Chapter Fifty-One of "Things that go bump in the Night," a Sherlock Holmes Baker Street Adventure is now posted. www.johnpirillo.com
"Things that go bump in the Night,"
by John Pirillo
Mary ran like hell was on her heels, because it was. The floor was ripping apart as if a gigantic hand had both sides of it and were tearing it as easily as one might a sheet of paper.
Challenger looked at the petals, confused by what was happening.
"Pull the sword!" Mary screamed.
"But I'm not that pure." Challenger shouted back.
"Bollocks! Challenger pull it! Now!"
Challenger wrenched on the sword with all his might. His body shook from the effort. It didn't budge an inch, but it did do two things. One the floor stopped tearing apart. Two, Challenger was knocked so hard in his chest by a backwash of pure magical energy that he flew over the head of Mary, who ducked to save herself.
"Challenger!" She screamed.
Dracula hurtled for several yards into the dark, then slowed down and shot back at the creature, like an exploding cannon ball fired from a pirate ship. Dracula did something he had not done in years, in decades, he assumed his full bat form, which was huge, ugly as hell and armed with teeth the size of a sabertooth tiger.
The creature's stinger whipped around to slam into Dracula's chest, but he shot under it, then as he passed over the creature's head he ripped one of its eyes out with a grasp of his clawed hands. The creature screamed furiously, its anger so terrible that it ripped a huge section of the cavern floor apart in its frustration. It no longer paid attention to the others.
"Quickly!" Holmes urged the others. "We must move ahead while the Count is keeping it busy!"
They rushed past the creature, whose eyes were only on Dracula as he soared past again and this time landed on its shoulders and sank his teeth into its scaly neck. The stinger lashed upwards and struck Dracula on his right shoulder, knocking him to the ground. He stood up and grinned at the others. "I haven't had this much fun in..."
The stinger slammed into his chest.
His eyes went big as moons.
Challenger landed so hard that the air was smashed out of his lungs. He was much lighter in those days, but more heavy with muscle and so it was a hard landing for him and then some, as he skidded through and across rough rocks and stones in his path. Cut and bleeding he rolled over, marveling at how well he felt. He sat up, stretched his limbs to see if they were all working properly and then noticed Mary at the great sword, running a finger lightly along its length.
"When you get tired of resting, you can come help me solve this puzzle." She chided him.
Challenger got up and stretched, then rushed over to her. He eyed the inscription. "Oh that!"
"Did you read it?" She asked him.
"Of course not. Who had the time?"
"I think it says that he who is worthy shall wear the ring of Arthur and wield the sword of power forever and ever."
Challenger bent closer, then smiled. "Actually, it says she..."
"Yes, my dear. She who is worthy shall wear the ring of Arthur and wield the sword of power forever and ever."
Mary trembled a moment, lusting over the power that representing, then she shoved away from the sword. "No one should have that much power." She protested.
"Which is exactly why it said she." Challenger insisted.
"See!" He pointed to the hilt of Excalibur, which had sprung as slight trap door. He gently pried it the rest of the way open, revealing a beautiful jeweled ring with the symbol of a dragon in beautiful rubies and emeralds on a gold crest.
He motioned to her. "I believe it's waiting for its rightful owner."
Mary trembled again as she reached a brown finger into the opening to pull it free. She did so, and then gently rolled it over between her fingers, as Challenger looked on proudly.
She slipped on the ring to her index finger and her entire body glowed for a moment. The sound of distant trumpets was heard as if heralds were announcing the arrival of someone great and powerful. The lighting in the chamber grew brighter as if angels were in attendance and then a great chorus of voices began to sing, "Glory, glory! The Queen is found!"
Challenger dropped to his knees before Mary and bowed his head. "Your majesty!" He said, simply and with the deepest and most profound of respect.
Mary sighed as the last of those memories drifted back into time along with so many others. She rose to pace the room again, glancing warily at her friends. "You see, that was a great moment for me. For both of us. I have treasured it like none other. But with greatness comes a price. And mine was no less great than the reward."
She stopped and faced the others. "For when Light shines the brightest, it also casts the darkest shadow."
Madame Curie smiled. "He has the sword, doesn't he?"
Mary nodded, feeling ashamed at that moment. "Maybe it was destined that what we had wrought would be undone by one of such evil intellect, but ordained or not, he did take it from us, and without a great effort. For in our foolish pride and eagerness to obtain the treasure, we had forgotten to cover our tracks."
Lady Shareen stood then and took Mary's hands in her own. "You couldn't possibly have known he would be there."
"Yes, I could. For you see I had told his son, and that was the biggest mistake I made. For had I not told the son the father would never have become the dark evil he had become and the son fall to the tragedy of the intellect he was entrapped in and later destroyed by."
"But that was so long ago." Madame Curie said. "Surely, he can't be alive now."
Mary's eyes reflected the torment she felt at that moment. "I fear it is he." She turned to look out her window for a brief moment, as if gathering her strength, then returned her vision to her friends, who both gave her a great deal more warmth that she could accept at that moment. "You see, I was the one who ran the orphanage that raised him and later his son. He hated his son, and his son never even knew he was alive, never even knew he had a living father who had sired him and brought him into the dark world he had fallen into."
"Mister Dark!" Madame Curie finally said.
"But you see, my dear friend." Mary said to Madame Curie. "It is not Mister Dark we have to be afraid of so much. He is just a misguided child, whom I suspect even at this moment is hating what he has fallen into, what he has wrought, maybe even seeking to make amends."
"Then who are you speaking of?" Lady Shareen asked.
Mary looked at her a long time then and said. "I'm speaking of..."