Chapter Eighty-Three The bilge of the ship was filthy with rotting materials from the crew's refuse and dead animals that hadn't had enough to eat and simply perished. Scurries of rats plowed alongside them in the water, curious about what they were up to as they made their way to the hatch that exited the bilge into the cargo area.
Moriarity spotted the drop chain and guided Harry there. Harry was feeling weak and weary and a slight buzzing which threatened to grow louder and stronger was attempting to take over his consciousness. He remembered what Sherlock had told him, "When your mind is being invaded by thoughts you don't want, put them in a box and close it tightly so they can't get out."
But it was hard. These were not his thoughts. He knew better. These had a kind of fierceness to them, a remote coldness that caused him to shiver even more than the freezing water they wade through to their potential escape.
"We must be very careful not to startle anyone through any kind of loud noise." Moriarity reminded him. We should be exiting next to the rescue boat the Captain keeps tied to the side of the main cabin. With some quick work, we can drop it into the waters and be on it before anyone can stop us."
"Aren't you worried about them turning around to recapture us?"
"I'd rather drown!" Moriarity hissed.
Harry nodded. The fierceness of the man's reply told him everything he needed to know. Even if he couldn't trust this man completely; he could at least trust him to strive to escape at any cost.
They reached the drop chain and Moriarity, who was taller than Harry by a half foot, reached upwards and caught the slimy chain. At first it slipped from his grasp, but he tore off a piece of his shirt then clasped it again and this time it held. He gently, but firmly began pulling on the chain.
Chapter Eighty-Four Captain Nemo examined the clouds building overhead, and then the distant ship crossing their path. "Do you recognize it, Captain?" The Giant asked, as he came to him with a mug of steaming tea.
Captain Nemo accepted the mug, took a sip, and then looked at Giant. "You do tea a great service. Is there anything you can't do?"
The Giant shrugged, and then looked at the same ship crossing their path. "It flies no colors."
"Pirate ship perhaps." Captain Nemo said with the hint of a smile.
"And if it is?"
"Perhaps a little exercise for our bored crew."
On those words the First Mate, who had been crossing past them, stopped and looked at the Captain. "I thought we weren't going to do that anymore?"
With all that has been going on of late, it might be time for us to intervene and offer a little help to those striving to escape the terrors of London.
The Giant nodded, and then glanced at the deck as if looking for something not there.
Captain Nemo clapped a hand on Giant's arm. "You've been with us long enough for me to read your character and I think you might be ready for a little action as well."
"But only if it involves not harming a man."
"What about ladies?" The Captain asked with a twinkle in his eyes.
The Captain handed the Giant his telescope and gestured to put it to his eye.
Giant did so and focused on the incoming vessel. Its deck was filled with sailors, but they all had long hair...and skirts!
"I've never heard of such a thing."
"Nor I, except Lady Jane the Pirate, but she always wore men's clothes."
Captain Nemo cupped his hands to his lips. "Prepare to board!" He hollered.
Sailors began rushing to stations and gathering arms.
Chapter Eighty-Five Sherlock and Challenger stood before the ruins of the Westminster Abbey, alongside Conan, who stared at it with eyes wide with horror.
"London shall never be the same."
"I agree, Conan." Challenger spoke quietly. For once his booming voice was dimmed by the tragedy of what he peered at.
"Long live the Queen." Sherlock said, and then turned to them. "But words are futile in this case. We must give meat to them."
"How so?" Challenger demanded. "This creature with the help of Moriarity, if what you say is true, and I believe you believe that, has outwitted us at every turn."
"Yes, Sherlock. For once I am stymied as to how to proceed on this case." Conan added with a twist of his mustache.
"Writing a fictional account of a detective's life is far different from the actual adventure of one, is it not, Conan?"
"Yes. True enough, but some things run true in fiction as well as reality. And one thing I do know is that zombies wouldn't be able to accomplish this. It would take a much larger network."
"Which, I'm afraid, my good friend, that Professor Moriarity is more than capable of."
Challenger made a low angry sound. "Ever since that fiasco in Fairie, we've been shooting in the dark. We couldn't find a single body. For all we know every one of those fiends escaped, and if so they could be here, even now, working their mischief."
Sherlock nodded. "Indeed that is true. And that's the rub of it, Challenger, is that he is not beneath working with lesser beings when it is to his advantage, but to work with himself."
Sherlock said no more and his silence chilled both men to their bones.
They heard the sound of a vehicle approaching from behind and turned. Constable Evans pulled up and climbed out, followed by two Constables who stood to his left and right.
"You've spoken to the Queen then?" Sherlock asked.
Constable Evans looked strained when he answered. "And she gave me specific orders to give back to you."
Sherlock raised an eyebrow.
"You are not to seek out this creature further."
Sherlock didn't gasp, but his other eyebrow rose as well.
Challenger and Conan made angry sounds.
"Has she gone mad?" Challenger demanded. "If we do nothing, it will take over all of London."
Constable Evans gave a slight nudge with his glances towards the Constables on his right and left. "She has been good enough to send these stout fellows along with me to make sure you follow her orders."
"And will they?"
Constable Evans looked to his men. They both broke into smiles.
"I see." Sherlock said. "Then they both saw the red splotches on her arms?"
"Yes, we did sir." Said the left Constable.
"Bloody disheartening it was." Said the right Constable.
"Mister Holmes, the entire Constabulary is behind you. I also spoke with the Royal Guard. The Duty Sergeant is friends with their Captain. He is of the same mind. They will do whatever you request of them."
Sherlock nodded, and then sighed. "I'm afraid we haven't much time left at this point. We must locate Moriarity and the original Mummy."
"Why the original Mummy?" Challenger demanded.
"First, it has been clever enough to evade us from day one. Two, it has cloned itself. Three its numbers seem to be of a like mind, which would indicate..."
Conan's face lit up with understanding. "They are connected on some kind of mental level. If we remove the original..."
"Kill it!" Challenger growled.
"Then it will stop the infection."
"Or at least abate it." Sherlock explained further. "Once we have those two contained or destroyed if necessary, then our good doctors can work swiftly on a formula to cure the infected. Or else..."
"Or else?" Constable Evans asked. "You didn't finish your sentence."
Sherlock looked at him."Or else it is truly the end of our world as we know it."
Below is the cover from The Baker Street Adventures, my first adventure with the Baker Street Adventurers. It's available now in mass marker paperback and digital format.