War of the Worlds, The Invasion continues. A sample of something I write a while back. Fun stuff with an odd bent to it.
In the year of our Lord
Eighteen Hundred and Ninety One
This August Thirty First
The Globe Theater
The Queen's Room
"To be or not to be...that is the question." My lead actor spoke upon our stage. I watched from the second level gallery, making sure his pitch and diction were strong and clear enough. He looked up at me and I gestured for him to continue, but my mind was elsewhere. So much has happened since I last put anything down in my journal.
I'm not sure where to begin.
When last I wrote I mentioned I had sent my favorite pigeon to bring a message to my friends in Paris. I needed to know if they were alright first, and then if there were problems, what I could do to help. I had the ear of our Queen, and was not loath to wax it with soothing words on their behalf if need be. She was a stern queen, but a fair one. She loathed men who were weak and full of folly, but she loved men who were brave and daring, such as Jules and Wells.
Wells had been on her list of men she was considering knighting for his pretigious output of fictional journeys and adventures. She likened him to her other favorite, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whom I have not yet had the chance to acquaint myself with personally, as we do keep our lives in pretty much different worlds these days. I have passed him in the palace from time to time and we have chatted briefly, but that is not the kind of conversation that leads to a deep friendship, but rather a shallow courteous one.
I tend to the opposite. I like to know those I am around in all the ways possible. I suppose that is because I am a writer, an observer of life and as such my mind demands more details than most who go day to day on their life journeys.
As I was seated observing my actor deliver his soliloqy, Sarah returned. She always knew where I was and I always kept a treat for her. Perhaps that motivated her more than anything else, I can not be sure of what goes on in a pigeon's mind, other than utter kindness.
She landed on the railing beside me and cocked an eye on me, then nodded to her right foot where a note was attached. I gave her a treat, and hurriedly untied the message to read it. I was distressed while doing it, because my actor had just blown the next two lines and said, "whether it is bolder to go outside and face the storm than..." Furious at the disruption of my beautiful poetry, I almost chased Sarah away, but I kept my temper in check for both her and the actor.
He was having a rough time at home as I understood it. Something about a romance with another man that wasn't going well. I felt for him, for relationships were difficult with the opposite sex, let alone the same. It is the nature of relationships that they have difficulties. If you are looking for a peaceful and tranquil ride throughout your life, then do not seek a relationship, as they are not always tranquil or peaceful, they are human. And humans feel and sometimes too deeply. And sometimes too shallowly. The choices we all must live with.
I motioned to the actor to do it again and as he did I swiftly unraveled the note and read it.
"Dear Will, it is with the utmost sense of urgency that I request you speak with the brotherhood. Paris is in distress such as no man could ever have suspected to happen. Our beloved Eiffel Tower is now a broken toy, and much of our fair city has been burned and leveled to the ground. I fear that my dear friend Wells is taking this much harder than I, and I can barely look at myself in our mirror now, knowing we might have unwittingly set off the monstrous destruction we now survey about us."
It was a long note. I looked up and the actor was looking at me, an expression of what next. I glanced at my Stage Manager who stood right stage watching and motioned for him to cue the man. He did so and the actor got back in character again and continued.
I returned to the note, my hands trembling, for I feared the rest of the news that surely must be there.
"A strange device from another world has descended into our fair city and it immediately began destroying anything and anyone in its path. I fear it is but the advance guard for something far worse."
I looked up and muttered to myself. "Worse than destroying Paris?"
I shuddered in horror.
I read on.
"Contact the brotherhood, let them know we have a greater peril now than the war between our nations. That a War of the Worlds has begun.
"I shall endeavor to contact you again in two days if able. For now my friends and I must help as many as possible to survive this catastrophe.
"Your friend, Jules."
I looked up again, tears misting my eyes. It was that bad. The Captain's words rang in my ears again in remembrance and I knew at that moment that the play was not the thing in this case, and that the Great Wheel now turning was being spun by hands not meant to be guided by our Creator, but by something far darker.
Pardon me if I seem somewhat melodramatic, but that is my nature as an actor and writer, but as a human being I can only shudder in horror at the thought, "A War of the Worlds has begun."
And it was at that moment that a great shout arose from outside the theater, as if a great crowd were crying out in horror.
An Interview with Lord Graystone, the Jungle Lord
I felt it was time to move my interviews to another level and so I endeavored to meet with one of the more reclusive members of the Baker Street Universe friends and champions, the esteemed and honorable Lord Graystone. When he is not engaged in the sometimes occult, or paranormal adventures the Baker Street members seem to be involved with more and more, then he is sojourning deep into the land of Fairie, where he has a kingdom all to himself that he rules over, and also where he relaxes, finding that place of savage harmony, more peaceful than the industry of man and the often times complex and powerful strivings for power that go on there.
So I felt especially lucky when I got off my usual teaching tenure for summer to travel to Paris, of all places, to meet with him. I understand now, but not at the time, that he was brought there, along with his wonderful companion, Lady Shareen, by the very good friends of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.
I managed to snag an apartment near the Eiffel Tower, though it cost me most of my travel expenses, leaving little for me to travel elsewhere. But it was worth it. Who wouldn't give up most of their money to spend time with the heroes of their world, although in this case it was the hero of my own created world...The BakerStreet Universe?
As you all know by now, who have been following these interviews, the Baker Street Universe is a literary creation I came up with to encompass all the written heroes from time immemorial. A place where they and their authors could live together and strive together to create a more perfect world than our own.
Unfortunately, what I did not foresee, was that I was in fact also creating a world where the worst of the author's creations also existed, and hence the obvious and powerful need for a team of heroes to protect the Baker Street Universe.
I had agreed, through an intermediary, John Watson, who had been visiting my home in Vegas en-route to Israel, where a new medical technique he had heard of was being unveiled, and which he hoped to duplicate in his own world.
He was kind enough to arrange this meeting, being very good friends with Lord Graystone and Lady Shareen. I have also taken the liberty of posting with this series of interviews the cover from one of the stories I've written about the Jungle Lord, for those of you who might have missed both the cover and the story.
Continued at The Baker Street Universe, where you can read the complete Part One of the Interview with the Jungle Lord.
An incredible being that lives off the energies of humans and is the other half of the very famous Doctor Jekyll.
The Hollow Man
Empty as a bottle without liquid, but driven by pure hatred for all life. He is set upon conquering the world and converting everyone to zombies!
One of many Moriarities who have chosen the path of evil and uses his giant intellect to subjugate and dominate those about him with the ultimate goal of conquering the world!
These are just a few of the monsters and fiends that the Baker Street Heroes must battle.
The Baker Street Universe
The Battleground where heroes and villains live along with their authors in the same space. Who will win and who will die"
The Baker Street Universe
A blog of the Victorian World that lies parallel to our own written and moderated by John Pirillo, the author of this site.
The Baker Street Universe
In the Abyss
Sorry, the audio wouldn't load into this page, so I have posted it to the next blog.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia"In the Abyss"AuthorH. G. WellsCountryUnited KingdomGenre(s)Science fictionPublished inPearson's MagazinePublication typePeriodicalPublisherC. Arthur PearsonMedia typePrintPublication dateAugust 1896"In the Abyss" is a short story by H. G. Wells, first published in 1896 in Pearson's Magazine. It was included in The Plattner Story and Others, a collection of short stories by Wells first published in 1897. The story describes a journey to the ocean bed in a specially-designed metal sphere; the explorer within discovers a civilization of human-like creatures.
Contents [hide] Historical backgroundThe Challenger expedition, arranged by the Royal Society, was the first systematic deep-sea exploration. From 1872 to 1876, HMS Challenger surveyed and explored around the world; the physical and chemical qualities of the deep sea were investigated, and biological samples were collected by dredges. Findings of the expedition were published until 1895.
The bathysphere, a spherical deep-sea submersible which Elstead's apparatus seems to resemble, first appeared in the 1930s.
Story summaryElstead has invented an apparatus by which a person can travel to great depths and observe the life on the sea bed. It is a steel sphere, about nine feet in diameter, intended to withstand immense pressure. Weights attached to the sphere by a cable take it to the sea bed. The explorer makes observations through the window in the sphere, oxygen inside being replaced by a fictitious "Myers apparatus". A clockwork mechanism cuts the cable after a certain time, and the buoyancy of the sphere takes it back to the surface.
The sphere is to be lowered into the water from the Ptarmigan, which has sailed to a region where the water is five miles deep. The organization behind the project (perhaps funded by a scientific body, or by Elstead) is not specified.
"It was elaborately nested in a monstrous scaffolding built into the framework of the vessel, and the gigantic spars that were presently to sling it overboard gave the stern of the ship an appearance that had raised the curiosity of every decent sailor who had sighted it, from the Pool of London to the Tropic of Capricorn." The details of the sphere, and of Elstead's plan to use it to view the ocean floor, are made clear in the conversations of Elstead and the officers of the Ptarmigan; because of the immense pressure at the depth to be explored, the officers have their doubts about the apparatus working to plan, and about Elstead's likelihood of survival.
The sphere does not return on schedule. While the ship's officers wait, "the December sun was now high in the sky, and the heat very considerable." By midnight they are fearing the worst; then they spot the re-emergence of the sphere. It is eventually retrieved at dawn.
After a week, Elstead has recovered enough to tell his experiences. He relates the eventful descent, lasting several minutes, during which the sphere became unexpectedly hot. On the sea bed, after observing the unusual species of fish and invertebrates, he sees "a strange vertebrated animal.... The vertical pitch of its face gave it a most extraordinary resemblance to a human being.... It was a biped; its almost globular body was poised on a tripod of two frog-like legs and a long thick tail." This creature, together with others, tow the sphere to a kind of altar in their city; the inhabitants prostrate themselves before Elstead, and chant. He observes this for several hours: eventually the cable breaks and the sphere returns to the surface.
The narrator has talked to eminent scientists, who think such a civilization is quite possible; he further speculates: "We should be known to them, however, as strange, meteoric creatures, wont to fall catastrophically dead out of the mysterious blackness of their watery sky. And not only we ourselves, but our ships, our metals, our appliances, would come raining down out of the night.... One can understand, perhaps, something of their behaviour at the descent of a living man...."
Elstead never writes an account of his experience; after making improvements to the sphere, he makes another descent, but (like The Time Traveller in Wells's The Time Machine) he does not return from his second adventure.
"A Jules and Wells Story."
In the deepest niche of time something moved. Something that should not have existed there, but it did. Something that never should have been, but it was. It had been asleep. Now it was awake. That was not a good thing.
Jules and Wells sat side by side on the edge of the Thames, watching sea gulls snap at scraps of bread a few kind sailors had tossed over the railing from their merchant ship to the always hungry creatures of the air.
"We are like the sea gulls, Jules." Wells said.
"Qui. Always hungry. Restless."
Wells looked at Jules. His friend's soft hair was fluttering at the temples of his skull, gently massaged by the incoming sea breeze from the Atlantic. His heart always skipped a beat when he looked into his friend's eyes, because he was always reminded that despite all the cruelty and meanness that humanity exhibited in the world, there were still men like his best friend, Jules Verne. Incorruptible. Kind and generous to a fault.
"I could not sleep last night."
Jules looked at Wells a moment. His friend had expectant eyes. Always looking beyond where they were. He was a dreamer, like himself. His face was serene, but stern looking. He was darker complected than Jules, and much more hairy. His dark hair complemented his looks though. He had a strong chin and powerful nose. A young man of purpose and determination.
"Nor I." Jules said sadly. "Mon Cher complained about it this morning before I left to join you here."
"How is the Madame?"
Jules gave him an impish smile. "As good as can be expected for a person whose body is exploding from the insides out." He joked.
Wells laughed at his friend's humor. "I suspect you would find tonight even harder to sleep were she to hear those words."
"Non. I speak them to her often, and she then tells me my brain is exploding from thinking too much all the time. I agree with her and she agrees with me. A mutual disarmament."
Wells laughed again. "I wish it were so simple for this world we live in."
"Que Sera, Sera."
"What will be, will be." Wells translated. "True enough, but that doesn't mean we can't try to give it a tiny nudge now and then.
The sea gulls snatching at the discarded bread crumbs suddenly tore into the sky as one, the sound of their wings deafening as they arrowed away in a cloud of hundreds.
"What has disturbed our petite friends?" Jules wondered, rising to his feet to search for the source of the disturbance.
Wells shrugged. "They're birds. They disturb easily. Nature's protection."
"Non. Not this time." Jules pointed.
Wells saw and climbed to his own feet, dusting off his black trousers with his hands as he did so. "What?"
Indeed what. The water was boiling in the center of the Thames. In a few moments the merchant ship next to them on the right and the one on the left also came to a boil, with gesturing sailors, crossing themselves and racing back and forth.
"Have we misjudged this day?"
Jules shook his day. "Non. It has instead misjudged ourselves. Come!"
Jules turned about and ran for the warehouse that fronted the docks. Their warehouse. There they kept a wonderful machine in addition to their numerous inventions and tools of trade. As they ran something huge began to surface from the Thames. It emerged tenuously at first, pressing forth large slimy feelers that struck forth from the boiling waters like wrathful slimy rods of some kind of subterranean god jousting for air, then slowly the top of a brine covered skull began to emerge.
Sailors ran for their weapons as the monstrous thing began to come clear of the water, its skull easily measuring the length of the nearest merchant ship, its eyes the size of a captain's cabin and its jaw as wide as the breadth of the nearest ship, unhinged and drooling tons of sea water and mud. The vast creature continued to rise like a legendary gargantuan of the past, a semi-god monster, whose perilous nature had been buried in the slime of the ages of the ocean floor, but was now awakening to reign over the world it had once known.
It rose further, revealing a chest as spiked and nasty as a forest creature of dubious fame who struck fear into its enemies with spines it could fling from its body. Its arms came into view and they were like vast trunks of forest trees, aged and hoary from centuries of growth. Its fingers rose into the air and it flexed them, examining them, as if seeing them for the first time. The fingers were as thick as military cannon with sharp claws at their tips that looked to be able to strike down a tree with one blow.
The creature turned its head skywards and emitted a yell that sounded like some leviathan of ancient times, a trumpeting call that surely would have panicked a herd of elephants, and did cause many a sailor to drop to the decks of their ships in absolute terror.
The braver began raising their weapons to fire.
Gods do not notice mortal man's puny efforts to contain them. But this was no god. And it noticed everything. When the first bullet struck its highly armored chest, it felt a tickle, but when a barrage of weapons fire slammed into its face, it became annoyed, as we might if we were attacked by a swarm of fleas. It did what any sane creature would do, or insane. It swatted at the annoyance, but when that failed, its mind quickly resolved the source of the annoyance as coming from the ships in front of it.
It reached a hand on both sides of its mighty body and clasped a merchant ship. Sailors screamed in horror as many were crushed by the fatal hands, while others ran and leaped to the dock or into the freezing waters, rather than perish with their vessels.
Too late, many realized they had made a mistake by firing. Had they not done so, they might have made it to safety, as some of their more cowardly mates, less brave companions had done, and run for their lives, knowing that some things man just doesn't face with puny weapons.
The two merchant ships rose out of the water, their midsections bleeding planks and water as they arose. The creature peered at the two vessels somberly a moment, then realizing that the annoying fleas had stopped biting at it; it flung the ships away as effortlessly as a child might its toys. The two merchant ships, with some sailors still clinging to their decks flew through the air, high over the warehouses, tumbling stem over stern, until they vanished in the distance, where they crashed to earth in London's outskirts, causing death and mayhem there.
The creature didn't care. Now that it had expended a great effort of vast strength, it began to feel a pain gnawing inside its stomach. At first it didn't recognize the pain and swatted at its own belly, thanking it was being attacked, but then when the pain didn't release, it gradually became aware that the gnawing inside of it was hunger.
Its huge eyes, veiled by thick membranes of slimy red skin fluttered like gigantic shutters over the slitted yellow eyes of the creature and it let out another trumpeting roar. This one was so loud that many of the shops and warehouses nearby lost their windows and glass as the fragile membranes of them broke in a crescendo of horrible sound.
Hunger drives man to accomplish miracles. Hunger would drive this creature to seek food. It saw none where it stood, but its gigantic nostrils caught faint hints of food from distant chimneys. Its nostrils flared and its stomach roared inside. Food. Nourishment. Desire. Feed! Those were its feelings and its emotions. It was not a creature of rational thought, but rather an engine of long ago nature that had slept too long and now must feed and feed quickly or die.
It lifted a gigantic foot from the Thames, trailing the debris of the ships from deluges of water sloshing from it, as it splashed down on the dock, which shattered immediately, tumbling the creature backwards into the depths of the Thames.
Citizens and Constables rushed to help those trapped by the disaster, thinking...hoping that the worst was over. The creature might have become discouraged when it didn't appear again right away, but then the dock exploded skywards in many pieces as the creature grabbed hold of the more solid part of the land and pulled itself upwards to shore.
At that given moment the warehouse of Jules and Wells opened up on its roof and the Master of the World, a splendid, golden flying machine powered by the science of Threads, an almost mystical power source discovered by Jules a long time ago, rose on powerful beams of energy, its mighty shape glistening in the morning sun, challenging the air for domination, but getting no complaints or resistance as it slowly turned on its axis of powerful rays and pointed towards the incoming creature.
The monster sensed, rather than saw the Master of the World at first, then its eyes managed to see it, and it trumpeted a challenge to the mighty machine, which while not as massive as the monster, was large enough to anger it at the interruption of its search for food. It spit out the few humans it had been chewing on, then headed for the Master of the World, thinking, hoping that this massive being in the air was something tasty.
It was wrong.
Dual rays of intense energy struck the creature in its chest from the prow of the might Master of the World, sending the creature plunging once more backwards into the Thames. But this time it did not stay under for long, it arose in an explosion of fury and hunger, trumpeting a battle cry as it lunged for the nearing Master of the World.
Inside the craft Jules delicately maneuvered the craft above the creature, where it couldn't easily strike at it. But he was wrong.
"Jules!" Wells warned from his station at the weapons controls.
Jules flung the ship in a tight arc, but not before a massive fist of bone and flesh struck its underbelly, sending it flying against its own power source. Both young men were flung about like puppets for a moment as alarms sounded throughout the vessel. Jules worked the controls of his station frantically, attempting to right the craft, which was now in a direct line of impact on the great Tower of London.
Royal Guards at the Tower looked on in horror as the golden craft hurtled towards them. No chance or possibility of escape. Not enough time. But at the last possible moment, the ship righted itself and shot skywards. The Guards all instinctively ducked as a massive wash of air slammed into the structure, blowing off their fancy hats and lifting their coats high over their heads.
Inside the craft, Jules set the controls once more for the Thames. "I think we might be needing to take on another passenger, Wells."
"My thoughts as well, Jules."
Wells launched himself across thee control cabin to the panel which they had used only once before. He couldn't remember if he had checked it recently, but right now at that moment, their lives and those of London depended on it working. He hurriedly, but calmly in his own manner, went over the controls, activating this switch, closing that toggle, and as the panel lit up, he looked over at Jules. "Wish us luck!"
"Luck!" Jules hollered.
The creature was climbing back onto the shore again and as it did so, it crushed more warehouses and structures, searching for the tiny creatures that wouldn't satisfy its hunger, but would at least soften it somewhat.
Then it heard an eerie sound from the sky. It looked up as the Master of the World descended towards it, and then a huge blast of radiant energy erupted from its glistening belly and surrounded the creature.
At first it stood there stunned, not understanding, but when its entire body began to rise into the air, it screamed horribly and struggled to break free. The mighty Master of the World lurched from the intensity of the creature's battle to free itself, but then stabilized itself and shot away from the shores of the Thames and towards the Atlantic.
Hundreds of sailors and citizens, Constables and tourists screamed cheers and applauded as the vast creature vanished from view as it was towed towards the cold sea.
No one knew what happened next. Jules and Wells were not cruel. They knew the creature. They had seen it once before. A long time ago and knew it didn't belong in our time, in our world. So they had taken it where only they could. Home.
The creature stood in the midst of a vast primordial jungle, its nostrils flaring in desire as it smelled...food. It stormed off through the massive trees, heading for its first meal in many a long year, its annoyance and anger with the Master of the World forgotten as it found its food just ahead of it. It roared triumphantly and struck.
Jules and Wells watched the food gathering from above in their ship.
"So many lives lost."
"We could change that."
"We must not play God."
"We could have destroyed the creature. That is what we will be told."
"Non. It was not at fault."
"We could change that."
Jules looked at Wells; his face blanched a pale white. "Non! We must not disturb that which we found."
Wells gave his best friend a searching look. "Some must die."
"Qui. Some must. But we can pray for them. And with our fortunes..."
"Help those who have need."
"But we will still be blamed."
"Qui, for a time. Memories are short."
"Yes. They are."
Wells sighed, then settled back into his co-pilot chair and buckled himself in.
"Anon." Jules said.
So having made their decision they activated the String Engines of their powerful craft and flung their golden ship back across time and space towards Victorian London, the place they now called home. The focal point of all String universes. The one place they must protect at any and all costs. Even their own lives if necessary.
And somewhere in the deepest niche of time something woke further.
When you argue with darkness you end up in darkness -- Chartrough, a French Poet of the Renaissance.
The argument that it doesn't really matter what you do, because everything is preordained and you can't change anything, may, on the surface, be quite appealing to some. Specially those few who are desperate to dot the I of their life and bring it to a safe and easy conclusion. But if you truly face the circumstances and events of your life, you are too busy moving forward through the battlefield of life to consider any other options, and just rely on your instincts, and hopefully your own cleverness to distill the danger and delights of the life you pursue.
As Professor Langdon, also known as the Invisible Man, raced through the alleys of Whitehall, pursued by the deadly Hyde, all he could think of was how that energy monster could track him, when he was invisible to the naked eye. But no amount of intellectualizing could alter the fact that he was the pursued and that Hyde was the one gaining on him, and should he arrest Langdon's movements, they would be the last he ever made. As he would then lose all his life force to the vampiric creature and slide into the gentle oblivion of whatever lay beyond the worlds he knew of.
But at that critical moment, when Hyde appeared to be ready to close the gap between them, he made a life altering decision, and whether you believe it to be fate, an undeniable position he had to follow, or a whisk of luck, he took it. He leaped through a window to his right.
The glass was hard and he immediately realized cuts and bruises on his hands, arm and face as he plummeted through the thick double paned glass, but being a scientist he had understood the weak spot of the crystallized silicates and protected himself as best he could. He landed with a roll on the other side, and managed to launch himself back to his feet as Hyde shot past the broken window. Hyde would come back quickly. He always did.
Langdon quickly assessed his surroundings and realized he was in a vast warehouse of some kind. It was unusual in many ways, in that there were no creates or boxes or any kind, but a huge object, which loomed in the middle of the cavernous space, that had some kind of thick canvas drawn across it.
He didn't think about it long, however, as his clock was ticking down to doomsday if he didn't do something fast.
Without another thought he dashed headlong towards the shrouded object, plunged beneath the canvas cloak hiding its vast body, then struck something so hard and fast he almost lost consciousness. As he lay there seeing stars spin about his head from the impact, his eyes began to adjust. They swept along a vast curved surface that was made of some kind of golden metal of intricate and ornate design.
It reminded him of Captain Nemo's vessel, except that it would be impossible for that vast nautical device to find itself inland in a warehouse without any kind of water ingress or egress. He stood slowly, so he wouldn't strike something unseen again and realized that he had the lack of luck of running into some kind of unit that thrust from the side of the vast vehicle.
His curiosity was piqued, but he dared not linger, for even at that very moment, he felt rather than heard the entrance of Hyde inside the warehouse. Hyde was silent to the vast majority, but ever since Professor Langdon had become the Invisible Man, he had also become attuned to radio and electrical frequencies of a higher vibration, hence his awareness of the kind of raw, grating sound of Hyde's presence.
He began scooting around the edge of the vast vehicle, for that is what it had to be, hoping to find a way into it, or at best a way out of the warehouse. Either was okay with him at that moment, as it meant survival.
He thought about how he had come to be in such a horrid position, and then for a flash saw himself along with Conan and Challenger edging towards a vast cylindrical device that had embedded itself in the canyon they were exploring at that time in Fairie. They often times took off on such searches to see what kind of history they could uncover. While Langdon was primarily as chemist before all else, he had a vast love for history.
He was one of the first men to rediscover the ancient continent of Atlantis, not the newer one that lay across the Atlantic, but the one that had dominated the planet at one time, and had built vessels of such power and grace that they could sail between the stars.
He sighed as he remembered how that hope of another such find had instead turned into a flight of terror as they all realized upon viewing the vast container more closely, that it had the markings of the Queen upon it and skull and crossbones. The convicted were sometimes imprisoned in such chambers to exile them from humanity and protect the masses from further predations upon them.
Hyde had been caught numerous times by Holmes and the Baker Street companions, but each time he had managed to escape his doom and imprisonment. And so again he had, though no one at that time could figure out how as the container appeared to be completely sealed.
So thinking there was nothing to fear. They had journeyed back to London through the Fairie Portal and headed immediately to Holmes to report the discovery. He had sent Watson and Challenger off immediately to notify the Queen, so she could send in her Special Forces to contain the unit in Fairie and transport it out so that it could be launched once more to a more safe territory...probably in space.
But after all the others had left, leaving Langdon, Conan and Holmes alone, Holmes had suddenly acted peculiar. He had dashed to the window and looked out. At that same moment Hyde, who had followed them through the Portal, stood on the street below watching the window.
Hyde launched himself at the window.
Holmes struck the window shut violently, and then with urgency beyond belief, had swept the two men hurriedly down the stairs. They had reached the street level the same time as Hyde who had managed to enter 221B came inside, discovered them gone, and then relaunched itself back onto the street.
Hyde had three choices.
Sherlock gave him one. He ran off to the right.
Conan looked at Langdon. "See you on the other side, brother." He ran the opposite direction.
Langdon swallowed. Nobler friends he had never had. But Hyde didn't take either of the baits, instead it moved towards him.
So he had run like the devil was after him, because it was.
Hyde never slowed down, except for the occasional pedestrian it would slam through, ripping off a portion of their energies to sustain it then hurriedly pursue him again.
As he had run in terror, he had run his great mind through all possibilities. Why had it chosen him to follow? Why?
Langdon saw a ramp before him and hurried up it. As he reached the top, another man was descending. Jules Verne.
"You!" Verne cried out in shock.
"Hurry." Langdon cried out. "We must get inside. Our very souls depend on it!" He shouted.
The two men rushed back up the ramp, just as Hyde reached its base, its hideous glowing red eyes searching the ramp's base, and then spotting them above. It launched itself.
Verne palmed a switch beside the entrance at the top of the ramp and a huge metallic door slammed shut, nearly taking Langdon with it, but he managed to dive beneath it to safety. Verne hurriedly picked him up.
He struck another switch and a loud humming sound came to life. "That will trap it for precious seconds. But we must launch immediately."
Verne rushed Langdon to the cockpit where he thrust the Master of the World into immediate life, giving its vast thrusters power and life. The ship shook from stem to stern, and then began to lift.
"Good-bye warehouse." Verne whispered as the ship crashed through the warehouse roof, and the vast structure began to collapse inwards as its support structures were broken by the massive ship.
Verne checked his readouts, and then punched the String Engines, giving them full power. The Master of the World hurtled towards deep space, and soon its vast body lit up like the sun as the heat and friction of the atmosphere struck against it.
They saw Hyde making its way across the vast structure towards the cockpit as if space, heat and matter were no obstruction to it.
"It looks as if we must sacrifice ourselves for the good of our friends." Verne commented, his face grim.
Langdon shook his head. "No, keep going."
Verne took his hand away from the switch that would have plummeted them deep into the String Spaces where he could have exploded the ship, thus stranding Hyde forever.
The ship continued to rise and as it did so, they came into view of a long line of capsules all orbiting towards the moon.
Langdon pointed towards the tail capsule. "Aim for that one."
Verne adjusted the controls and they closed in on the capsule, the same time as Hyde closed in on the cockpit. It would be close. Very close.
"When we are within thirty meters of the capsule veer off as sharply as you can." Langdon ordered.
Verne counted down the distance and at the same moment as Hyde was about to enter the cockpit through its shielded glass, the ship veered off. As it did so the last capsule lit up very weirdly and Hyde was sucked towards it and vanished inside. The scream of its voice penetrated the ship, even through space, for it was concentrated with fury and anger and hatred of such magnitude and power that only magic could have contained it.
Which it had. The capsules were all powered by a magic of Elvis kind that magnetized any creature of evil intent and held them fast. They could not escape its grasp on their own.
"Safe." Langdon sighed with relief.
"Not yet." Verne cried out, accelerating the Master of the World to avoid an incoming capsule that was closing in on the others. They narrowly missed it, and then shot away.
Verne wiped at the sweat on his brow, and then motioned to Langdon to sit beside him. "Now, tell me how this all happened."
Langdon did and later when he and Verne found Sherlock, Conan and Challenger back at 221B and Watson returned from the Queen's, they all sat there solemnly a long time in silence. This had been a narrow escape for all of them.
"We must find a way to stop that monster forever." Challenger growled.
"Good luck on that one." Watson grunted.
Sherlock looked up from his steepled fingers, an annoyed look on his face. "I think we are missing the bigger picture here."
Verne gave him a surprised look. "Which is?"
"How is this linked to the Legions of Doom?"
The men all stiffened. Death was nearing faster and faster. Would they be ready to stop it when the time cam
I'm not sure why, but my Invisible Man Theme wasn't showing up in the blog I created for the story, so I am posting it here as well.
Hope this corrects any disappointments that might have occurred.
-- John --
Just click on the left arrow of the player and The Invisible Man Theme will begin.
“So.” He told them as he poured a jar of grape juice into a lucent jar of crystal clear water. The students arrayed in the tiered clusters of choir seats leaned forward with interest, as the clear water became a deep purple color.
Professor Langdon’s eye crinkled with good humor as he turned to look at his rapt students. “As you can see what was once transparent and clear is now…”
A student raised his hand. A young man with a mop of red hair and plenty of freckles beneath it.
“Yes, Mister McCannon.”
“I’m not sure I understand the nature of this experiment.”
Professor Langdon raised a new beaker of liquid, which was even murkier than the grape juice to pour into the jar. He poured it slowly. As he did so, the murky grape juice waters became not more opaque, but less, until the water was crystal clear again.
The class broke into applause.
“Now.” Professor Langdon said, after turning back to his rapt audience. “Can anyone tell me what has just happened?”
A girl raised her hand. “You’ve made the grape juice invisible.”
Professor Langdon clapped his hands in applause for her statement. “Very good, Miss Dearling. Very good, indeed.”
A bell sounded.
The students remained seated attentively.
Professor Langdon smiled. “Tomorrow, I want you each to bring what you think just happened in the form of a formula. That will be all.”
The class erupted in a flow of movement away from the cramped seating, until the students had all evacuated except for Mister McCannon and Miss Dearling.
They looked at each other expectantly.
“Go on.” Mister McCannon told the girl.
“Professor Langdon, this is remarkable. With the formula to this you could make anything invisible. Even a human!”
“A human.” Mister McCannon joined in. “I’d like to volunteer!”
Professor Langdon gave him a sad smile. “Being invisible isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.”
They gave him blank looks.
“Think of this. You get up in the morning to shave. How?”
“With a razor, sir.” Mister McCannon explained.
“And what would happen if you missed your face and cut your nose off instead?”
“You could learn to feel your face by touch. Besides, Professor, you could turn visible anytime you wanted.”
“What if…a supposition, of course, you could not return to visibility?”
Mister McCannon blanched. “I hadn’t thought about that, Professor.”
Professor Langdon closed his paperwork on the podium he had been speaking from and examined the faces watching him. ‘On Monday you will bring an essay that will cover two aspects of invisibility.
“Number One, how might one deal with the visibility factor, if one were able to turn invisible.
“Number two, what would be the consequences of having that kind of power if you misused it?
“That’ll be all. Class excused.”
Everyone departed except for Mister McCannon and Miss Dearling.”
Professor Langdon looked up from a note he was scribbling as reminder to himself and saw them. “May I help you?”
“Uh.” Mister Cannon looked to Miss Dearling, who looked back at him.”
“Show him.” She said.
“Show me what, Mister Cannon?”
Shyly, the student began to pull up his starched white shirt. As he did so, nothing was visible.
Mister Cannon looked to Miss Dearling and she shoved the sleeve of her starched white blouse upwards, and as she did the elbow of her right arm faded away, revealing no upper arm.”
“I see.” Professor Langdon finally said after he took in for a moment what was revealed.
“Come with me.” He ordered and they followed, rearranging their shirt and blouse to hide the missing parts.
They followed him down a flight of steps in the classroom to a door marked exit. He opened it and led them down another flight of stairs into his office. They were stunned to see is so barren. Only a minimal desk and chair and some paperwork. He smiled at their surprise, and then pressed a panel on the back wall.
They both gasped as the wall began to slide upwards.
He gestured them to enter and closed the wall behind him.
As they entered he said. “Welcome to my world.”
The young adults were stunned. There were dogs with half a visible body, bats with only wings and eyes, bowls of goldfish with only their tails visible.
“Professor Langdon! This is utterly remarkable!” Mister Cannon said.
They both turned to look at him and he was nowhere to be seen. Then they saw a chair scoot away from a desk and a pencil and pad rise from it.
“Once you learn how to manage your gift, you will be able to make anything visible or invisible.” He told them with pride.
“The Visibility Factor.” Miss Dearling gasped.
“Yes. I have solved it for myself.” Professor Langdon replied as he dissolved back into view, a huge smile on his face. “And given the time and diligence, I can help you two as well.”
Both the young adults looked as if Santa had just visited them. Both had tears in their eyes as they nodded. There was hope after all.
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.