Sherlock Holmes novel. Now available at Amazon. "The Dark Trail." Book One of Things That Go Bump In The Night.
The Dark City
"A Professor Challenger Story"
By John Pirillo
It's this way."
He followed the voice in the dark, making sure to leave a chalk mark every few feet to mark directions. He wasn't going to get caught a thousand feet underground without knowing a way back. He'd been there, done that. His beard was driving him nuts though, the sweat from the heated passage dribbling from his jungle hat on his mop of thick red hair down across his eyebrows, cheeks and mouth, then neck and chest. He could live with the sweat; it was the dratted gnat bugs that were landing in his beard and sucking up the moisture, no surprise to him, just weren't in abundance.
"I'd appreciate a light."
"Not yet." The voice returned, steady and certain.
How in God's name and the name of Queen Mary of Scots had he gotten himself into this deplorable expedition, so far away from his friends? He could just see himself telling his tale to his friends on their usual night together. Sundays. They would talk about their sleuthing, explorations, experiments, and the souls they'd saved, or seen damned. Sometimes it was more of the first and less of the latter, and sometimes...far darker days in his mind...more of the latter. He might have a temper, he might be impulsive and compulsive at times, but his moral compass was tried and true. No life was worthless. None!
Even that dratted...
"Owww!" He cursed as the top of his head scraped the roof of the passage, knocking his helmet off and taking a hefty bite into his scalp.
"Shorty!" He roared angrily, feeling the blood now adding to the sweat in his blood. He mopped it away with what he was sure was now a blood stained, dirt stained, moss stained, and sweat stained coarse shirt he always wore on such expeditions. Good for warmth and cold.
"Challenger, if you insist on being insulting, I will have no recourse, but to leave you in the darkness."
"Go ahead, Batwings!" Challenger roared back. "See if I care. You've kept me in the dark the past six hours, what's another six going back."
"Your humor is most distasteful. You know I don't have batwings."
"No, but I would expect better eyesight from you."
The man ahead of him sighed. "I'm a Dracula, not a bat, and I have neither high pitched sounds to guide my path, nor wings to fly."
"And yet you can see in the dark." Accused Challenger.
"True enough. A small gift from..."
"Are we close or not, you buffoon!" Roared Challenger, his temper getting the best of him at that moment yet once more.
Suddenly, the floor vanished from beneath him and he plummeted helplessly in the dark to an uncertain fate.
"And it is my belief that the Draculas come from a subterranean civilization that once lived beneath the lands of Scotland." Professor Challenger announced to the assemblage of fellow scientists and philosophers.
Were it not for his personal notoriety as an explorer of great accomplishment, he would have been laughed off the platform; instead he was given a tolerant clap of hands.
He sighed inwardly, but bravely went on. "I am announcing an expedition to the highlands to explore a little known cavern, which I have every reason to believe, has a series of tunnels that lead directly to the lost kingdom of the Draculas.
A sturdy older man, Deputy Prime Minster Calloway, stood up. "Professor, am I to believe then that you think the entire vampire race stems from the Draculas?"
"Yes. I do."
The assemblage went wild with shouts and angry disavowals. He waited for it to crest, and then raised his hands for quiet. "And furthermore, I have a brave champion of our Victorian London, and an honored friend of Queen Mary of Scots, here to affirm my thoughts, as well as to help on the mission of exploration."
He turned slowly to the side and a dark and elegantly dressed man swept onto stage and joined him. The assemblage grew so silent you could hear a fly's wings.
"Count. If you will?"
"It is my pleasure, Professor Challenger." The Count replied, then swept his cape over his right shoulder and eyed the men and women gathered before him.
He smiled. "Ah, I can see the Vampire Clan of Easterbury is here tonight."
A group of men and women to his right suddenly tried to look small in their chairs. He turned to the middle and smiled again. "And the Clan of Brighton."
Another group of men and women looked suddenly busy.
Professor Challenger's eyes widened. He'd had no idea so many of the dark ones had assembled to listen to him. Had he thought that would be the case, he might have approached his speech a bit more carefully.
The Count started to expose another group, but shrugged. "It's enough to say that if my friends of the night are interested, then where there's smoke, surely there might be....fire?"
The assemblage stopped squirming in their chairs and examining each other and looked forward again.
Professor Challenger was not one to be fearful of death and dying, and rather than plunge to certain death, he reached to his right hip and slung loose a hook ended rope and flung it outwards. It scraped the walls of his plunge, and then with a huge jerk and a loud crunching sound, he was flung forward into the shaft's wall he had been falling into.
Then a funny thing occurred. He felt someone breathing at his left.
"I had you."
"You let me fall sixty meters to what seemed certain death..."
"Oh Challenger, stop being so dramatic."
Count Dracula used his strength to lower Challenger the rest of the way.
"I was prepared to catch you."
"You might have told me there was a shaft in front of me."
"What! And miss out on all the fun of seeing your face as you fell?"
"I hate you!" Challenger snorted in anger and derision.
Before he could say more a bright light flared, revealing he stood at the doorway of an immense cavern. Inside was a city like none other he had ever seen. It glowed with an eerie green luminescence.
"The home of our forefathers."
"You mean yours!"
"No, actually I mean ours. Man was not always a topside dweller. And he was not always...well, human as you appear."
Challenger gave the Count a scowl. "Have you been holding out on me, Count?"
"Let's just say, I've been dancing around the truth somewhat."
Challenger would've said more, but the lure of exploration overrode his anger. He strode through the immense doorway and stood on the crest of a small rise that descended into the city. "Just imagine what treasures must still remain here."
"I thought you were a man of science."
"I am. A man of science who needs to pay his bills just like any other man. Treasure pays for my next expedition."
The Count nodded. "In that case, let's explore."
They finally reached the last structure of the ancient underground city. It was carved from the rock of the cavern. It had scrollings and depictions all about its walls, inside and out. Challenger was cooing like a happy baby, when he finished examining the chamber inside. It had a huge dais with a throne the size of a giant.
"In those days Dracula's were giants, Professor."
"As now. Cattle."
"Cattle. Good lord, man, how can you be so callous?"
The Count shrugged. "What was, is not now, what is, could not have been then. My ancestors were the first to go against the laws of the ruling Draculas. They were shunned and sent to the earth above, where they lost much of their height over time as they intermingled with the masses of men above."
"You sound sad."
"That's because we should have risen as a society to greater heights than raising humans as cattle to slake our hunger."
Count Dracula flung down the backpack he was carrying. "I intend to wipe out every visage of this civilization that ever existed so no other vampire can ever again use this place to gain power and position."
He opened his backpack and revealed String bombs. "Tesla made these for me."
"Dear Lord, what are they?"
"The cleansing of history."
"Run! Run!" The Count hollered.
Professor Challenger was running behind him, the marks on the walls now luminous and glowing as he knew they would be.
"Why...run?" He gasped.
Then the world behind them shook them to the floor and a hammer of air pressure flung their bodies like balloons through the air.
Count Dracula caught Professor Challenger in his arms and ran faster, then leaped with all the strength he had as the very passage behind them began collapsing.
They tumbled into the high grassy knoll and its rocky fields as the short mountain behind them began to collapse.
"Run!" Count Dracula yelled.
"I've already run!" Professor Challenger shouted.
Then he saw the mountain began to collapse.
"Okay!" He agreed, and then began running again, his lungs and legs aching from the stress of his exertion.
Finally, they reached about twenty yards away from the collapse and it tumbled to a stop, leaving a huge smoking heap of rubble and an odd colored, green luminescent smoke that glittered and glowed in the dying sun of the highlands of Scotland.
"We made it." Professor Challenger sighed with relief. "But I had no time to get any treasure."
"Oh, but you did, my dear friend."
"The greatest treasure of all....your life!"
The Baker Street Adventures is just the beginning of my exploration of The Baker Street Universe. You can purchase a copy at Amazon as it is available now.
I've just published the first part of an interview I accomplished some years back with the very famous Sherlock Holmes, Doctor John Watson and Harry Houdini.
I think you will find it quite illuminating, warm and amusing as I explore the nature of their relationships and the depth of their bonds.
You will find the first part of the interview at The Baker Street Universe.
Double click HERE to go to The Baker Street Universe and read the interview.
Just finished posting a new serial chapter...Chapter Four...of Robinson Crusoe on Clipper Island...and an article and cool things about Conan Doyle, and some of my writing.
Click HERE to go to the site and hash down on the sizzling things hanging out there now.
I also posted a video interview of the great actor James Spader from Blacklist, and Stargate, as well as the new Marvels Avengers.
Added to the goodies are a few more videos and articles, as well as the first three chapters of Robinson Crusoe on Clipper Island on ImagineNation.
"A Professor Challenger Story."
"Bloody Hell, Challenger, we'll never get to the top of that monster!"
Challenger eyed his shorter companion, Conan, who was sweating so badly his jungle outfit was wet through and through. Even his hat, meant to keep the sun from his eyes, and his skull cool was soaking wet. "You really need to shed some of those pretty pounds."
Conan bristled. "They are not pretty!"
Challenger softened. "I know. I know." He clapped a hand on Conan's shoulder. "You've got to look at this climbing as a necessary part of your life if you intend on continuing to accompany me on these journeys."
"I'd rather chase Hyde through the gates of hell than climb another monolith!"
"As I, but what must be done, must be."
Challenger eyed the spire of the mountain, which was sheathed in a myriad of hands of cloud that squirmed and shimmied like bowls of liquid oil, colored with snow. "From what I can see if we start now, we should get half way to the top by nightfall."
Conan gave him a look that could kill. "You said it'd be a piece of cake!"
"I did, didn't I?" Challenger agreed, and then he smiled. "Would you have come had I said otherwise?"
Conan said nothing.
"I rest your case."
Challenger put a hand to the rocks above him and began climbing. "Oh, and I wouldn't wait for me to come back, as the only way out of this part of Fairie is up there.'
"You stinking, rotten Tosh!"
"Come now, Conan, sticks and butter, you know."
Conan was so frustrated he could punch a hole in the mountainside, but upon looking at the hardness of it in the light of reason; he pocketed that thought for more worth flesh, when he got back home and could tell Challenger exactly what he thought of him while he clubbed his brains out with his fists.
"I heard those thoughts, Conan. Killing me won't help you one bit."
Conan raised a fist. "Is there nothing of me you don't know?"
Challenger paused about ten feet up and looked down. "Never gave it much thought, but I suppose not. Oh, and by the way there's something you might want to notice before you decide to play stubborn much longer."
"WHAT!" Shouted Conan, his face reddening with anger once more.
At the precise moment Conan finished the bellow of a gigantic beast blasted from behind him. Conan spun around and felt his heart sink into his stomach. It was a prehistoric beast from the worst of his nightmares.
"I'd suggest you climb, Conan. Fast!" Challenger sternly suggested.
Conan was about to curse Challenger when the monstrous beast spotted him and began its charge.
Conan leaped for the highest handhold he could reach and began climbing frantically. The beast behind him was quite sizable; at least thirty feet tall and closing fast.
Challenger scrambled as well, moving swiftly, but carefully at the same time. He had the better lead, so wasn't worried about the beast's reach, but he was worried about his friend. Though stubborn and hotheaded at times, he was truly a remarkable man with great writing talent and a genius for forensics and an imagination to die for. He looked back and saw Conan wasn't going to make it.
"Hurry, Conan. Hurry!"
Conan scrambled as fast as he could, but the beast was faster. Its huge mouth, filled with rows of razor sharp teeth and a ghastly stinking breath opened up to envelope him. At the moment it was ready to seize him from the mountain wall, a rope coiled over his backpack and tightened, and he was swung away from the wall, screaming like a madman.
The beast's jaws slammed into the mountain wall, nearly knocking Challenger from his precarious perch above, but he managed to hang on, then resituate himself so he could swing Conan higher and out of the monsters reach.
Conan became a dangling carrot for the monster, who would swipe at Conan to eat him, shortly before he was jerked away and a bit higher.
"Damn you, Challenger! Either feed me to him or get me out of here!" Cursed Conan.
Challenger strained at Conan's weight. He was almost equal to Challenger's body mass, even though shorter by a foot, then he grunted and made a Herculean effort and just as the beast launched itself upwards to seize Conan, he pulled him the rest of the way up and into his arms.
The beast landed below and bellowed its rage and frustration as both Conan and Challenger gasped for air and strength.
The beast paced below them, looking for a way up it could traverse.
"Just think, even if you could have managed to escape its mouth, those front feet, which look an awful lot like hands would have caught you."
"Don't remind me."
"Not my intention at all."
Conan gave Challenger a sour look.
"It's not happy to have lost its meal, Challenger."
"Would you be?"
"Yes. I think I'd very poor eating."
Challenger laughed and helped Conan to a better grip on the mountain. "I suppose you would with that salty attitude of yours. Too much salt in a meal can be very disheartening."
The beast below looked to be going away, just looking back now and then to look at them, as if mourning for its missed meal.
"I don't like the look of that creature's gaze upon us, Challenger."
They both began climbing upwards as fast as they could, almost recklessly, but just short of that, sending sprays of rock off the mountain side to bounce down below, where the beast turned around, then stormed the mountain wall with all its strength. At the last moment when it looked like it might smash into the side of the mountain, it made a tremendous leap. Its upper clawed feet, which resembled hands shot upwards as it sprung into the air.
Incredibly, it caught hold of the mountain side, and with a roar of triumph began scaling the edifice below the two humans, its mouth open wide, saliva drooling between its enormous teeth and lips in anticipation of the meal it expected to obtain.
"Blast it all!" Conan cursed.
Challenger looked down.
"Bloody beast is climbing after us!"
"Challenger, your boot is on my right hand."
He lifted it and then began climbing again, this time more recklessly. Conan followed as swiftly as he could below him, urging every ounce of strength from his body. In minutes they'd managed to maintain their lead, but the beast was close behind. So close that both men could smell its foul breath on their heels.
Challenger paused once to pry a stone free and send it tumbling at the beast, who only flicked it away with its snout, not slowing it down for a second.
"Oh Tosh!" Challenger cursed, and then pushed upwards, struggling to keep his aching muscles from giving out.
Conan was doing little better, and much worse. Challenger could hear him gasping for air. He knew his friend would never make it. What could he do? What could he do?"
Then an idea flashed in his mind. He immediately dismissed it, but when he looked down he saw that Conan had fallen further behind and the beast was almost upon him.
"Oh Bloody Hell!" Challenger cursed, then shrugged off his backpack and flung it at the beast, which was so intent on Conan it didn't see it coming. The backpack struck its left eye and blinded it. The beast let out a howl of rage and let go of the mountain face with one front paw, almost tumbling away.
Challenger crossed himself quickly, then let go of his hand hold.
"Challenger no!" Conan cried out as his friend fell past him, arms out.
Conan turned about to look as Challenger fell, not to the earth far below, but upon the beast's large snout. It roared like it had been violated in the worst possible way and with its remaining free paw broke it free and swung at him, the same time as Challenger leaped for the mountainside.
The beast roared in rage and anger as it lost its grip on the mountainside and fell head over heels towards the ground below.
Challenger caught hold of the mountainside, but barely. The rock he held onto was crumbling beneath his grip. Just when he thought he couldn't hold onto his grip anymore, a strong hand clasped his arm and caught him as he fell.
He looked up. Conan, red-faced, his eyes wide as small moons, smiled into his face. "You're not getting away from me that easily!"
Conan swung Challenger back to the mountainside and he caught hold of a better grip and righted himself properly. He swiped a hand across forehead, which was bleeding.
"You're hurt." Conan pointed out.
"No, just my bloody pride, being rescued by an overweight sausage."
Conan burst into laughter.
Challenger grinned up at him. "I apologize for my former behavior."
Conan grinned back at him. "You saved my life twice. I'd say we're even."
"Hey!" Challenger hollered at him.
Conan laughed, and then began scrambling up the mountain, ignoring Challenger's curses beneath him. It had turned out to be a good day after all. A very good day indeed. And now if only he could get home in time for a warm meal with his beloved wife.
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
Inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I pay homage in this story of my expanded Baker Street Universe to the renowned and boisterous Professor Challenger, whom I owe Conan for creating. The good Professor is featured many times in my stories because he exhibits a character of great fearlessness and bravery and ultimately, because he cares for what happens to the world he lives in. Who says you can't be brave, smart, adventurous, wealthy and kind to the world about you? He is an ideal man, and one for whom I hope to inspire all towards becoming.
Sour Grapes for Atlantis
"A Professor Challenger Story."
Challenger wasn't exactly afraid of going into the very narrow tunnel. It was more like thoughtful. He remembered quite distinctly getting caught in the last one and being humiliated when he had to be dragged out by the seat of his pants to freedom.
"I can do this." He told himself, not believing a word of it.
"I really am getting too young to be doing this." He muttered, angry at himself for having even an ounce of doubt.
"Challenger, are you going to enter or not." Conan hollered at him from inside the tunnel.
"Well if you can do it, I see no reason why I cannot." Challenger decided with a certainty he wasn't exactly feeling. Sweat broke out on his flushed red forehead as he tilted into the opening, dropped to his knees and began crawling towards Conan.
"Come on, Challenger; don't go sour grapes on me." Conan chided.
Challenger swatted at the huge flies pouring all over him from inside and outside. "It's beastly hot in here and I hate grapes, sour or not." He confided in a burst of righteous outrage.
Conan ignored him. He kept sliding backwards deeper into the opening, like a carrot before a donkey, teasing his friend to follow. He knew he wouldn't get stuck. He had already been inside and back now to lead Challenger, but he knew his friend's fears of tight spaces were very real and didn't want to shortchange him by calling him a coward, for he was nothing such. A man who could survive the attack of a Tyrannosaur had nothing to worry about heroic moments, even the ones that required him to go into a very tight enclosed space.
"I'm coming, I'm coming." Challenger said over and over, as if to calm Conan, when in fact it was to keep his mind off his own nerves.
And the last time.
It was Atlantis. Or rather what remained of it at the time? Most of it had submerged off the coast of Africa, and its remains stretched all the way to the new world of the Mericas. He had been enticed by the possibility of finding one of the legendary crystals that that ancient civilization had supposedly had the use of. Such power was unheard of, even with Tesla, Edison and Einstein driving modern technology at a breakneck pace.
He had been invited in the explorations by an old friend of his, the Count, or as some called him Dracula. He preferred being called the Count, as it didn't have as many negative ramifications as Dracula. A long maligned family line, he had proven a true prince of grace and rescued many natives of the sinking portions of Atlantis, and removed them to his native lands, given them new land to build and cultivate, and help in the construction of new homes and jobs.
The Count never liked to talk about that part of his life, he considered it dull and unromantic, besides the lack of humility it implied. Ever the humble man, except when in public, he preferred anonymity for his gracious deeds.
He had been helped to function in the daylight by a device created by Tesla and Edison based on some physics that Einstein had come up with. With the device he was able to cloak the harmful rays of the sun so they did not harm his body. He could survive in direct sunlight, but it took him weeks to heal from the damage he incurred. Rumors of silver and sunlight killing vampires were nonsense, as vampires were a natural mutation of the order of life, and not supernatural creatures. At least not in the world that this Professor Challenger had been born.
Magic was taken as natural and normal here, and no one gave it a second thought, unless they were being harmed by it. But there were organizations that dealt with black magic, voodoo and the practice of evil spells. They were highly hidden and remarkably efficient in taking out those who promised to be a threat to the world of today.
They were the Baker Street Adventurers, of whom he was one.
But at that time it was just him and the Count. The Count had discovered a vault was hidden deep in the central core of a falling island. It only had a matter of hours before it would sink completely and he and the Count had to work quickly if they were to invade the vault and retrieve some of the valuable crystals of Atlantis hidden there.
The Count had slid through the tunnel effortlessly, able to use his double jointed nature to slip through tight crevices. But alas, poor Challenger had gotten stuck on the way out, and with but a few minutes to spare before the sea claimed the tunnel and all within. Himself. The Count had to use drastic measures.
He had bitten Challenger in his bottom. The pain of it was nothing like the humiliation he felt to have a vampire take a healthy chunk from his generous bottom. He had screamed as if his very soul were being taken and broken through the crevice holding him, rushed outside, and then turned around to battle the Count, quite having forgotten why he was bitten in the first place.
"Well, here we are. The water is rising and our ride awaits us." The Count said calmly as the Professor reached for his heavy pistol.
Challenger suddenly relaxed his color normalizing as he realized he had been saved. He rubbed his aching bottom and told the Count. "If you tell a soul what happened here, I shall never let you see the light of day again."
The Count laughed. "Not such a big loss. But I will be quiet as a form of friendship which I owe you."
Challenger, mollified, had taken the one crystal they had found and raised it up to examine it more closely. It was purple in color.
As he looked at it the purple seemed to break apart, and he could see his other hand. Then the stench struck him.
He dropped the crystal, which was no such thing.
"We have been hoodwinked!" Challenger cried out. "This is nothing more than a prehistoric grape!"
And ever since that day whenever Atlantis was mentioned he could only think of that foul odor of the sour petrified grape.
Challenger finally managed to squeeze through the narrow opening that Conan had widened for him and entered a chamber of magnificent proportions that he could stand in. He felt all his fears vanish as he looked on in awe at the beautiful Elven runes carved into the marble walls, which formed a semi-circle about a fountain of spring water that flowed endlessly from a bulb shaped flower that lit up the room with sparkles of light.
Conan smiled. "I told you it would be worth it."
Challenger smiled. "My dear friend, Conan, I feel absolutely no sour grapes about Atlantis this time. For we have found the Fountain of Youth. Unfortunately..." He laughed. "It only works for Elves."
They both laughed, then Conan gave him a peculiar look and Challenger laughed even harder. Conan didn't need to know exactly why he knew that.
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.
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.
Chapter One Hundred One As the Jungle Lord let out his bull roar of triumph over the destruction of the war machine below, he froze halfway as he saw the other machines break into view.
He desperately urged his dragon mount to shoot away, dropping so close to the ground that his wing tips brushed building rooftops as he passed over them. And a good thing he did as all four machines blasted the air where the dragon had been, causing a boil of energies so intense that several buildings melted like candle wax from the heat.
But the war was far from over for him. He steered the King of Dragons around and made a bee line towards the nearest of the war machines. He whispered into the ear of his dragon and its snout spouted a blast of flame so bright and pure that it looked as if the sun itself had come to earth. The searing energies splashed cross the rising machine and melted it like butter, causing it to explode, taking out an area of about a city block.
Yes, he was winning the war, but London was being decimated.
Before he could consider the losses of so many who had to be in those buildings below, a new triangulation of energies homed in on him and his dragon, searing towards him with deadly fingers of wrath.
Chapter One Hundred Two "Sherlock?" Challenger croaked, coughing up dust that was lodged in his throat and lungs. He crawled free of the debris they had been buried in and made his way forward, gradually, his legs feeling as if they had been crushed, for he couldn't feel them.
Several feet away Sherlock laid askance a broken wall, his eyes closed. As Challenger neared the detective stirred, putting a hand to his head.
"Challenger, is that you?"
"I can't see." Sherlock noted without inflection.
Challenger laughed. "And I can't walk."
"A fine rescue team we are then." Sherlock noted again, without inflection.
"But alive nonetheless." He added with remarkable dryness of humor.
Challenger pulled himself against the wall next to Sherlock and began probing his legs. "I don't think anything's broken."
Sherlock put a hand on Challenger's back and ran it down his spine. "You have Lumbar Spinal Stenosis."
"Bloody hell!" Challenger swore. "Fine time to be an invalid."
Then Sherlock slammed his hand into the side of Challenger's spine so hard that he screamed in pain.
Challenger fell to his side, then without thinking got up to his feet and shook a fist at Sherlock. "You blasted idiot, you trying to..."
Sherlock chuckled. "I rather think that you might reconsider, dear Challenger."
Challenger stood there like the idiot he felt to be, his legs tingling from the renewed flow of blood.
"What in bloody hell did you just do to me, Holmes?
"Had I not reversed the trauma to that area of your lumbar, you would have become an invalid without proper medical treatment."
"But you're no doctor!"
"I learned the technique in the Tibet of my world from a very humble yogi, who also happened to be a doctor and a specialist in spinal injuries."
"Lucky for me."
"Lucky for both of us, I rather think. Now help me to our feet, we have a friend to rescue."
Challenger put arms under Sherlock's and drew him to his feet.
"Which way now I wonder? Challenger muttered, examining two passages that stood before him, both weakly lit by some kind of underground lichen that cast a faint radiance.
"The right way." Sherlock answered.
"Easy for you to say." Challenger grumbled, then using his tracking skills again, now that he had recovered from the injury, he fell to a knee and examined the rubble. With some effort he could describe that Professor Langdon's footsteps disappeared in the right passage.
"Well then." Challenger admitted finally. "It seems we will be going the right way after all."
Sherlock merely smiled.
Chapter One Hundred Three Even as the Jungle Lord and the King of Dragons eluded the three deadly rays of force, another six of the deadly war machines began rising from the depths of the Thames.
Lord Graystone leaned over close to his mount and whispered. "Just when it looks like it can get no worse, we get more stone to break. You up for it, my mighty friend?"
In answer the dragon roared, then let out a blast of flame that took out another war machine, causing it to melt like butter into the crater it had made before.
Chapter One Hundred Four Watson stood before the original Mummy creature, motionless and seemingly without will. The First and Second Moriaritys stood on the right and left of the Mummy creature.
"It would appear that our enemy has found himself two friends." Sherlock's voice uttered as he and Challenger came into view of the three.
Challenger dropped back a bit, his hand inside his coat, gripping his revolver.
The first Moriarity smiled handsomely. "So what do you think of our new friend?"
"Humans are the same no matter which world or time they come from." Sherlock admitted. "Willing to do anything for power and influence."
The second Moriarity barked with laughter and looked to his partner. "Can we keep this one?"
"I'd suggest you think in other terms." Sherlock replied to the question.
Both Moriaritys gave him sharp glances.
"You are in no position to demand anything, Mister Holmes." The First Moriarity explained finally, after letting go of his surprise. "We shall soon control all of London and you shall soon be serving me, just like Watson here."
Watson finally moved. He slowly turned around and faced Sherlock.
The Mummy creature moved closer.
Challenger dropped back more, positioning himself near the passage entrance.
"Our new friend can strip your mind of all reason with one glance." The First Moriarity explained calmly. "And I suspect even your great mind will have little difficulty being overcome."
"Perhaps." Sherlock replied drily. "Perhaps not."
The Second Moriarity turned to Watson. "Kill Mister Holmes."
Watson raised a pistol that had been hidden in the shadows of his body and aimed it at Sherlock.
"If I must die, then I'd prefer to die by the hand of the one man I have loved more than life itself." Holmes replied calmly.
The First Moriarity pushed Watson's arm down. "Belay that order, Watson."
"Our friend shall take care of him. We need him for the work we need do later on in subduing the governments."
The Second Moriarity nodded. "Very well."
He turned to the Mummy creature.
"You may take over his mind."
The Mummy Creature turned its eyes fully on Holmes and they lit up as bright as bonfires a moment.
Holmes staggered, as if struck by an invisible force, then fell towards Watson.
"Catch him!" The First Moriarity ordered.
Watson caught Sherlock and held him close.
"See, even the greatest of minds can make a mistake or fail." The Second Moriarity boasted to Challenger who stood near the passage, his hand still inside his coat.
"So take that pistol from your coat and drop it. It will do you no good here, Challenger."
Challenger took his hand out slowly, revealing Sherlock's pipe.
"What!" Both Moriarity's cried out.
Two shots rang from behind the two men and both Moriarity's clutched at their chests as bullets broke forth from them and collapsed to the ground.
Watson almost dropped Sherlock as he twisted around, and then gently pushed Watson away.
The First Moriarity lay on the ground, clutching at his chest beside the second, who was dead and lifeless, his eyes looking into forever.
Then Professor Langdon slowly materialized in front of him, Challenger's weapon in his right fist.
"I have been fooled!" Moriarity gasped.
"And that's what comes of a man who believes himself a god, when in fact he is just...a man."
The First Moriarity spit up a geyser of blood, then his eyes rolled back in his head and he died.
The Mummy Creature started to turn upon Professor Langdon, but before it could do anything, Challenger hurled a paper sack of powder he had been clutching in his other hand. It broke against the creature enveloping its sticky body with a fine cloud of white and red powder.
The Mummy Creature cried out in utter horror and pain as it began to dissolve into a puddle of steaming flesh and boiling blood.
"Where am I?" Watson's voice, weak and weary, called out.
Sherlock took Watson's hand and shook it. "With friends, dear John. With friends."
Professor Langdon came over and patted Watson on the back. "Good to have you back, Watson."
"But how did you avoid the Mummy creature's stare?" An astonished Watson demanded of Sherlock.
"A blind man sees no evil." Was Sherlock's reply.