War of the Worlds, The Invasion continues. A sample of something I write a while back. Fun stuff with an odd bent to it.
In the year of our Lord
Eighteen Hundred and Ninety One
This August Thirty First
The Globe Theater
The Queen's Room
"To be or not to be...that is the question." My lead actor spoke upon our stage. I watched from the second level gallery, making sure his pitch and diction were strong and clear enough. He looked up at me and I gestured for him to continue, but my mind was elsewhere. So much has happened since I last put anything down in my journal.
I'm not sure where to begin.
When last I wrote I mentioned I had sent my favorite pigeon to bring a message to my friends in Paris. I needed to know if they were alright first, and then if there were problems, what I could do to help. I had the ear of our Queen, and was not loath to wax it with soothing words on their behalf if need be. She was a stern queen, but a fair one. She loathed men who were weak and full of folly, but she loved men who were brave and daring, such as Jules and Wells.
Wells had been on her list of men she was considering knighting for his pretigious output of fictional journeys and adventures. She likened him to her other favorite, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whom I have not yet had the chance to acquaint myself with personally, as we do keep our lives in pretty much different worlds these days. I have passed him in the palace from time to time and we have chatted briefly, but that is not the kind of conversation that leads to a deep friendship, but rather a shallow courteous one.
I tend to the opposite. I like to know those I am around in all the ways possible. I suppose that is because I am a writer, an observer of life and as such my mind demands more details than most who go day to day on their life journeys.
As I was seated observing my actor deliver his soliloqy, Sarah returned. She always knew where I was and I always kept a treat for her. Perhaps that motivated her more than anything else, I can not be sure of what goes on in a pigeon's mind, other than utter kindness.
She landed on the railing beside me and cocked an eye on me, then nodded to her right foot where a note was attached. I gave her a treat, and hurriedly untied the message to read it. I was distressed while doing it, because my actor had just blown the next two lines and said, "whether it is bolder to go outside and face the storm than..." Furious at the disruption of my beautiful poetry, I almost chased Sarah away, but I kept my temper in check for both her and the actor.
He was having a rough time at home as I understood it. Something about a romance with another man that wasn't going well. I felt for him, for relationships were difficult with the opposite sex, let alone the same. It is the nature of relationships that they have difficulties. If you are looking for a peaceful and tranquil ride throughout your life, then do not seek a relationship, as they are not always tranquil or peaceful, they are human. And humans feel and sometimes too deeply. And sometimes too shallowly. The choices we all must live with.
I motioned to the actor to do it again and as he did I swiftly unraveled the note and read it.
"Dear Will, it is with the utmost sense of urgency that I request you speak with the brotherhood. Paris is in distress such as no man could ever have suspected to happen. Our beloved Eiffel Tower is now a broken toy, and much of our fair city has been burned and leveled to the ground. I fear that my dear friend Wells is taking this much harder than I, and I can barely look at myself in our mirror now, knowing we might have unwittingly set off the monstrous destruction we now survey about us."
It was a long note. I looked up and the actor was looking at me, an expression of what next. I glanced at my Stage Manager who stood right stage watching and motioned for him to cue the man. He did so and the actor got back in character again and continued.
I returned to the note, my hands trembling, for I feared the rest of the news that surely must be there.
"A strange device from another world has descended into our fair city and it immediately began destroying anything and anyone in its path. I fear it is but the advance guard for something far worse."
I looked up and muttered to myself. "Worse than destroying Paris?"
I shuddered in horror.
I read on.
"Contact the brotherhood, let them know we have a greater peril now than the war between our nations. That a War of the Worlds has begun.
"I shall endeavor to contact you again in two days if able. For now my friends and I must help as many as possible to survive this catastrophe.
"Your friend, Jules."
I looked up again, tears misting my eyes. It was that bad. The Captain's words rang in my ears again in remembrance and I knew at that moment that the play was not the thing in this case, and that the Great Wheel now turning was being spun by hands not meant to be guided by our Creator, but by something far darker.
Pardon me if I seem somewhat melodramatic, but that is my nature as an actor and writer, but as a human being I can only shudder in horror at the thought, "A War of the Worlds has begun."
And it was at that moment that a great shout arose from outside the theater, as if a great crowd were crying out in horror.
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Help us caption & translate this video!
The Initial Pose: Case of the Vanishing Corpse
"A Sherlock Holmes Story."
"And you say the body was right on this spot?" Watson asked, as he examined a Persian carpet with bright swirling mandala patterns, his legs tucked behind him as he leaned down on one elbow, a magnifying glass in his other hand, as he peered through it at the fibers of the rich carpet.
"Oh yes, Doctor!" Emily Forsworn, an elegant English lady, still wearing the ball gown she had worn to Queen Mary's Ball, an event that occurred each year about Easter, and was mainly for raising money through charitable events sponsored by Her Royal Majesty for the benefit of the homeless and impoverished. All the moneyed lords and ladies attended, as well as celebrities like Harry Houdini, Nicolas Tesla, Madame Curie, Albert Einstein and Thomas Alva Edison.
It would not even surprise those attending the event to find Jules Verne, or the incomparable H.G. Wells showing off their spouses and children, while chatting up H. Rider Haggard, Shakespeare or Lord Byron. Always a busy event and a great one for networking. Unfortunately, it was also a focus for robbers and thieves, hence someone like Watson being on hire to attend should things get out of control, or worse, someone die, as had happened.
"I see nothing." Watson declared, then fumbled to his feet, brushing the lint of elegant shows and clothing from the knee caps of his pants.
Lady Forsworn clutched at her heart. "Whatever will I tell his wife, when I return home without him?"
Sherlock intervened on Watson's behalf, when he walked up, with Madame Curie clutching his right arm. "Trouble, Watson?"
"That's an understatement." Watson growled, his eyes ever so briefly indicating Lady Foresworn who just chatting away, even though no one was paying attention now to a single word she said.
Sherlock looked to Madame Curie. "Will you excuse me a few moments, dear Madame?"
"Not at all. I see Jules is entering with his dear wife, whom I haven't seen for over a month now."
Sherlock gave her a quick smile, then turned to Watson. "All ado about nothing?"
"And that's exactly what I can see. Nothing!"
Lady Foresworn rushed between the men, interjecting herself closely to Sherlock, whom she gave a close look, like a hunter seizing up its prey. "Mister Holmes?"
"In person." He acceded. "Watson here has told me you were looking for an invisible person?"
She gasped. "How clever. I never thought of it that way. I knew you were smart, but this is just incredible."
Watson rolled his eyes. "He means you saw something or someone who is no longer there."
"Oh!" She clipped, her enthusiasm dulled for a moment, then she fluffed her elegantly balled roll of blonde hair that was iced with frost diamonds and ruby pearls, and smiled at both of them. "I feel so protected with you two standing beside me."
Watson sighed. "Dear Lady Foresworn, there is nothing here to be alarmed about. Perhaps, you mistook something temporarily in this position that your uh..."
She gasped. "Are you implying I've been drinking too much?"
"Uh." Watson started to answer.
Sherlock moved in to his rescue. "Dear Lady, perhaps we should be allowed to spend some extra time to examine this case a bit more closely. I'm sure you'll understand."
Mollified, she gave Sherlock a gracious smile, though she gave Watson a cold smile for a moment, before waltzing away, immediately latching onto an older couple, who had just come into the ballroom.
Sherlock eyed the area Watson had been kneeling on, then the area about it. He immediately went to the near wall and crouched. "Watson, come here, I need you."
Watson came over and dropped beside Holmes. "You see something?"
Sherlock pointed to a mark on the floorboard, and the wall, which was made of a highly polished red wood. "Something, or someone impacted here, however briefly."
Watson took out his spyglass, and Sherlock took it and leaned closer to the wall. He plucked something from the floor near it and held it up. "Ah-ha!" He exclaimed.
"What is it?"
"Take a look." Sherlock suggested, standing to his feet again.
Watson did. His eyes widened. He looked up. "This can't possibly be found here. Not at this hour, and certainly not with all these good people."
"And yet it is so." Sherlock nodded.
Watson stood up and peered around. "The last time this happened, we nearly lost London."
Sherlock continued to survey the ballroom, then his eyes froze on a man, who towered over most others, and who had a cloak on his shoulders and an odd colored sword at his waist. "Doctor, do you see that tall man?"
"Yes. That's Lord Dunsany, the writer of horror tales of odd creatures from beyond."
"No. Not him, what is next to him."
Watson looked again. "I see nothing."
Sherlock looked at Watson. "Whatever I do next, be ready to assist."
Watson gave Sherlock an exasperated look. "Every time you say that I get hurt."
"Attend me, Watson, the lives of everyone here could be in peril otherwise."
Watson nodded, then followed Sherlock as he forced a path through the royalty of England, ignoring greetings and upsets as he closed in on Lord Dunsany. Finally, he reached the side of the tall man. "Lord Dunsany, pray give me a moment of your time, good sir."
Lord Dunsany lowered a wine glass he had been sipping from, peered at Sherlock as if examining a fly beneath a microscope. "I know you?"
"Now Watson, restrain him!"
Watson moved so fast that Lord Dunsany had no time to react. Watson clasped his arms about the tall man, so he couldn't move.
The crowd about them gasped in shock and began backing away as Lord Dunsany's face began to twist and turn, shifting into something red and hideous.
"Oh dear God!" Watson exclaimed as he realized he was holding a Mummy creature in his arms. He swiftly let go and went for his concealed weapon, the same time as the creature grasped Sherlock by the throat and lifted him from the floor.
"This time you will not escape me!" The Mummy creature declared, crushing Sherlock's windpipe.
The sound of three gunshots and the Mummy creature let go of Sherlock, who fell to the floor, gasping for air. It turned about and fixed huge red eyes upon Watson, red ichors pouring from the wounds through its body.
"I shall have you again, Doctor Watson." It declared.
Watson smiled grimly. "I think not!"
The Mummy creature gasped as a huge lance spiked its head and went down into its body cavity from a leap that Sherlock had made with a ceremonial lance he had grasped from a Royal Guard, standing by, petrified with fear.
The Mummy creature made a horrible scream, then fell to the floor and began to dissolve into a smoking puddle of red and black ooze.
Lady Foresworn ran up. "That's the man. He's the one who was laying on the floor!" She gasped.
Watson turned to Sherlock. "That means the real Lord Dunsany is now captive and held somewhere within these confines."
Jules Verne came up and looked at the smoking monster's ooze. "Wells and I just met Lord Dunsany before we came in. He didn't recognize us, or acknowledge us."
"Hurry Watson, there still might be time to save his life." Sherlock uttered, dashing for the magnificent ivory inlaid doors that exited the ballroom.
They rushed outside, followed by Jules and standing between several Tesla Coaches was Lord Dunsany, as if frozen on the spot. A man was trying to get him to climb into a carriage.
"Shoot him, Watson!" Sherlock ordered.
Watson didn't need to be told twice. He shot the man harassing Lord Dunsany. The man let out a hideous scream and as Watson and Sherlock ran up, Lord Dunsany woke up as if from a bad dream, plucked out his great sword and slashed it across the throat of the fake man. Its head spun from its body, and its body spewed a fountain of red ichors, spattering Lord Dunsany, who spit it out and backed way in horror.
Jules looked at the smoking ooze the imposter man had become. He looked at Watson and Sherlock." The war is not over yet."
Sherlock shook his head. "No. It is not."
One of the greatest pleasures I got as a child was when I was taken with my parents to my father's insurance office. While he worked on his insurance policies, and my mother helped him, I was allowed to go down the street with a crisp one dollar bill in my hand. Which as a lot then!
I went to the local five and dime store and found the paperback books. Ace was publishing two novels for the price of one back then and if you were lucky...I was that day...then you would find their latest and scoop it up for a whopping 35cents. That left me after a penny tax enough money to buy a soda and candy to last the day.
I took the book I found that day, a back to back Edgar Rice Burrough's novel. At the Earth's Core and one other I don't remember now.
I was in hog heaven for the rest of what could have been a boring day as I read and read until my eyes were popping out about the brave souls who descended in this Victorian earth burrower that cut through rock and dirt to the Earth's Core.
And what they found were prehistoric beasts, sentient alien ones, and a primitive people with a beautiful princess.
Oh joy! What glory days those were.
Anyway, here's the first chapter of that glorious books, which though you can't hold it between your sweaty palms, you can let its squeeze between your ears and ooze into your brain, propagating it with visions of another world, time and space.
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.
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