"Sheridan Holmes, The Curse of the Serpent King," is available at Amazon.
I always wondered if Sherlock ever allowed himself to settle down and be a father, and what kind of father he might turn out to be and in this story, you can discover what I did as his son and the very impish, but bright Emily Watson, the daughter of Doctor John Watson, pair off to team on an investigation that delves into mystical horrors and mythological beasts and gods.
And what would a Baker Street Adventure be without Sherlock and Watson, and a guest duo as well. Whom you'll just have to wait and read about when you read the story.
War of the Worlds, The Invasion continues. A sample of something I write a while back. Fun stuff with an odd bent to it.
In the year of our Lord
Eighteen Hundred and Ninety One
This August Thirty First
The Globe Theater
The Queen's Room
"To be or not to be...that is the question." My lead actor spoke upon our stage. I watched from the second level gallery, making sure his pitch and diction were strong and clear enough. He looked up at me and I gestured for him to continue, but my mind was elsewhere. So much has happened since I last put anything down in my journal.
I'm not sure where to begin.
When last I wrote I mentioned I had sent my favorite pigeon to bring a message to my friends in Paris. I needed to know if they were alright first, and then if there were problems, what I could do to help. I had the ear of our Queen, and was not loath to wax it with soothing words on their behalf if need be. She was a stern queen, but a fair one. She loathed men who were weak and full of folly, but she loved men who were brave and daring, such as Jules and Wells.
Wells had been on her list of men she was considering knighting for his pretigious output of fictional journeys and adventures. She likened him to her other favorite, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whom I have not yet had the chance to acquaint myself with personally, as we do keep our lives in pretty much different worlds these days. I have passed him in the palace from time to time and we have chatted briefly, but that is not the kind of conversation that leads to a deep friendship, but rather a shallow courteous one.
I tend to the opposite. I like to know those I am around in all the ways possible. I suppose that is because I am a writer, an observer of life and as such my mind demands more details than most who go day to day on their life journeys.
As I was seated observing my actor deliver his soliloqy, Sarah returned. She always knew where I was and I always kept a treat for her. Perhaps that motivated her more than anything else, I can not be sure of what goes on in a pigeon's mind, other than utter kindness.
She landed on the railing beside me and cocked an eye on me, then nodded to her right foot where a note was attached. I gave her a treat, and hurriedly untied the message to read it. I was distressed while doing it, because my actor had just blown the next two lines and said, "whether it is bolder to go outside and face the storm than..." Furious at the disruption of my beautiful poetry, I almost chased Sarah away, but I kept my temper in check for both her and the actor.
He was having a rough time at home as I understood it. Something about a romance with another man that wasn't going well. I felt for him, for relationships were difficult with the opposite sex, let alone the same. It is the nature of relationships that they have difficulties. If you are looking for a peaceful and tranquil ride throughout your life, then do not seek a relationship, as they are not always tranquil or peaceful, they are human. And humans feel and sometimes too deeply. And sometimes too shallowly. The choices we all must live with.
I motioned to the actor to do it again and as he did I swiftly unraveled the note and read it.
"Dear Will, it is with the utmost sense of urgency that I request you speak with the brotherhood. Paris is in distress such as no man could ever have suspected to happen. Our beloved Eiffel Tower is now a broken toy, and much of our fair city has been burned and leveled to the ground. I fear that my dear friend Wells is taking this much harder than I, and I can barely look at myself in our mirror now, knowing we might have unwittingly set off the monstrous destruction we now survey about us."
It was a long note. I looked up and the actor was looking at me, an expression of what next. I glanced at my Stage Manager who stood right stage watching and motioned for him to cue the man. He did so and the actor got back in character again and continued.
I returned to the note, my hands trembling, for I feared the rest of the news that surely must be there.
"A strange device from another world has descended into our fair city and it immediately began destroying anything and anyone in its path. I fear it is but the advance guard for something far worse."
I looked up and muttered to myself. "Worse than destroying Paris?"
I shuddered in horror.
I read on.
"Contact the brotherhood, let them know we have a greater peril now than the war between our nations. That a War of the Worlds has begun.
"I shall endeavor to contact you again in two days if able. For now my friends and I must help as many as possible to survive this catastrophe.
"Your friend, Jules."
I looked up again, tears misting my eyes. It was that bad. The Captain's words rang in my ears again in remembrance and I knew at that moment that the play was not the thing in this case, and that the Great Wheel now turning was being spun by hands not meant to be guided by our Creator, but by something far darker.
Pardon me if I seem somewhat melodramatic, but that is my nature as an actor and writer, but as a human being I can only shudder in horror at the thought, "A War of the Worlds has begun."
And it was at that moment that a great shout arose from outside the theater, as if a great crowd were crying out in horror.
Story. "Hammer Man" The Comic Book Commando has never fought anything so strange. If only he could get some rest.
"Look at this, Cartoon!"
Johnnie's fairy tale princess, made of luminous light and glowing flesh, walked into the living room, her feet hammering the floor with waves of light as she crossed the wooden floor and its single large rug that hugged the furniture in the center. She was dressed to the hilt, glowing necklace, earrings of dazzling diamond moons, sparkling rings that made her hands light up and a smile that would make any teenage boy's genes go from double helix to triple in the blink of an eye.
She sat next to him on the arm of his chair, pushing her golden hair back from her eyes so she could look at what he was reading. Her golden eyes smiled. "Hammer Man. Never heard of him."
For a brief moment he hadn't either as the touch of her skin on his arm caused his neuron receptors to begin working overtime hollering, "What are you waiting for you, dolt? She loves you, you love her. What more do you need?"
"Me either." He admitted, ignoring the pleading of his body. After all he wasn't a jerk, and he didn't believe that sex solved everything. Usually it just complicated things, not made them better. His blonde hair was dropping limply across his shoulders from the shower he had gotten out of about fifteen minutes ago. A cold shower. All the way cold. And during winter time that was skin turning blue cold. "He was doing a lot of those kinds of showers lately." He sighed inwardly.
His blue eyes caught hers for a moment and the obvious love between them flamed for a moment.
He caught his breath and shifted his six foot frame slightly to accommodate the waves of hormones that threatened to overwhelm him. Again! He loved her. She lived in his apartment. Mostly. But he had never...you know. It wasn't honorable. And she would probably have turned him into a toad if he had tried. He wanted to think. Sometimes he didn't know if he was just in denial, or truly wanted the best for her, or both, or...the thoughts were too confusing, like most of those kinds of thoughts are to the young and as yet unwise in the matters of love, so he killed them. Gently.
Sometimes when he woke up before her, he would lie on his side, just watching her breath, her eyelids fluttering as she visited whatever world cartoons went to in their sleep. He would see her chest rising and falling gently like soft surf on a sunny beach. His heart would stop sometimes during those moments and he would catch his breath and then he would feel his eyes starting to water. Usually, she didn't wake up when he felt like that. She must have known he was watching her, she was pretty sensitive to that, but she gave him his moments of introspection and pride and kept him closer to her by doing so. Easier to catch a honey bee with honey than with sour grapes.
Yeah. They bundled. Slept side by side, arms wrapped around each other at night. Sometimes. When they weren't battling zombies, werewolves, vampires, mad doctors, aliens and other assorted human and inhuman beasties, but they did sleep...mostly on the go. Him on a bus to school or work, and her...he wasn't really sure if she ever really slept. He would open his eyes up at night sometimes to check if she was really asleep or not and she would either be gone, or if she was still next to him, her eyes would be closed. But he knew her well enough by now to know she could also be doing something else.
You see, Cartoon, was a Princess from the universe of cartoons. It was a strip of infinite land that bordered our own universe. It had few contact points. One of them had been the burning high rise where Johnnie had rescued her when she was pretending to be a small child so she could test his courage. He had passed the test and he had been granted enormous comic book powers. One day she had sat up beside him in bed, taken his trembling hands...because he still had to fight those hormones, remember?
She told him. "Johnnie, you're now the Comic Book Commando. Fighting for good against evil."
He had almost died on that bed, because he had burst into laughter. Not a good thing when you're seated next to a woman who can turn you into a froggie, or even just slice your head off with her magical sword which she could pull out of the air anytime she needed it. Nice trick he had thought at the time, until she looked ready to use it on him.
Then she had calmed down. After he had promised to cook breakfast for her the next morning and make her favorite waffles and fries. For some reason she loved fries and waffles. Don't ask him where she got that from, but he suspected it was from reading comic books about his world. And yeah, right her people wrote stories about this world and the heroes here. He didn't think such existed much anymore, but evidently her world had a sliding scale of values when it came to heroes that accommodate the earth's sometimes sparse treasury of such.
"Okay! Okay!" He had hollered, clamoring to get her temper down into the more arctic regions, so he could survive the night. "I'm sorry. Look, let me make it up to you. Waffles and fries for breakfast!"
Her sword had wavered over her head, from which it would have descended and struck his head off. (Though she swore afterwards she had only been pretending; he didn't believe it for a minute. No one's that perfect an actor! ) "Really?"
She let the sword slide back into her dimension and slid closer to him. "I'm just being honest with you, Johnnie. You know I can't lie." She told him sweetly.
He looked into her eyes and smiled. But inside he was thinking, right and I'm a horse in sheep's clothing. Everyone lies about something! He had thought.
Immediately the sword reappeared.
"You read his thoughts!" He snapped at her. "That's so...so..."
The sword wavered over his head.
"Scary." He finally said.
She burst into laughter and the sword vanished again. She threw her arms around his shoulders and hugged him close. He was reluctant at first. The hormone thing you know, but it's not good to say no to a Princess, especially one with a magical sword that could appear and take your head off at any given moment.
But getting back to the Hammer Man. He was really cool. A great red suit with blue and white stars on the shoulders, shoes that were solid blue with white stars on their tips, and a great big hammer, even bigger than Thor's. As a matter of fact the hammer could be any size you wanted. He was on page twenty and he had already clobbered a skyscraper with it to get at aliens who had taken it over and killed everyone inside. Just like that! BOOM! The building was history and a cloud of dust dirtying the skies of Chicago.
Did he mention that he was a Chicagoan? That's right. And an ex-policeman who had tried to stop corruption in his department and been framed for the very thing he was exposing. How's that for turnaround. Then one night he went camping out in the woods and a nuclear tipped missile accidentally strayed from an overflying Air Force jet. It had been struck by lightning. Yeah. Big storm. So he wasn't having much fun anyway, except for the display of lightning in the sky. So when he saw the incredibly huge object coming down from the sky at him, he had this hammer in his hands. It was made of a new alloy and he was testing it on the firewood to see if he could split logs with it. Didn't work, but as luck would have it, a lightning bolt struck the nuclear missile. It detonated. But not in the usual way. Instead of exploding outwards, it exploded inwards, but even though he wasn't smashed to smithereens and turned radioactive at least, the energies released from the inversion...for some crazy kind of comic book logic...the energies lanced into his hammer.
Of course he was holding tight to the hammer, and voila, Hammer Man was born.
Cartoon looked at him and shook her head. "Johnnie, you and your comic books."
"Yeah. And don't forget you wouldn't be here if I didn't love them, light bulb!"
It was a term of endearment He had for her. She frowned. She didn't like the implications of being a light bulb, because they can be switched off. "And He would be missing out on the most beautiful, smart Princess in this or any other universe...not to mention He would not be a..." He raised his voice in an imitation of the way TV announces heroes..."THE COMIC BOOK COMMANDO!"
He leaped to his feet and held his hand up, the Hammer of the comic book appearing in it.
Cartoon almost burst her gut with laughter.
He set the Hammer down and gave her a hug. She leaned into me. "Someday."
"Yeah." He sighed.
Guess I didn't tell you either that if we were to have...you know...her connection to our world would be broken. Then kaboom, no more Princess. Gone. Forever. And me, a lonely Comic Book Commando. Very lonely.
He felt a tear wetting his eyes.
She pressed it away gently with her finger. "What's wrong?"
"This is going to sound stupid and silly."
"And everything else doesn't?" She laughed.
He smiled. And just like that she forgot about what he might have told her and he forgot about what was causing his eyes to get moist.
The front door flung open and Laurie burst inside. She's his brunette friend he hangs with sometimes and plays music with. She's got one of me for a boyfriend too, a clone of me. I made two extras of me for her and Koomay. Aren't I nice? She finally discovered it, but she didn't care. He was me, even if cloned. And that was enough. Or at least that's what I hoped when she and Cartoon hung out together without me. God only knows what they said behind his back, which might explain why his ears burned sometimes when they were together and turned red hot when they were with Koomay as well.
Koomay is the other woman in his life at work.
"Johnnie! Come quickly!" She urged in alarm.
"You're about to die!"
He gave Cartoon a blank look, grabbed the Hammer that stay was manifested on his chair and ran after her, Cartoon on his heels, manifesting her sword as she flew along behind me. The Landlord managed to come out of an apartment at that moment, a bottle of Jim Bean in his right hand. He was swigging on it, when we rushed by.
Had he taken the time to look back he would have seen the Landlord empty the bottle, and go back into the room and slam the door. No doubt to sleep off what he thought was hallucinations. He took a moment to worry about the guy, and maybe even pity him, but not much longer. The man was a snoop and a Lech, and if he wasn't also nice in other ways, he would've sent him packing into another dimension or something the way he treated the women sometimes.
Laurie threw open her front door and he ran inside. My clone double was on the floor and a very odd creature was about to swallow him. He was almost all the way inside its throat, when he dashed in. The monster rolled several eyestalks around to look at me, sprouted a mouth with lots of teeth and said. "You're inside me!"
"Not really." He said with a smile, then grew his hammer to the size of a small horse and smashed its tail. My duplicate shot from its mouth and collided into the wall. Laurie ran to him as the creature rolled over to give me its full attention.
"Regards from hell." It bubbled in a strange, wet voice to me.
"Regards from heaven." He shot back at it, then increased the density of his hammer, made it with sharp, wicked little points on its head, then smashed it in the face.
The face sank inwards, but then popped out again.
Cartoon raced in front of me and sliced the head with her sword. The sword passed through it, and then exited the other side. The head squirted some green ichors several moments, but didn't tumble.
"Nice try, chickie!" The monster told Cartoon then slammed her with one its tentacle eyeballs. She flew against the wall, stunned.
He looked at his hammer and thought for a moment, what if...?
The creature leaped at me.
He shoved the hammer down its throat and told it what to do.
The creature's eyes shone with triumph for a moment, thinking it was going to swallow me and the hammer, and then the hammer did its thing. It began doubling in size, over and over and over.
He grabbed his duplicate from the floor where he lay and Cartoon and Laurie helped me carry him outside as the hammer did its job. Laurie shut the door.
The Landlord chose that moment to come out of his door again.
He saw the second Johnnie between him, Laurie and Cartoon...Cartoon's glowing skin, which was bright enough to light the entire complex, now that she was emotionally supercharged...and the sword in her hand.
He looked at the second bottle of Jim Bean in his hands, shook his head, and then went back inside. Several moments later we heard a bottle smash against the door of the apartment.
We paused to see if he would come out again. He didn't.
There was a WHOOMPH sound from inside Laurie's apartment and she opened the door to look inside. There was monster all over the floor, ceiling and walls. She groaned. "It'll take me days to clean the place up!"
The Johnnie in our arms stirred, and we helped him stand up. He gave me a quick glance, winked, and then took Laurie by the hand and inside. "Don't worry, honey baby, I'll clean it up for you. He blinked at his hands and they became mop heads gleaming with soap.
Cartoon shut their door and turned to me, after her flaming sword vanished.
She gave him a big kiss and a hug, and all their differences dissolved once more into the heap of memories none of us really want to reinvestigate when it comes to people we truly love with our heart and soul. He could feel her energies melding with his own and while maybe not exactly human as we understand it, it was something he loved and cared deeply about. Something he lived for and would....die for if necessary.
The Comic Book Commando was once more just a normal teen, walking beside the best looking girl this side of the universe. Now wasn't he just the luckiest of guys!