Chapter Twenty 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
Holmes sat at a corner booth, smoking his pipe, his eyes distant, focused on thoughts only he could comprehend.
Holmes put his hand over his coffee and shook his head, not averting his attention from his inner quest.
The Old Man who had asked shook his head and headed for another table where another man sat, his face hidden by a cloak overlapping his forehead and eyes. The man had a bowl of water before him and was looking into it, as if seeing into another world.
"Refill?" The Old Man asked the stranger.
The stranger didn't even shake his head or move. His eyes were focused on the bowl of water as if he didn't want to miss a thing, whatever in God's name that was.
The Old Man shook his head again and headed back towards the bar. He threw down his towel and leaned on the counter, his eyes on the two strangers. One smoking a pipe and looking off into nowhere and the other looking off into nowhere in a bowl of water. "God some odd ones this evening, Mac."
Mac, a middle-aged man of portly nature, with blonde hair sieving gracefully into white, finished polishing the counter with a clean cloth, then leaned close to the Old Man. "Don't like it."
"Business is business."
"Money spends the same." The Old Man finally agreed.
"Suppose." Mac snorted, not really believing it, and kind of sour on the lateness of the hour accompanied by the lack of tips. Neither man had been very generous in their payments so far. He would reserve his last snort for when they did or did not tip, or if generous or not. He was a reasonable man. He didn't expect much, but a little extra helped to support his no good son and his daughter who was pregnant by an itinerant sailor who had come through some months back, looking for a place to work and evidently a daughter to despoil.
He shook off those nasty thoughts and the image of him tearing the sailor's grin from his face and replacing it with a shovel head, and began wiping at the counter again, happy to have at least something to do to keep his mind busy.
The front door suddenly slammed open.
Harry and Mrs. Hudson ran inside, with Harry slamming the door behind him, then pressing a hand to it and muttering Elven words. A slight glow emitted and just as it was dimming something large struck the door. So loud that the few patrons sitting in the tavern sipping at mugs of ale, jumped up, startled.
Holmes, however, did not. He remained seated, his eyes still staring off into nowhere.
The Stranger, however, jumped up, howling with anger, and ran for the back of the tavern, shoving both Mac and the Old Man out of his way as he pushed into the kitchen area.
Holmes was on his feet and running, his revolver out and at the ready as Harry ran up to join him, with Mrs. Hudson gasping beside him.
A moment later screams came from inside the kitchen.
"It was horrible!" She shot out, trying to match the men as they dashed for the kitchen.
Inside the kitchen a Cook was smashed against a counter of spices, his body crushed as if by a huge boulder, blood and guts spilling from him. A dishwasher was huddled in a corner, babbling like an idiot, screaming, then whispering, screaming then whispering.
"The back. Quickly, Harry!" Holmes cried out.
Harry ran ahead of everyone and went out back, just in time to see something large lift into the sky, black as night. It resembled a huge bat. It swept around and looked prepared to attack Harry, when Holmes came out and fired his revolver.
The bullet struck the monster. It didn't stop it, but it slowed it down. It shrieked in pain, then shot off to the left, veering from its course of attack, then flapped hurriedly off over the rooftops.
"I know exactly where it's heading." He replied and ran for the entrance of the alley they stood within.
"Mrs. Hudson stay inside. Don't leave for anything or anyone! You understand me?" Holmes demanded.
She nodded, frightened out of her wits, but still calm enough to realize that great danger had been narrowly averted.
Holmes ran off after Harry. The moment both men were out of sight, she hefted her heavy crocheted purse and opened it. Inside was the pistol Watson had given her earlier.
Harry and Holmes ran up the street to the shop Harry had fled from earlier. Harry touched the front door and recoiled. "The magic is still strong."
Holmes ignored Harry and shot the lock off. The door flew open.
They rushed inside.
The interior of the shop was filled with voids of darkness that seemed to pulse with a light of their own, a dark light emanating horrible, dark and sinister energies causing Harry and Holmes to both wipe at the back of their necks as their hairs stood on end.
"The back." Holmes said.
Harry took the lead, fumbling in his right pocket as he did.
He flung open a narrow door and a roar blasted out at him.
He flung a handful of dust into the face of something that goes bump in the night and comes out of the deepest, darkest nightmares.
The thing, or beast, or monster. Whatever it was. Was impossible to relate to a mental level. Its shape kept changing, twisting and corkscrewing like curls of smoke. It shot out tendrils of claws towards Harry, but they were struck by the dust Harry had flung.
Immediately, the tendrils burst into flames.
A horrid scream of agony and pain blasted their ears.
Holmes fired into the nebulous body.
A second horrible scream, this time so loud that both men dropped their hands from their weapons and flung them over their ears.
The scream grew louder and louder until they both collapsed in agony and pain to the floor.
The thing that goes bump in the night reared up on hairy haunches, its gigantic mouth opening to reveal rows of jagged teeth. It prepared to engulf them with its foul jaws, when first one, then a second and third gun shot sounded.
The creature howled even more horribly than before and fell back against a rear door, where one of its tendrils clasped a door knob and opened it. A blast of hot air came into the interior of the rear room as the creature shot outside, then launched into the air, its screams and howls shattering glass up and down the street.
Mrs. Hudson dropped beside first Harry, then Holmes, gently shaking their shoulders, her eyes frantic with fear and worry. First Holmes, then Harry groaned.
Harry sat up and clasped a hand to his head. "Someone keep the floor from moving or I am going to throw up."
Holmes sat up and tried to handle the pain stoically, but clasped his hands to his head as well, though he looked into Mrs. Hudson's eyes calmly.
"I told you to stay in the pub."
Mrs. Hudson smiled. "I never was one to take orders, Mister Holmes."