The Scoundrel of Hyde Street. A Doctor Watson Story. A Baker Street Universe Adventure by John Pirillo.
The Scoundrel of Hyde Street. A Doctor Watson Story. A Baker Street Universe Adventure by John Pirillo.
Bitter and a bit worn down from his tour of duty in the Chinas, John was more than happy to shed his skin of soldiery and settle down into a more sedate life, but little did he know that it would almost immediately erupt into something much less than sedate, and much more than happy. His first night home, he found a one nighter on Hyde Street. Had he been in a better space, perhaps he would have chosen more wisely for his overnight stay, but being newly discharged from the war, and disembarked from a very long voyage across the seas, his only thought was of getting a good night's rest on something that didn't move up and down and right and left.
He felt his shirt pocket to make sure his needle and thread were there. His good luck during the war. Once they had spared him a gunshot to his heart. Smiling, he let go, assured they were there, and headed for the flats he had heard about.
So when he stashed his gear in the corner of the room near the door. It was a small flat. Barely room enough for a stove, a fireplace and a single bed; he was more than ready to collapse on the rather old sheets and worn feather quilt that adorned it. He wasn't used to even that high a quality during his war duties, spending most of his sleeping time huddled in dirt ditches, avoiding being sniped, or bitten...worse yet...by the Ching Ha Wolves...shape shifters that the Chinese used to do their dirty work...much like the marines of Her Majesty.
Their official name was Canis lupus chance, canis lupsu laniger...the Tibetan Wolf. The reason they came off with the other more strange name was that Ching Ha, the leader of the shape shifters, and a power sorceror of the Dark Arts, had a great love for wolves, and his team in honor of him...he died from a stray silver bullet fired by a soldier...named themselves after him, but keeping the name of wolves for themselves.
Except that these soldiers had huge jaws armed with jagged teeth and feet and hands loaded with overly sharp, pointed claws. He sweats even thinking of those nightmare beasts. Part of the reason for the war in the first place was that the Duke of the Germanies had been assassinated by such a beast and that had precipitated the Europes into war with the Orient. A war that neither side could win, but both desperately sought to.
That war had gone on for almost two decades. Costing the lives of countless thousands of young men on both sides. Most had died from gunshot, or explosions, but many had also died of arcane means...black magic, spells of obliteration, translation and death.
John was sick of the whole gamut...whether it was rifles, knives or hand guns. He swore he would never carry a gun again or knife, but as soon as he disembarked he was met by a young man who wanted to tend to his war wound. He was a volunteer of Her Majesty, seeking to make a name for himself. His name was Langdon. His end goal was to teach classes, but for now, tending to the war wounded was his mainstay and his livelihood.
As John sat at the booth set aside for such as him, Langdon very cheerily tended to his wound. "I suppose this is going to be a bother to you most of the rest of your life."
"I hope not."
He smiled at John. "I as well. But..."
John nodded. "You like what you do, don't you?"
"I love it."
He said that as he pulled a knife out to extract a fragment of a silver bullet from John that had lodged near his main artery. "Nasty little bugger this."
"I know. The blasted thing keeps wriggling to get away from me."
"Don't let it wriggle into my artery!" John warned.
Langdon jerked the wriggling bullet piece into the air, where it made a sizzling sound and a soft sigh, then went limp. "Gotcha!"
John laughed. "You sound like a foot ball Captain winning the goal."
Langdon smiled, and then gave John a solemn look. "Every life I save is a goal much more rewarding than any sports goal I could ever achieve."
Finished, he put his gear away and spoke to an Orderly outside the booth. "Next."
He rose and offered his hand. "Please keep in contact. You seem the sort to always have a next thing you're up to."
John rose and offered his good hand. "I should hope so. And now that I've seen a knife used so skillfully and in such a tender way, I am coaxed to reconsider my vow to never touch a weapon again."
Langdon smiled warmly. "Not all weapons are of mass destruction."
John and he shook hands a long time, and then exchanged addresses. "Mine will be good only for a few days." John warned.
"Then please keep me advised of any changes."
"You as well." John returned.
The two shook hands again and John wandered off, feeling a bit dazed by the experience, but with a warm glow in his heart. It was the first time in a long time that he had some hope of a more normal life once more.
Doctor Watson? He asked himself with a sudden amount of consideration. His heart felt this kind of fuzzy glow for a moment, and then he shook his head. "I'm fooling myself. How could I ever afford such an occupation on my pension?"
So here he was on Hyde Street in a poor flat, wondering what his next big move would be as he cast himself in exhaustion onto the bed. He propped his feet up on a pillow, then crossed his hands over his chest. "Perhaps I'll think about it more on the morrow, when my head is clearer."
Then he was out like a light.
The first moment he was aware something was wrong, was when he heard the scream of a woman. It was utterly, utterly horrible. He felt as if someone were tearing a hole in his heart and eating the rest.
He shrugged off the stupor of sleep and reached for his pistol, which of course was no longer there, having left it at the disembarkment, not wanting anything more to do with violence of any nature.
Not deterred, he swept off the bed, slid back into his boots, then dashed out the front door, down the hallway as doors began to fling open, then down the three flights of stairs to the street. He flung open the front door and leaped the three steps to the pavement, then tried to orientate on where the sound had come from.
It was still pitch black outside. No moon and a thick soupy fog was eating at his feet and causing strange shadows to move about as if alive and ready to snap at him. He ignored him. After his years of avoiding the sorcerous kind of fogs, this kind was nothing to him. He shrugged his shirt tighter about him, then on a new scream dashed across the street towards an alley.
He raced into it and was struck down by someone dashing forth from it. For a brief moment he saw a fiendish face, with glowing red eyes, and then the man or creature ran from sight, vanishing into the mounting fog.
He regained his footage and moved into the alley as carefully as he could, fearing there might be more of the strange fellows, but instead he saw a lone woman lying on the stinking alley cobblestones. Her throat had been slit, but she was still alive. He didn't know what to do when he saw the horror of it, but did what he could, remembering the triage of the trenches.
He dropped beside her and pressed his hands to the wound. Her eyes fluttered open and she started to scream, but then saw the look in his eyes. She became calm. Her eyes began to flutter shut.
"Don't go to sleep; you won't waken." He warned her.
But her eyes continued to flutter, growing heavier. He knew she was about to die, and then he remembered the spool of thread and needle he always kept in his right shirt pocket. Something you always had to carry out on the battlefield, or else go naked when your clothing fell off. He kept his left hand depressed on the cut of her throat, then hurriedly pulled out the needle and thread. The needle was always threaded, so he pulled it free and did the only sane thing he could think of. He began darning her throat back together, starting with the vein he saw had been cut. It was a delicate operation, but his hand was steady. He was known to have the steadiest hand in the service with a rifle or gun, and they had been right.
His prowess on the field paid off at that moment and he managed to sew the vein shut, but without cramping it, and then began sewing the skin of the throat together. As he did so he felt people gathering about him.
A Constable came close and dropped to a knee beside him. He was a muscular young man with an earnest face. "I'm Constable Bloodstone; may I help in any way?"
"I'm not a doctor, she needs one at once!"
Constable Bloodstone rose to his feet and blew his whistle. Moments later the sound of a Constable Wagon sounded and its blue flaring lights cut through the fog of the alleyway and entered, forcing the other spectators to disperse to make room.
John helped Bloodstone lift the fallen woman up and set her into the back of the wagon, as people reached out and patted him on his back. "Well done. Good for you. Great job. She'd be dead without you. Bloody hell, nothing is safe anymore."
He smiled inwardly, but the plight of the young woman was more important to him. He jumped into the back of the wagon and Bloodstone joined him as it drove off.
They were both tense with concern as the wagon bounced and swerved.
It stopped at Hyde and Mary Hospital and they got out and as emergency attendants rushed forward with a gurney, they lifted the young woman and placed her on the gurney.
Later Bloodstone and John sat on a bench near the emergency room, as doctors raced in and out, attempting to save her life. One stopped and peered at them. An older gentleman. He came over and introduced himself. "Doctor Charles Owens." He looked at John. "You must be the warrior everyone is talking about."
"I'm not warrior." John said humbly. "Just a man looking for a job. John Watson."
The Doctor nodded. He offered his hand. "I saw the work you did on her throat, and more importantly closing off the artery. She would be more than likely dead now without that fine surgery."
"I am no surgeon."
The Doctor was silent a long time, and then smiled. "Would you like to be?"
John felt his heart racing. He felt the momentum of this moment and the power of the emotions sweeping through him. He had saved a life, not taken one. He had saved a human life. He had felt better during that time of work than all the years of blasting holes in men's chests and blowing them up.
He rose and took the Doctor's hand. "My name is John Watson. I would be proud to be a surgeon. But right now I would just like a job?"
The Doctor smiled, and then looked over at Constable Bloodstone. "I'm sure the Constable here could show you to our employment office?"
Constable Bloodstone rose. "It would be my honor, sir."
The Doctor gave an apologetic smile, then turned to leave, then looked back. "Doctor Watson, I rather fancy that name."
With that certain statement he fled back into the emergency room to help complete the saving of a young woman's life.
Constable Bloodstone looked at John. "She's the first one that's been saved from that monster of Hyde Street."
John's eyes narrowed with anger. "If I have my way, she shall not be the last."
Constable Bloodstone laughed. "Doctor, calm down, the war is over."
John sighed, and then rubbed his weary eyes. "Some wars never end. Now...about that employment office?"
"This way." Constable Bloodstone offered and he and John walked towards the future.
Harry Houdini is back in his own story "Apparition," a tale of Shakespeare, drama, humor, ego, and of course mysterious happenings!
A Harry Houdini Story
By John Pirillo
"Harry Houdini" The Eighth Wonder of the World. The sign read. Boldly, loudly, and just the way he wanted it to do.
Harry adjusted his tie and grinned at the mirror image of himself in the box-office window of the Globe Theater, which had been newly remodeled and the invention of Edison to project moving pictures installed and a huge screen. None of it affected him, however, as there were now two possible venues in the grand old Shakespearean theater. The live stage and the moving stage as the Brits were wont to call it.
The Parisians had gotten their first glimpse of the new cinema as it was being called nowadays when the Lumiere Brothers had scared them out of half a day's wine chugging when a huge train had appeared to be running amok into the theater.
He chuckled. How naive we are as humans to think that everything that can go wrong, or even right is about us. We are but specks on the great mantle of God's cloak called Creation. He mused to himself with a twinkle in his eye. He tweaked his mustache, swept his coal colored hair back from his forehead and bowed to a lovely lady who had stopped near him.
"Mademoiselle. Your timing is impeccable."
"And your hubris equally so." She teased.
He smiled and then gave his sister a big hug, as she did him back.
"Well then, shall we see the new play? I hear it's a robust one that Shakespeare hammered out over the weekend. Will spoke to me on the Tesla Phone he and Edison had put together this last year and told me everything about it. Something to do with a King who sells out his country and his citizens in order to accumulate their wealth."
"Rather sounds like some merchants these days. More intent on grabbing wealth, than spreading quality of service and product." She announced somewhat stiffly.
He gave her a double take. "Lady Shareen?"
She gave him a startled look. "How could you know that?"
"I've heard the spiel many times by now, having been and continuing to be best friends with her and her bronzed giant mate, Lord Graystone."
"Ah yes." She admitted. "I rather fancy that would make a difference. Shall we?" She offered him her arm and he took it. They went to the front of the old theater, which had been polished up and repainted for the new act he was presenting later in the evening. The Shakespeare side was not quite so rowdy looking, as Will tended to be more laid back and comfortable with staying in the background, rather than garnering stage presence. Though he was known to occasionally dress as a maiden when one of the female actresses failed to show up.
Lately, the Brits had accepted the introduction of women into the acting profession, which had taken a great load off those men more inclined to close lips with a beautiful lass, than a handsome rogue.
The Ticket Taker smiled at Houdini. "It's so good to see you again, Harry."
"Good to be here, Mary. This here is my sister, Wendy."
"So nice to meet you, Miss Houdini."
"Oh, my last name is not Houdini. That's just a stage name my brother concocted. My real last name is Astor Smith."
"I like that." The Ticker Taker replied, then handed the both of them a ticket. "Old Will is personally taking tickets this afternoon. Something about wanting to see the audience reaction in every way possible."
Houdini winked at Mary. "Thank you. But that shouldn't surprise you; Old Willie is somewhat of a perfectionist. After all this rhyming poetry is truly despicable when it comes to writing it. I could never do such if you paid me a million pounds to do so."
Mary smiled. "Not that you need the money any."
He winked at her, and turned to Wendy, his sister. "Shall we?"
They entered past two marble columns sculpted with demi-gods and fierce mythological creatures. Wendy looked at the creatures a bit fearfully. "Good thing those awful things only exist in the imagination."
Houdini didn't remove that thought from her mind, even though he had personally been responsible for removing at least two of the monsters from existence with the help of the Brotherhood of Baker Street.
"Yes. It would be a...uh...extremely difficult thing to do, wouldn't it?"
Old Will...who was in fact no older than Harry, dimpled when Wendy was brought to him to offer her ticket up. He immediately bowed and took her left hand and kissed it. "Who would have thought such a lovely young creature could ever have been related to Harry here?"
She dimpled back at him, touched by his words. "And I'm sure Harry agrees, don't you Harry?"
But Harry was gone. He had seen something in one of the top balconies. Something that should not have been there. He probably should have warned Will and Wendy, but he didn't want to arouse any fears that weren't based in fact, so he just swept up the heavily carpeted, red cloth that lined the swirling spiral of steps to the next floor, leaving them perplexed in the rear.
"I guess Harry's found someone else to chase." William said, an amused look on his face.
Wendy turned to look at his face. "Truly. My brother has wandering eyes?"
"Oh, please forgive me for being so boorish. I didn't realize you two didn't speak of such things." William said, his face reddening with a blush.
She smiled at him. "No matter. It fits rather nicely with his larger than life image now, doesn't it?"
"I imagine so. I hope he doesn't miss the prologue. I wrote it especially for him in honor of his show tonight."
"Really." She said, thrilled to hear it. "What is it called?"
William gave her a long look and then said. "The Fall of Man through Narcissism."
She laughed. "Oh Harry will find that ever so funny."
William let out a relieved breath of air, and then offered his arm. "Come now. He may be late, but I still have time to show you to the box seats. Best seats for hearing everything perfectly."
"I thought the acoustics had been much improved."
"Oh, they have, but there are still certain portions of the old theater that drop words. This way."
He guided her along two aisles, then up a short sweep of steps into a box seat that had room for four.
"Oh, but this is much too large for just Harry and I." She said as he seated her.
"Don't worry. I will be seated behind the two of you watching the stage...and my actors like a hawk!"
She burst into laughter. He gave her a good-bye kiss on her right hand, then hurried back to the ticket taking spot and hurriedly took tickets from what looked to be a Lord and Lady. She thought it might be Whittleson, but she couldn't be for certain because of the lighting in the house being dimmed.
Harry reached the second level of the theater and went searching through the rows of seats he had seen earlier where the apparition had first appeared. If it had really been there, his senses would light up like a roman candle when he came close. It was when he went to the far right of the level and near the sweeping stairs that lifted to the Booth of Royalty, where the Good Queen Mary of Scots had perpetually reserved seats, that he felt the essence penetrate his senses.
It tasted to his awareness like foul soup that had been embodied with sewage and rotting corpses. Hovering over the Queen's chair was something barely visible, but it had enough of a presence for him to see its general outline. Male. It saw him, but ignored him, its eyes on something to its right. Harry looked that way just as Conan burst into the booth, carrying an odd looking scanner in his right hand and a bag of salt in the other. "Be gone, foul demon!" Conan had cried out, and then flung the salt at the presence. The salt spread into a light cloud of particle and enveloped the presence.
The lighting in the house, which was fueled by the new Tesla power generators, flickered horribly, dropping the theater in utter darkness one moment, and then flaring brightly the next. This went on for several seconds accompanied by a high pitched wailing sound that everyone in the audience below could hear and clapped hands over their ears, or fainted from the intensity of it.
Conan ran closer to the presence, and then pulled out a mirror. He held it towards the presence. "This is what you have become. Shall you still call yourself human and claim that Divinity?"
The presence suddenly became as solid as a real person for several long moments that Harry would never forget. It was a tall gentleman with a face that had been scarred horribly. But his eyes were that of a child's. He fell to his knees before Conan. "Father, forgive me."
Then he vanished utterly. Every light in the house went to full blast a long second, and then fell back to their normal luminosity. Within the theater the audience slowly stood up.
Will stood nervously at his ticket-taking spot as everyone turned slowly around to face him. He was going to be thrown bodily out into the street. He could visualize it even that moment, as the men and women fixed their eyes on him, but then a very, very strange thing happened. They all broke into applause. A standing ovation.
"Hear, hear!"The shouts rang through the levels of the theater.
Harry and Conan stood at the edge of the Queen's box and beamed. "He really deserves the recognition, even if not for this once."
Harry smiled. "I trust that Will will not disappoint them." And laughed at his double entendre.
Conan smiled and patted him on the back. "As to the father thing, it was not I he was asking for forgiveness from."
"I rather fancied so, Conan, you really don't look like the fatherly type." Harry laughed.
Conan gave Harry a hard look for a moment, and then laughed. "I suppose I don't." But then as he was exiting the booth, he turned back and said. "But I rather fashion you will not be either."
He left the booth barking like a seal with laughter so loud that some below looked up to see what was going on.
Harry hurried down the steps to the booth for him and his sister, entered and sat beside her. "Will's off to a nice start, isn't he?"
She gave him a searching look. "So you say, Harry. So you say!"
"Dying to the Light" Find crimes enough, love enough, adventure enough, monsters & action enough to satisfy any appetite you might present.
Dying to the Light"A Sherlock Holmes Collection"
From the Baker Street Universe
By John Pirillo
A collection of short stories from The Baker Street Universe that center around the exciting, sometimes paranormal, or science fiction adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. Whether they're investigating monsters or human monsters, there's always adventure, romance, excitement and danger in a parallel Victorian London where authors and their creations are all alive at the same time.
Purchase now at Amazon and Smashwords for 99cents!
Dying to the Light is homage to Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, but because the stories take place in an alternate reality, the Baker Street Universe, you will also find many other fun and exciting characters. Some are famous from literature. Some are the author's own. But all are fun to write and imagine. Oh, and did you know there's monster. Lots of monsters.
Enjoy this collection of fabulous stories for only 99cents at both Amazon and Smashwords!
You will find crimes enough, love enough, adventure enough, and action enough to satisfy any appetite you might present. But most of all you'll have a joy ride of pleasure with hours of reading about some of the most exciting people of all: Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson.
Hours of reading pleasure can be yours for just 99 cents at Amazon and Smashwords!