by John Pirillo
Jules and Wells rode in the same Constable Wagon as Holmes and Watson. Their faces were as grim as the blood-stained walls of the wagon. It had just unloaded some who were lucky enough to not be kidnapped and disappeared, but were in brutal shape.
Jules looked at the stains on the floor, the benches and the walls and shook his head. "It is happening all over again, Wells."
Wells said nothing. He knew that Sherlock and Watson were paying close attention. He just shook his head.
Jules lapsed into silence.
Sherlock appeared to be disinterested, but he was far from it. While these two were good friends to him and his fellow adventurers, they were also keeping secrets too close to their chests. Whether from fear or other motivations he wasn't sure yet.
Watson, on the other hand, only thought of his beloved Mrs. Hudson, and if she would be safe from the growing danger on the streets of London. "How do we know the merchant ship is the center of its organization? How do we know its filthy tendrils haven't reached further?"
"We don't." Sherlock said matter-of-factly.
"How can you sit there so relaxed when the world is collapsing around us?" Watson blasted back, then instantly regretted it upon the look in Sherlock's eyes.
"My dear Watson, the game's afoot, but far from over. We must do what little a man can do, and hope it is enough."
Watson nodded, giving Sherlock an apologetic look, which he gave a nod to and then looked away. Watson glared at Jules. "When are you going to tell us the whole truth?"
Wells almost jumped from his seat at the remark, but maintained his decorum. But barely. "Watson, you've known us for several years now. We've helped you whenever possible. How can you doubt our motives at this day and time?"
Watson glared at him. "I don't like secrets! They're nasty little boogers that always manage to plug up the common sense of a body and bring them to bloody ruin."
"Well spoken, John." Sherlock said in a rare moment of approval.
Watson gave him a surprised look, then regained his hold on Wells' attention. "We're waiting."
Wells looked across at Jules, then Jules spoke. "This is not our first experience with this creature. We had thought we stopped this particular problem."
"But we have not, obviously." Wells interrupted.
Jules looked at his hands. "It is a matter of time."
"How so?" Watson asked, a bit confused at the reply.
"Because." Jules looked up. "We are not of your time, nor is the creature."
Sherlock didn't react, he only smiled.
"You don't seem surprised, Holmes?" Watson accused.
"I don't believe in accidents or surprises." Sherlock said, then looked away, his eyes set on some distant horizon only his great mind could review.
The wagon abruptly stopped vibrating.
The back door flung open and Inspector Bloodstone motioned to them. "We're here. Hurry. The Queen's Men are awaiting our signal."
They all clambered out into a brisk wind that was shuttering their view of the Thames and the merchant ship with thick flurries of snow. Watson noticed that there were many eyes watching them from hiding places about the dock, and that they all held guns in plain sight.
"It's an army!" Watson declared.
"Let's hope it's enough." Sherlock stated, then motioned to the Inspector. "Tell your men to close off all exits from this portion of the dock. The Queen's Men will hold this position."
Watson looked at him in surprise. "You're not sending them first?"
"My dear Watson, this is one war we must lead from the front, I'm afraid." Then Sherlock hefted his pistol.
Watson did the same as the Inspector rushed off to take care of his business.
Sherlock turned to Wells and Jules. "I think you two know better how to deal with this."
Jules nodded. He took out a strange device from beneath his cloak.
Neither Watson or Sherlock acted surprised, when he hefted it into view.
Wells grinned, and took out his own, then he and Jules rushed forwards for the gangplank, with Watson and Sherlock fast behind them.
Conan and Challenger followed Lord Graystone as he led them along a series of twisting walkways that threaded through what many knew as the Queen's Maze. It was a corridor of buildings that had been condemned and abandoned, the poor and the helpless moved from the slums to safer buildings built under the provenance of the good Queen Mary of Scots, who worked with Lady Shareen in renovating London and providing for the poor and the downtrodden.
In future years Queen Mary of Scots would become known as one of the greatest, if not the greatest rulers of the Greater Britains.
Conan was huffing and puffing. He was so far out of shape from the winter months and his long periods of indolence, reading and writing, and the occasional foray with the Adventurers was just not enough to keep his body toned and tuned. Unlike Challenger, who was a brute of a man, always in shape, always ready for confrontation and battle. And to Conan's delight and amazement, usually up before dawn to do workouts with weights and run a mile.
He envied his taller friend's stamina and endurance, but declined to follow suit.
Finally, the Jungle Lord raised a hand and they all came to a halt to his side. He peered around the block corner they had stopped at. It was named White Chapel. The sight of the name drew shudders from Conan, who had had to deal with the brutal slayings of Jack, even as these more modern Brits did as well.
"Blimey, but this place puts the fear of God even into my toes." Conan whispered.
Challenger grinned. "Don't worry, my dear Conan. I'll protect you."
"Shhh." Lord Graystone warned, then he tiptoed around the corner.
The Jungle Lord sniffed the air several moments, then his eyes went to the building on the opposite side of the street.
"This is it!" He whispered to his companions. "Be very quiet and stay close." He warned, then went back into the shadows of the alley and cut across the street.
"This is the wrong way." Conan muttered, then realized he was mistaken as the Jungle Lord cut again across the street and they ended up on the same side of the street as their destination, but with no one having the ability to spot them from the building he had discovered for them.
They both drew their weapons and readied themselves.
At the same moment the sidewalk beneath their feet began to vibrate and shake.
The Jungle Lord dropped to a knee and put his head to the stone. His eyes widened. He jumped up and turned to them. "RUN!"
Not two seconds after he said it, a horde of zombie like men and women turned the corner from the other street, and rushed them. All were armed with bludgeons of one kind or another. Tools of menace and mayhem, which they intended to apply to these three gentlemen.
They managed to put a few dozen yards between them and the horde of zombies and then Conan had happen what is the worst nightmare of anyone fleeing danger. He tripped and fell as he leaped onto a curb.
His friends didn't realize he had fallen until he cried out to them. "I can't get up!"
The looked back and Conan was gripping his right leg, his face red with pain.
The zombies closed in on Conan, screaming for the kill, their voices terrible and cruel with eagerness to destroy.