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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!"