Baffled and Bedazzled, Murder Yet Again
A James Moriarity Story
By John Pirillo
Same old story. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Girl eats boy. Period.
James scratched his mop of hair thoughtfully a moment with the tip of his pen, probably adding some ink to the stains already on his scalp, but at that moment he didn't care. A person had died tragically and he needed to record it before it slept from his memory.
August 21, an auspicious day for Kenneth Anger, a young man dead set on conquering the world with his cleverness and his ability to swift talk any young woman into his inner sanctum. He prided himself on his looks, his sharp mind, and his nose for smelling out the young pretties that he hoped to carve away from their happy niche in life, and add to his list of conquests. Little did he know at that time that as he was carving one niche, someone else was equally as dead set on carving another kind of niche.
"What a beautiful day!" He exclaimed, casting his thick bedcover, which his grandmother had knit for him as a child and he had kept as his good luck for many years now, not just for warmth. He slipped his slender, well proportioned feet into some handmade slippers that had been imported from the Chinas, then slogged his way into the bathroom of the flat he shared with his Jewish roommate, Naier God, an industrious young man, shy and reclusive, who had never dated a single young woman yet, as he neared the ripe old age of eighteen.
"Naier!" He called out.
"Mister Anger?" Came the return reply from the bathroom.
"I need to avail myself of our potty at once."
"Yes, Mister Anger."
Naier piled out of the bathroom, slipping on his tattered pants, which he had purchased from a second hand street down Augur Way. A tiny shop that specialized on reselling old clothing and other old things.
He and Naier had both found something they desired there. Naier the pants, and he a lucky charm. It was a young woman, the top half of her body emerged from a body of water, the bottom half invisible. Her face had an inviting smile.
"Were I to meet this one, I would surely fall in love." Kenneth had exclaimed as he purchased the charm.
The saleswoman, an elderly woman of cracked face and sharp eyes, had given him a piercing stare. "Be careful what you wish for, young man."
"Oh, I am. I am." He replied tartly, unmindful of the warning tone of her voice.
She had given him another look, then made a sound of disgust, and handed over the charm as he handed over the cash.
He finished scrubbing his body, then emptied himself, slid into his natty suit he had purchased uptown, putting on the top hat that all gentlemen of station wore, and headed for the flat's door.
Naier had followed him. "When will you return?"
"When I'm through shopping."
Naier cringed. He knew what that meant and found it instantly distasteful. So much so, that he didn't hide his feelings about it.
Kenneth clapped him hard on the back, causing Naier to fall back in alarm. "Naier, you really do need to get our more." Then he had clasped the door handle and exited the flat, heading for the docks. He found the women who went there to be easy to talk to, and also...he grinned...more willing.
He reached the docks a bit later than planned, having had to take a more circuitous route to the Wet Bar and Grill, a pub for the locals there, where a young man of his age would be accepted, even if a bit offsetting to the native sailors who frequented the place.
He had settled into his usual corner at that time and noticed an older gentleman seated there. The man was gigantic. He easily towered over all the men in the place, had a strong face, if somewhat rounded, and earnest eyes that seemed to look into a person's soul.
"Good morning, sir." He had greeted the man, settling opposite him.
"And to you, young man." The stranger had replied.
"I hear the breakfast here is to die for." He had told the older man, who looked startled for a moment, then laid aside his mug of tea to rise.
"Pray that not be the case." The older man had told him. The older man had been James, though young Kenneth knew it not at that time and never would.
James went to another booth and sat down there, and began furiously making notes in a small leather book he carried. It appeared well used, stained and cumbersome, but small enough for a man of his side to handle easily enough.
"Drink sir?" The Barkeeper asked, wiping the table where James had been.
"Who is that man?"
"Oh him? He's investigating a murder case."
Kenneth's heart skipped a beat for a moment. "Here?"
The Barkeeper smiled, revealing tobacco stained teeth. "Not likely. But on a nearby merchant vessel, the Queen of the Atlantic."
"Heard of her." Kenneth acknowledged. "Never thought something like that would occur."
"Strange thing too." The Barkeeper said.
"The young sailor who died had been eaten to death."
Kenneth laughed, taking it as a joke. "Speaking of eating. I'll take my usual and a pint of ale."
"Coming right up, young man." The Barkeeper replied, heading for the back.
Kenneth was giving some thought to the conversation when he felt someone sit next to him. How unusual he thought, and then he turned and looked into the most beautiful green eyes he had ever seen. They were large and luminous, as if he were gazing into the depths of the depths of the sea. Her eyebrows were a soft brown and her hair was loose and freely hanging, but in a unique style he had never seen before. Other than that, she looked perfectly normal. And lovable.
At that moment he uttered, much to his dismay. "I think I'm falling in love."
She blushed, and then put a hand over his. "I hope I am not intruding upon you, but I am quite hungry and new to this town, and hoped you might be able to help me in two ways."
"Most certainly." He replied, touching his hat in a friendly gesture.
She dimpled, and then smiled coyly at him.
"Perhaps we could grab something to eat here and bring it with us as you showed me the town?"
"What an excellent idea." He proclaimed, feeling the web threading before him to capture this n new denizen of feminine treasure.
They took their food and left the Pub. A moment later James came out as well, his eyes on the two of them. At first he started off in a different direction, and then as they continued into the city, he followed at a discrete distance.
"My name is Amberly." She told Kenneth as he very carefully took her free hand and pressed it with his own. She squeezed back.
"You're a bold one, you are."
"Seize the treasure is my motto."
She smiled. "I like that. We're almost there." She told him slowing.
"Almost where?" He asked in perplexity. He thought they were heading to the park nearby, but instead she guided him back again towards the pier and a lone vessel that was moored there, its flags of an unusual color, laying slack in the lack of a morning breeze.
"What is this way?"
She laughed. "Why our meals of course. I have something wonderful to show you."
He smiled. "Of course." His heart skipped a beat, when he saw something a bit unusual in her smile, but he was so dead set on adding her to his list of trophies, that he ignored his intuition, squashing it flat.
She urged him towards the moored ship. He followed, like a lamb to the slaughter. When they proceeded up its gangplank, he became more nervous. "Are you sure you know what you're doing?"
"I always know what I'm doing." She told him.
As they reached the main deck a huge man with a dark face and menacing brows stepped from the Captain's Cabin. "I'd like you to meet father. He's eager to eat you."
"You mean meet me, don't you?" He corrected her.
The words no sooner left his lips when a number of other crew members arose from various hiding places and surrounded them. "What's the meaning of this? I'm an important person, you touch me and you'll be punished to the full extent of the law."
The Captain loomed over him, smiling, revealing very sharp teeth, chiseled to points. "Aye, we'll be punished all right, but not by the likes of you, mortal." He laughed, and then lunged forward to grab Kenneth.
Kenneth dodged his grasp and ran to the Captain's Cabin and threw himself inside. He slammed the door shut and bolted it. "I'll just wait out this insanity." He said to himself, his whole body trembling with fear.
"Why, what a pretty young thing we have here." He heard from behind him. He turned and what had been invisible in the shadows of the dark cabin was a beautiful face, even more so than the young woman.
"This is my lucky day." He said out loud, congratulating himself on locking himself inside.
"Come to me, young man, I think we need to talk." The woman ordered him.
He went to her, with fancies of a warm and comfortable dalliance dancing in his heart and mind, but when he got further into the back, she rose slowly higher and higher, revealing that the bottom half of her body had scales like a fish. He cried out in horror as she lunged for him, her mouth open, revealing sharpened teeth.
On the pier James had been following the couple, and saw the altercation. He had come back with Inspector Bloodstone, knowing he couldn't protect the young man by himself. They boarded the ship. The Captain and his crew all leapt from the main deck into the Thames, vanishing into the depths of the waters, with no further sight of them.
The scream came from inside at that moment.
He and the Inspector rushed to the Captain's Door and broke it down. Inside they found a hatch that opened to the waters, open and a large fish's tail slithering through it.
"Bloody Hell!" The Inspector cried out at the sight, then again as he spotted the remains of Kenneth Anger.
James finished his journal entry, and then closed the leather book containing it. He put his hands on his eyes and rubbed them.
He had pieced the tale together from Naier and the young man's propensities from his conquest, his deductive powers and Crystal Palace allowing him to see the entire episode up until the death of the young man.
He had fallen from the Crystal Palace in horror when the young woman's mother had begun eating on young Kenneth, and so now he sat there somberly in the flat that was 221B. Here he shared his work and his companionship with his good friend, John Watson, who had recently lost his best friend, Sherlock Holmes, to a terrible fate.
James rose and looked out on the street below.
"Death come not as a friend to me,
Sheathe thy deadly claws,
Shut thy foul maw
And crawl away.
For you shall bedazzle me, baffle me
And eat my soul no more."
James thought of the elderly poet, Poe, who had written the verses a moment, and then at the sound of Watson coming up the steps, he turned a cheery smile to his companion to greet him. The past was gone, tomorrow was now.
"Watson!" He greeted as his friend entered.
"You look good." Watson noted.
"Fresh sea air will do that for a man." James answered mysteriously.
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.
CLICK HERE to go to "THE BAKER STREET UNIVERSE" where I have posted a review of Hyde's character and a Sherlock Holmes story.
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.
The tracks of the Invisible Man led to a vault that tilted a bit awkwardly in the backwoods section of Highgate Cemetary. Many people don't realize that what they see as they tour the splendid place, is only the part that the public is meant to see, but that there is also a back section where the graves of many lay opened, broken open by grave robbers, or have lost their integrity due to storms and sudden rises of the Thames to overflow and flood the lower areas of London, of which this was the worst.
"Here it is then." Challenger spoke, looking to the others who stopped next to him.
Sherlock examined the vault door that hung akimbo to the opening it was supposed to cover. "We must not disappoint our friend waiting for us, nor the one risking his life for us."
"Agreed." Conan muttered, then started for the door.
Sherlock stopped him. "You will not pass here."
"I most certainly will!" Conan protested.
"Conan, you are one of the finest men I have ever had the pleasure and honor of working with, but one of us to stay behind to make sure that all who exit this way are those whom we want out in the world again."
Conan sighed as Challenger nodded his head.
"Very well. But I do it under great protest."
Challenger and Sherlock entered the vault.
The ground began shaking and Conan dropped back from the opening as it began to break apart and tumble to the ground. "Challenger. Sherlock!" He cried out, but both men were lost to sight and sound as the remainder of the ancient opening folded in upon itself, leaving a smoking crater of snow, ice and dirt behind.
The Royal Guard arrived at the entrance to the cemetery with cannon, which they immediately brought to bear as the strange device now visible to all began to rise higher and higher.
Constable Evans and the Inspector ran up to the Captain of the Guard, Henry Patriot.
"Captain!" The Inspector almost gasped, he was almost out of air.
The Captain ignored him.
But when Tesla and Edison came running up as well, his eyes widened and he reluctantly turned to face them all. "What is this an invasion?"
"More than likely the end of one if we are not swift to respond." The Inspector called to him over the several yards distance between them.
"How so, dear Constable?"
"Inspector." Inspector Bloodstone responded swiftly, sternly and proudly. "And in this matter I outrank you and you will listen to me!"
The Captain was about to order he and the others taken away by force when the Defense Secretary came striding up and offered his hand to the Inspector. "It's so good to see you in good spirits again, I had feared for your very life."
"I thank you for your assistance in that small matter, your honor." The Inspector responded, then turned to Constable Evans. "I want you to meet my son, Constable Evans..."
The Defense Secretary's eyebrows raised. "Rather sudden fatherhood."
Constable Evans blushed in embarrassment.
The Inspector gave Constable Evans a warm glance. "It usually is." He glanced at Tesla and Edison. "And I'm sure you recognize my friends."
The Defense Secretary's eyebrows rose even further. "If you need my assistance in anything, anything at all?"
The Captain of the Royal Guard, humbled and crushed by the appearance of the man whom he was directly responsive to, saluted and said. "Sir, I am Captain Henry Patriot, at your command."
"And so you should be. Did I hear right that you were going to order these men from the battle field?"
The Inspector gave the Captain of the Royal Guard a warning glance. "I'm sure that was all a misunderstanding, wasn't it dear Captain?"
The Captain reddened in his face, but rather than risk saying the wrong thing, he merely nodded.
Then all hell broke loose as a huge searing blast of pure energy splashed to within ten yards of them, consuming about twenty yards of Highgate Cemetery's fencing and all the trees and shrubs that had been against it, sending the rest into showers of flames.
Chapter One Hundred
Even as the cemetery was being blasted by a deadly ray from the hovering machine that had risen from the ruins of the Caretaker's home, a great winged shape and a body of leather like steel, shot into view with the Jungle Lord riding its massive neck.
The King of Dragons tore down the currents of hot air from the scorched earth, inhaling the fragrance of the fire hungrily, eager to do battle with this strange monster it had come to fight for dominion over the earth and Fairie.
The strange contraption angled its hose skywards and a blast of pure energy struck at the Dragon, which easily sidestepped the blast, allowing the furious energies to tear massive heated currents of sun-hot air as it streamed past.
The Jungle Lord tugged at the massive eyebrows before him and the King of Dragons, understanding this mute language, immediately spun over end for end, then send a blast of radiation fire equally as hot as the sun at the device.
The snake like hose device of great power melted like an icicle in the warmth of the sun and drizzled across the back of the metallic machine it rode skywards. The massive machine sputtered and popped, like popcorn as it began to tilt edgewises, then it began shaking violently. So violently that great pieces of it were flung in all directions as it also exploded, filling the sky and immediate area with deadly bursts of debris and red-hot metal.
Many of those watching from nearby housetops broke into cheer at the destruction of the war machine, thinking the Greater Brits and their friend in the sky had eliminated the enemy.
Then to everyone's dismay, the ground began to shake in about four other places and equally as massive and deadly machines began to rise from their tombs of earth to fire their deadly blasts of energy across London, searing rooftops and watching citizens and sending them into atoms of blood and dust.
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.