The Revenge of the Mummy
(A Sherlock Holmes/Doctor Watson Adventure)
by John Pirillo
Inspector Bloodstone groaned as yet another eyewitness was brought into the station to give their account of what had happened. He rubbed at his fiery mustache and his bloodshot eyes, then put on his best face and went to meet the person.
"Good evening, Messieur Dormant!" He greeted the older man who hobbled into his office, using a cane to support himself. The man looked as terrible as the Inspector felt. He had blood all over his shoes and cane and he stank of it as well.
The Inspector looked to Chief Constable Rampart and he nodded, and went out to do what he had been doing for most of the night now. He yawned, like so many others, then spotted the line that was still forming in the lobby as more and more Constables, still engaged in the fiasco at the Mulamont Theater, brought more and more people who had been at the late night event. He went to the small room they had reserved for their own meals and greeted Constable Sherman, who looked even worse than he felt at the time.
He was just putting on a second pot of tea to join the first on their small stove.
"Bollocks of an evening, Jimmy boy."
Chief Constable Rampart nodded, then suppressed yet another yawn. "Why does it always happen when our shift is nearly over?"
"A Constable's life, I'm afraid." Constable Sherman replied, not waiting for a request to fill a cup of tea. He was already half way done and had spotted the Chief Constable before he entered the small dining area.
"Here you are, matey." He said as he gave the Chief Constable the cup. "May it serve you well."
They both laughed and Constable Sherman sighed, yawned, then went back to making more coffee and tea. He had several loaves of bread in the oven as well and when that was finished would make them available to the couples with children, which as soon as he thought it, he heard crying and complaining outside of the young ones.
Chief Constable Rampart patted one small boy on his head who was seated next to his mother, very quietly watching everything and not complaining or crying. "Right good son, you have, Madam."
She gave him a bleary-eyed look and a wan smile. "Any idea when we go in?"
"Next up, Madam." He told her, then patted the young boy again on his head and entered the Inspector's office, just as Messieur Dormant was beginning to drop off to sleep, waiting for him.
"This should wake you up a might, sir."
"I thank you." He looked at the Inspector. "You have a nice set of boys here, Inspector. I wish some of them worked at my factory. Those louts would put anyone into the looney bin trying to manage them."
"I see." The Inspector said. "Thank you. Now once more. Please tell me when you first saw the dead man...er...dying man."
Messieur Dormant set his tea cup down, steepled his fingers, which were quite hairy and arthritic, causing them to look almost like claws. "We all heard the scream. It was horrible. Just horrible. Made me age at least ten years hearing that horrible sound."
Chief Constant Rampart rolled his eyes from behind the older man, which the Inspector saw and had to force himself not to laugh, but he managed somehow and nodded. "And what happened next, pray tell?"
Messieur Dormant leaned on the desk of the Inspector, cleared his throat, pulled out a long and obviously well used hankerchief, blew into it loudly and long, causing both the Inspector and the Chief Constable to squirm briefly, before he put it away and spoke. "The crowd about us began breaking apart, with more screams, but this time of terror of something they saw right there and at that time. The Lord protect us from what happened next?"
Messieur Dormant tapped the Inspector on his right hand with a long, carefully manicured fingernail. "God awful bloody mess is what happened next!!"
The Inspector said nothing, just waited.
"This man, the one who died, burned up, or whatever it was that happened to him. He walked through the middle of the remaining crowd like some poor lost soul, his body and clothing in shreds, his face torn in half, his eyeballs drooping out, guts hanging down to his burning shoes."
Chief Constable Rampart rolled his eyes again and shook his head.
"Then he collapsed in front of Missus Van Der Veere, who immediately let out a shriek like a banshee from hell and fell over him, trying to revive him."
"Then the two of them lit up like firecrackers. And that's all I remember as my good nephew, Donnoly, took me up into his arms bodily and ran with me from that terrible spot."
"Strapping young man." The Inspector observed, seeing as the older man must have weighed about twenty stone, if not a bit more. How the old man was able to walk at all was nothing short of a miracle he thought to himself.
"I see. That will be all, Messieur Dormant. Chief Constable Rampart will contact you if we need anything further."
"Then I may go home now?"
"I expect so. Your nephew waiting for you or do you need a ride?"
"Uncle!" Came a voice from outside. The Nephew stood in the doorway. He stood about five feet tall and was built like a straw.
Again, the Inspector and the Chief Constable had to restrain themselves from laughing at the testimony they had just been given.
The Inspector rose as Messieur Dormant rose with difficulty to his feet, using his cane to stabilize him. He extended his hand and shook the others. "Thanks for your willingness to give witness, Messieur."
"My pleasure. Where would London be without honest citizens to report the misdeeds of the miscreants? Hey?"
"I agree." Holmes said from behind him.
He and Watson entered, both of them looking frayed, but alert.
Holmes waited until the older man had exited with his nephew, then he immediately sat down in the same chair the witness had occupied. He hadn't waited to be invited. "We came as soon as we got word."
"Rather hard to do since no one answered the door for at least two hours."
"Long night." Watson said, the hint of a smile on his lips.
"I see." The Inspector said.
"Well, you've probably heard by now what happened."
"Yes, Inspector, as have most of the rest of London." Holmes replied drily.
He leaned forward. "I assume you've sealed off the crime scene."
"Yes." He gestured to the Chief Constable who nodded and headed for the door.
"You mind riding with us?" The Inspector said as he put on his own coat and hat.
"Gladly." Holmes replied, giving Watson a look, who nodded, shifting his medical bag to the other hand.
"Oh, I must warn you." The Inspector said, turning to look at the both of them as they exited his tiny office. "You won't find many clues. The whole area was stampeded by the panicked crowd. When we arrived..." He spread his hands.
"Well then, Inspector, let's see what has been left to observe." Holmes replied, and then hurried towards the exit to the street with Watson on his heels.