Chapter One Hundred Five
As the war ships rose from the Thames they immediately began searing the merchant ships, war vessels and dockside structures with deadly swaths of living fire. It was hell on earth. Sailors, tourists, soldiers, civilians screamed and ran for their lives in a futile effort to avoid the flaming death.
A young mother with a baby carriage dashed for the safety of a building, only to have it erupt in flames. Frightened out of her wits she screamed, causing her baby to scream even more in terror as she whipped the baby carriage around to flee in another direction.
Five soldiers ran forth to cover for her, firing at the nearest of the war machines. They never missed a round, but their bullets were useless against the field of green glowing energies that lit up and flashed about the body of the war machines as it was struck.
The war machine slowly turned its evil muzzle of doom towards them and its lens flared to full fury, then the machine vanished in a halcyon of furious energies that resembled threads of force and vanished from existence.
The soldiers and woman looked up and a beautiful flying ship tore across the sky, letting loose first one bolt of powerful energies at a war ship, then launching a torpedo of the same that sawed through the air and took out another war s hip.
The woman suddenly became aware of her baby again and hurriedly swept it up into her arms and cuddled it close. "Now, now, hun, you'll be fine. You'll be fine."
The soldiers ran with her and the baby to a waiting Tesla carrier and it drove off with them, rushing from the hurricane of power weapons pounding each other behind them.
The Master of the World, the incredible ship of Jules and Wells, acquitted itself well that day, annihilating first one war ship, then another before they could move from the Thames or achieve any kind of coordinated firepower.
The sound of fire trucks and paramedics was everywhere on the docks as the last of the warships angled down against the far bank of the Thames, its muzzle of doom slowly drooping until the entire ship came to rest and never moved again.
The soldier who helped the woman and baby into the carrier gave her his coat and even though it was freezing, insisted that she use it. He pulled it close over her and the baby, smiling. "You and your old man must be very proud to have such a fine young girl. I've always wanted one."
She looked up into his eyes. Saw a kind, considerate soul she could learn to love. "I have no husband. He ran off to join the war in the India Isles and never returned."
The soldier shook his head. "How could anyone ever leave someone as beautiful as you and this fine child alone like that? Shame on him!"
She smiled. She did like him. More and more.
Later on, after they parted, but he with her address, and she with his, they would begin seeing each other frequently and one day their friendship would develop into a strapping young boy to join his older sister in play.
So even in those foul conditions where London had come so close to death and destruction, some good had come into being.
Chapter One Hundred Six
"Prepare to engage!" Captain Nemo announced as the golden Nautilus shot into the Thames channel.
Later on Captain Nemo would reveal to Sherlock and his other friends why there were no more war machines rising from the Thames. He and his crew fired their Tesla torpedoes into their underwater base and sent it to the seventh level of hell.
Harry and Moriarity looked on in awe as the Tesla device caused the massive underwater structure to be torn into numerous parts which in turn broke into many more parts, all burning fiercely, as if they were made of magnesium and not plain metal.
No one knows now or then how many poor souls died in that conflagration, but it must be assumed that there were thousands. And to that memory Captain Nemo later on constructed a beautiful underwater shrine to commemorate and remember those souls who had lost their lives in the underwater battle due to no cause of their own. It was a weight and a burden that he would bear with him to his dying days, his inability to spare those lives. For he was neither a cruel man, nor an unjust one and to take even one life in vain was to him a sin worse than death.
Chapter One Hundred Seven
Constable Evans sat on the top step of the constabulary, his eyes on the setting sun. There was so much destruction around but somehow the building still stood.
He felt a presence beside him and then Constable Evans sat next to him.
"We have a lot to talk about."
Inspector Bloodstone raised his weary head to look into the eyes of the child he had helped to bring into this world. "Yes, we do. Son."
Constable Evans smiled. Perhaps hell could sometimes bring also a piece of heaven.
Chapter One Hundred Eight
And so it was that the brave adventurers met one last time before each returned to their various occupatiaons and duties. It was a sad meeting, for many of their friends had not been saved in the cleanup that occurred afterwards. Many of the zombies escaped from the various hiding places and started a different kind of war that caused citizens to use any kind of weapon they could find to save themselves and their families.
It was a short, brutal war that caused even more death, pain and suffering for an already devastated London, but its citizens were made of proud fiber and it's Queen Mary of Scots a brave soul went from city block to city block to speak to her citizens, to encourage them and to render aide wherever possible.
The treasures of the Empire were likely to remain in short supply for decades to come, but the war for survival of man was over and it was now time to rebuild and to heal.
Sherlock stood at the window overlooking the street and smiled as he noted the many children outside playing in the snow, making snow angels and snowmen.
"It seems as if things are slowly getting back to normal." Watson said from beside him.
Sherlock turned to his friend, but he did not see him. The concussion which had rendered him blind had apparently left him that way. Watson didn't care. He was his friend. He felt another presence and turned to face James Moriarity, who was now clean shaven, dressed in a top hat and suit and a cane to support him. He stood on the other side of Sherlock.
"Don't worry, Watson, I shall be his eyes if he needs them."
"And I." Came the voice of Professor Langdon from behind.
"And I." Came the voice of Lady Shareen, holding onto the arm of her dear Lord Graystone, who looked scarred somewhat and fatigued, but as handsome as ever.
"All of us shall be his comfort and his sight." Challenger roared.
The room was silent a moment, then Mrs. Hudson in her own ineffable way lent a charm to that moment by coming into the room with a huge tray of glasses already filled. "I suggest a toast to our brotherhood."
Conan applauded. They all did as they took a glass.
Watson took a glass and put it into Sherlock's hand Sherlock put a hand over Watson's hand and squeezed. "It's good to have you home, John."
Watson smiled kindly at his friend, his heart torn with emotions. "And it's good to be here with my friend."
Sherlock nodded and raised his glass. "May we always see the Light in all the darkness we must face and may we always cherish the one real thing that life can never take away from us."
He turned towards Watson. "Friendship and love."
"Hear. Hear." Roared his friends and family.
James smiled. He already had plans for Watson and Sherlock, but had not disclosed them for fear of them not being appropriate at the time. But there was no way he was going to break up this new friendship. He had nothing but love and admiration for this man from another world. For had he not also come from another world as well.
Then they heard this tremendous droning sound in the air. They wedged into the narrow area of the window to look out. The Master of the World was descending slowly from the skies.
"I think we have much to discuss with our friends." Captain Nemo pointed out.
Harry, juggling cards between his hands, looked at the First Moriarity and smiled. "All our friends."
Moriarity gave Harry a smile that could be mistaken for nothing less than his heart in his eyes and face.
James looked on the crowd of friends, his memories finally coming back more and more clearly. There was so much to be done. So much healing and mending to do, but now was not the time to dwell on tomorrow.
He raised his own glass. "To Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson and the Baker Street Adventurers!"
They all cheered and drank their toasts.
Inspector Bloodstone signaled the driver to stop.
Sherlock looked at him.
"I know of a way they may not suspect."
"This way." The Inspector told them, and they piled out of the back of the Constable's wagon and followed the Inspector as he led them through the back of the Highgate Cemetery, where there were no gates, just an abandoned series of buildings that abutted it.
"I learned of these during the Ghost Caper that you helped me with Sherlock."
Sherlock gave him a puzzled look.
"I mean the other...uh...sorry."
Conan and Challenger both felt memories flush their minds for a moment, then swept them away. There was work to be done.
Edison and Tesla tossed their devices into backpacks they had jury-rigged to carry over their shoulders, then Edison pulled out his tracking device. It immediately lit up and pointed the way.
As they made their way through the maze of deserted buildings, in a decrepit door hanging on rotting and rusting hinges of wood and metal, they scented fragrances that could only be found in the detritus of humanity, the cast off wastes that most produced, but cared little to discuss.
Conan and Challenger wrapped their mufflers about their noses to mute the sharp tang of the odors, while Edison and Tesla, both engrossed in the device leading them, barely noticed.
Sherlock's mind was on the hunt and no hint of death would stop him.
The Inspector and Constable Evans levered their service revolvers to be ready in their hands, then froze as the air shimmered ahead of them.
Sherlock's face broke into a mile.
"You did make it after all."
The shimmering diminished and Professor Langdon appeared. He had a rifle over his right shoulder and bags weighted with something no one could see, but he knew were deadly explosives, made in his own laboratory per Sherlock's instructions.
"Did you ever doubt I would?"The Invisible Man, Professor Langdon, said with a sharp smile that portrayed just the slightest hint of amusement and a brace of anger.
Sherlock put a hand on his arm. "You found him then?"
Professor Langdon didn't have to speak the answer. Sherlock read it in his eyes.
He turned to the Inspector. "Follow your course. We have another path to follow."
"But there is strength in numbers!" The Inspector declared.
"The Queen's Royal Guard should be in place by the time we all reach our goals."
He turned to Challenger and Conan. "You're with me."
Edison and Tesla looked up expectantly.
"Stay with the Inspector. He needs your protection."
"I'm not a helpless old man."
"Listen to Mister Holmes, father. He knows what he's doing." Constable Evans blurted out unexpectently.
The Inspector turned to look at him sharply. "Did you just say what I heard you..."
Constable Evans moved closer and searched the man's eyes. "I did my research. You have been very clever over the years to hide the tracks of your lineage to me, but I found it nevertheless, once the clues had been lain."
Sherlock smiled at him. "We each have someone we love to protect. See that you two do as well."
Without another word he, Conan and Challenger split off and followed Professor Langdon who began to turn transparent, but only enough so that he wouldn't be easily seen, but enough so they could follow.
"When we're within fifty yards, you must go totally invisible." Sherlock insisted.
Professor Langdon began vanishing entirely.
Challenger caught Sherlock by the arm. "How shall we find where he's going then?"
Conan laughed. "Come on, Challenger. You're the big hunter. You've never tracked an animal before?"
Challenger blushed, then shoved past Conan and Sherlock and began following the footprints left by the Invisible Man, Professor Langdon.
A mongrel searching for scraps usually left behind by the Caretaker by his home, scented something that threw terror into his heart. He ran away, screaming in utter horror.
A moment later ground about the tiny building began to bulge and ripple like water during an massive rainstorm. Slowly, but steadily the building began to rise from its foundations. Even the very base of the building began to rise, as well as various cemetery stones and crosses about the building.
In a few moments the ground erupted, revealing a massive structure that was extremely polished and glowed an odd reddish color. Panels of red and green rotated about its rim, in and out of the earth dropping away from it.
Finally, a snake like hose tore through the building and the structure shattered, revealing the dome of a massive saucer shaped object and a huge snake like metallic hose with a lens of three colors at its tip that glowed faintly.
As it continued to rise it began to emit a high pitched humming sound.
For miles around every animal that could hear in that range of sound began to scream, holler and bark in terror.
The golden beauty that was the Nautilus flowed beneath the towering waves high above it like a dolphin finning for home. It moved as swiftly as the most powerful of Tesla planes of that day, of which there were few, logging in nothing less than 90 nautical knots per hour.
James, Captain Nemo, Harry Houdini and Professor Moriarity stood in the nose of the sleep vessel, watching the view forward as the powerful atomic motors of the ship drove its powerful shape through the depths of the sea towards its target.
"This is an extraordinary vehicle, Captain. I commend you on its beauty. It is nothing short of splendid and marvelous." Professor Moriarity almost cooed to the Captain.
The Captain eyed his comrade, somewhat warily.
"Yes. I suppose it is."
"I could see why you would want to live beneath this vast body of water, with such a marvelous piece of machinery to carry you about. The places you must have seen, the extreme bursts of beauty and wonder."
Captain Nemo looked at Harry, who shrugged. "It does me well."
Harry felt this strange energy in his head, then reached into his pocket and took out a minature purple crystal. He gazed into it. "It's begun. We may be too late."
Captain Nemo raised the speaker tube near him to his lips. "More power, lads. We have a date with death!"
Cheers bellowed from the earpiece and about the ship as the might vessel leaped forward even faster.
James eyed Moriarity. "None of us might escape the coming war."
"Then so be it. I can't think of a better place to die than with..."
He started to finish his sentence, but could not.
And in that moment Captain Nemo he would die for this new Moriarity as well as James. He turned back to view their path and his mouth opened to reveal a smile that was almost carnivorous in its intensity. "I have no intentions of dying this day."
Wells and Verne stood outside a quaint looking warehouse, which had the lettering Verne and Wells, Craftsmen above its main entrance. They were both wearing heavy cloaks, and pants to shield them from the freezing wind that had started blowing prior to their leaving for the warehouse.
When the Jungle Lord's call rang across the streets and alleyways citizens looked around to locate the source of the sound. Many hurriedly threw closed doors and shutters in case it was more of the mayhem that had invaded the city over the last weeks. Others, whose curiosity, or perhaps morbidity was greater stayed outside straining their necks and eyes to catch what was going on and none of them were prepared for what came next.
They saw the atmosphere begin to curdle, and then whirl like a giant pool in the ocean that sometimes caught unwary sea travelers, but what they expected to happen next did not happen. Instead the hole continued to enlarge. That frightened them more than the yell which repeated again. For coming out of the hole was the mightiest and largest dragon ever beheld by human eyes. They could not possibly know that it was the friend of the Jungle Lord and the King of Dragons. They only knew that hell was on the way.
Everyone dashed for cover, whether it was in a friend's shop or home, they didn't care. They rushed for safety.
"It's come to this, and then has it Wells."
"Yes, I'm afraid so, dear Jules."
Jules looked at his friend. "We had hoped not to be in another war."
"Hopes are the fruit of bubbles; they rapidly grow and rapidly break." Wells replied.
Jules smiled. "To it then?"
"Yes. To it."
They threw open the warehouse doors, and then rushed inside, vanishing from view in the stygian darkness of the interior.
Lady Shareen almost physically shoved Sherlock from the window as she rushed to it, then cupped her own hands and let out her own version of the bull dragon's call. A few moments later it was returned, but with a different inflection to it.
She took a deep breath, and then replied herself. This went on for some time to the consternation of all inside the sitting room, and then she stopped and turned to Sherlock.
"He's found the original."
"There we will find Watson!" Sherlock deduced.
He ran for his cloak and hat, threw his pistol into his coat jacket, then ran down the stairs, followed a few moments later by Challenger and Conan.
They reached the street just as Inspector Bloodstone arrived with Constable Evans in tow, followed by Edison and Tesla with strange devices in their hands.
Sherlock stopped them.
"This will be our final battle. And our last stand if need be. None must leave that ground we go to. None, do you hear?"
"Not even Watson?"
Sherlock stiffened, and then slowly nodded. "If he has fallen to the infection, we will have no choice. We must all..." He looked at all his friends and companions. "We must not fail him in the end, even if it means the end!"
With that final word Sherlock climbed into the back of Constable Evans wagon and the others piled into the back with him, all preparing their weapons as they did so.
Before Inspector Bloodstone climbed in he said. "The Queen has been notified. We will have backup this time."
Sherlock nodded as Inspector Bloodstone leaped inside, then slammed the doors shut, hiding all from view.
Lady Shareen looked back to Madame Curie and Mrs. Hudson. "Do not open the front door for anyone until you know it is one of us. Do not open these shutters after I am gone. And more importantly, do not fear. If death calls, then I shall gladly meet it."
She caught Mrs. Hudson's eye, knowing she was fearful again. "I will not come back alive if I cannot bring back Dear John as well."
With that she stepped outside the window, and then dove into the air. Simultaneously a great wing dipped into view and swept her onto it. She climbed rapidly along the leathery wing; hand over hand, until she could threw herself behind her beloved Jungle Lord, Lord Graystone.
He looked into her eyes. "This may be out last battle."
"Then let it save John at the least. I would not have our dear Mrs. Hudson grieve anymore."
He smiled a smile that would frighten most, but which she recognized as the smile of a man who ate challenges for breakfast and tamed dragons for lunch. "It shall be as you say."
He gave her a swift, sweet kiss, and then urged the King of Dragons high into the air.
The Highgate Cemetery Gatekeeper wiped at the drippings from his nose with a glove that had holes in its fingers. His fingertips were blue from the cold, but his old eyes, which had seen nobles and commoners buried, rich and famous interred therein, thought nothing of what else might be facing him for the night. He had heard many a strange noise at night, but during the day it had abated and so he had given it no more thought.
As he swung the massive gates shut for the evening he saw something move past the periphary of his vision, but when he turned to look he couldn't see a thing. He shrugged his heavily coated shoulders, and dragged his muffler tighter about his throat. Time to get inside, wood up the fire, and break out his brandy to warm up his guts. A good time to relax with his favorite evening drink and toast his bare toes near the fire.
His terrier would be waiting for him to feed him. He looked forward to that; the old dog had been his friends for almost twenty years. It was an ancient animal and others might have tried to release him from his pain of aging, but he had always thought then why do not people do that with each other if they value life so little. No his "Gertie," would live as long as he.
A prediction that was soon to become true as he trudged along the wet snowy path to his one room caretaker's cottage and flung open the door. What he saw on the floor was his dead friend. That threw him into a fit of utter misery. He rushed forward and dropped to his knees to hold his friend once more, and then felt a presence behind him.
He looked over his shoulder, and then his eyes widened with terror as something slimy struck at him faster than a cobra.
Harry and Moriarity looked at the approaching pirate ship and their hopes for returning home safely flew into the wind that was picking up about them.
"What now?" Moriarity demanded. "From the pan into the fire. How appropriate."
Harry looked at him and smiled. "You have one good thing to remember."
"At least you're not on the side of the bad guys any longer."
"How do you know that?"
Harry didn't answer. He didn't have to. He turned back to face the incoming pirate vessel. "I suggest we raise our hands and surrender."
"You're just full of witticisms this morning, aren't you?"
"I specialize in them. Remind me to give you a free ticket to my next show in London when we return."
"Don't you mean...if we return?"
The pirate ship pulled alongside them and Harry's grin widened.
"Oh definitely when."
Captain Nemo leaned over the railing as his men kept firing into the ship they had escaped, bringing it to utter ruin and destruction behind them.
"Need a ride, Harry?"
"Couldn't think of a better time for it, Captain." Harry replied with a laugh.
"You know this pirate?" Moriarity asked.
"Yes. He's Captain Nemo. My friend."
Moriarity's eyes widened. But he said no more. He lowered his hands.
Then a Giant stepped to the railing and looked out at Harry. "I know you?"
Harry eyed the Giant quietly a long time, and then he leaped from the small boat to the side of the pirate ship and began scrambling up the net that hung over its side, until he reached the deck. Then he clasped the Giant with his arms and hugged him tight.
The Giant gave Harry a look of confusion. "I do know you?"
"Yes, you do, big guy. You're one of my finest and best friends. James Moriarity!"
The Giant stiffened as Moriarity climbed up the rope and joined them.
He gently pushed Harry away. "I do remember you!"
Moriarity raised his hands. "I am not the one you remember. That was number one."
James gave him an even more confused look, as did Captain Nemo.
"There's more than one Moriarity then? Here?"
Moriarity turned to face the Captain. "Oh so many more."
Captain Nemo's face clouded over for a moment, and then he turned to James. "I'm sorry I lied to you."
James, who was still in shock over the revelations, was beginning to remember where he had seen Harry before and the images of Watson and Sherlock, Challenger and Conan flashed through his mind. And like a great, black storm cloud hiding the sun, his confusion and loss of memory was broken and shattered.
He grabbed Harry this time and lifted him off the deck and kissed him on both cheeks. "I could marry you!"
Harry laughed. "James, a simple hello would do just fine."
James put him down, tears streaking his face. "So much time has passed, so much has happened."
He turned to the Moriarity standing there, favoring his hurt leg. "You helped me."
"Yes. I did."
"I never forget a friend."
James put a hand out and Moriarity looked at it a long time, as if he found it offensive, then his dark face lit up brightly and he accepted the hand.
At the same time a strange thing began happening to the planking about the vessel. It began sliding off into the water and floating away. As it did so, they found themselves on the main deck of the Nautilus, its golden metal shining brightly in the morning sun.
Captain Nemo cupped his hands. "Below decks. We make full steam to London!"
The men all cheered and began rushing for the main hatch, climbing inside and descending from view.
Captain Nemo looked to his new guests and to James. "It seems we all...have a lot of catching up to do."
The Captain looked at Moriarity. He looked at his feet. "I will understand if you don't trust me and thrust me from your vessel. I deserve no less for my past actions."
James put an arm about his shoulders and he gave him a startled look.
"No friend of mine shall ever suffer such a thing." He looked to Captain Nemo, as if reading his mind. For Captain Nemo was nervous about bringing the Moriarity into his ship. It was everything to him and he knew how power mad that creature had been in the past.
Captain Nemo nodded. "Your friend is my friend."
Captain Nemo stuck his hand out and Moriarity clasped it tightly with both of his, barely able to speak because of the intensity of the emotions he now felt. He hadn't allowed himself to feel friendship like this...forever it seemed.
"With all my heart, I thank you, Captain. You won't regret it. I swear it."
The Captain nodded, and then motioned everyone to hurry to the hatch as the vessel began blowing air from its ballast tanks and slowly descending beneath the waves.
Harry was the last to enter and he paused to look back at the sunken ship behind them. Nothing was left now but burning debris. He was about to enter when he saw something glow for a moment in the debris, then it vanished. He gave it a long puzzled stare, and then entered.
The hatch slammed shut behind him.
The sea boiled with frenzy as the mighty Nautilus carved its way into the depths, casting up great boils of air and water from its descent. The return to London had begun.
The Jungle Lord stood high on the Tower of London, his eyes narrowed like an eagles on a distant object only visible from that height. He weighed its dimensions in his mind, and then he considered it carefully.
Highgate Cemetery is a graveyard in London of historic importance. It is rumored that Alexander the Great had it built as he swept across the continents in his search for power and the Holy Grail. It was also supposed to be the real burial grounds of King Arthur and the Bull Head King of the Druish, a clan of sorcerers who once dominated the Greater Britains before Arthur and Merlin destroyed their cult and cast them back into the sea.
A large stretch of land it was bordered by post hotels on one side, large parks on three others. The visitors to the hotels often used those expensive places as a launching point to tour the ancient grounds in search of historic names...such as King Duncan the Third, and Mary of Winsor, and Robin Hood the First.
It is also the burial site of many novelists, artists, political activists and professionals. A list of their names is engraved in golden letters on a great scroll on both sides of the main gates for visitors to look at and consider the past that lay buried there.
But all the Jungle Lord, Lord Graystone, saw at that moment was the odd protuberance that thrust alongside one of the better known crypts...that of King Duncan, who was a very famous mathematician in his time, as well as all around scholar, responsible for funding many great men in scientism research and exploration.
The Jungle Lord had smelled the odd contraption as he swept through the gigantic oak trees that filled the park, but at the time it had registered as completely as now what that source might indicate. But as he completed his meticulous search of London, the scent came back to him and he remembered from where.
So now he watched the cemetery with eyes that would miss nothing. And it was from there that he saw the metallic thing slowly raise into the setting sun's light and sprout an odd nimbus of bright red and green colors.
It was the scent of the stolen metals.
It had to be the hiding place of the original Mummy creature and it looked as if it were preparing to launch a new portion of its plans for the destruction of London.
He cupped his hands to his mouth and let out his bull dragon yell, again and again.
As he did so, the air shimmered mightily, as if a great ocean were sideways in the air and beginning to swell open. It grew larger and larger.
In the streets below citizens looked everywhere to discover the source of the horrid sound, and at Baker Street, Sherlock, who stood at the window looking out as ever for his lost friend, stiffened.
Harry kicked off his shoes the same time as Moriarity did and they ran across the short space from the hatch to the emergency boat tied to the side of the main cabin. They never reached it. A huge giant of a man walked from behind it and faced them, a sword in each hand.
"You'll have to pass me to go further."
Moriarity smiled. "We were just out for a stroll, weren't we, Harry?"
The huge man gave Moriarity a strange look.
Harry, who had his left fist behind his back, made several arcane gestures, and wove power into a knot of energy about his fist.
"Surely, you don't expect us to stay down in those cramped quarters like bilge rats, do you?" Moriarity explained.
The huge man wrinkled his nose. "You smell like them!"
Harry cast his fist around and shouted. "Be gone!"
The huge man staggered a man, as if struck by something, then a huge grin crossed his face. "Magic, hey? I was warned you might try that." He grinned, revealing teeth sharpened to points, then touched his jacket where a strange shape was drawn on it.
"Harry?" Moriarity shot.
Moriarity turned his back on the huge man to face Harry. The huge man hadn't expected that. He wavered for a moment. Harry cast his fist at Moriarity. "Be gone!"
Moriarity slammed across the deck like a rocket and struck the huge man. He slammed into the deck rail, breaking it aside, his body fracturing as he launched into the air, with Moriarity close behind him.
Harry ran over and caught Moriarity by an outstretched hand and with great effort swung him up and over the broken railing to the safety of the vessel.
But too late for surprise now. The scream of the broken sailor and the yells had stirred the ship to life. The sailor in the crow's nest was scrambling down with a knife in his mouth, and others were spilling up from below, swords and knives at the ready.
"They don't look like zombies." Harry noted.
"Not all zombies have to be persuaded to be that way." Moriarity explained, then shoved Harry overboard.
Harry gave him a look of utter surprise, then twisted himself around so he could cut the cold waters smoothly. He struck the waves, and went under several feet. As he surfaced he saw something large tumble over the edge towards him.
He ducked beneath the water again and swam under the dropped emergency boat and was given a hand up by Moriarity, who had a look of utter joy on his face. Harry couldn't understand why until he looked up and saw some smoke begin to rise from where the railing had been broken by his magic.
"I had a few matches left on me."
"What kind of matches could do that?" Harry gasped, spitting water out as he did so.
Moriarity smiled enigmatically. "Not all of us are destitute of magic, Harry. Some of us are just waiting for the right moment to use it."
With that he stood up in the boat, nearly capsizing them and flung his hands up to cast a spell of rebuffal as several knives hurtled towards them. They struck the shield of magic and spun safely into the water.
The Mummy creature came to the side, its fiery red eyes casting a look of pure malevolence towards them. Then it raised a tentacled hand with an odd shaped weapon in it. It began to glow at its barrel.
"Oh bloody hell!" Harry cursed. "We're all going to die!"
Then the bridge of the ship exploded as first one, then another cannon shell struck it, then the main deck. The ship buckled from the blows, then more shells began to strike. In moments it was burning like a raging inferno.
Harry and Moriarity looked behind them and saw an approaching pirate ship, a bloody red skull and crossbones rising on its main mast.
"From the pan into the fire." Moriarity hissed.
"Never a dull day in the life of villains, is there, Moriarity?"
"Never." He replied, a slight smile touching his lips. "Never at all."
Sherlock stood at the spot where the original battle with the warship and Mummy creature had been, his hands clasped behind his back. He was deep in thought, but no so deep that he didn't turn and speak as Lord Graystone, the Jungle Lord, stepped into view, his bronzed face stern and lit with fury.
"You have something, I assume, Lord Graystone?"
Lord Graystone stepped closer, then threw Sherlock over his shoulder and turned around and leaped into the air as lightly and easily as if Sherlock were a child.
They landed on the nearest rooftop and then Lord Graystone began running for the next rooftop, then leaped. It was a distance of nearly ten yards.
For the first time in a long time Sherlock wondered if he was going to live.
Lady Shareen and Mrs. Hudson climbed from the Lady's personal Tesla and struck along the shoveled path to the entrance of Edison and Tesla's warehouse. A guard met them at the front door.
Lady Shareen eyed him thoughtfully. "You don't know who I am?"
"My lady, I don't know who any...any one is anymore?" He replied firmly.
She laughed, then reached into her purse.
He backed up hastily, then she pulled out her passport and handed it towards him. "I am the Lady Shareen, first cousin to Lord Cutherbome and niece of Professor Challenger. I suspect you know at least one of them."
He took the passport, eyed the photo, then her and stepped to one of the new Edison phones that was being tested. It was the size of a small book, with a box where his lips spoke and another box where his ear was. He put it to his ear. "Sir, there's a lady down here wanting to see you."
Lady Shareen turned to Mrs. Hudson. "I remember a time when anyone could walk in here without a word."
"Times change." Mrs. Hudson replied, her face weary with fatigue and worry.
Lady Shareen put a hand on her arm and squeezed it warmly. "He's going to be fine. Trust me. My intuition is never wrong."
"I pray you're right. For quite honestly, if something were to happen to John, I'd...I'd..."
She burst into tears.
Lady Shareen pulled her close and hugged her tight.
Tesla appeared at the entrance, saw what was going on and nodded to the guard, who fell back, but didn't leave the entrance entirely. He kept his eyes sweeping across the parking lot and the environment, searching. For he no longer felt safe anymore. None of them did since the attack.
"Lady Shareen!" He announced, stepping into view, reaching his hand out. "Mrs. Hudson! It is such a delight to have you both come."
Mrs. Hudson pulled free and sniffled.
Tesla whipped a hanky from his vest coat and handed it to her.
She blew into it and started to hand it back.
"Keep it. I have more where that came from." He said with a gracious and warm smile.
He slipped a hand about Mrs. Hudson's shoulders, then around Lady Shareen's. "I think we have much to talk about, we three."
Then he let go and they followed him inside.
When they reached his private offices, they entered and Mrs. Hudson gave Madame Curie a look of surprise. She was hugging Inspector Bloodstone with Constable Evans standing beside t hem, a big smile on his face.
"You see, Mrs. Hudson. We've made a bit of progress since last we met."
Inspector Bloodstone rushed over to take her hands. "I am so, so sorry for what has transpired, and I tell you now, by every cell in my body I swear this. We will find Watson and recover him safely."
Constable Evans turned to Madame Curie. "Will this work for the more advanced cases, like the men in our constabulary?"
"Only one way to find out, isn't there?"
Tesla watched as Constable Evans helped Madame Tesla gather up some devices he and Edison with her help had constructed, then head for them.
"What is happening?" Lady Shareen inquired, a bit confused at the goings on.
Inspector Bloodstone's face grew as cold as ice, his eyes mere pinpricks of flaming anger and disgust. "We are taking this battle to the streets. I'll not see one more man, woman or child fall to this deadly infection. And then..."
"And then what?" Mrs. Hudson demanded.
He looked at her, his face filled with fury. "We shall destroy every last one of those monsters and send them back to the hell they came from!"
Chapter Eighty-Three The bilge of the ship was filthy with rotting materials from the crew's refuse and dead animals that hadn't had enough to eat and simply perished. Scurries of rats plowed alongside them in the water, curious about what they were up to as they made their way to the hatch that exited the bilge into the cargo area.
Moriarity spotted the drop chain and guided Harry there. Harry was feeling weak and weary and a slight buzzing which threatened to grow louder and stronger was attempting to take over his consciousness. He remembered what Sherlock had told him, "When your mind is being invaded by thoughts you don't want, put them in a box and close it tightly so they can't get out."
But it was hard. These were not his thoughts. He knew better. These had a kind of fierceness to them, a remote coldness that caused him to shiver even more than the freezing water they wade through to their potential escape.
"We must be very careful not to startle anyone through any kind of loud noise." Moriarity reminded him. We should be exiting next to the rescue boat the Captain keeps tied to the side of the main cabin. With some quick work, we can drop it into the waters and be on it before anyone can stop us."
"Aren't you worried about them turning around to recapture us?"
"I'd rather drown!" Moriarity hissed.
Harry nodded. The fierceness of the man's reply told him everything he needed to know. Even if he couldn't trust this man completely; he could at least trust him to strive to escape at any cost.
They reached the drop chain and Moriarity, who was taller than Harry by a half foot, reached upwards and caught the slimy chain. At first it slipped from his grasp, but he tore off a piece of his shirt then clasped it again and this time it held. He gently, but firmly began pulling on the chain.
Chapter Eighty-Four Captain Nemo examined the clouds building overhead, and then the distant ship crossing their path. "Do you recognize it, Captain?" The Giant asked, as he came to him with a mug of steaming tea.
Captain Nemo accepted the mug, took a sip, and then looked at Giant. "You do tea a great service. Is there anything you can't do?"
The Giant shrugged, and then looked at the same ship crossing their path. "It flies no colors."
"Pirate ship perhaps." Captain Nemo said with the hint of a smile.
"And if it is?"
"Perhaps a little exercise for our bored crew."
On those words the First Mate, who had been crossing past them, stopped and looked at the Captain. "I thought we weren't going to do that anymore?"
With all that has been going on of late, it might be time for us to intervene and offer a little help to those striving to escape the terrors of London.
The Giant nodded, and then glanced at the deck as if looking for something not there.
Captain Nemo clapped a hand on Giant's arm. "You've been with us long enough for me to read your character and I think you might be ready for a little action as well."
"But only if it involves not harming a man."
"What about ladies?" The Captain asked with a twinkle in his eyes.
The Captain handed the Giant his telescope and gestured to put it to his eye.
Giant did so and focused on the incoming vessel. Its deck was filled with sailors, but they all had long hair...and skirts!
"I've never heard of such a thing."
"Nor I, except Lady Jane the Pirate, but she always wore men's clothes."
Captain Nemo cupped his hands to his lips. "Prepare to board!" He hollered.
Sailors began rushing to stations and gathering arms.
Chapter Eighty-Five Sherlock and Challenger stood before the ruins of the Westminster Abbey, alongside Conan, who stared at it with eyes wide with horror.
"London shall never be the same."
"I agree, Conan." Challenger spoke quietly. For once his booming voice was dimmed by the tragedy of what he peered at.
"Long live the Queen." Sherlock said, and then turned to them. "But words are futile in this case. We must give meat to them."
"How so?" Challenger demanded. "This creature with the help of Moriarity, if what you say is true, and I believe you believe that, has outwitted us at every turn."
"Yes, Sherlock. For once I am stymied as to how to proceed on this case." Conan added with a twist of his mustache.
"Writing a fictional account of a detective's life is far different from the actual adventure of one, is it not, Conan?"
"Yes. True enough, but some things run true in fiction as well as reality. And one thing I do know is that zombies wouldn't be able to accomplish this. It would take a much larger network."
"Which, I'm afraid, my good friend, that Professor Moriarity is more than capable of."
Challenger made a low angry sound. "Ever since that fiasco in Fairie, we've been shooting in the dark. We couldn't find a single body. For all we know every one of those fiends escaped, and if so they could be here, even now, working their mischief."
Sherlock nodded. "Indeed that is true. And that's the rub of it, Challenger, is that he is not beneath working with lesser beings when it is to his advantage, but to work with himself."
Sherlock said no more and his silence chilled both men to their bones.
They heard the sound of a vehicle approaching from behind and turned. Constable Evans pulled up and climbed out, followed by two Constables who stood to his left and right.
"You've spoken to the Queen then?" Sherlock asked.
Constable Evans looked strained when he answered. "And she gave me specific orders to give back to you."
Sherlock raised an eyebrow.
"You are not to seek out this creature further."
Sherlock didn't gasp, but his other eyebrow rose as well.
Challenger and Conan made angry sounds.
"Has she gone mad?" Challenger demanded. "If we do nothing, it will take over all of London."
Constable Evans gave a slight nudge with his glances towards the Constables on his right and left. "She has been good enough to send these stout fellows along with me to make sure you follow her orders."
"And will they?"
Constable Evans looked to his men. They both broke into smiles.
"I see." Sherlock said. "Then they both saw the red splotches on her arms?"
"Yes, we did sir." Said the left Constable.
"Bloody disheartening it was." Said the right Constable.
"Mister Holmes, the entire Constabulary is behind you. I also spoke with the Royal Guard. The Duty Sergeant is friends with their Captain. He is of the same mind. They will do whatever you request of them."
Sherlock nodded, and then sighed. "I'm afraid we haven't much time left at this point. We must locate Moriarity and the original Mummy."
"Why the original Mummy?" Challenger demanded.
"First, it has been clever enough to evade us from day one. Two, it has cloned itself. Three its numbers seem to be of a like mind, which would indicate..."
Conan's face lit up with understanding. "They are connected on some kind of mental level. If we remove the original..."
"Kill it!" Challenger growled.
"Then it will stop the infection."
"Or at least abate it." Sherlock explained further. "Once we have those two contained or destroyed if necessary, then our good doctors can work swiftly on a formula to cure the infected. Or else..."
"Or else?" Constable Evans asked. "You didn't finish your sentence."
Sherlock looked at him."Or else it is truly the end of our world as we know it."
Below is the cover from The Baker Street Adventures, my first adventure with the Baker Street Adventurers. It's available now in mass marker paperback and digital format.
Watson was horrified, but not petrified. He had seen worse, and experienced worse. He side eyed the poor creature on the other bunk and gave him a stern look. "One is not defeated until all other recourses are gone. As long as I live, I shall survive!"
"That sounds great, gov, but a bit idiotic, if you ask me. Why make it any worse for yourself by fighting against what you can't possibly push or shove?"
Watson turned fully on the man. "Anything can be pushed or shoved if you know understand them."
The poor emaciated looking fellow on the buck smiled. "Dear Watson, always the dreamer, never the one to tally ho the losers and dash to the finish line!"
Watson gave the man a startled look. "How do you know my name, sir?"
The man began to uncurl from his fetal position, and what appeared to be missing hands and legs fell away from him, causing Watson to be extremely startled for a moment, backing up against the cell wall, but when the man began to stand up and tower over him and started wiping at his face with a dirty cloth, he lost his fear.
"Yes." The man replied, removing the last of his makeup.
"We meet again."
"I thought you had died in that dragon fire along with the rest of those bloody bastards!"
Moriarity limped slightly forward and thrust a hand out. "Your love for James does you honor, Doctor. He was a far better man than I. Perhaps there is hope, even for those of us who have made horrible choices in the past."
Watson looked at the hand, then into Moriarity's eyes.
"How do I know I can trust you?"
Watson put his hand out and shook his. "That I can trust."
Watson looked at the door again. "Have you figured a way through the door?"
Moriarity laughed. "I may be a genius, but I'm not a superman. Only a man of iron could get through that door. But..."
He shoved aside the makeshift bed on the floor, revealing wood planking that had been pried loose and was dangling downwards.
"Ah, the plot thickens." Watson responded his eyes hopeful again.
"But we must hurry. The last poor soul, who was here before me, is now one of them and I fear that you are not far from the same. The infection has spread through a good portion of your body, Watson. If it reaches your bones and liver, you shall become one of them."
"How do you know all of that?"
"Among my many talents is the ability to read a man's physical conditions by examining his symptoms. A skill I learned at the feet of a yogi in the India Isles."
"Like Sherlock once did."
"Yes. Like he. I was even inspired by the man in my world, before I killed him."
Watson recoiled in horror.
Moriarity laughed. "Watson, not every Sherlock Holmes has been an honest, capable soul like your current one, or the last one. This man was a devil. He used black magic to solve his crimes and punish the criminals. He never asked if they were innocent before he killed them."
"Yes. And the people he helped never asked how many innocents died either."
"How could such people live with themselves?"
"Easily, if they worked for the devil!" Moriarity exclaimed, waving his hands dramatically.
"There is no such thing as a devil." Watson proclaimed.
"Then pray to your God that you never ever, ever travel to my world."
"Not much chance of that." Watson answered, looking at their surroundings. "Even if we escape this vessel, we haven't much chance of survival in the cold of these waters."
Moriarity gave Watson a mysterious smile and didn't reply. Instead he began vigorously tugging at the decking to make more room for them to crawl through.
As they worked Watson asked. "How did you escape detection?"
"Who would doubt a cripple's word? Not even a monster would do that."
"You don't know some of the monsters I've worked with." Watson replied drily.
"It appears we both have worlds we'd rather not return to."
Watson said no more, but kept pulling.
"I was right!" Edison cried out as he noticed the puddle of slime near where the specimen had been before.
Einstein came into the room, wearing a laborer's coveralls and carrying a shovel.
"What's the shovel for?" Tesla demanded.
Einstein didn't reply, he just nodded to them to follow. They did. He went down the walkway along their second floor that overlooked the work area below until he stopped at the dining room. He entered and both men almost threw up.
The tables were covered with slime and pieces of body parts.
Sherlock stood next to Constable Evans and examined the Inspector, who sat on his metal bunk, his face resolute, but red with anger.
"It's really for your own good, Inspector."
The Inspector gave no reply, but his fists clenched so hard, they turned white as a ghost.
Constable Evans turned to Sherlock, Conan and Challenger. "He's been this way for hours now."
"You've done the right thing, Constable. Look at his exposed flesh."
Challenger looked closely. "The red splotches. He's infected."
"I'm afraid so." Sherlock replied.
He turned to Constable Evans. "How has your survey of the remainder of your staff gone?"
Constable Evans drew them down the line of cells to a larger holding area where a half dozen Constables were seated, looking miserable, then jumped to their feet and ran to the bars.
"Let us out! We're being illegally detained! For God's sake, Mister Holmes save us from this mad man who has locked us and the Inspector up!"
Sherlock ignored their pleas.
Conan came closer, but out of reach of any eager hands. He examined the flesh of the prisoners. "All infected. Every last one of them. I'd say that they and the Inspector were infected on the same day...maybe a few hours apart."
He turned to Sherlock.
Sherlock nodded. "The raid on the warship. It is the root of all the evil going on."
"You suspect something, don't you?" Challenger demanded. "Out with it then!"
"I believe the entire battle wasn't for control of the Thames, but to spread the infection. They lost some of their soldiers, but by infecting so many of us, they have spread their malice further and wider than they might have been able to otherwise."
"Oh dear God!" Constable Evans muttered as he realized the import of Sherlock's statement.
"Yes, every single man, woman and child that these policeman have touched or been connected to is now infected."
"Including me!" Constable Evans replied.
"Perhaps. We're still not sure about how effective the spreading of the infection is. But close enough, I imagine, judging from these few to be almost a hundred percent."
"But that means..."
"Yes." Sherlock replied, his face solemn and stern with purpose. "It means that London shall soon be filled, not only with zombies, but with the Mummy creatures."
"We must find a cure. I won't die this way!" The Inspector hollered from his cell. He had been listening to the conversation.
Sherlock and the others went back. "You're lucid."
"I apologize Constable Evans for my previous behavior. I don't know what has come over me."
Constable Evans started to move closer and Sherlock snatched him from harm's way as the Inspector suddenly reached out to choke him.
Constable Evans turned stark white in terror. "We can trust no one. No one at all!"
"Precisely." Sherlock acceded. He turned to Challenger and Conan. "You must find Madame Curie and Professor Langdon. Go to Edison and Tesla's offices; see if you can discover a cure for this monstrous ill spreading through our fair city like a cancer before it's too late."
"What will you do?" Challenger demanded as he turned to leave.
"Pray." Sherlock replied.
Although Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of the Greater Britain's sovereigns since 1657, it was at one time the headquarters if the Druhish before that and the Druids after. Merlin founded it as a tribute to King Arthur and when the great King later ceded title to the structure to Lord Buckingham, he in turn deeded it to the long line of King and Queens that followed Arthur, in honor of the lost Camelot and the great deeds of the King and his famous Knights of the Round Table.
Although Arthur vanished for a time with Merlin to the Hidden Isles of the Vale of Avalon, it was well known that he was still there, alive and well, he and Merlin waiting for the time when he would return to save the world from the great calamity that was predicted to facing it in the two thousands.
Good Queen Mary of Scots didn't know if all that was true or not, but she had gladly accepted the Palace for her administrative duties, reserving the Windsor Castle for her dominant residence and place to court ambassadors, and fellow nobility in her line of work, which was protecting the Greater Britains and administering to the needs of the many.
Buckingham Palace has 8775 rooms, which in the magical worlds that abided in this London, was perfection. Harry Houdini, himself, had sanctified the Palace many a time with arcane rituals he had learned from the Great White Brotherhood of the Ark, a mysterious organization founded by Merlin before his vanishment with Arthur.
There were 9 State rooms, 10 rooms for administering to the needs of the poor, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 288 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. In measurements, the building is 188 meters long across the front, 160 meters deep (including the central triangle within the quad and 34 meters high, causing it to rival the Tower of London for its height.
So it is no wonder that when Buckingham Palace was successfully bombed by a Moriarity Terrorist, that the general public would grow alarmed. Reports of zombies, mummies with blazing red eyes and extra-terrestrial beings invading the Realms were rampant.
As Sherlock and the Scots Ambassador helped to secure the good Queen and tend to her injuries, her court went crazy. It was Challenger and Conan who stepped in at that hour of great terror and need to stabilize the panicked soldiers, ambassadors, and governmental staff and get them to exit the building in an orderly manner. And to their credit, this was with both men having been burned and cut badly from the bomb's debris, even as Sherlock and the Ambassador to Scots carried the good Queen Mary of Scots to safety as the structure began tumbling down about them.
All in all, over two people died as the building collapsed, but more than a thousand were saved and it is to the bravery of Sherlock and his friends, which even that many survived. Not only did they carry the Queen and place her into the hands of her still functioning Royal Guards, but they went back inside repeatedly, along with Conan and Challenger to search the debris and tumbling structure for more survivors.
In all they saved an additional thirty women and children, who had been on a tour from a local school. It was their lucky day, for their driver, their principal and ten male teachers all perished trying to spare the others harm.
It was a dark day for London, for the Queen and all those who believed in justice and fairness in the Realms.
Sherlock paced the sitting room nervously as Mrs. Hudson did her best to quail her own fears and doubts by helping Lady Shareen and Madame Curie attend to the wounds of Sherlock's good friends.
Conan was in a kind of shock, as he had never experienced so much death before, and the sight of all those mangled and bleeding bodies, dismembered body parts strewn about, the eyes of children and women alike smashed from their faces, would haunt him forever.
Challenger took it better, but his right shoulder was hurt badly and Conan had to help Mrs. Hudson to get him still long enough to reset the bones.
"Christ in heaven, bloody Mary in hell, stop it!" Challenger cried out from the pain as they popped his shoulder back in place.
He glared at his two friends a moment angrily, then sniffed and smiled slightly. "My, the pain is gone."
"But not your insufferable words." Mrs. Hudson scolded him. "You should know better than to speak like that in front of a lady!" She warned him with a finger almost in his face.
He started to make a remark and she put a finger to his lips. "And don't go joking me about not seeing any ladies, or I'll tear your tongue out by its bloody roots!"
Then she broke into laughter and hugged him. He looked astounded a moment, then returned the hug with a kind smile.
"I humbly apologize for my conduct to you, Mrs. Hudson, and to you my good friend, Conan."
"Accepted." Conan replied, flopping down onto a chair, then grabbing a tea cup and pouring some hot tea into it. He eyed the curls of smoke from the hot tea a moment, and then looked up as Sherlock looked over at him.
"I think we can safely say that Moriarity is indeed behind this whole bloody mess." Conan commented, his voice dripping with malice.
Sherlock still said nothing. He turned away and went to the window and looked out, as if hoping someone might be there. Someone he missed greatly.
Mrs. Hudson gave Conan and Challenger a sad look, then headed for the stairs. "I'll have some fresh sandwiches for the lot of you in about five."
Lady Shareen, who had also been quite quiet, tossed all the medical supplies into a bowl, and then followed her. "Let me help you. I need to get my mind off what happened for a time."
"So very welcome to help, my dear Lady."
Lady Shareen smiled and touched Mrs. Hudson's right arm gently. "Don't worry, he'll be safe. I promise."
Mrs. Hudson lost all her composure and broke into tears.
Lady Shareen put the bowl down, then wrapped her arms about Mrs. Hudson and drew her close. Her own eyes began to wet, for she feared for her man as much as Mrs. Hudson's for hers, for though he was the Jungle Lord; he was only human, after all.
Sherlock turned to watch, his own eyes quivering for a moment as if ready to mist over, then he returned his attention to the street below, an utter look of hopelessness on his face, that he dared not show another, for fear it would destroy their confidence in him.
The monster from hell closed in on him. It had fangs that drooped to the floor, and eyes as big as silver plates. It exuded an odor that was nauseating and its body seemed to flow like some kind of liquid held in stasis.
Before it could reach him, he swung himself aside and dashed for the doorway. Professor Moriarity stepped into his path, stopping him.
"All good things must pass, my dear Watson." He promised, then vanished, just as the entire nightmare did, as Watson awoke again, but this time in the same cell, but no monster. The cell seemed to vibrate, as if some kind of machinery were beneath the floor. He sat up and rubbed his face, feeling the grizzle of his beard flaring in the places he would normally have shaven.
"You're awake." A voice noted.
He turned slightly and saw that another person was in the cell, laying on a bunk, much like his own, some kind of soft cloth over a hard piece of wood on the floor. He couldn't put his feet down to stand up, so he slid off and staggered to his feet. He stumbled a moment, then caught himself.
"It's all right. You're stabilize soon, matey."
Watson caught himself against a steel door that had no windows, and seemed perfectly seated into the wall, which felt more metallic than wooden or plaster. He noted also that the ceiling appeared a bit moist, as if they were in some kind of water container. It was oozing drops of moisture in various places. Which explained the extreme dampness in the air and beneath his feet.
Which he now noted were bare of any shoes. He looked down.
"Take them too, they does." His cell mate explained. "Pardon me if I don't get up to shake your hands, but it might be a bit awkward for me." He notes, waving arms that have no hands. Only black stumps.
Watson gave the man a horrified look, mixed with compassion.
"Oh, don't go feeling sorry for me. I don't, guv." The man explained, managing to twist himself upwards until he was seated, and then Watson noted he had no legs from the knees down either.
"Yeah, sure as the Queen is Mary, I'm a right mess, I am."
Watson shook his head. "I don't mean to stare."
"Stare all you want. It's nice to have company again."
"Where are we?"
"Where you don't want to be."
"And where is that?"
"The closest place to hell I ever want to be, and I sure could be giving up this one place as soon as possible if that were possible."
Watson went over and sat down beside the man. He started to raise a hand to shake, then recovered himself. "Sorry."
"Don't worry, mate, you'll get used to it. I know I have." He chuckled.
Watson nodded, liking the man for some reason he couldn't explain. "How did you come to be here?"
"Let's just say that I dodged, when I should have darted and let it go at that."
Watson smiled. "I think when we get out of here I'll buy you a pint."
"I think if I get out of here, I'll take you up on that offer."
Watson looked at the door. "Very unusual cell."
"Not what you think."
"What do you mean?"
"More like a storage room."
Watson started to laugh, then gave the man a look of horror. "You're saying we're meat?"
The man waved the stumps of his arms. "I'd say so."
Watson jumped up and went to the door, to hide the look of utter horror he now felt.
"Oh no sir. Not to them that eats us, it ain't."
Watson tried to slip his fingers into the cracks of the door, but the seams were so thin, he couldn't even slide a fingernail into them. Frustrated, he spun around. "Well, I won't be meat for anyone."
Then he noticed the blotches on his hands. Red ones.
"Dear God!" He exclaimed.
"Not in here, matey. Not in here."
Queen Mary's Royal Guard arrived at the Abbey and in short course had corralled and locked up all the zombie citizens that laid on the pavement, unconscious or bleeding. Sherlock spoke to the Captain as his eyes looked off into a place only he could see.
Conan and Challenger gave him commiserating looks, but said nothing. They knew it would do no good. Watson was gone. They had failed to find him.
"Captain, I think you will find no other signs of those creatures here now."
The Captain. Captain Longfellow nodded, his eyes narrowed as if looking into a strong wind, his jaw set in anger. "All these men and women ravaged by that creature. Unimaginable. If Constable Evans hadn't shown me the Inspector, I would never have believed it."
Sherlock gave him a sharp look. "The Inspector, you say. Then..."
"Yes. Queen Mary's own personal physical tested him. He had the object right where you said it would be."
Sherlock sighed. "I'm afraid this infection is spreading wider than we previously thought. It might take nothing less than a miracle to contain it now." Long pause. "And I don't believe in miracles."
"I wish I could say I did, but too many wars has sanded that thought from my heart and mind."
The Captain turned to his men. "Collect the civilians. We will place them in quarantine with the others."
"There's more?" Challenger roared.
The Captain looked at him with a faint smile. "Did you doubt there would be?"
Challenger was left speechless as the Captain and his men gathered the bound and wounded and placed them in large war wagons where they would be driven off to holding cells beneath the Tower of London. It was the only secure facility now for what they were dealing with.
Lord Graystone came to Sherlock. "If it's any easier for you to accept, he was never there."
Sherlock gave Graystone a hard stare for a moment, then nodded. "I suppose it was a trap all along."
Lady Shareen came beside him and put a hand on his arm, lightly pressing it in a comforting manner. "We will find him. I promise you that."
Lord Graystone began stripping his clothes off, until his bronzed body was naked except for his lion cloth and a knife. He looked to Lady Shareen. "I'll be late for tea."
She nodded and he ran lightly to the street, looked up at the nearest building, then flung himself upwards, until he landed on a rooftop. He looked back down at them, then ran from view.
Conan sighed. "If I had half the muscle of that man, I'd be the delight of every woman in Paris."
"And if you were and did that, your wife would surely barbecue you for breakfast, my dear Conan."
They both broke into laughter, causing the rest of them to relax a bit.
Tesla looked to Edison. "Back to the drawing boards."
"I think this whole thing was a plant of some kind. Someone on the inside knew our intentions and told this creature about them."
"But we are the only ones who knew of it."
Then Edison frowned.
"What?" Tesla demanded.
Madame Curie saw the device.
Edison and Tesla exchanged looks of alarm, as did Lady Shareen and the others.
Challenger roared. "Impossible! She would never betray us! Never ever betray Sherlock! Or Watson!"
"I agree." Conan said, his face flushed with anger. "Shame on you two for even thinking such a thought."
"But how can we not think that, when she was the only one who knew of our plans?" Edison demanded, his face red with anger as well.
Challenger stepped between the two men. "Enough! Don't we have a big enough war to fight without it turning us against each other as well."
Conan suddenly paled. "Ah-ha!"
Everyone looked at him. His face shone like the sun for a moment. "Again and again we have been manipulated to the Creature's likings, but this time we shall not fall for it. This is again one of its traps. If it can divide us..."
"Then it can also conquer us." Challenger finished.
He clapped Conan so hard on his back that he almost fell over.
"Sorry, old man." Challenger apologized, catching his friend.
He turned to the others. "As Sherlock would say... when examining the possible and nothing prevails, then..."
"Look to the impossible." Tesla completed.
Tesla almost jumped from his shoes. "The sample that Madame Curie was working with!"
"Oh bloody hell!" Edison cried out and both men rushed for their car, leaving their companions in the dark and alarmed.
"Bloody Hell of Queen Mother Mary!" Constable Evans cried out at the top of his lungs, as he sidestepped the lunging Inspector and struck him with his service revolver on the right side of his head.
The Inspector crumpled to the floor as if struck by lightning.
Constable Evans stood over him, his pistol ready for action again, but the Inspector didn't move. Good thing he was prepared for just such an eventuality. A part of him was triumphant and another deeper part of him was destroyed, as he realized that this man was no more his father than anyone else in the constabulary.
The Duty Sergeant pounded on the door. "You all right, Inspector?"
Constable Evans considered how he was going to explain this, and then said. "Tosh! The devil made me do it!" He laughed, and then opened the door.
The Duty Sergeant rushed inside, his face flushed red with excitement. Saw the Inspector on the floor and the weapon in Constable Evans hand.
"I hope you have a good explanation for this, Constable Evans."
"Not one you'll believe."
"Try me." The Duty Sergeant demanded, as he nodded to several other Constables to enter and disarm Constable Evans.
Then Constable Evans told him everything that had happened.
Sherlock, rather than follow his first impulse to fire into the monster before him, considered the being carefully. "I assume you didn't expect I would shoot first, and then ask questions?"
"You never assume, do you, Mister Holmes?"
Sherlock smiled. "Not usually."
The Mummy creature came closer, but made no threatening moves. "I have had some time to study your world and I know what makes it run."
"What pray tell is that?" Sherlock asked, playing the game he saw before him.
"That humanity is fixated on accumulating wealth and power at any cost. That people in power could care less about the ordinary man. That the Lords and Ladies are just shams of what a true human being should be."
"If I grant you those assumptions."
"They are not assumptions."
Sherlock insisted. "If I grant you those assumptions, what am I to believe of all you have done to this point in time?"
"Started the process of correcting the deficiencies that run rampant throughout your race. I have already inseminated quite a few of your peoples, and soon they shall bear the fruit of my giant intellect and my own views."
The Mummy creature smiled, a dark look shadowing its face. "If you will, but clones that have their own individuality. That has the ability to forego human weakness and to assume the greater responsibility for humanity's growth on this planet."
"In other words, overlords."
"I knew we could see this eye to eye." The Mummy creature replied.
It sat down on a bench near it and eyed Sherlock. "No need to be uncomfortable. We have much to talk about, you and I."
Sherlock did not sit.
"Very well, remain standing. But I assure you that you will never find another on this planet with an intellect to match your own, nor with the power to use it."
Sherlock's lips perked in a kind of smirk. "What of the heart then?"
"What good is a heart for, except to pump blood and nourish the body? You see what emotions have done for your planet. Endless wars, starvation of the masses by the wealthy and powerful, control and domination of the weak by the powerful. Need I say more?"
"Seems that I have heard this argument before. Napoleon, Hitler, Genghis Khan, Hyde, the Hollow Man. The list is as endless as your perverted view of humanity. As long as man has a heart there is always hope for redemption, without it, then what you have stated will prevail."
The Mummy creature laughed. "A funny way of looking at things, I must say."
"What have you done with Watson?"
"Ah. Your friend. So you do know matters of the heart then. I was wrong to assume that your intellect was as spotless as mine own."
"You are wrong about a great many things."
"That also remains to be seen, Mister Holmes."
The Mummy creature stood and stared at Holmes a long time. "I would like to continue this conversation, but I'm afraid I have other matters to attend to. You won't shoot me in the back, will you?"
"Would it matter if I did?"
The Mummy creature laughed. "Not really. I die to one body and am born to the next. If you want to see your friend again, I'd suggest you let me leave. I can safely assume that your friend is worth more to you than this worthless body is to me?"
Sherlock raised his pistol and aimed it at the creature's chest. "This will blow a hole through you large enough to thrust my fist through."
"But you won't do that, will you."
The Mummy creature's face suddenly grew brighter. "Ah, I see now. The reason why you with hold your vengeance upon me. Not again." It mimicked Sherlock's voice of terror as he realized Watson might be in danger of dying and he helpless to stop it.
The Mummy creature burst into laughter so horrible and humiliating that Sherlock was driven almost to the point of firing, but instead he lowered his weapon.
The Mummy creature laughed even harder, and then turned to leave. It got about five paces towards the door it had entered from and its body exploded from a fusillade of bullets that struck it from about five different directions.
Tesla, Edison, Lady Shareen, Conan and Challenger ran into the gallery, their weapons smoking.
Lord Graystone rushed between them and taking out his jungle knife from it's sheathe at his hip, swiftly took the creatures head off and slung it aside. He put a foot on its chest, and then bellowed like a bull dragon, its terrifying yell echoing throughout the massive Abbey.
Watson awoke to find himself in a tiny cell, laying on a bed of hard burlap and wood on the floor. He groaned, stretched his aching muscles, then sat up slowly, his head pounding as if it had been struck repeatedly.
A single light illuminated his cell. By it he looked at his hands. There were the faintest of red splashes beginning to appear on them. He swifly shoved his cuffs back to reveal more of them on his arms.
In that moment of clarity he realized what was happening and he rebeled inwardly, cursing the foul creature and its infamy. He was not going to give into its psychic pressure. He would fight it to the end, even if it meant taking his own life.
Immediately, at that thought, he felt a sense of great loss, when he saw a vision of Mrs. Hudson mourning over his grave. His arms sprouted more red splotches. Alarmed, he swiftly tossed those thoughts away. As he did, walling off his emotions, he noticed that the red splotches dimmed and grew less prominent.
His eyebrows raised in consideration of this revelation.
Before he could give it anymore thought the door to his cell swung open and a vision from hell entered, its slimy arms swinging towards him.
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