by John Pirillo
"We came as soon as we were able to make it." Watson explained to Constable Evans, who glanced nervously about him as fellow Constables came and went, then he motioned to Watson and Sherlock to follow him. He studiously avoided the Inspector's office, whose door was closed and blinds down, then took them into the back where the mess was.
He sat down at a table and they sat across from him.
"My father's the Inspector."
Sherlock's eyebrows rose.
Watson cleared his throat. "You said what?"
"The Inspector is my father."
Sherlock and Watson exchanged glances, then looked at the now not only nervous Constable, but frightened as well.
"Then this should be a day of great joy for you." Watson declared, watching the expression on Constable Evans face.
"Blimey, if it shouldn't, Doctor, but it isn't."
Sherlock and Watson waited.
Constable Evans took out a hanky, wiped at his eyes, then looked at them both. "Oh, he said all the right things. Even knew all the correct answers. Dates, times, people. But he was missing something important. I can't put my finger on it. Or at least I couldn't until this morning."
Watson snorted. "But could you be wrong in this. The Inspector would have no reason to lie to you..."
Sherlock cleared his throat.
"What brought you to this with the Inspector?"
"I don't know exactly. It's as if this sudden change came over him. It began at the hospital. He...he...was nice to me."
Watson started to laugh, but then realizing Constable Evans wasn't joking, he made as if to clear his throat. "Sorry. Got carried away for a moment. You said something was wrong because...?"
"He was nice to me. He's never nice to me. Or any of the other Constables. You can ask them all. He's all business and proper. By the numbers. No personal names ever. No crying. No laughing. No sharing. By the book. Always."
Sherlock rubbed the stubble on his chin, then frowned. "Remind me to sharpen my blade when we return to the flat, Watson."
He leaned across the table and searched Constable Evans's face. "And you say he's been acting this way..."
"Since we left the Thames, Mister Holmes. Since that day. He's been...well...uh..different."
Watson frowned, then rubbed his head where the device had been implanted. He looked to Sherlock, who nodded. Watson exited the mess.
"I think we should have a little talk with the Inspector, Constable Evans."
"You won't tell him I put you onto this? What if I'm wrong and I'm just imagining things."
"Where's there's smoke..." Sherlock said, leaving the rest unspoken and rose to exit the mess.
Madame Curie came into the office of Edison and Tesla in her medical garment, all white and starched. Einstein looked over and gave a whistle. She blushed, then gave him a scowl.
"I've had a chance to further analyze the tissue samples we retrieved from the theater, the battery shop and the remains of the warship."
"And?" Tesla asked, putting down the paperwork he had been going over. A map of London with certain areas marked in red, others in green, others in blue and yello.
Edison scooted around on his bench and watched.
She laid down a photograph on the table between them. On it was the image of several kinds of cells. She pointed to the first as Einstein came over to watch as well. "This one is a typical dermatological cell."
"Skin tissue then?" Edison inquired.
"Yes. And quite human."
Einstein scratched his hair, his eyes narrowing as she continued.
"But this one. She pointed to the next cell..."
"Doesn't look like skin tissue cells." Tesla remarked. "What is it then?"
She slid that photo aside, and dropped a new one from the bundle in her right hand.
Einstein whistled. "It's eating the first one!"
"Cannibalism." Edison growled angrily.
He looked into her face. "It's not just taking over the humans..."
"Right. It's like cancer. Once it has an entrance."
"It continues to grow and mutate." She pointed out, dropping the last three photos on the table top, revealing only the alien cells there."
"Dear God in Heaven." Edison said, crossing himself.
"I'm afraid even He might be afraid of this creature." Madame Curie commented, herself feeling a definite need to shiver to escape the cold dread she was now feeling.
"Then all those people who have been contaminated." Tesla started to say, then stopped.
"All will become."
"Like that Mummy creature." Einstein said, his pipe snapping in two from the grip of his two hands on it.
Edison's eyes narrowed in thought. "There must be some way to counteract this. There has to be or our world is in utter danger of being annihilated, every man, woman and soul upon it!"
They all looked at Madame Curie. She gave them a faint smile. "I've run some tests in the lab, but so far nothing has been able to kill the infecting cells."
"Then it is truly like a deadly cancer spreading through the bodies of those infected."
"Watson!" Tesla cried out. "Dear God, the man must be told before it's too late!"
Watson stepped into the back of the waiting Tesla Cab, then reached for his medical bag, which he had left not thinking he would need it.
"Will you two be much longer, sir?" The Cabbie inquired.
"Shouldn't be too much longer."
Watson handed the Cabbie a bill, then walked swiftly away.
"Thank you, Doctor, but aren't you headed in the wrong direction?"
Doctor Watson didn't hear him, nor would he have answered had he done so.
At precisely that same time another Tesla Cab pulled to the curb and Tesla and Edison jumped up and ran into the constabulary, almost knocking a Constable down as they did so.
Doctor Watson stopped at the end of the block, looked back for a moment, as if trying to remember something, then lost his focus and continued the same direction as before, making his way to the next street and then along it to an alley, which he immediately stepped into.
Waiting in the alley was a horse and buggy carriage. He got into the back and its driver urged his horse and it began rolling away, until it reached the end of the alley and was gone.
A few seconds later Sherlock and Constable Evans came running out, followed by Tesla and Edison. Sherlock ran to the waiting cab. "Have you seen the Doctor?"
The Cabbie nodded and pointed towards the alley. "He went that way, but I thought he was with you, sir."
Sherlock's eyes widened and he began running as swiftly as possible towards the alley, followed by Tesla and Edison. They reached the alley shortly after Sherlock entered it.
He was on a knee examining skid marks in the snowy mud there. He frowned a moment, then took out a vial and scooped up some of the sludge.
He rose to face the others. "You must return and see if the good Madame can come up with something to help John."
He didn't even notice he had fallen into a personal name, until after they ran back the way they'd come. He held up the vial, his hand trembling with fear.
"Not again." He uttered, his voice tinged with horror.
John Pirillo"Writing fuels the heart and soul!" Science Fiction, Fantasy and Adventure Tales to Take Your Breath Away!