Chapter Forty of "Things that go bump in the Night," a new Sherlock Holmes Baker Street Adventure is now posted.
"Things that go bump in the Night"
by John Pirillo
The climb went quickly enough, even though it did bring up many painful memories. Memories that had best been left deeply buried and lost in time, but were there anyway. The forest lay thick about them as they climbed towards its mount, a part of adventurers determined to bring justice and honor back to their fair city, even if it meant some might die.
Professor Challenger wipe at the thick sweat covering his forehead and looked back at Conan, who was still struggling to keep up. "We're almost there, Conan, keep your spirits up."
"Spirits is about all I have at this point." Conan said, his right hand shaking from the effort of trying to keep his balance on the precarious peak of stone he stood upon, which was balanced between two crevices that jutted out from a vertical rockface they were ascending. "I knew I should have stayed home and had dinner instead."
"Little late for regrets." Challenger informed him with a smirk on his face.
"Oh, easy for you to say, oh man of few regrets, but this one whose belly is rumbling like a Bengal Tiger out poaching an Elephant herd for breakfast, is not a happy one."
Harry climbed up beside Conan and steadied him, then offered his canteen. Conan took it and drank deeply a moment , then gave it back. "Always, the right time, the right thing." Conan said. "I couldn't have written you better."
Harry shook his head and gave Conan a weary smile. "You didn't. I write my own story. As do we all, indicating the ones who followed them up the mountain face, and the ones already ahead of them."
Conan nodded. "Okay. Right enough. But how do you explain the fact that I knew exactly where to look when you and all your magical contrivances couldn't get even a glimpse."
Holmes looked down at them from several yards above. "You read my notes. Now, come on, Harry no time for braggadacio, get up here. We are almost out of light."
Conan paled. "I keep forgetting what we're after."
Challenger gave Conan a hand up, and put him firmly on the next step of the climb. "Believe me, Conan, even if you do, Harry won't. Right Harry?"
Challenger looked to his right and Harry was gone. "Harry?"
"Now where's that man gone?"
"Above you. Come on you fat bellies before the night falls and catches us all with our pants down."
"What an ugly sight that would be." Conan joined in agreeably. "But I rather resent the 'fat butt' remark." He said as he hurried up to catch up with Harry.
"Worked didn't it?" Challenger said, not at all offended. "Right thing to say at the right time."
Conan shook his head. "You two! Two peas in a pod."
"But a rather comfortable one, hey Harry?"
Harry offered a hand to Conan, and helped him scurry up a difficult curve of the face. For a moment his right foot lost its grip. Harry didn't let go, but kept hold until Conan found purchase. "Wouldn't do to let you die now after all Challenger did to get your here the first time. Or was it the second time?" Harry asked with a laugh when Conan became pale as a ghost.
Watson threw down a scaling rope with knots every foot and feet grips. He anchored it above his head. "Just another few yards and we're there."
A second rope dropped down from above him and slapped his face. He looked up and Lord Grayson stood at the top of the climb, dressed only in a loin cloth, a large knife on his right hip and a bow and arrows over his left shoulder. "Will you gentlemen quit teasing each other like a bunch of baby apes and get up here!"
Watson's face turned red for a second, until Holmes touched his shoulder. "He's right. We must not give into the curse of this mountain."
Watson shook off his anger and grabbed hold of Lord Grayson's rope and hauled upwards, followed by Holmes.
They reached the top and stood looking in awe at the plateau before them.
Huge philodendrons with trunks the size of small houses climbed from about ten feet from them and continued climbing up an arch that posited itself upon a new mountain top where a great chasm split its face and an opening with great thrusts of hanging rock, decked with thick moss and ivy drooped down into a huge pool of fresh water, being renewed by numerous piping holes in the face of the mountain.
As Watson continued to look he began to see something he hadn't noticed at first.
"A face." Harry said from behind him as he climbed over the edge and pulled himself to his feet to stand beside the Jungle Lord, Lord Graystone.
"It's been a long time since I've been here." The Jungle Lord stated.
"I can see why." Conan wheezed as he squeezed between Challenger and Watson to gaze at the marvelous view before them.
The twin suns of Fairie were just above the mountain tops, casting a silver and violet glow to the white capped peaks, adding an air of mystery and magic to them. Baby dragons spiraled around distant peaks, playing in the air as kids might on the ground.
Flocks of multi-colored flying lizards and birds interwove between each other as they strove in competition for huge flapping nets of insects strung out in the air as they flung themselves higher and higher in a mutual ectascy of expression.
"Stunning." Harry finally muttered.
"So where now?" Professor Langston said as he gave Larry Talbot, the Wolfman's son, a hand up beside them.
"Not far." Lord Grayson told them, then leaped into the leaves of the nearest Philodendron tree and began swinging of towards the bridge of rock that forded the chasm between mountain peaks.
Conan sighed. "Why do I have the feeling I'm not going to like crossing that thing?"
"Oh stop being so pessimisstic, Conan." Challenger said, smacking him on the back so hard he almost stumbled from the blow. "You're a writer. Use your imagination."
Conan gave Challenger a sour look. "That is...precisely...why what I am doing!"