been lost.
"James, are you listening to me?" Chittles asked with a snort.
James turned his attention to the impish man seated across from him, a cup of tea on his lap between two thick, gnarled hands.
Redeye stood behind the chair, watching both.
"Sorry. Much on my mind, you know."
Redeye nodded. "Chittles, perhaps we should give him some time to be alone."
Chittles shook his head. "Lady Shareen was absolutely demanding that we not leave him for a moment."
"This is supposed to be a vacation." Redeye reminded his dimunitive friend.
"This is a vacation. Getting to partner with one of the greatest minds of our century!" Chittles exclaimed. He leaned forward, accidentally loosing some tea into his lap. "Whoops!"
He got up hurriedly and headed towards the flat's kitchen, dabbing at himself.
Redeye sat down and sighed. "You must forgive my friend, he's a bit ambitious at times."
James smiled. "I look forward to working our first case together. Perhaps in time you'll be able to help me remember everything."
Redeye frowned. "I'm not sure you will like all that your remember."
"Wasn't it Nietzche who said that "That which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger."
"True enough. But usually it does...kill us, that is." Redeye responded.
James nodded, but his thoughts were suddenly elsewhere. He saw this beautiful young woman in the street below. She looked upwards at him and he could swear he'd seen that face before. She gave him an expectant look, but when he looked away, she hid the hurt that suddenly overwhelmed her and rushed up the street and was soon lost to view.
"Lillith!" James exclaimed, a flood of memories washing over his heart, strong emotions that wanted him to cry out in shame, fear and loss, but more than all to feel the connection that once had been all to him.
He shot to his feet and ran to the window, but she was gone.
Chapter Fifty-Seven of "Things that go bump in the Night," a Sherlock Holmes Baker Street Adventure is now posted. www.johnpirillo.com
Chapter Fifty-Seven Mrs. Hudson stood next to Watson and Holmes as the executioner climbed the steps to the platform where Moriarity stood.
Harry Houdini, Conan and Challenger stood to their left and Professor Langston, Count Dracula and Larry Talbot stood to their right. Lady Shareen was nowhere to be seen, but Madame Curie stood behind everyone, talking quietly with Tesla, whose furrowed eyebrows sought the skies incessantly as if searching for something.
"It's so terrible." Mrs. Hudson said, cringing against Watson. "You should have finished him off, rather than have him die this way."
Holmes looked to her. "Watson is too honorable a man to take another man's life in cold blood."
Watson laughed then. "But I sure added a few years to his life when I fired at him, even if the bullet only passed through his coat sleeve. I imagine if he were to live another day, that nightmare would still be casting its shadows across his imagination."
"That' s terrible!" Exclaimed Mrs. Hudson .
Holmes smiled, but said nothing more. He too was also searching the skies, for no obvious reason.
Conan shivered in the fog that was rolling across the square and grasping at his ankles and those about him. "I wish they would hurry this up!"
Challenger clapped a hand to his shoulder. "Always in a rush, are we?"
"I hate death!"
"A strange thing for a man who has escaped its clutches once already." Harry said with a smirk.
"I know nothing of that, except what Challenger has spoken to me."
He glared at Challanger. "I still don't know how he did it."
Challenger whispered. "And most likely never will. Trade secret, my good man."
"Bugger that." Conan replied angrily.
Challenger laughed, but said no more.
Professor Langston looked at his companion. "Why's your nose twitching so much this morning?
"Danger is in the air. I can smell it!"
Langston frowned. "Danger has no smell."
Larry touched Langston's nose. "That's because your nose is always clogged up with sinus drain and other various chemicals."
Langston started to reply, then hushed when Queen Mary of Scots began her march up the platform stairs.
The crowd grew loud, clapping and cheering.
"Give 'im hell, Mary!" One man yelled.
"Off with his head." Cried a woman with a baby in her arms.
"Sell his body parts to Frankestein." Shouted another.
Watson nudged Holmes. "If she doesn't close this soon, there's likely to be a riot. A lot of people lost their lives through this man's evil."
"I think not, Watson."
"Holmes, you don't actually think this man is innocent, do you?"
"Remember when you helped lift him to place him on the makeshift stretcher, how his left hand had a missing ring on the pinkie?"
"And do you also remember the smell of the sea on his clothing?"
"Hard to miss it."
"And did you also note that his eyes never blinked once, but looked straight at you."
"Oh my God!" Watson almost screamed. "It's James! But how?"
"That is a mystery to solve another day. Right now I just pray we are in time."
"In time for what?"
"To save an innocent man's life."
"My proud countrymen." Queen Mary announced through a horn that magnified her voice. "Today we witness the end of a scourge that has darkened our country for decades now. That has harmed our men and women, our children, our sovereinty and all that is good in our land."
She turned to the Executioner and he strode to Moriarity, who didn't resist, but allowed himself to be led to a block where his head was placed.
"With one swift blow, evil shall be rid from this land forever!"
She raised a hand and the Executioner raised his axe over Moriarity's head. "So shall it be and so shall it end!"
She dropped her hand and the axe fell.
An arrow struck the axe handle, and it flew from the Executioner's grasp and landed several feet away. Moriarity looked up as a great shadow dropped across the platform.
Everyone looked up and screamed.
Holmes smiled. "The moment of truth has arrived, dear Watson."
Watson nudged Mrs. Hudson and she looked up too. "It's..."
Lady Shareen and Lord Graystone rode the back of the Cremarg as it dropped like a stone, then swept its wings outwards, knocking many off their feet by the force of its sweep. Lord Graystone reached over and threw his lasso, catching Moriarity around his arms.
The Cremarg let out a great cry, then burst higher into the sky, with Moriarity flung behind it like a paper doll in the wind.
Watson glared at Holmes. "You knew. You knew and you didn't tell a soul!"
"Ah, but my dear friend, the game's not over yet!"
Chapter Fifty-Four of "Things that go bump in the Night," a Sherlock Holmes Baker Street Adventure is now posted. www.johnpirillo.com
"Things that go bump in the Night,"
by John Pirillo
"Get a shot. Get a shot!" Exclaimed Conan as Dracula continued to fight up close with the monster.
The creature was on top of Dracula and had its stinger poised to strike him again. Dracula used a twist on the creature's right leg and it fell to the right, jerking Dracula with it.
"I can't!" Challenger said. "It's a silver bullet. If I hit Dracula instead it will kill him."
Dracula used the advantage to leap onto the creature's chest and rip at its other eyes.
"Challenger, that's a myth!" Holmes told him calmly. "Take the shot!"
"Oh. Right!" Challenger said, then fired.
Challenger squeezed the trigger on his elephant gun and it bucked on his shoulder, knocking him back, but the bullet it fired slammed home through Dracula's right shoulder and square into the forehead of the creature.
The creature wailed loudly, as if its life were the end of the world. Which it was for the creature, and then its stinger collapsed to the right and its arms to its chest and across Dracula, who lay still.
"You sure about the bullet?" Challenger said, horrified that he might have killed the Count.
"He's....sure." Croaked Dracula. "But...it hurts....like...bollocks...why there?"
Dracula rolled off the creature and staggered to his feet, revealing the hole in his chest, through which everyone could see the other side of the cave. "It'll take weeks for that to close up, you idiot!"
Challenger laughed. "What a baby!"
Dracula stumbled over towards Challenger, a hand clutched towards him. "You will obey my will and now shoot yourself!"
Watson snapped them out of it. "Will you two babies stop playing house with each other!"
Dracula and Challenger both turned on Watson.
"I am not a baby!" The Count said with a slight snivle, then a gasp when his shoulder pain exploded worse than before. He almost fell.
Challenger grabbed him to hold him up. "You risked your life for us, old boy."
"Who're you calling old, old man?" Dracula snarled, but he didn't try to get free.
Holmes looked to the passage ahead. "Now that that's settled, I believe we have an appointment with..."
A tall figure stepped out of the darkness a torch held in his right hand.
"Professor Moriarity!" Holmes finished.
"Professor Moriarity." Queen Mary of Scots finished.
Lady Shareen and Madame Curie both blanched for a moment. "But he's supposed to be dead!"
"Does anyone ever really die in our worlds, Lady Shareen?" Mary asked.
"Ever since James opened up his world to ours, nothing has been the same." Madame Curie commented.
"But he didn't open it up. Professor Moriarity did and he died!" Lady Shareen insisted.
"That's not the point!" Queen Mary almost shouted.
"What do you mean?" Lady Shareen demanded.
"The point is that he has been leading us on a wild goosechase for many months now and loving every moment of it as we trample over the real evidence and ignore it completely and utterly forever."
Madame Curie nodded. "Ever the mastermind!"
"Ever." Mary agreed.
"But what about Mister Dark?" Lady Shareen insisted. "What is his entanglement in all of this?"
"A child seeking its father's favors, no more, and as I said, by now probably realizing the gravity of the work he did and the loss he still faces."
"Which is?" Madame Curie asked, puzzled by the direction this was all heading.
"That his father does not now love him, nor ever has. Even though it was all a way of manipulating his child into the path of evil, it was never his intent to show Mister Dark an ounce of fatherly love. He is quite incapable of it."
"So now Mister Dark is responsible for the death of many innocent souls and what has he gained?" Lady Shareen mused.
"Actually, it was not he who killed them."
"But the expeditions..." Madame Curie interrutped.
"Were all manipulations by the Master himself to cast his son into the worst of circumstances, to take credit for his own evil doings. The man is mad and even though I harbor mercy towards most made men, this one I do not. His madness is one of choice, not accident."
"So now the truth is out." Professor Moriarity gloated from his perch high above.
Harry circled to the left slowly, his right hand fingering some magical dust. Watson kept his pistol from view, but readied it by cocking it for the shot he knew he must take.
Holmes seemed unmoved by the display of braggadocio that Moriarity was showing. "Very nice." He clapped his hands. "A remarkable act. You had us fooled every moment of the way."
"Yes, even the Great Detective has been fooled by my machinations and James, well, he is of no consquence any longer."
Watson glared at Moriarity. "What have you done with him?"
"Let's just say I've sent him on a little journey."
Watson raised his pistol to fire. Holmes stopped him. "You're wasting your bullet, Watson."
"I am not!"
Watson fired anyway.
Moriarity's shape shivered for a moment as the bullet passed through it, then reformed into a solid mass again.
"So the Great Holmes has figured this much out." Moriarity gloated.
"Much more so than this." He nodded.
Professor Langston appeared behind a large boulder where a tall man was speaking through a mechanical device. "I doubt that!" The man said.
Professor Langston withdrew a silver blade from his cane and stabbed Moriarity in the lower part of his back. "I would suggest you not move abruptly, I am somewhat unsteady with a sword and might just accidently impale you!"
Professor Moriarity raised his hands above his head and turned slowly to face Langston, who remained unwavering before him, his sword now to Moriarity's belly.
"This one time I give you the win, Holmes."
Holmes and the others stepped into view and surrounded Moriarity.
"Not just this time, Professor, but for all times. Watson, see to it."
Watson stepped forward. Moriarity saw the shot held in Watson's left hand as he moved in and blanched. "You wouldn't!"
Watson stabbed Moriarity in his neck and pushed the plunger home.
"Oh, I shall!" Watson said with a grim smile.
Moriarity staggered a bit, then looked at Holmes. "This isn't over. I killed you once. I shall do so again."
"Not on my watch!" Watson said, then drew his pistol as Moriarity collapsed to the ground. He lay there on his back, clutching at the pistol held in Watson's hand. "You wouldn't kill an unarmed man."
"You sir." Watson said with finality. "You sir, are not a man!"
Chapter Fifty-One of "Things that go bump in the Night," a Sherlock Holmes Baker Street Adventure is now posted. www.johnpirillo.com
"Things that go bump in the Night,"
by John Pirillo
Mary ran like hell was on her heels, because it was. The floor was ripping apart as if a gigantic hand had both sides of it and were tearing it as easily as one might a sheet of paper.
Challenger looked at the petals, confused by what was happening.
"Pull the sword!" Mary screamed.
"But I'm not that pure." Challenger shouted back.
"Bollocks! Challenger pull it! Now!"
Challenger wrenched on the sword with all his might. His body shook from the effort. It didn't budge an inch, but it did do two things. One the floor stopped tearing apart. Two, Challenger was knocked so hard in his chest by a backwash of pure magical energy that he flew over the head of Mary, who ducked to save herself.
"Challenger!" She screamed.
Dracula hurtled for several yards into the dark, then slowed down and shot back at the creature, like an exploding cannon ball fired from a pirate ship. Dracula did something he had not done in years, in decades, he assumed his full bat form, which was huge, ugly as hell and armed with teeth the size of a sabertooth tiger.
The creature's stinger whipped around to slam into Dracula's chest, but he shot under it, then as he passed over the creature's head he ripped one of its eyes out with a grasp of his clawed hands. The creature screamed furiously, its anger so terrible that it ripped a huge section of the cavern floor apart in its frustration. It no longer paid attention to the others.
"Quickly!" Holmes urged the others. "We must move ahead while the Count is keeping it busy!"
They rushed past the creature, whose eyes were only on Dracula as he soared past again and this time landed on its shoulders and sank his teeth into its scaly neck. The stinger lashed upwards and struck Dracula on his right shoulder, knocking him to the ground. He stood up and grinned at the others. "I haven't had this much fun in..."
The stinger slammed into his chest.
His eyes went big as moons.
Challenger landed so hard that the air was smashed out of his lungs. He was much lighter in those days, but more heavy with muscle and so it was a hard landing for him and then some, as he skidded through and across rough rocks and stones in his path. Cut and bleeding he rolled over, marveling at how well he felt. He sat up, stretched his limbs to see if they were all working properly and then noticed Mary at the great sword, running a finger lightly along its length.
"When you get tired of resting, you can come help me solve this puzzle." She chided him.
Challenger got up and stretched, then rushed over to her. He eyed the inscription. "Oh that!"
"Did you read it?" She asked him.
"Of course not. Who had the time?"
"I think it says that he who is worthy shall wear the ring of Arthur and wield the sword of power forever and ever."
Challenger bent closer, then smiled. "Actually, it says she..."
"Yes, my dear. She who is worthy shall wear the ring of Arthur and wield the sword of power forever and ever."
Mary trembled a moment, lusting over the power that representing, then she shoved away from the sword. "No one should have that much power." She protested.
"Which is exactly why it said she." Challenger insisted.
"See!" He pointed to the hilt of Excalibur, which had sprung as slight trap door. He gently pried it the rest of the way open, revealing a beautiful jeweled ring with the symbol of a dragon in beautiful rubies and emeralds on a gold crest.
He motioned to her. "I believe it's waiting for its rightful owner."
Mary trembled again as she reached a brown finger into the opening to pull it free. She did so, and then gently rolled it over between her fingers, as Challenger looked on proudly.
She slipped on the ring to her index finger and her entire body glowed for a moment. The sound of distant trumpets was heard as if heralds were announcing the arrival of someone great and powerful. The lighting in the chamber grew brighter as if angels were in attendance and then a great chorus of voices began to sing, "Glory, glory! The Queen is found!"
Challenger dropped to his knees before Mary and bowed his head. "Your majesty!" He said, simply and with the deepest and most profound of respect.
Mary sighed as the last of those memories drifted back into time along with so many others. She rose to pace the room again, glancing warily at her friends. "You see, that was a great moment for me. For both of us. I have treasured it like none other. But with greatness comes a price. And mine was no less great than the reward."
She stopped and faced the others. "For when Light shines the brightest, it also casts the darkest shadow."
Madame Curie smiled. "He has the sword, doesn't he?"
Mary nodded, feeling ashamed at that moment. "Maybe it was destined that what we had wrought would be undone by one of such evil intellect, but ordained or not, he did take it from us, and without a great effort. For in our foolish pride and eagerness to obtain the treasure, we had forgotten to cover our tracks."
Lady Shareen stood then and took Mary's hands in her own. "You couldn't possibly have known he would be there."
"Yes, I could. For you see I had told his son, and that was the biggest mistake I made. For had I not told the son the father would never have become the dark evil he had become and the son fall to the tragedy of the intellect he was entrapped in and later destroyed by."
"But that was so long ago." Madame Curie said. "Surely, he can't be alive now."
Mary's eyes reflected the torment she felt at that moment. "I fear it is he." She turned to look out her window for a brief moment, as if gathering her strength, then returned her vision to her friends, who both gave her a great deal more warmth that she could accept at that moment. "You see, I was the one who ran the orphanage that raised him and later his son. He hated his son, and his son never even knew he was alive, never even knew he had a living father who had sired him and brought him into the dark world he had fallen into."
"Mister Dark!" Madame Curie finally said.
"But you see, my dear friend." Mary said to Madame Curie. "It is not Mister Dark we have to be afraid of so much. He is just a misguided child, whom I suspect even at this moment is hating what he has fallen into, what he has wrought, maybe even seeking to make amends."
"Then who are you speaking of?" Lady Shareen asked.
Mary looked at her a long time then and said. "I'm speaking of..."
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