San Francisco is struck by a tsunami and earthquake that level the city and kill millions. The Golden Gate Bridge collapses.
London's Tower of London, Big Ben and many other historical areas are flattened by a massive earthquake.
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The earth is no longer the safe place humans assumed it was.
As new nations are formed and old ones reconstruct they learn that the Big One that caused the death of billions was intentional.
Hurriedly, they gather together a crack team of scientists and military personnel called the Hollow Earth Special Forces Team.
The Team must journey to the center of the earth and stop an event that will mean the end of all life on our planet.
Journey to the Center of the Earth is an epic adventure of brave men and women who must overcome monsters, sabotage and beings with a hidden agenda intent on stopping their success.
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You've probably seen the TV version of Moriarity, but you haven't known Moriarity at all until you read this novel! Buy it now at Amazon.Com for $12.18 in a very handsomely bound paperback or purchase the thrifty digital version for $2.99.
Professor Moriarity has finally murdered Sherlock Holmes and now he has all of the Great Detective's friends hot on his tail. Knowing he faces certain death if caught, he abandons his London to leap across time and space to an alternate London where no one knows of him. In a crazy twist of fate on the other side, the alternate London, James Moriarity, a duplicate of Professor Moriarity is trying to avoid the London police at the same time. He rushes to escape the scene of the crime and accidentally runs over Professor Moriarity and kills him. Facing certain death by guillotine or hanging James hurls himself through the Portal that the evil Professor Moriarity just came through. Moriarity is a sweeping epic filled with suspense, invention, excitement and tales of mystery. You will laugh, cry and cheer as all the characters we've grown fond of in Arthur Conan Doyle's stories...from Doctor Watson to Professor Challenger come alive as never before.
The battle of wits is on between two different versions of Moriarity. Who will win and who will lose?
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It is Victorian England. Filled with the mists of fog, villagers of a range of emotions and types. This London is not the London we know across the ocean, nor the one that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle so assiduously described, but rather a more advanced one in some ways and a more barbaric one in others. It is a Baker Street World where all the heroes and villains we've come to know and love in fiction and fact have their existence. It is part of a series of stories and novels I've written that take the reader to a world and worlds where fantasy is real, where fictional characters live and breathe, and where villains are as dark and real as Jack the Ripper once was in our own world. Sherlock Holmes is the greatest detective alive in this realm and is partnered by Doctor John Watson, a hero from the wars with China. Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson form the hub of a group of fellow adventurers and travelers, who deliver justice when needed, and seek to right the imbalances, created by evil wherever it might appear. In this London there is much evil, not even including the rather mundane evil of thefts and murders. In this London there exist things that go bump in the night, creatures that shift swiftly past the edge of our vision, that tiptoe into our bedrooms at night and peer into our faces when we are sleeping; monsters that seek to rearrange reality into hell on earth; Monsters that must be investigated, discovered, found and destroyed at any cost. Follow Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson, a reborn from the dead Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Professor Challenger, the Invisible Man, Count Dracula, Jungle Lord, Captain Nemo, Harry Houdini, Nicolas Tesla, the Invisible Man, the Wolf Man and Madame Curie as they seek justice, truth and the Victorian Way!
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Chapter Sixty-Two, the conclusion of "Things that go bump in the NIght," a Sherlock Holmes Baker Street Adventure is now posted.
"Things that go bump in the Night"
by John Pirillo
Inspector Blackstone sat ramrod straight between Holmes and Watson, both of whom seemed to be in an incredibly positive mood, despite the outcome of the day.
"I just don't see how you two can be so cavalier about all of this." Blackstone commented.
"Have a scone dear." Mrs. Hudson urged him. "I'm sure it will improve your outlook remarkably."
Watson nudged Blackstone slightly. "She added a little extra to it for tonight."
Mrs. Hudson gave Watson a warm smile and Blackstone a wink, then began serving the other friends gathered about the sitting room, which was usually quite large enough, but was quite crowded now.
Challenger and Conan sat near the window, commisserating with Dracula over the hole in his shoulder and back.
"I'm sure a vampire as young as yourself will grow back the missing pieces soon enough." Challenger said kindly.
"I will help in any way I can." Conan reassured the Count.
Dracula sighed. He looked over at Madame Curie and Shareen. "If only..."
Challenger nudged him. "Don't even think it!"
Dracula gave him a nasty look. "I was merely thinking that if I had remembered to bring my rain coat with me, I wouldn't have to worry about getting water inside my body tonight."
"Oh!" Challenger said contritely.
Madame Curie and Lady Shareen sat with Professor Langston and Larry Talbot, who were joking like long time friends.
"You know what the werewolf said to the other werewolf who had just got run down by a Tesla truck?" Langston asked with a smile.
"Now there's a hairy situation if ever I saw one." Larry said with a vague smile, having heard that one a hundred times before.
Lady Shareen got up. Madame Curie looked at her. "Going so soon?"
"I've got a women's liberation meeting tomorrow in London Square. Mustn't be late and this has been much too long of a day...and night."
Madame Curie got up as well. "In that case let us share a cab, there's a few more things I'd like to discuss with you on the way home."
"Surely." Lady Shareen said with good grace.
They turned to Mrs. Hudson. "Do give Holmes and Watson our best and thanks for the evening." Lady Shareen said with utmost sincerity.
"I will." Mrs. Hudson said, leading them down the steps to the front of the flat.
A Tesla Cab was parked directly outside the door. She looked to her right and there was a long line of them. She smiled. "It never hurts to be prepared." She said to her friends with a wink.
The other two women laughed, shook her hand and headed to the Cab.
Upstairs Blackstone was still remorseful, but now he was nibbling on a scone. His third to be exact. His cheeks were getting a bit ruddy. "Not that I wanted a beheading. That would be unsportsmanlike of me."
"Undoubtedly." Holmes remarked, taking a puff of his pipe.
"Only thing that really bothers me about all of this, is how all the serial killings were tied to just one man." He finally said after his fourth scone.
Holmes looked to Watson, who took a sip of his tea, then sighed. "You see, Professor Moriarity never works alone. He never does his own dirty business, except in the torture of James, of course. But the serial murders he used a very nefarious gang of thieves known as the Bloody Hand Gang."
"Dear God! Do you know what you're saying then?"
"Yes." Watson replied. "The game is still afoot!"
"Things that go bump in the Night"
by John Pirillo
Atop one of the older buildings stood a solitary figure its shape similar in shape to someone we should recognize. It watched the Cremarg fly overhead with Moriarity dangling by the lasso around his shoulders, struggling to break free.
The Cremarg looked down at the figure and screamed in outrage, but didn't veer from its course, which was across the channel towards France.
Lord Graystone adjusted his grip on the lasso, then slowly pulled Moriarity up until he could climb behind him.
"Who are you, sir, and why do you haul me so rudely through the skies over London and now out to sea?" Moriarity demanded.
"I am your friend."
"I have no friends. I am Giant. A stranger to this country."
"Why did you try to kill your friends in the cavern?"
"I did no such thing."
Lady Shareen placed her hands on Moriarity's shoulders and he looked back at her. "You look familiar. You both do. Should I know you?"
"Yes." She said calmly, soothing the anger that was rising in his breast.
He sighed. "I feel as if I have been living in a dream."
"You're safe now, James. Safe with friends."
"Why do you call me James?"
"Because you are." She said tenderly.
Lord Graystoke banked the Cremarg sharply a moment to avoid the mast of a tall ship in the way. "You have been used, dear sir."
"The very man who tortured you and imprisoned you for months." Lord Graystone replied, anger in his voice.
"The man we thought dead." Lady Shereen added.
"Who is that?"
"Moriarity. Professor Moriarity."
James cried out and grabbed his skull, striving to crush the memories that came rushing back to him, of the torture and humiliation he had faced hour after hour, day after day by the hideous Professor Moriarity. "I thought him dead when I entered you world."
Lady Shareen gently took James' hands from his skull and held them tight. "It seems we have a surplus of Moriarity's on our hands."
James suddenly remembered. "Infinite Worlds, Infinite Choices."
"And not always good ones." Lord Graystone admitted, as he gently steered the Cremarg to the rapidly growing coast of France across the channel.
Before the Queen could respond to the crisis at hand, a solitary figure in the crowd, its face and head shrouded in a hood like monk's clothing, ran up the stairs to the platform and threw itself at the feet of the Queen before her Guard could respond.
Queen Mary looked down at the figure who prostrated before her, weeping and sounding like a lost soul. "Rise."
"I cannot." The figure responded.
"You must!" She said firmly.
"If I do, then I shall never forgive myself."
"If you do not, I shall never forgive you. My son."
The figure slowly rose, until he towered over her. He threw back the hood from his face and revealed...
"Mother?" He asked.
Queen Mary began to tremble. The Guards grew alarmed and closed in on the figure, but she held them back. "It's been so long. I have wanted to hold you every day of your life, but I could not. I dared not. For had I done so, he would surely have taken your life or done far worse. I could only pray that you learned from the darkness you were exposed to, that you held that light of goodness I first gave you and crushed it to your breath."
She opened her arms and he went into them.
Below Holmes and Watson watched in surprise.
"It seems our day is just full of surprises, Watson."
"Aren't they always?" Watson said with a sigh.
Mrs. Hudson pulled on Watson's arm. "Come dear, I think we could all use something warm to eat and drink."
Watson looked to Holmes. "Coming?"
"No, I think I shall watch this play out."
Watson nodded and passed his other friends, who all looked to Holmes, then when Watson shook his head, they all followed him and Mrs. Hudson through the crowd which was growing restless and confused by the moment. Bobbies began spreading out to control the crowd as the Adventurers headed back towards Baker Street.
On the platform the Queen finally released her son and he turned to face the crowd. "How will you tell them I am Mister Dark?"
"I will not." She said sadly. "They must never know your plight, nor the depth of your involvement in the murders. "
"But I have much to atone for." He pleaded.
"And you shall do so, but you shall do so in a way that befits your rank and station and in a way that truly benefits the citizens of London. Through service to the poor."
He gazed into her eyes. "Mother, I swear I shall dedicated my last breath to the cause of helping the poor."
"Good." She said with a smile. "I shall be right there with you by yourself as well. Come, my son, we have much to catch up on, and much to do."
The Queen and Mister Dark, her son, began descending the stairs to the platform as the Guards closed ranks behind them, leaving a lonely Executioner with no one to behead. He shrugged, gathered up his axe, then descended after them, whistling a merry tune.
Inspector Blackstone climbed from the Police Van and gave instructions to his man to wait for him, then he went up the flat stairs to 221B Baker Street and knocked on the door. A bit of a pause, then Mrs. Hudson opened the door. "Come in, Inspector, we've been expecting you."
"I'm sure you have." He uttered, then followed her inside.
Upstairs, Holmes sat by the hearth smoking his pipe, lost in thought as Watson, Conan and Challenger went on and on about their next adventure. They wanted to explore the Middle of the Earth.
"You're kidding. Right?" Harry scowled at them. "Hollow earth. That's preposterous. It's not hollow, it's quite crowded."
"Exactly." Challenger cried out. "And I, for one, intend to be the first man to discover that great land that extends beyond the poles."
"So you truly intend to sail through the ice and snow to discover the entrance." Conan asked, intrigued but a bit wary of it.
"I shall not. But Captain Nemo reassures me that his vessel is quite capable of doing so." Challenger uttered with the utmost confidence.
Count Dracula sat between Professor Langston and Madame Curie, his clothing was immaculate as always. "So I wonder how our friends in France are doing this very moment?"
Professor Langston finished nibbling on one of Mrs. Hudson's famous scones, then delicately wiped at his lips. "I should imagine, quite well. The Jungle Lord can be very persuasive."
"I fear for the sanity of James." Count Dracula responded.
"Why is that?" Madame Curie asked, confused as to his response.
"Why? Do you have any idea of what idiots he is being put into the hands of?"
James sat in a plus apartment that overlooked a view of the Eiffel Tower. His eyes were quite somber and thoughtful. He had much to think about. Some memories were lost forever, others tumbled in and out of his consciousness, but he knew in time they would all return. He had a secret place he would retreat to soon to recover what had been lost.
"James, are you listening to me?" Chittles asked with a snort.
James turned his attention to the impish man seated across from him, a cup of tea on his lap between two thick, gnarled hands.
Redeye stood behind the chair, watching both.
"Sorry. Much on my mind, you know."
Redeye nodded. "Chittles, perhaps we should give him some time to be alone."
Chittles shook his head. "Lady Shareen was absolutely demanding that we not leave him for a moment."
"This is supposed to be a vacation." Redeye reminded his dimunitive friend.
"This is a vacation. Getting to partner with one of the greatest minds of our century!" Chittles exclaimed. He leaned forward, accidentally loosing some tea into his lap. "Whoops!"
He got up hurriedly and headed towards the flat's kitchen, dabbing at himself.
Redeye sat down and sighed. "You must forgive my friend, he's a bit ambitious at times."
James smiled. "I look forward to working our first case together. Perhaps in time you'll be able to help me remember everything."
Redeye frowned. "I'm not sure you will like all that your remember."
"Wasn't it Nietzche who said that "That which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger."
"True enough. But usually it does...kill us, that is." Redeye responded.
James nodded, but his thoughts were suddenly elsewhere. He saw this beautiful young woman in the street below. She looked upwards at him and he could swear he'd seen that face before. She gave him an expectant look, but when he looked away, she hid the hurt that suddenly overwhelmed her and rushed up the street and was soon lost to view.
"Lillith!" James exclaimed, a flood of memories washing over his heart, strong emotions that wanted him to cry out in shame, fear and loss, but more than all to feel the connection that once had been all to him.
He shot to his feet and ran to the window, but she was gone.
Chapter Fifty-Seven of "Things that go bump in the Night," a Sherlock Holmes Baker Street Adventure is now posted. www.johnpirillo.com
Chapter Fifty-Seven Mrs. Hudson stood next to Watson and Holmes as the executioner climbed the steps to the platform where Moriarity stood.
Harry Houdini, Conan and Challenger stood to their left and Professor Langston, Count Dracula and Larry Talbot stood to their right. Lady Shareen was nowhere to be seen, but Madame Curie stood behind everyone, talking quietly with Tesla, whose furrowed eyebrows sought the skies incessantly as if searching for something.
"It's so terrible." Mrs. Hudson said, cringing against Watson. "You should have finished him off, rather than have him die this way."
Holmes looked to her. "Watson is too honorable a man to take another man's life in cold blood."
Watson laughed then. "But I sure added a few years to his life when I fired at him, even if the bullet only passed through his coat sleeve. I imagine if he were to live another day, that nightmare would still be casting its shadows across his imagination."
"That' s terrible!" Exclaimed Mrs. Hudson .
Holmes smiled, but said nothing more. He too was also searching the skies, for no obvious reason.
Conan shivered in the fog that was rolling across the square and grasping at his ankles and those about him. "I wish they would hurry this up!"
Challenger clapped a hand to his shoulder. "Always in a rush, are we?"
"I hate death!"
"A strange thing for a man who has escaped its clutches once already." Harry said with a smirk.
"I know nothing of that, except what Challenger has spoken to me."
He glared at Challanger. "I still don't know how he did it."
Challenger whispered. "And most likely never will. Trade secret, my good man."
"Bugger that." Conan replied angrily.
Challenger laughed, but said no more.
Professor Langston looked at his companion. "Why's your nose twitching so much this morning?
"Danger is in the air. I can smell it!"
Langston frowned. "Danger has no smell."
Larry touched Langston's nose. "That's because your nose is always clogged up with sinus drain and other various chemicals."
Langston started to reply, then hushed when Queen Mary of Scots began her march up the platform stairs.
The crowd grew loud, clapping and cheering.
"Give 'im hell, Mary!" One man yelled.
"Off with his head." Cried a woman with a baby in her arms.
"Sell his body parts to Frankestein." Shouted another.
Watson nudged Holmes. "If she doesn't close this soon, there's likely to be a riot. A lot of people lost their lives through this man's evil."
"I think not, Watson."
"Holmes, you don't actually think this man is innocent, do you?"
"Remember when you helped lift him to place him on the makeshift stretcher, how his left hand had a missing ring on the pinkie?"
"And do you also remember the smell of the sea on his clothing?"
"Hard to miss it."
"And did you also note that his eyes never blinked once, but looked straight at you."
"Oh my God!" Watson almost screamed. "It's James! But how?"
"That is a mystery to solve another day. Right now I just pray we are in time."
"In time for what?"
"To save an innocent man's life."
"My proud countrymen." Queen Mary announced through a horn that magnified her voice. "Today we witness the end of a scourge that has darkened our country for decades now. That has harmed our men and women, our children, our sovereinty and all that is good in our land."
She turned to the Executioner and he strode to Moriarity, who didn't resist, but allowed himself to be led to a block where his head was placed.
"With one swift blow, evil shall be rid from this land forever!"
She raised a hand and the Executioner raised his axe over Moriarity's head. "So shall it be and so shall it end!"
She dropped her hand and the axe fell.
An arrow struck the axe handle, and it flew from the Executioner's grasp and landed several feet away. Moriarity looked up as a great shadow dropped across the platform.
Everyone looked up and screamed.
Holmes smiled. "The moment of truth has arrived, dear Watson."
Watson nudged Mrs. Hudson and she looked up too. "It's..."
Lady Shareen and Lord Graystone rode the back of the Cremarg as it dropped like a stone, then swept its wings outwards, knocking many off their feet by the force of its sweep. Lord Graystone reached over and threw his lasso, catching Moriarity around his arms.
The Cremarg let out a great cry, then burst higher into the sky, with Moriarity flung behind it like a paper doll in the wind.
Watson glared at Holmes. "You knew. You knew and you didn't tell a soul!"
"Ah, but my dear friend, the game's not over yet!"
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Chapter Fifty-One of "Things that go bump in the Night," a Sherlock Holmes Baker Street Adventure is now posted. www.johnpirillo.com
"Things that go bump in the Night,"
by John Pirillo
Mary ran like hell was on her heels, because it was. The floor was ripping apart as if a gigantic hand had both sides of it and were tearing it as easily as one might a sheet of paper.
Challenger looked at the petals, confused by what was happening.
"Pull the sword!" Mary screamed.
"But I'm not that pure." Challenger shouted back.
"Bollocks! Challenger pull it! Now!"
Challenger wrenched on the sword with all his might. His body shook from the effort. It didn't budge an inch, but it did do two things. One the floor stopped tearing apart. Two, Challenger was knocked so hard in his chest by a backwash of pure magical energy that he flew over the head of Mary, who ducked to save herself.
"Challenger!" She screamed.
Dracula hurtled for several yards into the dark, then slowed down and shot back at the creature, like an exploding cannon ball fired from a pirate ship. Dracula did something he had not done in years, in decades, he assumed his full bat form, which was huge, ugly as hell and armed with teeth the size of a sabertooth tiger.
The creature's stinger whipped around to slam into Dracula's chest, but he shot under it, then as he passed over the creature's head he ripped one of its eyes out with a grasp of his clawed hands. The creature screamed furiously, its anger so terrible that it ripped a huge section of the cavern floor apart in its frustration. It no longer paid attention to the others.
"Quickly!" Holmes urged the others. "We must move ahead while the Count is keeping it busy!"
They rushed past the creature, whose eyes were only on Dracula as he soared past again and this time landed on its shoulders and sank his teeth into its scaly neck. The stinger lashed upwards and struck Dracula on his right shoulder, knocking him to the ground. He stood up and grinned at the others. "I haven't had this much fun in..."
The stinger slammed into his chest.
His eyes went big as moons.
Challenger landed so hard that the air was smashed out of his lungs. He was much lighter in those days, but more heavy with muscle and so it was a hard landing for him and then some, as he skidded through and across rough rocks and stones in his path. Cut and bleeding he rolled over, marveling at how well he felt. He sat up, stretched his limbs to see if they were all working properly and then noticed Mary at the great sword, running a finger lightly along its length.
"When you get tired of resting, you can come help me solve this puzzle." She chided him.
Challenger got up and stretched, then rushed over to her. He eyed the inscription. "Oh that!"
"Did you read it?" She asked him.
"Of course not. Who had the time?"
"I think it says that he who is worthy shall wear the ring of Arthur and wield the sword of power forever and ever."
Challenger bent closer, then smiled. "Actually, it says she..."
"Yes, my dear. She who is worthy shall wear the ring of Arthur and wield the sword of power forever and ever."
Mary trembled a moment, lusting over the power that representing, then she shoved away from the sword. "No one should have that much power." She protested.
"Which is exactly why it said she." Challenger insisted.
"See!" He pointed to the hilt of Excalibur, which had sprung as slight trap door. He gently pried it the rest of the way open, revealing a beautiful jeweled ring with the symbol of a dragon in beautiful rubies and emeralds on a gold crest.
He motioned to her. "I believe it's waiting for its rightful owner."
Mary trembled again as she reached a brown finger into the opening to pull it free. She did so, and then gently rolled it over between her fingers, as Challenger looked on proudly.
She slipped on the ring to her index finger and her entire body glowed for a moment. The sound of distant trumpets was heard as if heralds were announcing the arrival of someone great and powerful. The lighting in the chamber grew brighter as if angels were in attendance and then a great chorus of voices began to sing, "Glory, glory! The Queen is found!"
Challenger dropped to his knees before Mary and bowed his head. "Your majesty!" He said, simply and with the deepest and most profound of respect.
Mary sighed as the last of those memories drifted back into time along with so many others. She rose to pace the room again, glancing warily at her friends. "You see, that was a great moment for me. For both of us. I have treasured it like none other. But with greatness comes a price. And mine was no less great than the reward."
She stopped and faced the others. "For when Light shines the brightest, it also casts the darkest shadow."
Madame Curie smiled. "He has the sword, doesn't he?"
Mary nodded, feeling ashamed at that moment. "Maybe it was destined that what we had wrought would be undone by one of such evil intellect, but ordained or not, he did take it from us, and without a great effort. For in our foolish pride and eagerness to obtain the treasure, we had forgotten to cover our tracks."
Lady Shareen stood then and took Mary's hands in her own. "You couldn't possibly have known he would be there."
"Yes, I could. For you see I had told his son, and that was the biggest mistake I made. For had I not told the son the father would never have become the dark evil he had become and the son fall to the tragedy of the intellect he was entrapped in and later destroyed by."
"But that was so long ago." Madame Curie said. "Surely, he can't be alive now."
Mary's eyes reflected the torment she felt at that moment. "I fear it is he." She turned to look out her window for a brief moment, as if gathering her strength, then returned her vision to her friends, who both gave her a great deal more warmth that she could accept at that moment. "You see, I was the one who ran the orphanage that raised him and later his son. He hated his son, and his son never even knew he was alive, never even knew he had a living father who had sired him and brought him into the dark world he had fallen into."
"Mister Dark!" Madame Curie finally said.
"But you see, my dear friend." Mary said to Madame Curie. "It is not Mister Dark we have to be afraid of so much. He is just a misguided child, whom I suspect even at this moment is hating what he has fallen into, what he has wrought, maybe even seeking to make amends."
"Then who are you speaking of?" Lady Shareen asked.
Mary looked at her a long time then and said. "I'm speaking of..."
Chapter Forty-Five of "Things that go bump in the Night," a Sherlock Holmes Baker Street Adventue is now posted. www.johnpirillo.com
"Things that go bump in the Night"
by John Pirillo
Chapter Forty-Five The opening into the massive peak was larger than anyone had thought from the before the arch, or just after. After recovering their senses they had proceeded to climb the remainder of the slope to the opening.
Lord Graystone had still not returned, but there was nothing they could do about that, but trust that his jungle instincts were more powerful than the Cremarg's vicious nature.
"Just look at this place." Conan said in awe as he stood at the lip of the opening, his eyes surveying the lip high overhead and the edges to the right and left that stretched for hundreds of yards in those directions.
Small rock and stones littered the ground and made is treacherous to walk. Conan had already stumbled once and would have slid all the way back down, if not for the quickness of Larry Talbot, who had no trouble threading the treacherous path at all. He had lost his shoes a long time ago, allowing his feet to become clawed wolf feet, even as his hands had become wolfish in nature, if not completely. His face, normally a happy American Joe smiling one, was very toned down and serious as his huge eyes, the pupils dilated to the size of pinpricks, took in the dark opening.
He sniffed the air. "Someone has been here not even ten minutes ago."
"Can you follow them." Holmes asked.
"Yes. But you might want to be careful."
"Why is that?" Challenger asked.
"The spoor is quite confusing. It appears to be human, but it is mixed with some very strange smells I can't quite place. Almost as if the human was a blend of animals and reptiles."
"Another monster!" Watson croaked in disgust.
Holmes handed him his canteen and Watson chugged some water down, then smiled at Holmes. "Thanks. So now what?"
"We follow." Holmes said simply.
Larry took the lead with Challenger directly behind him, Harry following in the rear with Conan and Watson and Holmes in the middle. Professor Langston stayed slightly to the right of the detective partners, his body flickering slightly.
"You alright, Langston?" Holmes inquired.
"I'm fine. When I get scared or nervous I tend to become somewhat jittery."
"As in fading in and out rapidly?" Holmes prompted.
"Yes. It's a side effect of my invisibility formula I haven't ironed out quite yet. It's as if my whole body was wanting to do one thing, while my mind another."
"I wonder whatever happened to the Count?" Watson mused as they entered the vast cavernous opening.
Holmes said nothing.
Larry paused several yards ahead and pointed. They rushed forward and looked. It was a huge pile of feces, almost ten feet tall.
Watson almost gagged. "The monster must be larger than a Tyranosaurus Rex."
Harry dropped some magical powders at the edge of the feces and it formed a vague monstrous form with glaring eyes. Four of them staring at them.
"Now that's encouraging." Conan remarked, shivering silently inside of himself. What hell have we walked into now? He thought.
Larry smiled, as if he had heard Conan's thoughts, and began quickly walking deeper into the cavern.
"I don't know about the rest of you gentlemen, but I'm for a little light, since I don't have the eyes of a bat." Watson declared, pulling out a Tesla lamp from his backpack and activating it. The blueish light cast huge shadows on the walls as they entered.
"Actually, bats see with their ears." Challenger informed Watson.
"Whatever." Watson groused at him. "Leave me to my delusions."
Challenger slapped him on the back. "Never."
Watson sighed the sigh of the perpetual martyr and followed Holmes, who quickly hid an amused look from his lips as he tracked Larry into the depths of the cavern.
Queen Mary of Scots sighed deeply, then sat back behind her desk. She clasped her delicate hands about each other, twirling her royal ring gently as she gazed at the two expectant faces before her. "There's so much more to the story than what I've told you. I just don't know where to begin to continue."
Madame Curie placed a soothing hand over Mary's right hand and smiled into her face. "How about when you found the ring?"
Mary smiled. "Don't look the kiss and tell part, hey?"
Lady Shareen laughed. "We love it to death, but we both realize you're just putting off what you really want to tellus."
"I suppose so." Mary said with a nod. She closed her eyes and fell back into the mists of the past once more.
After our brief flirtation through the blades Challenger struck the rest of the way into the cave without further incident. Well, almost.
Challenger strode carefully over the fallen warriors and people who had dared to defy the death traps laid out for them. As he did he could see where each had fallen to a trap and as he did, his great mind began to visualize a pattern to the deaths and the traps that had created them. He was almost to the stone idol with the Great Sword struck into its depths, when his mind screamed at him. "Duck!"
He dropped to the floor not a moment too soon. As two huge blades the size of small boulders swished through the space where his waist and head had once been. He felt the lower blade take off some of the thick locks on the back of his head, then the ringing of their metal and chipping of stone and sparking of flames as they struck the opposite wall.
He rolled over and made a groaning sound.
Mary screamed in alarm, fearing for his life.
Finally, he sat up and felt the back of his head. It was all there, but his skull was neatly shaven in the back.
"Are you hurt?"
Challenger looks back at her. "Only my pride, and that most assuredly makes me quite happy to be saying. With that he snapped back to his feet again and this time strode to the foot of the Great Sword, admiring its beauty. "Excalibur!"
He started to touch it.
Mary screamed at him. "Death to whom touches it if not pure of heart!"
He immediately withdrew his hand.
He looked back at her. "Not that I'm impure, never hurts to be cautious. These ancients had a wierd sense of right and wrong."
She smiled. "I love you, you lying old goat."
"Who're you calling old?" He challenged her
Larry held up a hairy hand and the rest of the party held back. He lifted his furry face and sniffed the air. "We're close. Be very quiet now. And put out the light." He warned Watson.
Watson gave him a scowl. "Easy for you to say with those wolf eyes."
Larry growled, baring his sharp teeth at Watson.
"Alright, be that way." Watson grumbled and switched off the light.
"But don't say I didn't warn you." Watson added.
Then something flicked past Watson, almost knocking him down. "What the..."
He started to turn his light back on and a hairy paw stopped him. Larry's voice was near his ear. "Do not move. Not an inch. Do not speak again if your value our lives."
Challenger and the Queen search for King Arthur's royal ring. Chapter Forty-Four of "Things that go bump in the Night," a Sherlock Holmes Baker Street Adventure is now posted.
"Things that go bump in the Night,"
by John Pirillo
Queen Mary stood at the window overlooking London, watching curls of mist threading the rooftops and roads, swirling like a mystical whorl of spells ready to ensnare the unwary. She rubbed the index finger of her right hand, where the Royal Emerald sat upon its throne of gold and silver. It had been a gift from Merlin to King Arthur and subsequently passed down through the ages until it had come to her. She had found it on a rare expedition with her dear friend, Professor Challenger.
She could still recall those days quite clearly, even though it was more than a decade since she had assumed the throne as a gesture of unity between Scots and the Great Britains in order to preserve the peace, and ultimately to bring law and order to the realms where magic had been spreading like wildfire since the advent of the Druid Sciences released by Einstein and Ferme and others of the secret Rosy Brotherhood.
She felt the eyes of Lady Shareen and Madame Curie upon her and closed her eyes, summoning a moment of peace within herself before she continued the exposition she had begun moments earlier. She had to build her courage, because even she didn't want to admit what the world was now facing again, along with her brave friends and comrades in Fairie.
The vision of the quest for Arthur's ring still rang strong in her thoughts as she threaded from the future of now into the past of when.
"The cave seems a bit small." Mary told Challenger as he hunched over to look into the mossy covered mouth of it.
"No smaller than most for me. Last time I had to crawl forward to reach the interior."
"But what if you had got stuck, or could go no further?" She had asked, truly fascinated by his bravery or stupidity.
"Mary, you know me well enough by now to know that I never give up. I will go to my death bed fighting against my last breath."
Mary shrugged her jungle blouse tighter about her throat. It was nearing dusk and the damp warmth of the jungle was becoming rapidly cooler as the sun dropped below the horizon. While they were a bit high up on the plateau, still the jungle persevered, its tendrils of green and leaf struggling for domination over every inch of the domain it covered.
She peered behind them. Their path was rapidly being swallowed in a swirl of mist and smoke. Smoke from the villages several miles below the peak they stood upon. The air currents here swept the smoke between the two chimney mountain peaks and eventually floated about them, thus giving them the native names of "Smoking Tongues."
"Here." Challenger finally said.
She looked back and he was prying away some vines dangling over the entrance with his machete. And a good thing. For not a second after wards a great sword swung through the space, slicing the machete in two.
Challenger dropped back, almost knocking her on her ass.
"Challenger!" She exclaimed as he brushed against her.
"Sorry, my dear. My mistake."
He helped steady her, then turned back to the problem before them. "Do you still have the twine I gave you?"
"And why would I not?" She demanded, angrily tossing the ball of twine to him. He caught it with a smile, which immediately softened her heart. She did love him so.
"My Mary, always the fire before the storm."
"My dear Challenger, the man whom I shall kick the butt of so hard it will be sticking from his mouth if he doesn't shut up and get on with it. I'm about to turn into ice here." She complained, her tone both threatening and pleading.
He smiled again, then began unwinding the ball. When he had enough for two handfuls, he turned to the entrance, stooped down, grabbed a small rock and tied the end of the twine to it. He hefted the rock, then drew his arm back and tossed it inside.
He looked back at her triumphantly. "At least ten feet of free walkway."
"Providing the floor doesn't cave from underneath us." She replied with a grimace.
"Oh yes. The India Isles. The Case of the Four Headed Kali. How well I remember that. You lost your virginity there as I remember."
She glared at him. "Well you should now, you old pervert!"
He laughed, then struck a flint to the torch he drew from his belt. It smoked at first, but upon the second strike of the flint it burst into flames. He looked back at her. "Stay back at least a yard. No need for both of us to die at the same time."
"Implying that I will die later?"
He laughed again, his eyes sparkling with that boyisheness she loved so much. "We all have to die sometime, my dear."
He turned back and hunched over, scrabbled into the interior of the cave. She followed two beats later, keeping the distance he recommended. She was a smart ass, but not dumb. He knew what he was doing, even if she had to pull his ass out of the fire every now and then.
"Ah." He cried from ahead.
Startled, at first she thought he had been hurt. But he looked back and the flickering torch lit his face. It was twinkling with amusement. "I think we can safely assume there are no more traps."
She stepped even with him and he held up his torch.
Ahead of them for about five yards were sprawled body after body. The firs had a spear driven through its chest. The second an axe in the head. The third was torn in two. The rest were mangled or missing body parts.
"Why would Arthur do such horrible things to those who came after him?"
"Not Arthur, but the evil Morgana's twin son Hexor."
"I forgot about him."
"You would. Not ever having heard of him in the first place."
"Must you be so pedantic?" She complained.
"Must you be so cute?" He replied with a grin.
"I'll teach you cute when we get back to the camp."
"I'm counting on it." He replied with a wink.
She took a swing at him and that probably saved his life, because he stepped back and the series of lances that shot across the chamber, barely missed, closing him and her off from each other. He looked at her through the rusty blades.
"Mmmm. Your temper is getting sharper all the time."
"Funny." She shot back.
"What now?" She demanded, furious at herself and him for them almost being killed. More so for him, for he had been standing in the way of the lances.
He looked ahead of him. "I guess I go on alone, while you figure out how to retract those buggers that almost skewered me like a roast of lamb."
"With any luck I'll have them ready in time to skewer you like the pig you are."
"Thanks. I needed that encouragement." He said with a grin.
"What you need is a swift kick in the..."
He reached through the blades, pulled her face forward and kissed her lips fiercely.
"Things that go bump in the Night"
by John Pirillo
The Jungle Lord was able to leap over the wing in one bound and land lightly on the back of the Cremarg, which enraged it further. The creature smashed into the arch, causing it to begin to break apart in huge splintering cracks that snapped and exploded violently as the arch began to crumble apart.
"To me!" Holmes shouted to Watson, who ran furiously to make it past the separating sections, with Challenger, Conan and Harry hot on his heels.
A huge chunk of the arch severed away, plunging into the crevice miles below. Splinters of red and golden rock shattered and sprayed in a shotfun of pellets at the adventurers, who flailed helplessly at the pellets smashing into their exposed necks and heads. Flying creatures screamed and hurled themselves to the right and left from positions that they had been hidden on the sides and underbelly of the arch, making the dash for safety even crazier than it was.
A second SNAP!
Professor Langston looked on in horror as a gap broke apart before his feet and tumbled into the void below. His feet slid down the suddenly widening and deeping slope of the break and he was about to fall into the void himself, when a hairy hand clasped his and wrenched him to safety.
He landed facing Larry, whose face was now a werewolves.
Larry grinned at the shocked expression on Professor Langston's face. "Put your hands around my neck and hold on for dear life."
Professor Langston hesitated and a third SNAPPING sound exploded from beneath their feet as that section began to fall apart.
Larry threw Langston over his shoulder, gathered his leg muscles and leapt like a wolf might, haunched over and leaped across the widening void between the breaking parts of the arch.
Langston screamed the same time as Watson and the others screamed, making their own leaps to the far side, as the arch began to fall apart beneath them. Larry landed on a falling part of the arch and without hesitation or lack of balance immediately sprung again. He reached out one clawed hand and clasped the other side of the arch just before the rest of the arch tumbled away from his clawed feet.
Several hands reached out to help pull him the rest of the way up and he effortlessly dropped Langston to the safety of the firmer rock.
Langston gasped for air a moment, as if he couldn't breathe.
"You okay, Professor?" Larry asked, his hairy face transitioning back to a normal human's once more.
"I shall never, never again climb a mountain in this life!" He uttered with due solemnity.
Larry grinned and turned to the others. He sniffed the air. "That way!" He pointed with a hand still clawed.
Watson turned back. "Where's Lord Graystone?"
Holmes pointed to the Cremarg which was now flying high in the air, in ever widening spirals. "I suspect he is making a new friend."
Harry shuddered. "Let's pray he does so, before his new friend decides it's hungry or bored of playing."
"Amen to that." Challenger growls, then hitches his belt tighter and begins advancing up the slope to the cavern entrance. "I suspect we shall soon discover who flung that blasted weapon into our midst."
Harry gathered some of his magical dust in his right palm and blew on it. It lifted off from his hands and snaked through the air, pointing upwards. "Follow it. And we shall not get lost."
Chapter Forty-Three Lady Shareen and Madame Curie inclined their heads to Queen Mary of Scots as she entered the office she maintained in the Tower of London. A view of the city was visible through a large window behind her desk. She gathered her gold and red skirts and swept into her chair, a very nicely carved spruce decorated with royal symbols.
She spread her delicate hands on her large desk, which dwarfed her dimunitive figure. "So how can I help you two?"
Lady Shareen looked over at Madame Curie who pulled a small sheet of paper from her purse, then spread it on the Queen's desk. The Queen leaned forward and examined the paperwork, her neutral face turning solemn. She looked at them. "How came you to this document? It is protected by the Royal Seal!"
Lady Shareen stepped closer. "You have not been honest with us, Mary."
Queen Mary of Scots rose as if shot out of a cannon, her face furious with anger. "How dare you call me by my common name?"
"By the right of friendship. Which till this day, I thought we had."
Queen Mary of Scots tiny fists uncurled and she spread her fingers on the desk and eyed them both sternly a moment, then her face began to soften and she sighed with weariness. She rubbed her eyes, then sat down at her desk again, but kept her eyes on the city visible through he window. "When you reach a position such as mine, sometimes friendship is a commodity you dare not risk."
"This is not such a time." Madame Curie interjected. "Your Majesty. Mary, my sister."
Queen Mary of Scots turned her face towards Madame Curie. "So you have learned that as well. How much more do you know?"
Madame Curie reached out and placed a warm hand over Mary's. "Every night since I was a child I dreamed of one day being able to meet and embrace my younger sister. The one who had been abducted from our home and taken from the country to Scotsland."
"And you believe I am that one?" Mary asked, a hint of plaintiveness in the tone of her voice.
"Mary, I forgive you for ignoring me all these years, but I can not forgive you now if you insist on playing these royal games with me. For if you are royalty, as surely as my blood and yours are of the same lineage, then I also am of Royal Blood."
Mary sighed again and shook her head. "It's been so long since I've had a normal conversation."
She looked at Lady Shareen. "Your husband to be has known for years, but said nothing?"
Lady Shareen looked shocked. "He knew?"
The Queen smiled, her lips curling at the edges quizzically. "Surely, a man of such renown abilities would have no trouble in smelling two sister's common fragrance."
Lady Shareen shook her head. "And just when I thought I was coming to know him."
Queen Mary shrugged. "Men are no better or worse than ourselves, dear heart. They use whatever tools God gave them to make their way in the world, and if that sometimes requires them to forget...temporarily...some items of interest...?" She spread her arms, as if enfolding the world. "Then so be it."
The Cremarg is the most fierce monster of Fairy. Even the dragons fear it. Chapter Forty-One of "Things that go bump in the Night," is now posted. www.johnpirillo.com
"Things that go bump in the Night"
by John Pirillo
The crossing of the arch was not as frightening as Conan had thought at first. In fact it was not frightening at all, but absolutely terrifying. At one point as he was crossing he made the mistake of looking down.
"Don't look down." Challenger urged him from his side.
"Too late." Conan whimpered, the hairs standing up on the back of his neck.
He almost stumbled and fell, if not for the hardy grasp of Challenger, who brought him back to more stable rock and steadied him. "It takes some getting used to, but you will."
"Easy for you to say."
"Not at all. I'm just as scared, I just funnel the terror into useful movement, making sure my feet are as firmly on the rock as possible and cover the gap as quickly as possible."
Lord Graystone had been watching from behind. He was their last resort if anything went wrong. He had his faithful rope tied to his other hip, opposite his knife, in case someone needed catching. He had absolutlely no fair of the precipice, nor the fall below as he had traveled these regions extensively in many parts of the world of Fairie as well as Earth. The only thing to fear was fear itself, as a great man in Britain had once said.
Watson kept his eyes steady on the goal of the other side, noticing that they were well over halfway there and the suns were still casting a weak light upon the rocky surface. He steadied himself when a foot caught a rock the wrong angle, and braced for the rest of the travel across. Holmes watched him as he also crossed. He had no fear of heights either, even though he had almost died on them not so long ago.
"This stinks to high heaven." Watson muttered, moping at the sweat on his brows.
Holmes noted that the rock was becoming lighter in appearance. "I think we should separate from this point. No more than two men every fifteen yards."
"Rubbish." Watson uttered. "It's perfectly solid."
A piece of the arch broke away beneath his next step and tumbled into the depths of the misty crevice below.
Watson turned slowly around. "Everyone drop back so that at least fifteen yards are between each of us."
Holmes hid his smile as he went ahead of Watson.
Lord Graystone smiled and nodded his head. He knew that experience was always the better teacher when it came to danger. If one were lucky enough to survive it, the next time would be a safer travel, if not any the less dangerous.
One thing he had learned growing up with the apes was that Nature was kind, but also uncaring if one was a fool. He felt the good rock beneath his toes, sensing which was coarser, which finer, and which porous. He made his path across delicately, like a giant panther in stealth mode as it stalked its prey.
Professor Langston glanced over at Larry Talbot. "It'll be a full moon tonight."
"No problem." Larry said with a smile.
"Aren't you afraid you might turn. Attack us?"
Larry shook his head. "I'm not that hungry."
Professor Langston looked away, trying to work out what he had just been told.
Harry fell back beside Lord Graystone. "You can feel it too, can't you?"
"Yes. But don't let the others know. They have enough fear to carve through at the moment."
Harry nodded, but began rifling through his magic bag. "Doesn't hurt to be prepared though."
Lord Graystone placed his right hand on his blade. "And I."
They followed the others as they crossed, both warily watching not the other end, but to the sides.
Their vigilance paid off. For not several seconds later the cry of a beast that most men would think were something out of a nightmare broke the silence of the march as a creature the size of a dragon rose from the depths on wings that looked like fire wreathed in lightning.
"It's a Cremarg!" Professor Challenger shouted, reaching for the rifle on his back and slinging it around to take aim at the rising creature.
Lord Graystone raised a hand. "Hold!" He commanded.
The Cremarg rose until it was level with them and Lord Graystone fearlessly stalked towards it, raising a hand in the universal sign of peace. The Cremarg craned its multiple necks and eyes straining to focus on him. The creatures are notorisoulsy near sighted and hunt more by sound and smell than sight.
"Pe-too. Tey-too." Lord Graystone intoned repeatedly as he approached.
The Cremarg kept flapping its wings, it great heads focused upon the Jungle Lord as he approached. Its flaming body cast a hideous burning heat about it, causing the other members of the party to fall back on both sides of the arch to escape its deadly temperatures.
Lord Graystone continued into the heat as if readying to climb into a comfortable sauna and relax.
"Pe-too. Tey-too." He repeated again, stopping near the largest of the heads. The thinker. Each head had a major function. The large head was the intellect. The right head the reflexes. The left head the heart and muscles of the creature.
Lord Graystone slowly, inch by inch lowered his upraised hand until it barely touched the tip of the great beast's nose. Its fetid breath was almost too much to bear, even for one as trained as he was in enduring the scents and fragrances of the jungle.
"Pe-too. Tey-to." He said in a softer voice, gently rubbing the creatures nose, then gliding his fingers up to its eyebrow and gently kneading that.
The Cremarg's eyes all seemed to relax and its fierce stare to soften.
"Remarkable." Challenger muttered to Conan. "I wouldn't have believed this if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes."
"It has rather large teeth." Was Conan's only comment.
Then something shot from the cavern on the opposite side and struck the neck of the beast. It screamed in anger and pain and snatched at Lord Graystone with its heavily toothed mouth. Death lunged at the speed of a savage cobra for the Jungle Lord.
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