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Mark One

The Heeled Jackal

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acute

Policemen cant fly though...well I suppose an airship was possible :)

You never heard of The Flying Squad?

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Mark One

You never heard of The Flying Squad?

Your referring to that team whose name originated from a nasty barber who slashed blokes throats for pie fillings...someone should make film about that :P

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I had to share this here because its the trailer for the Sherlock Christmas special, the BBC show and its set in the Victorian era...whoo-hoo!

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Holmes was sat at the table with a copy of the Times newspaper. He was still in his silk matching pyjamas but also sat snugly with a mauve scarf that was lightly rapped around his neck, its remaining length draped down his left side. Before him on the table sat plates that contained butter fried bacon, fried eggs and mushrooms. Thick slices of buttered bread lay in wait as he reached for the little brown teapot and poured himself another cup of hot tea. The crackling of the fire kept catching his attention with its hypnotic glare, something that brought back images of his night with Jack and his eyes. Mrs Hudson hurridly returned to collect the filthy clothing from Holmes previous performance. She didnt look pleased at the mess it had made, especially the stains upon the carpet and furniture. “Mr Holmes! The next time you plan to spend the night away without as much as a word to inform me of your return please take more care! What the heck were you up to? A sweep? Oh,dont bother...yes, I know...That will be all...” Holmes sipped his tea,placed the cup down and reached for a slice of the bread. He tore it in half and took one piece to the fried eggs. He took in a mighty mouth full of the bread which was now warm with the runny yolk. His face was one of satisfaction as he chewed his meal. “Mrs Hudson were would I be without your cooking my dear. As for my nocturnal outfit, alas my dear housekeeper for that was all I had left. My travels yesterday and indeed into the night did not fare well against the elements.” She shook her head at what in her mind was the words of a foolish man, “You'll catch your death one of these days! I take it then that your journey was a prosperous one? Did you find what you were looking for?” Holmes had cut a slice of bacon which was now buried deep within the yolk of another egg. Her words echoed inside his mind as he tried to formulate a reply that wouldn't reveal the true horror of what he had met. A solution came quickly and easily, “Mrs Hudson, may I eat your delicious breakfast alone. I need to bathe and then dress before the Doctor arrives...That will be all Mrs Hudson. With a thrown she reluctantly carried the clothing away but stopped by the door. She was about to ask him something when without turning he offered, “Destroy them Mrs Hudson for I have no further use of them.” She gave him a familiar look of – how did you know I was going to ask you that, before quickly leaving him to his meal.

The misty morning air was indeed colder than yesterdays. The endless flakes of snow fell around traffic as it made its way along the busy roads of Baker street. All kinds of folk huddled around the small wood burners that were scattered along the pavements. Eager hands offered their palms towards the vibrant flames that both spat and crackled. Watson was surprised to find his carriage pull up far beyond 221b. He tapped his cane up above before shouting for an answer about why the carriage had stopped. “Cart park any closer Doctor, the roads a busy un t`day sir.”, came the drivers reply. The bemused passenger opened the door and peered out into the feint mists. Indeed the driver was correct, thought Watson. He eagerly departed from his carriage and quickly payed the man before adjusting his coat and hat. Then with a pace that wished to escape the chill, he walked along the busy pavement. His eyes were expectantly drawn to that black carriage which seemed to hold 221b under siege. To his surprise he could not locate it, something which made him concerned about Holmes welfare. He hastened his pace and was soon before the door -rattling its knocker with impatience.

Mrs Hudson gracefully lead him up the stairs, with her follower looking relieved. “No doubt Doctor, Mr Holmes will inform you of his business yesterday. He hasnt told me a single thing. Now I must return to the kitchen, dont wish to burn the bread rolls.” Watson nodded and could soon smell the enticing aromas of baking along the landing as Mrs Hudson called out, “Oh, hes already got a visitor Doctor and not a welcome one by the tone of their chatter...” Watson entered Holmes lodgings to find him leaning against the chair that stood by the main window. Sat with his back to Watson by the fire was a stout looking man who appeared to be dressed in fine clothing. “Mycroft? ”, he enquired as Sherlock turned around to greet his friend. Holmes simply nodded towards his surprised friend as his older brother got to his feet and turned to face John, “Doctor John Watson! Oh how pleasing it is to meet my brothers partner again.“ Mycroft Holmes made his way to shake Johns hand. He stood in well polished black boots that met his knees and matched the colour of his trousers. He wore a mid brown tailcoat that covered his cream high collar shirt. His rosy cheeks, pale blue eyes and milky white side burns graced his pleasant appearance as he took Johns hand. “How long as it been Doctor since we last met...Im pleased that your here because maybe you can talk sense into my reluctant brother.” Mycroft beckoned John to join him by the fireside as Holmes simply looked on. John sat across from the man who Holmes referred to as - the aged relation and smiled with a nod towards him. “There, there Doctor warm yourself for the temperature outdoors is to drop even further or so Ive been informed.” came the warm advice of his fire side companion. Watson was always amazed by how remarkably different the two brothers were. Holmes was – simply cold and aloof whilst Mycroft was always bursting with warmth. Yet both characters hid powerful and at times sinister minds behind their outwardly persona's. Mycroft Holmes was a formidable man who could sack kingdoms if so chose. In his long career as advisor to the Ministry of Defence he had outwitted many opponents and foiled many serious crimes and plots against the British Crown. Watson knew of course that his title was actually just words on paper, his real position was far higher then this and gave him great power. Watson surmised that his age was somewhere close to 60 years of age, but this was no weakness in who was as sharp minded as his brother. Mycroft offered John a small glass of sherry, which John knew he should accept. “It carries such a sweet aroma does it not. Its an 1860 vintage Bristol Cream from my own personal collection Doctor. You should prescribe a drop to your patients dear fellow.” gleamed its owner. “You carry it on person then Mycroft?” asked Watson. His question was met with one of Mycrofts Cheshire cat like smiles which led then led to, “Only on special occasions Doctor.”. He placed his empty glass back by the fireside, smiled at Watson before his tone became more serious. The palms of his hands joined together, “So, to business. Sherlock would you like to explain to the Doctor just what it is we are celebrating?” He stood and made his way to the dining table as Holmes rushed to sit where his brother had. “Never accept a drink from my aged relation John. Many a fellow has died in mysterious circumstances shortly afterwards.” explained Holmes. Mycrofts outward expression of pleasantness remained as he laughed to himself, “Only those who deserve it Sherlock...are you quite sure that you wont sample my tipple.” Watson coughed loudly to halt the brotherly rivalry before asking Holmes about his most recent adventure. But Mycroft beat his brother to it, “Excellent question Doctor and one I feel I should reveal. It seems that my brother visited the most rural of places yesterday and went on to cause havoc in a nearby quarry. Borrowforth, to the far West of London. He acted very foolishly and for what? This so called Spring Heeled Jack fellow, I ask you...” Holmes lit his pipe and smiled has his older brother attempted to scold him. “Then theres the intrigued carriage that seems to follow both of you around London. Sherlock, as always you have to dip your boot into a pool that belongs to me.” Holmes questioned his brother, “So your following this creature too dear brother. How heart warming.”. Watson looked confused and shook his head, “Creature? Holmes!” “Very well Doctor, but I must ask you as a gentlemen to give me your word that what is shared here goes no further.” Holmes, rose and made his way to the closed door before interrupting his brother, “And I was just about to order tea and refreshments.” He pulled the door open to the shocked face of his housekeeper, “That will be all Mrs Hudson!”. The startled women blushed, muttered some words of apology and then fled back to the safety of her cooking. Mycroft made his way towards the main window and took in the view outside, “Today is a most busy one for Baker Street Doctor.” Holmes returned to his seat and pipe which he relit with a match before adding, “John, he arranged the traffic outdoors and saw off our intrigued follower.” Watson was both amazed and shocked by this, “Is our follower a member of your...” Mycroft interrupted his question with a more sterner tone to his voice, “No Doctor they are not,but we do know of them. Our paths have crossed many times.”

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Mark One

I`d like to this moment to thank everyone who has viewed my story. I never thought it would reach 1000 reads,cheers Unexplained-Mysteries.com :)

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“A known villain then, Mycroft?” asked Watson with interest as Holmes simply took in his tobacco and watched the fire. Mycroft continued with a more softer tone, “My dear Doctor may I enlighten you to what my dearest brother has always known. Knowledge that he has overlooked in many of his conclusions to the cases that you have both successfully brought to a close. You are after all a man who deems the pen mightier than the sword, a quality that is both powerful and to be admired Doctor. Words can do untold damage if...your reports that describe the adventures both you and my brother met are always of interest to me.” He then turned around and made his way to the closed door that had previously seen off the house keeper. “Gentlemen, a moment please.” he offered with politeness before disappearing. Watson suddenly found himself lost and alarmed, had Mycroft just used some form of hypnosis upon him, he thought to himself as part of his mind longed for that voice to return. He decided to get up when Holmes interrupted him with a gentle hand to his shoulder, “Sit old friend, an intermission before the next part Watson. He is to reveal that which I cannot without permission.” Watson obliged and took out his silver cigarette case and lit what he took from it. He joined Holmes and stared into the soothing dancing flames. He shook his head with questions that he dare not ask and yet the warmth in front of him beckoned him to speak his mind. Holmes had studied his troubled friends crisis, “John, it has an unmeasured quota of rabies within its bloodstream, the cadaver I studied revealed this suspicion and later became a conclusive answer. Its true nature has been poisoned, as it strives to know who....” Mycroft returned with a joyful tone, “Now then gentlemen, where were we? Oh yes, Roderick Mansfield!” Watson looked towards Holmes with a face that asked who? without speaking word. Holmes revealed a slight smile before he took in his pipe and returned his glance towards the flames. Mycroft studied the watercolour paintings that hung near the main window, his forefinger making traces in the air as it followed the sweeping hills. “Splendid works Sherlock, and yet they are not signed....” Holmes replied with boredom as he continued his deep investigation of the glaring heat, “ Yes correct, now if you please, continue for my dear friend here is not acclimatised to your methods...” Mycroft stood in silence and completed his study of Holmes painting before making his way to the window chair.

He touched its form and took in its shape, “Hmm, a well used seat. Chosen not for its look but for its durability. A hardy piece of furniture that can take your weight when sat upon or leaned against. A thinker values its trust, a seat not intended for its comfort but for support.” Mycroft adjusted his clothing and christened it with his weight, he then smiled as he took in its questionable comfort. “The carriage that my brother has made you aware of is owned by a freelance advisor who supports a distinguished gentleman with his business and dealings. The business in question cannot be revealed here but Mansfield is a man of many qualities, he is ahead of his time Doctor in what those in my fields term technology. In the weeks that my brother...and indeed you too Doctor have been followed, this man has been collecting intelligence with one ultimate aim from his employer. Today, as I approached Baker Street, I saw to it that his intentions were known and so he left. Expect to never see his hidden presence again.” Watson turned in his seat, “Who? I apologise but I have no idea what this has to do with Holmes latest investigation. Are they connected? His hidden presence again Mycroft...to me this indicates a more formal approach in the future!” Mycroft adjusted himself again as he struggled with the awkward wooden chair and continued, “Mansfields employer saw to it Doctor after my brother meddled in what was supposed to be a secret. The heeled Jackal that scares the weak and vulnerable with harsh and unnatural means...a situation that soon got out of control when what they were trying to cover up came and found them here in London.” Watson had questions but found his mouth suddenly dry and devoid of sound as his lecturer ignored him and carried on. “We had to create a diversion Doctor. To such ends we found two women, twins who were tested and trained with good payment as a reward. Plentiful Alison, had many dealings and connections with the underworld and so was easily swayed into our employment. We made her an offer that she couldn't refuse. Her sister Iris was soon drawn into our plan and adorned with what the newspapers had previously reported.” Watson stood and turned to face Sherlock's older brother, “You payed them to brutishly harm innocent people!” “No, we devised a distraction in which we burnt the odd cart, staged a man who appeared on fire, a lost with fear mother...No my dear Doctor, it was Mr Mansfields employer whom saw to it that brutality would be swiftly inflicted on the unsuspecting public. “ Watson wasn't convinced, “But why go to such extremes, after all Mycroft, you were doing him a favour. It doesnt make sense.” Holmes answered his friends confusion, “The man who played with my brothers game found out about the Trott sisters and forced the late Alison into revealing what she knew of my brothers intentions. She effectively became a reluctant double agent if you will.” Mycroft merrily joined in, “Excellent! You knew so little Sherlock and yet you are so spot on old boy. Now Doctor, several of the employers...staff , yes that is a colourful word isnt it! Lets just say, they ran away with some of the leaders loot...yes another suspicious word that will do finely. These scoundrels fled to our great city and lay low after hiding the spoils of their labours. Ms Trott was made to seek out these wanted men and also learn of the loots location. We then covertly took the men into private custody whilst she hired local criminals to gather the erm...loot and return it to the...employer.” Watson stood, “This all seems a tad odd Mycroft. Why not face this employer and bring him to justice?” Holmes turned to his friend and added, “the workings and feuds within the brotherhood my dear Watson are most complex.” “The brotherhood...you mean the M...” asked the doctor as Mycroft leapt out of his chair and rushed towards him with his forefinger pressed against his mouth., “Shush doctor. Never reveal that word in vain.”

“I hope I did not startle you John.” came the reassuring words of Holmes brother as he headed for his top hat and cane. “Now gentlemen, a must bid you a good day for I have business to attend to in East London. Sherlock, I hope our little talk has convinced you to take that rest you seriously require and Doctor, remember – not a word beyond these walls.”. With a gesture of goodbye he left his audience alone, something which Watson to immediate advantage of, “ Holmes! What the devil is going on!” Watson turned to see his companion stood by the window, “John, come and observe this.” He obliged and joined Holmes at the window where they both witnessed a most amusing sight. Clearly, Mycroft had just boarded his personal carriage which was now gathering momentum, yet it was the other ones that had filled Baker Street which was a sight to watch. One by one their horses sprang into life and joined the leader. Baker Street was at a standstill again as they formed what appeared to be a long and daunting worm or snake that slithered its way into the distance. Holmes continued to watch this most rare of sights, “I met with it last night John and nearly payed with my life. It isnt an animal nor a beast John but a visitor to our...shores. I believe it to be a summoned being John but also an unexpected visitor.” Watson was taken aback by what he had just heard his friend say. “Summoned Holmes! From where? Surely the great Sherlock Holmes isn't turning towards the paranormal. You once told me such emanations never appeal to you. You met with it...where? Holmes you have a lot of explaining to do, come let us sit and ask Mrs Hudson for some refreshments.”

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Mark One

Holmes took in more of his pipe tobacco, his slippered feet swaying as they rested upon the hearth and took in the relaxing heat. “There were always two players within this mystery Watson, something I soon deduced after a weeks worth of newspaper headlines and reports associated with the infamous Jack.” Watson nodded as his finished his second helping of Mrs Hudsons sponge cake, “This women and this beast, Holmes.” Holmes took the pipe from his mouth and shook his head with disagreement, “No my friend. I am referring to Mycroft and one other who is linked to our intrigued observer, the one who spends a small fortune having us followed.” Watson reached for his china cup of tea as he enquired, “Do you have any idea as to whom this person is Holmes? But still, who or what was it that you witnessed yesterday and what is its connection with this man?” He began sipping his tea as Holmes stood with a spring in his step and began to wander around the room with dance like footsteps as he went. “Imagine a spider, it lies in wait upon a web that is obscured, does it not. The unfortunate fly travels into what it observes as being a open continuum of freedom. Once it collides with that which does not wish to be seen it is attacked and wrapped in fine web before being covered up and taken away. “ Holmes had danced his way to the window, a smile upon his lips revealed his expectation on what was to be seen outdoors. Watson lit one of his cigarettes with a look of – be seated, be quiet and just listen. Holmes continued, “Watson did you know that in some parts of the world there are airborne insects that expect the web of secrecy? They learn to notice its hidden elegance and take great pleasure in carefully prodding its strength, waiting to see what will emerge from its dark and dire depths.” Watson looked confused and drank more of his tea before gesturing for Holmes to continue. He turned the best he could to face Holmes but with surprise found him by the dresser near the window. He was searching for something. Watson turned back to his tea with a smile and awaited his friends unique way of explaining matters. His friend had by now found what he was longing for – his viola case, an elegant looking piece of finely polished black leather. It was quickly opened and the fiddle hastily removed, the case and its treasured content dropped without needed care onto the window chair. He waved the fiddle in the air as he remembered a much loved tune that he had previously created with it.

“My conversation with my...brother was not related in any great detail to my encounter yesterday Watson. He came to me with concerns about my interest in the arachnids within political spheres. It seems that my toes have touched upon the fine weaving s of their hidden affairs. When I vanished yesterday I did indeed cause a lot of turmoil for a lot of wealthy investors of what is never to be known.” Watson coughed with surprise upon hearing this and offered, “But what does this have to do with what Mycroft revealed about Jack and this other fellow, the employer? Im beginning to suspect that this time you have stepped far beyond your reach!” His questions were answered, “Our fellow friend the employer is now known to me, and to me only for now Watson! Soon I am off on my travels again, to rest and recuperate in a more rural setting.” Watson rose upon hearing this, “Again Holmes, surely your not in pursuit of this beast again!” Holmes looked distant, “No, oh no, I must not repeat that endeavour Watson...” He made his way to the dining table where he took a butter knife to a thick slice of freshly baked bread, “...not until I can formulate a safe method that employs the creatures weakness to the highest degree...Watson, my dear brother has made it quite clear that I must leave in order to avoid dire events intended for me. Once I arrive at my destination I shall post you a letter with instructions...” Watson stood with his back to the fire with a face that had a hundred questions for Holmes, “Holmes, the creature known as Jack. Is it a mutation of man? Your descriptions and those included from eyewitnesses seem to point to something almost matching that of some mythological creature.” Holmes placed his half eaten slice of bread back on his dinner plate and reached for some marmalade before answering his friends question. “It is no myth Watson, it is not native to this world but a visitor who was invited...summoned here. It wears a most peculiar device of the sort that I have never seen before. Such strange mechanics give it propulsion and lift. This fellow referred to as the employer wishes to own and understand its inner workings. The stone Watson, the one I found near to the scene of Mellows demise! The one that Mellows had managed to escape with on the night of Crokers death...is integral in the operation of its flying machine. A unique power source – hence its illumination, a sign that reveals some form of radiation.” Watson looked dumbfounded by what he had heard his old friend reveal, “Are you serious Holmes? A visitor from some other place or world? Holmes, take you vacation and do indeed rest my friend.” Holmes finished his slice of bread and took his handkerchief to his lips. He drew in breath before continuing, “This stone, this power source is most remarkable, and in the wrong hands could be used to do terrible things.” He produced it from his breast pocket and held it in his handkerchief. This one must remain with me for now...Now Watson if you will excuse me I must pack.”

Outdoors, many miles away from Baker Street sat a sinister looking carriage that was masked by the ever flowing smog that danced around it. Inside its dimly lit interior sat Mansfield, across from him sat another who was silent and also afraid. Mansfield produced a small wooden box from a purple coloured velvet sheet, “This chamber contains the device, Trott! What ever you do, dont drop it or open it until you arrive at Mr Holmes address. At 11pm knock upon the door of 221b, when the house keeper arrives introduce yourself as Chief Inspector Sterling. Here is his identification card which he kindly gave me before his sudden and most unexpected demise...”

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Mark One

Chapter 6

It was now late evening. Holmes had packed several important things for his trip tomorrow and was now sat by the fire, marvelling at the sherry glass that he carefully held. Its fill swayed and sparkled as the finely cut prism like patterns trapped the light. This of course brought back to the forefront of his mind that most alluring, almost hypnotic stone. A sudden flash shone briefly within his mind and it was one that left something in its wake. Holmes leaned forward in his chair, quickly drank the glasses fill and then whispered to himself, “Of course! There may be another use for this stone...and one that may aid me...” He stood and eagerly reached for a piece of paper. He wrote upon it a brief message for Mrs Hudson which was then placed by a lit candle on the dining table. Holmes left that candle burning as he headed off to his bed, soon all was quiet.

The Town Hall Clock chimed 10pm, its tones where generally ignored by most who found themselves outdoors. They scurried and ran along with the freezing cold fixed heavily upon their minds. The winds were moderate but it was what came with them that bothered many. Icy flakes of snow began to litter the cobble stones,the pavements and anything that remained still. It was getting worse outdoors, a bitter herald that meant December was fast approaching. Even the smog felt colder now and the smell of chimney smoke mixed into this made all journeys very unpleasant. Amidst this gloom came a women whose face and figure was concealed inside what appeared to be a tatty old, hooded robe. She carried a sack over one shoulder as she staggered her way past many who took no interest in her. Ten minutes passed and her figure stopped by a filthy road sign that read, COXES Lane. It was a long road and one in dire need of renovation, all manners of filth resided here. The untidy and neglected buildings that stood here stank with a myriad of unwelcome aromas from urine to mould. If the air and the living conditions here were unhealthy then those who dwelt here could only be deadly. Coxes Lane was on the Polices official `Avoid List`, after-all, any who fled here to hide would soon be ill or worse – dead. The figure proceeded onwards, her mitten hands tightly clutching her hood tightly shut. The moss ridden road was scattered with broken glass, rotten wood, dead rodents, rusted metals and worse, yet the hidden women knew her way and soon reached her destination. She ventured into the dark gloom that narrowly separated two derelict buildings and carefully made her way through towards a disgusting tunnel entrance. Here she produced a well used looking torch from her sack and lit it with a match. The interior of the arched, stone built tunnel was dimly illuminated as her mysterious form entered and was soon lost within its hold. Distant sounds of fearful and alert vermin quickly scattered into eventual silence. Even the echo of her careful footsteps became less and less apparent as she made her way into the distance. At the entrance all was deadly quiet again as the snow continued to fall and the occasional wooden beam creaked with strain.

Moor Street was as always a busy place, even now with the harsher weather people still enjoyed what it offered. All walks of life mingled with many of the lower classes trying their luck too. Pickpockets were rife as were police constables - especially near to or around a certain building of interest to Inspector Lestrade. For weeks Turnes `Grand Experience of London` had been kept under covert surveillance. But the Spring-Heeled-Jack in recent weeks had dissappeared, something which offered little to Lestrades hopes and intentions. Mr Holmes had suggested that the double of Jack would be found in residence here. The inspector suspected that the mysterious death of Flat Chested Alison may have scared this fellow off. Lestrades interest in Turnes was dwindling quickly but he had made it crystal clear to all constables – pass by and keep an eye open! The policeman who was present had stopped at 10.20pm across from the building in question. He lit a cigarette and observed the brightly coloured sign above the businesses front window. It was white lettering over a royal blue background. There wasn't much of interest to see as he stamped his cold feet in the light dusting of snow. Apart from all the passers by that he noted he did see an almost brand new carriage coast by. With his cigarette firmly held between his lips he reached for his note book and pencil.

Time 10.28pm, Moor Street – busy, turns... closed no signs of activity...polished black carriage

The policeman then placed his book and pencil back in his pocket. He finished his cigarette and flicked it to the ground before crushing it under his foot. As he moved onwards he rubbed both hands together to generate some warm whilst his eyes searched for trouble. Further down Moor Street was the same black carriage, it was now at a stand still. The aged and well dressed driver who looked chilled to his bones was looking around for any further signs of police presence. Not soon after this came two suspicious looking, well built men in dark well tailored clothing. Both of whom pushed there way past and through other members of the public in a desperate hurry towards the carriage. They boarded it as the driver cracked his whip with relief. The carriage erupted into life as it forced its way through all other traffic and was soon long gone and lost in the distance.

Edited by Mark One
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The tunnel thankfully exited eventually behind the two ruined dwellings which led her over rough ground. After safely navigating herself around lumps of weather beaten rock and stone her feet gladly found the even grounds of a tow path. She quickly glanced in both directions making sure no-one was around or even approaching before taking out a scrap of parchment from under her robe. Under the torch light she struggled to read the instructions given. Even the winds seemed against this as her mouth muttered each word. With the message understood she replaced it inside her robe and then turned southwards. She began counting with a whisper, “one...two...three...” as each stride moved her along and closer amidst the falling snow towards something left for her to find. After counting 26 steps she stopped and used the torch to glanced around. All she could see in the poor light was rock, moss and various grasses – all of which were now covered with and masked by the snow that fell. It then dawned on her to wave her torch over the calm canal waters. A wooden boat was moored with chain, it looked like a two person affair that clearly had seen better days. Closer inspection revealed a travel case within its icy hold. She fell to her knees at the tow paths freezing edge and reached out into the boat. The case wasnt heavy but there was indeed some weight to it as she brought it ashore and unbuckled it. The torch light revealed two parcels wrapped in brown paper that were both tied tight with string, one large and the other a small one which matched the size of the strange box that Mansfield had shown her previously. Inside the large parcel was an outfit – that of an inspector who she remembered as being some man now dead -called Sterling. She unwrapped the smaller parcel and found the mysterious looking wooden box. This, she left in the open air as her robe fell away and revealed the daunting appearance of the now infamous Spring-Heeled Jack.

Her white powdered face looked weathered and most unattractive. Her pointed nose that she was graced with at birth left her now looking like a devil. Even the ruby red lipstick that surrounded her yellow teeth only added to this. Iris Trott, like her like late sister was never blessed with feminine qualities. But she did have more height and a far slender figure. From a young age of constant name calling and bullying she had always dreamt of becoming someone different and it was this that had infact spurred her on to become an actress. The prospect of becoming someone else, a women both feared and admired had always been an attractive ideal. When her late sister had offered her a well paid job that allowed her to hide behind a mask and also pay back society for the way it had treated her - well, her lifelong wish had been granted. She was adorned in a skin tight outfit that's colour was as black as the night itself. Her well worn wide-heeled boots and long black cape finished what was in appearance both startling and terrifying. She took some string from her sack and used it to hold tight the large parcel along her waist. Once she had tested that it held, she removed a most bizarre looking helmet that seemed to be made of leather and various cloths. Along its unusual contours where cleverly placed horns that faintly glowed in the limited light. Attached to the brow of the helmet sat a very fine pair of red coloured spectacles whose rims seemed to be made of the finest gold. Wiring that came from deep inside the helmet connected to both temple covers. She put on the spectacles which left her eyes with a blood red appearance before placing the helmet on. A clicking noise was heard as something seemed to happen to the spectacle lenses. Both the ridges and the bridge began tingling with what looked like the fairy dust found in children's tales. Iris then tossed her torch into the cold unforgiving depths followed by her robe and sack before heading off into the foul smelling gloom.

Figures along Moor Street began coughing and pointing as foul smelling smoke filled their nostrils. Night-watchmen began blowing whistles and directing the public away from what was obviously a house fire. Police presence soon increased and was met with trouble as interested onlookers pushed forward for a more clearer view. Horse traffic caused further chaos and disruption, soon major trade routes were fast becoming bottlenecks filled with angry and confused tradesmen. The local police force was quickly overwhelmed and stretched to its limits as chaos filled the populace. And yet amongst all of this stood several individuals who remained calm. Sinister onlookers who bided their time in the shadows and waited until until something happened. In the privacy of his dimly lit lair Mansfield was playing his piano with a keen look of achievement upon his face. Beethoven's Tempest Sonata movement 3 filled the air as he played. He stared deep into a portrait of the composer that hung nearby with admiration as his cigar smoked its way into silence between his smirking lips. Mansfields thoughts played upon the planned destruction above him with happiness in his heart– a success. Soon, every opportunist would be taking advantage of the chaos to rob and pillage. A deliberate distraction that would destroy any evidence along Moor Street and also leave Baker Street open to his intentions. Mansfield knew of Mycroft Holmes and respected his might but also knew of his one and only weakness. He danced in his seat as he reminded himself of this. Soon London would be in uncontrollable order and Mr Sherlock Holmes would be found dead in his own bed. Mansfield also had plans for Mr Lestrade too, but that would have to wait. The old and disinterested butler approached out of the dim light with a telegram. The butler stood by the side of his master and soberly awaited his acknowledgement.

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Mark One

All was generally quiet within 221b with only the floorboards making themselves known as they creaked and shifted with the dropping temperatures from outdoors which crept inside without permission. She had made it to the landing without even alerting a visiting mouse and now returned to the task at hand. She stepped with care as she made her way towards the residence of Mr Sherlock Holmes and noticed the door was ajar. A most unwelcome light seemed to flicker from inside and with this she was even more careful as she ventured inside. The room was alive with shadows that flickered from the burning candle as its fumes tainted the air. She decided to creep her way along and soon noticed a piece of paper partially sat under the candles cradle. She read the message and then quickly plucked it free and made her way to a seat near the dying ambers of what was once a blazing fire. Mrs Hudsons tired looking face looked into what was left of the fire and cursed it. She then stood and with no care for her tenants restful sleep stamped her way towards the candle which she soon quenched of life. As she left, her voice uttered references towards a certain cane that contained a hidden blade. She slammed the door shut behind her and then made her way quickly back to her own dwellings. The chill on the landing was indeed getting close and it was also a sensation that in her mind meant the perfect temperature for visiting spirits or wandering phantoms.

Elsewhere, deeper into the snow ridden reaches of London was a solitary figure dressed in black. The figure that looked horrifying confidently as it walked onwards towards a criss cross designed iron bridge that arched over the canal. Jacks footsteps slammed onto its path with a echo that no-one heard. Halfway along this rusted old bridge the Heeled Fiend stopped briefly to examine the small box more closely. It gave him the impression of a highly polished red wood design, its elegant lid had been designed to slide away. Jack stroked this with his forefinger as his curiosity got the better of him. The lid was pushed along until it moved no more, this revealed a small piece of cloth that contained something of deep importance to his mission. With a quick glance around him he returned his attention to the box and decided to remove its treasure. After crouching close to the snowy floor of the bridge, he removed the clothed object and placed the box on the ground. As he unwrapped the small parcel it released a amber coloured glow. Jack was surprised by this but also even more determined to see what it was that was so important to Mansfields plans for Holmes. As the object revealed itself to him its illumination almost blinded his eyes as his night vision spectacles intensified its light. He screamed and shielded his vision with his arm. The light in question was slung into the lattice iron work which in turn created a most un-nerving sound. A very haunting moan that gained pace and soon sounded like a choir of ghouls as it made its way along the entire bridge. Soon, the sounds of animals could be heard that had been disturbed by the noise and he wondered if it was now travelling into the far distance. Jack removed his helmet and looked in the general direction of the now softer glowing stone. Iris crawled over to it and gently reclaimed it in her no shaking hand. Relieved sighs left her lungs as her mind pictured daunting images of the stone lost forever deep within the murky depths of the waters below. She studied its form with admiration, the triangular object looked soothing and magical. Iris pondered on how it made light and how it made sound. So she tapped it against the iron work and heard the same sound erupt from the silence again – only this time at a far lower volume. The stone began to flicker its inviting light as it screamed, but it did soon return to its constant glow as the noise subsided. The mission came back to her mind and she thought of time lost looking into things that where no of her business. She quickly re-wrapped the adoring object back into its cover and placed it back into its box. Iris Trott cursed her other self for making such a mistake, one which could have been very costly and resulted in a fatal conclusion to her activities, interests and life. The helmet was soon replaced with the familiar click setting in place his enhanced vision. Jack hurried onwards with no more time to waste.

Mansfield sat in his plum coloured leather chair and looked most pleased. His fingers held a freshly lit cigar that had formed a haunting mist that seemed to cling to him. His telegram had reported a few short words which didnt make sense to anyone but him. They where code words which signalled all was going to plan. Many of his men where now on route to suspected hide-aways where it was believed some of these exotic stones had been hidden. Mansfields operatives could break in to such places with ease. The police force would have little to spare now which also meant that every burglar, thief and opportunist in that part of London would suspect that Christmas had arrived early this year.

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Mark One

The skies gradually became clear again as the falling snow had shed its keep for now. The cloudless skies were now enriched by a wondrous starscape that gleamed endless numbers of flickering lights high above London. The air was frightfully cold and still, not a single breeze blew as Jack crossed over what was now a blanket of snow. This pathway through a woodland near to a local church had always been a safe and clever route but now he had his concerns. The snow left footprints which his mind could not counter. He wasnt happy with this and had always avoided anything that left a trace of his presence. He removed the helmet in disgust and escaped this problem. Iris took in a deep breath of the cold air and took in her surroundings – everything looked calm, a blanket of snow hid the harshness of the world around her. The trees, the path and the distance all looked the same and it was something that she felt a deep connection towards, a longing to be with. She continued the journey with a rare and deep sense of happiness which put a spring in her heeled step. The clear cold air brought her away from her reason and intentions and graced her minds eye with images of Alison. The two sisters had never seen eye to eye, but they had always looked after one another. The loss of her sister had not affected her. Iris had found from a young age that she could become one of many that she called `others` Her current self was fed up with the life she led and it wanted freedom. Indeed, many of her other personalities agreed and the loss of her sister only added further need for this. The current Iris had a lot of wealth hidden in a safe place. Now seemed like the right time to complete one last mission before disappearing and starting a new life near the southern coast s of England. She was tired and fed up with Mr Mansfields cruel ways and felt in her heart that she had outlived her desire for revenge upon the populous. The path ahead led to a clearing, part of an old graveyard thats usual daunting appearance seemed to have been swept away by the recent snow. The full moons glare gave every snow flake a tiny shine that made this such a magical looking place. Everything looked wonderful and peaceful, she wondered in her mind if this was what death brought – a loving release from the harshness of life. Making her way around the snow topped graves led to the ruin of what was once a great church. Iris presumed its location was its eventual downfall and after all, London was a fast, expanding city that never took prisoners. Most of the churches spire was long gone which left the remaining structure looking more like a stone masons unfinished masterpiece. It now resembled an ornate and highly detailed watch tower or turret that still included heavenly and hellish figures. Several beasts and angelic forms seemed frozen in time after they had tried to separate themselves from the stone bricks. Iris breathy noticed one that looked very tall, stood high above the last course of stone work. It was dark up there and that statue seemed to be peering downwards. Her attention was brought back to the deceptive path ahead which the snow tried to trick you with. She chose her path carefully and continued onwards. But she did wonder why the god of such a building would allow it to crumble into ruin. Maybe its god was a false one, she thought to herself as she passed its grounds and joined the familiar looking roads that all led to the heart of London. The helmet was replaced and Jack took precautions as he ran up the empty road towards a series of old looking buildings. He fashioned a string necklace that held the small wooden box close to his neck before dashing into the shadows of what was once a small back-yard.

Here the conditions where more sludge than snow, a broken path way that desperately led towards a bricked-up doorway. The remains of an old pram leaned against the filthy brick work with what looked like old and soiled clothing half buried and scattered along what was once a garden. Jack stopped near the blocked doorway and climbed his way up the remains of an out-door toilet. He dragged himself to the tip of its well worn roof and reached out towards a cast iron downpipe. Soon he was pulling his weight upwards towards what appeared to be a small window frame. Near the top of the pipe he reached out to his left with his foot, which soon found a ledge. He shifted his weight by placing more pressure upon this foot and with one hand reached across and above the window to grab the guttering. For a few seconds he hung there with one leg and arm dangling in the open air. His free hand and foot then joined their other which in turn allowed him to swing himself though the tight opening and into the shelter of a dark, empty room. He moved like a hidden phantom in the darkness as his fearsome crescent eyes glowed and trickled with light. One of his gloved hands reached out in the darkness and grabbed what appeared to be a thick chain that seemed fixed high above him. It rattled as he climbed its length and made his way higher into the gloom of what soon became a roof space. More light was available here that originated for a glassless Dorma window that was set into the southern side of the roof. He made his way outwards through it, turned and climbed his way over it towards the roofs snowy ridge. Here he stood for a few brief moments and took in lung fulls of cold air before running the ridges length westwards. His form somersaulted into the open air which took him towards the adjoining building. With perfect timing he landed on the slippery ridge feet first and then rolled towards its chimney stack. In his last roll he used his boots and pressed them deep against the stacks crumbling brickwork as the rest of his body lay back with arms outstretched.

After picking himself up, he leaned against the stone cold brickwork and took in the view. To the west amongst the almost endless streams of chimney smoke was Baker Street, a long journey almost halfed by Jacks rooftop methods. Behind him towards the east lay a glow and thick pillars of smoke which suggested an outbreak of fire somewhere. As he turned back to plan his next move something made him stop for a moment. There was something odd about that old church. Near its ruined peak Jacks spectacles had picked up something fleeting. A distant pair of red eyes that suddenly vanished into the darkness.

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Mark One

A terrified, middle aged women with greying hair sat on her shaking knees in the corner of her now ransacked parlour. Her cheeks were red with panic and stained with tears as she clung for dear life onto her nine year old son whose face was hidden over her shoulder. She shuddered with shock and loosely demanded for those who had broken into her house to leave. Her words fell on death ears as one of the three men now stood before her beaten husband continued, “I wont be asking yer agenn Grove! Where did the he stash the artefacts? And where did he leg-it to?” Albert Stone tried to compose himself on the cold hard floor as he arched his spine forward, his ribs throbbed from his beating. He used his trembling, wrinkled palm and rubbed his eye, then his cheeks and finally his mouth – all now bruised, bloody and swelling with a mix of pain and numbness. He simply didnt know what to say, the sudden shock of their entrance into his house and then finding himself being dragged from his bed downstairs by his neck was just too much to handle for a man of his age. The poor fellow was dumbfounded and almost lost, but the sight of his wife and son brought him out of this. The tall man known to many as, The Ruiner, shouted a demand, “Answer me! Or I`ll tell my men to question your wife and if that fails we may have to take the lad”. Albert sat up and tried to back away from the man as his accomplishes moved behind the old man and lifted him up. Albert took one last look at his wife, choked and then returned his blurred vision back towards Ruiner, “Leave em out of it sir...they know nothing...” Ruiner grabbed Grove by his night collar and pulled him forwards. Ruiners cruel complexion and pearly white gritted teeth made Grove know he had no choice but to comply. In a strange way old poor Albert was glad he knew and actually had the swag. He dare not ponder on what may have happened to his family if he hadnt got the loot.

Mr Ruiner left one of his men with the old fellows wife and son as he was led by Albert outdoors and along a long and narrow back garden. At its end was a well worn shed that had definitely seen better days. The sheds frame seemed to be constructed out of several layers of ply wood that were now green and brown with weathering. No windows could be seen, just boarded up frames of unequal size and shape. Grove fumbled with the chain and padlock as Ruiners assistant roughly pushed him aside and then kicked the flimsy door inwards. Ruiner grabbed Groves arm tightly before whispering in his ear, “So old-un, go and fetch!” Grove was shoved inside the dark and damp dwelling and almost tripped and fell in the process. He managed to steady himself against a ruined chest of drawers that was coated with a mix of damp and dust. His free hand shook with fear as it pointed towards a far end corner where what a appeared to be a pile of old clothes sat ontop of a hidden piece of furniture. Grove turned to the presence stood in the out building entrance before understanding that he had to fetch it to Ruiner. With great difficulty Grove stumbled his way amongst the bric-a-brac and pushed the soiled items of clothing away. As rats cowered and then fled, Grove dragged the tin chest back outdoors before he fell to the floor. Ruiners assistant kicked the old man aside and produced a ball pein hammer. Grove cried out and covered his face as he heard a loud crack which was then followed by a most unusual humming sound . He looked in horror and witnessed Ruiner leaning over the now smashed and damaged chest. Ruiners haunting face was peering into the now illuminated container. His smiling mouth was open, his teeth gleaning against the aqua coloured lights now coming from inside the box. The vile man turned to his accomplice and muttered some surprise by just how many items there were. The hidden gems where quickly bagged.

Grove then tried to crawl away as Ruiner stood and turned his attention back towards him. Grove mumbled some desperate words, “Look...I dunno where he fled...to...” Ruiners smile remained as he adjusted his expensive overcoat, “I believe yer Grove.” Both men left Groves in the ice cold slush and headed towards his homes back door. Ruiner added a few final words to the old man with a mocking tone, “How der yer think we found yer old-un? We nabbed him and tortured him until he told me all he knew...Now get yer self back indoors, you could catch yer death Groves.”

With the distant sounds of ringing church bells and the shouts and sounds of people, Jack continued along his rooftop path towards Baker Street. Along this route he had become concerned by a large unexpected shadow that carpeted his surroundings. Only twice had he glanced upwards to observed something puzzling high in the heavens. And twice he had seen strange flashes of light but Jack being Jack had taken this unknown issue into account. He had formulated a plan to entice this annoyance down, closer and within arms reach of his tricks. He stood by a chimney some twelve metres from the ground and looked upwards. The mysterious form was heading his way again and Jack simply waved towards it. He then yelled towards it and even growled with excited amusement. The dark form slowed in the air and observed this performance below it. Jack leaped high into the air and then fell towards the flat roofing of a nearby council building. He landed safely and rolled several times along its snow covered floor before stopping near the rear of some outward facing statue. He carefully got back onto his heels and shouted a mocking welcome to the hidden visitor high above him. Glancing upwards Jack now found the form missing in the starlit sky. He tapped his feet, even performed a questionable dance as he continued to catch the dark mass above him, but nothing was there. A now down hearted Jack made his way across flat roofing making sure that he avoided the heat from terminals and elegant looking chimneys. Ahead of him was the tiny snow coated wall which led to a six metre drop onto a more traditional roof. Jack returned his thoughts and attention to his mission. The back yards of that next building would provide ideal cover for his disguise, he thought to himself as he got closer to the edge. Jack stopped with surprise and immediately fell onto one knee with preparations for both defence and attack. Ahead of him out in the open air beyond this buildings edge rose the black form that he had previously seen in the skies high above him. Its head and shoulders slowly rising and revealing themselves amidst the smoke and smog that passed through the open air. Like a spectre emerging in silence from its dire grave, the hooded forms hood opened just slightly, the glare of its bloodshot eyes adding further dread to its appearance.

Edited by Mark One
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Mark One

Sping-Heeled-Jack Vs The Heeled Jackal folks.

Coming to a screen near you this weekend :)

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Arcana

A lot of time and effort has been put into your writings Mark One and it is greatly appreciated. :tu:

Will Holmes eventually win the day yet again............I'm rooting for him and I do believe the answer is 'elementary.' :yes:

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Mark One

Thank you Arcana for your kind words. I tried to ask Mr Holmes for a reply but hes currently asleep :)

Edited by Mark One
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Still Waters

A lot of time and effort has been put into your writings Mark One and it is greatly appreciated. :tu:

I 2nd this.

I tried to ask Mr Holmes for a reply but hes currently asleep :)

But not for much longer I daresay :)

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Mark One

I 2nd this.

But not for much longer I daresay :)

Oh, you may find that this chapter may be the only one in the tale that does not include Holmes or Watson.

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Mark One

Small flakes of snow began to fall that were carried by an upbeat breeze as Jack watched with fascination the sight rising before him. His heart raced with excitement, finally after all of his years in service – a worthy opponent had presented itself. The thing rising in the open air seemed to be whispering something under its hood as the lower area of its form became visible along the roofs edge. One of its hands was now raised, with one of its long and cruel looking fingers now pointing towards its hidden face. Its other hand seemed to be holding on to something that Jack couldn't see properly in the mist and smoke. Jack watched as the image of death stopped moving upwards and just stood in place were nothing could hold its weight. It now pointed at him and continued its whispers as it moved to join him on the flat roof. The small walling along the edge of this roof shook and crumbled as the creatures feet and lower legs dragged their way over it. It now stood ahead of Jack and blocked his intended route as the floor creaked under its weight. Jack was surprised by this and began suspecting that its weight must be close to that of two horses or even more. His mind wanted to know how it could fly under such weight restrictions but he was soon distracted by what happened next. It made a few short thudded steps towards him and its voice became clearer, “....Soooo,.....Sooooon,.....Sooooo”. Jack stood up with a sly smile and took up a pose of defence, “Soon? Your surely are a mysterious fellow?” With his words finished the hooded fiend hurled the contents of its other hand towards Jacks feet. Before him lay the remains of some half eaten animal, two bloodied, hoofed hind legs and what was left of its upper body. The figure pointed to the mutilated remains and whispered, “Sooooon”, before directing his finger back on Jack. A sudden gush of greenish smoke began to emit from under its cloak as both of its claw like hands made ready to attack him. A strong and putrid aroma crept through the air towards Jack as the creature became lost from sight. Jack instinctively started to back away from the horrid mist and has he did so found that this reaction had just saved his life. Without sound came the creature as it emerged from the nauseas mist with a mocking laugh, its razor sharp claws swiped the foul air just inches away from his chest. Jack quickly sprang into action as the creature prepared to pounce. From the inside of his right hand gauntlet came a small grey coloured pouch which he placed in his mouth and chewed. From the same area along his left hand gauntlet he produced an elegant looking tubular cigarette lighter which he ignited close to his mouth. A spray of inflammable liquid was spat into the lighters flame which in turn sent a burst of fire into the monsters path. The cloud of fire revealed an unexpected side effect which sent both of them into the air with a loud bang. The green mist became alive with fire which had created a small explosion. The creature was thrown high above where it held itself easily as Jack was thrown into a chimney stack with a painful thud. With no time to lose, Jack sprung back to his feet and uprooted a nearby chimney pot. As the creature descended with speed towards him with its claws drawn Jack hurled his new weapon into its path and then performed several forward roles. The noise of the pot smashing into it was a welcome one as Jack rushed to his feet and ran for the edge of the building. Behind him came the roars of a hurt and angered creature that hit the roof and found itself on its knees. It spun up into the air and spied its fleeing prey. Its eager eyes witnessed the human leap into the air, spinning as it went down and out of view.

Stagmans Hardware Store had just been witness to something never seen before – an almighty crash in its back yard from above! Upstairs oil lamps quickly illuminated netted windows that over saw the back yards. Edna Stagman, a middle aged wiry women made her way wearily to her bedroom window with fears of robbers or pranksters on her property. She turned briefly to her snoring husband and tried to rile him awake but she knew his nightly diet of stout and scotch now had its firm grip upon him. With narrow eyes she peered outwards into the long and cluttered yard. Initially, everything outdoors looked as it always had, only now with added snow but her eyes soon picked out the sheltered area that contained both red and yellow sands. The rippled asbestos sheeting had collapsed in one area but there was no sign of its cause. Then out at the far end of the yard came sounds of railings and buckets being disturbed...Edna felt sure she saw a slender figure leap over the ten foot tall wall. The concerned lady raised her voice to her intoxicated husband, “Stanley! Stanley Stagman, you old coot, come at once. Weve got robbers....” She returned to the window and lifted the netting to obtain a better view. Her slim upturned nosed was now pressed against the icy cold glass. She saw shadows moving along and around the contents of her yard. As she watched this peculiar sight it dawned on her where the origin of this bizarre sight was coming from. Right outside her window came a dark clothed figure who easily made its way past her in the open air. Ednas voice retreated as her body remained routed to the carpeted floor with deep fear. She saw a face in its hood which briefly turned to glance at her, its nose, stern looking mouth and chin dripped with blood as its red hot poker like eyes burnt deep into hers. After the horrid face smiled and licked its lips Edna went pale with fright, her knees began to buckle and her eyes rolled upwards. She fell to the ground like a rag doll as the her nocturnal visitor outdoors carried on with its intentions and moved higher into the cold nights air. The sound of his wife hitting the floor shook him from his sleep, Stanley Stagman opened his blurred eyes and half muttered a few words before closing them again. As he fell back into his slumber he could be heard moaning, “Stupid old cow....”

Outdoors in the dark shadows between the wall and someone's house lay Jack in the dark and cold narrow passage. The left hand side of his body was awash with pain, but thankfully nothing was broken. His uniform had been ripped and torn along his legs as he broke his way feet first through the badly timed sheeting. Mercifully, he had landed on sands that were still soft and this had broken much of his fall. In his current state he was beaten and had little chance of out witting the creature again so he crawled his way carefully along the shallow passage and found shelter in someone's horrid outdoor toilet. His mission to 221b had failed and inside his head, Jack was beginning to doubt its importance. He also favoured living rather than death and knew that if he ventured out into the open air again– his predator would attack and kill him. He ripped open the clothing parcel and dressed himself in the dark coloured trousers and jacket. Next came the long winter coat made with fine wools and finally a cap. Jack took one last deep breath before removing his helmet. Suddenly his vision became darker and the air even colder and so was the end of the Spring-Heeled-Jack. Iris shook with a mix of fear and pain as she adored the cap and wrapped up Jacks Helmet inside the parcel wrapping. She paused for a few moments before bravely venturing outdoors and limping her way deep into the darkest shadows of London. High above her, the dark form came and went in search of its prey and many times flew high above Iris without realising who she was. As the shadow of the Heeled Jackal came to a halt near a tall church spire it suddenly raced off Northwards with rapid pace. Something else had captured the attention of its unique senses.

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Mark One

A series of well lit carriages and carts sped their way through Wentrich Wood with great haste. The wood which was several acres in size was owned by Lord Mundford, a very private man with questionable tastes. The land offered trade routes to the rich and work for the poor. It was also the home of several elegant looking buildings with some of them catering for the needs of a gentleman. Their fortified carriages creaked and shuddered as the uneven terrain mixed with snow placed even more pressure on both the drivers and their horses. Each animal breathed heavily, their breath leaving brief trails as they galloped along what appeared to be an endless upward route.

Mr Ruiner was sat inside the second carriage with 3 other men of similar character. Each held on for dear life inside as their serious and concerned gaze remained fixed outdoors. Ruiner wiped the sweat from his brow as his impatient persona awaited something, a visitor and one that he had witnessed many times before. His blood began to boil as he and his companions struggled to remain still in the discomfort of the shaking carriage, “Come on my beauty...come out to play with me this night.” A smile that joined a willing glint in his eye soon revealed his clenched teeth and a hint of anger that soon developed into an eruption of blind rage. “SHOW YOURSELF YOU SLIPPERY b******! YOU WONT GET AWAY FROM ME AGAIN DEVIL!!!” With the anger and frustration now vented from his mouth he slumped back into his uncomfortable chair and stared at the other passengers with a hopeful expression, “He`ll be here tonight lads...ah can feel it in me water...Have ready your pistols and other weapons, tonight is the night! This time I will kill it my lads and have its head mounted above me brand new fireplace.”

Along and upwards they raced through the freshly setted snow. The horses groaned with fear as they pulled and pulled, their worrying eyes sensing out something that no man could. Many of the flickering torches fitted into the carriages had now lost their glass coverings, the haste of travel had indeed shattered their need. Oil lamps now flickered and discharged as the foundations lost stability and shook everything to its very limits. Soon to both the horses and drivers relief smoother ground was found that offered less of a bumpy journey. Sadly this wasnt enough for one of the carts to the rear of this convoy. One of its two horses slipped upon its hooves which sent it, the driver and the load into some nearby Birch trees. A Horn was blown from the nearest carriage which signalled all to slow down and stop. Suddenly men sprang out of all the carriages carrying rifles and pistols. They all fell into well drilled positions that defended the convoy. Whilst most of the defenders pointed their weapons of death towards the trees, many also had rifles pointing upwards towards the sky. Ruiner jumped from his carriage and landed on the snow covered track. He lit a cigar which gave off a very soothing glow as two of his guards arrived and joined him. All three then made their way on foot towards the scene of the accident were several figures could be seen assessing the damage. A figure shouted towards Ruiner, “All lost sir, a shattered axle, Hempman is dead, One horse dead the other is in a bad way...” Ruiners displeased shouts interrupted the messenger, “Weve stopped because of an up turned cart!!! Back to business gentleman. Theres little of value in that recks cargo. Leave the dead and let the dying die.” Ruiner clapped his leather gloved hands and turned towards one of his guards whose weathered face was partially hidden by a tightly fitted brown scarf, “We havnt much time...only a few more miles then we can eat, drink, rest and then receive our wages.”

Quick inspections were made to check all the other vehicles before they were loaded back up with passengers and equipment. The horses were given water and reassured by their drivers as the snow became more intense – something which gave all present an eagerness to carry onwards with haste towards their destination and shelter. Soon, the semi silence along the snow filled path was swallowed away by the noise of beast and machine churning itself back into life. Within a few minutes the convoy was long gone from the scene of the accident as were the sounds of their travel. Tree branches began to crack and snap under the weight of something that was making its way downwards. As the shattered wooden limbs crashed into the ground a dark silhouette descended and took in the cries of a terrified and injured animal before it. The poor creature shuddered with pain as it instinctively tried to get up and flee. Suddenly it cried out with deep fear which was quickly silenced. The track and surrounding woodland suddenly fell quiet again. It was a foreboding silence that hid something terrible. A sinister thing of nightmares, a secret that no-one must learn of for if the public knew how it arrived here...society would collapse, law and order would crumble.

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Mark One

The journey was now a far smoother one along the the higher ground. Even the snow presented less of a problem and actually made the ride a more pleasing one. Yet there was still an air of tension surrounding each carriage as it sped along. For the passengers knew that what they had re-claimed this night was the rightful property of a another. This journey was known by employees of Mr Mansfield as `The Passage Into Hades`. Many men had in the past been killed or severely wounded along this route. It wasnt just the pace of travel that lost mens life's here but something even worse. . Each man who was picked for such duties here was sworn to secrecy in front of a Lord who remained anonymous. Once sworn in, each men was given a uniform that consisted of black boots, burnt umber trousers and a slate grey coat. The coat displayed a small coat of arms that was mostly awash with reds and yellows depicting a spider with only one eye, sat upon a throne. Below the spider sat a lion to its left and a dragon to its right. Each man who became a member knew he would be payed well and that the tasks given would generally be unusual and usually carry great risk. Such was the case now as they raced through Wentrich Wood. Each man knew that there was a word that could never be spoken and it was this that each man feared along this route.

Ruiner checked his gold plated pocket watch as the carriage shook and his fellow passengers held on for dear life. “3.15, Only another hour to go gentlemen”, came his soft spoken voice that leaned towards gruffness. He closed the pocket watches cover and returned it deep inside his winter coat. The man sat across from him pulled his scarf away from his mouth and this revealed a horrid looking deep scar. It ran from just under his nose and through his lips down to the brown stubble growing along is chin. With a croaky voice he spoke to Ruiner, “Ah fought bac then that it had fowned us sir.” Ruiner nodded, “Yes indeed Coleman, so did I...”, a smile began to form upon Ruiners face as his thoughts presented a pleasing idea. “You know Coleman, maybe Hades is closed for the winter!”, Ruiner burst into laughter that was quickly joined by his fellow passengers. A new member of Ruiners squad called Heinz added, “Maybe its nipped hom for christmas sir! More laughter and nods of sickening humour filled the carriage. Heinz continued, “Do such things have families Sir. Maybe theres more to these so called Vas...” Ruiner leapt from his chair and went straight for Heinz and his throat. The calm composure quickly drained from Ruiners face as he held the scared man by his slim throat and produced a knife. Sincere rage filled Ruiners face as he pressed the knifes point against Heinz throat, “For gods sake lad, never even think of saying that ****ing word ever again. Do so and i`ll cut you! Do you understand???” Heinz choked and tried to nod his head as the sound of the horn was heard again. Ruiner gave Heinz one last threatening glance before he turned and ordered his squad back out into the freezing early morning air.

With men back in their positions Ruiner made his way up to the first carriage, its own men saw him approach and pointed ahead along the route. Ruiner couldnt believe his eyes for there ahead of them was the wounded horse that they had left a few miles down hill. The grey horse stood with ease and now display no signs of wounds or discomfort. Ruiner passed the driver of the first carriage who commented, “Is it Swift Sir...it cant be for his ribs were all shattered and the like...” Ruiner patted the confused driver on his shoulder as he passed him and approached the now fully healed horse. A few paces away from it he stopped and paused before raising a signal to his men, “COMPANY! Take position. Its here!” Ruiner quickly produced a pistol and without any concern shot the animal in its head before turning and rushing back to his men. Somewhere high above came the strange noise of something unnatural that actually seemed upset by what Ruiner had just done. As the men pointed their weapons into the air it was Ruiner himself who spotted it, “TO THE REAR, FIRE, FIRE, FIRE!”

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Mark One

Jack%20meets%20Holmes_zpsunprd5dp.png

Amidst the bleakness of his surroundings, Jack approached his destination and was ready to finish what...

...

Artwise, I'm currently working on a portrait of Mr Ruiner - which as been fun so far :) Again it will tie in with the story and reveal a trickle of what is to come.

Edited by Mark One
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Still Waters

I like your picture, it's very good. You are good at artwork as well as writing stories.

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Mark One

Thank your Still Waters. The way in which I paint may sound an odd one to many. I gave up the mouse a few years ago and found that my finger tip on the laptops mouse pad works better for me. This method may be linked to a period in my life when I used pastels, come to think of it my main media type on the laptop is pastels...there you go, Ive unwittingly just answered my own question :)

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Mark One

The two rear carriages were now ablaze with a most peculiar blue flame that cracked and spat gold colour sparks into the snowy air. Both man and beast were either dead or screaming with intense pain as the mysterious flames refused to die away. As was already known to Ruiner and his men, water had little effect upon this type of fire. They had in the past found that dry soil starved it of oxygen but right now such earth was unavailable. It was winter, the ground was hard, cold and moist,another solution would have to be found. The creature and made one pass over the convoy and was slowing, it would soon turn back and strike again. Ruiner ordered the remaining vehicles to break formation and move closer to opposing sides of the track. As this was attempted his men added more gunpowder smoke to the air as their weapons fired. The sounds of distant pings and pangs indicated that some bullets fired had indeed found their mark, But sadly, such noises also meant each bullet had merely ricocheted off of the creatures armour. Ruiners mind filled with images of portable cannons and their very possible effectiveness against the creature whose name can never be spoken. A sudden distant screech from the creature brought Ruiner back to his senses, it was about to return and finish them all. Several men raced ahead and like the carriages now lined the sides of the track with guns pointed towards the black menace. Some men went deeper and hid by trees and Ruiner joined them. It was here as he stood shivering with his men amongst the snow and broken branches that ideas began forming in his mind. Ruiner looked across the track to two of his men and ordered, “Bowman! Cooper! Join me at the rear on the double!!” All three men raced without breath back towards the ghost like fire that was finally loosing its breath upon the smouldering remains of the dead and dying. The two men rushed across to Ruiner who in turn pointed to a low branch that had caught some of the fire from the first carriage that was hit. Mercifully for the three men, this was a low branch that angled its way up and out over the track. It just about had enough strength in its length, even if it looked wiry and too weak to wield in battle. But that wasn't Ruiners plan, all three men pulled at the branch, which soon snapped free with a series of cracks. Its length fell with its far end bouncing its way over what was once a carriage. Ruiner turned to Cooper and Bowman and pointed with a finger, “When that b****** reaches this fire raise the branch into its path. Hold it there for a couple of seconds and then scarper into the wood for cover! Got it?” Both men nodded and fell to their knees to minimise their visibility as Ruiner ran far behind the fire and ou onto the open track. He checked his pistol, took a swig from his hip flask and waited in the shivery early morning air.

Far ahead he heard gunfire and the occasional scream of terror from one of his soon to be expired men. The employed tactic was working though, his men were distracting the creatures fiery breath from its intended target – the vehicles and horses. The creature had in all of Ruiners encounters with it preferred to leave its targets and meals stranded. He had seen men plucked into the air, their screams silenced for ever as the creature ripped away the head. This was always followed by a shower of blood that had always unnerved his men. The head would hit the ground with a vomit inducing look of terror etched upon its face. On other occasions the creature had been known to hurl the head into another man on the ground whilst singing what sounded like a sinister bone chilling giggle. This dark, cold and early morning was not going to be another disaster for Ruiner, he thought to himself as he spied it approaching the horses. One of his men blew a horn which in turn brought out 8 men with battle cries and gun shots. Several fell as more bullets ricocheted into them. Those still standing dived for cover as the creature vented the last of its blue death towards them.

This distraction had achieved two things for Ruiner, its fire would not return for at least 3 minutes and it had now overpassed the carriages. Now as the occasional gun shot went off as it past, the creature had spotted Ruiner. He saw its gaping claws preparing themselves as it started to dive down towards his position. He took aim with his pistol and made several steps backwards as it approached the rear fire. “NOW!!!”, he shouted. Bowman and Cooper whose hands where clasped firmly around the branch now half stood and fell backwards. Suddenly, a flaming torch rose upwards and directly into the path of the creature. An horrid scream forced all listening to cover their ears as parts of the beasts attire erupted with flames. Ruiner heard the cheers of his men as he took aim and fired and heard the familiar ping sound. He ducked half expecting the returning bullet to return with its kiss of death. Realising he wasnt hit he now had a new problem, the creature was making its way towards him a few feet from the ground whilst it wrestled with the blue flames that lashed and licked at its form. Ruiner fell onto his backside as his nemesis began emitting the sickening fog that had left many before him riddled with disease. More gun shots were heard as Ruiner edged himself away in the slippery snow, the foul mist did scare him for it meant a long and very painful death. This is when he realised that he was still holding the hip flask in his left hand. Without thought he ripped away the lid and hurled the flask into the beast. He heard a clink sound that immediately was followed by an almighty flash and a terrifying noise that matched that of thunder. Ruiner was blown away as the enraged creature was propelled into smouldering remains of the rear carriage. Nearby tree branches dripped blue flames that fell into and crackled in the snow. The creature emitted some very strange noises that sounded mechanical and stood. It jumped away from the scattered debris and shot upwards at tremendous speed which left a fading blue streak in its wake. As the relieved men gathered around Ruiner they all observed a small blue ball of fire that was heading back towards the earth,, several miles away. More cheers erupted in the surviving men who helped Ruiner to his feet. “Men, men! We must now be leaving...salvage what you can...leave the dead....we leave in five minutes.” Coleman approached Ruiner, “Heinz is dead sir. Bullet rebound through his mouth. Took his head clean off sir.” Ruiner displayed no sign of remorse as he wiped away the snow from his singed clothing, “Poor show Coleman but I did warn him what would happen if he spoke that name....”

Edited by Mark One
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Mark One

Chapter 7

A weary looking Dr John Watson was sat at his desk with a glass of water in one hand and a couple of pills in the palm of his other. He quickly swallowed the pills and took good sip of water before rubbing his forehead and sighing. His pasty-faced complexion displayed that of a man who had not got much sleep, a man who was expressing the early stages of the common cold. His eyes looked heavy and glazed. His nose felt sore and restricted. Then there were also the unpredictable sneezes that annoyed him too. In his mind his self diagnosis determined that last nights atrocity's along Moor Street were to blame for his current state of health. Being called out by the local police at some time close to midnight and then being forced into the harsh and cold air hadn't helped either. Distorted memories from last nights riots flickered in and out of his minds eye with horrid sounds, voices and screams that echoed inside his aching head. He had been led by armed police through excited and confused crowds towards the deadly scenes where he came across others of similar professions. He recognised some of these faces that were tending to the wounded and covering the dead. One such fellow was a Dr Benedict Williams, an old acquaintance who he had originally met at Edinburgh University many years ago. This chap who was adorned in a duck grey suit looked frustrated and angry as he turned to his next patient from the cart full of moaning and unconscious bodies. John had called out to him but the ensuing chaos and destruction muffled his voice as he was led further along into this horrific madness of wailing women, scared horses, crying children and bitter men...

John opened his eyes with alarm, he had dozed off in his office chair. His pocket watch read 9.18am, he had been asleep for just over 35 minutes but felt slightly better for it as it got up. Making his way to his fireplace he took a quick glance in the mirror and frowned upon what looked back at him. After adjusting his clothing and straightening his tie, John leaned towards the warm fire with his hands and pondered over his plans for this day. Sherlock!, he thought to himself. Today, Johns dear friend was leaving for a journey of recuperation! The troubled doctor rushed to the window and drew back the heavy amber coloured, felt curtains with haste to a most unwelcome sight. Outdoors, severe winds were blowing with all they had. A blizzard of snow danced with the ferocity of a bullet which made any outdoor pursuits unhealthy and also most perilous. John assumed that Sherlocks intended travels would surely be cancelled because of the weather. Surely Kings Cross is closed in weather like this, he thought to himself. He returned to the fireplace and warmed his behind as he pondered upon this. His thoughts were stirring, but Holmes always checks the weekly weather forecast...wait, the sly fox departed yesterday! John let out a pleasing sneeze before taking his handkerchief to his mouth and nose. He left his office with a pleased look upon his face, after hopefully deducing Holmes plan and approached the stairs. He picked up his Glen Checked dressing gown from the lower steps and wore it with haste. As he made his way upstairs he thought out loud with a hint of cheek, “Holmes, you sly old devil!”

John was now safely wrapped under bed linen and a brown peacock patterned duvet. As his soothed looking face rested on its ivory coloured pillow something downstairs jumped him out of his nap. John opened his eyes and raised his head with a mix of both alarm and annoyance. Three hard and long thuds could be heard coming from the main door downstairs. John leapt out of his bed and did not look happy as he made his way along the landing and back to the stairs. “Im coming! Be patient”, he cried out as he rushed downstairs. When his bare feet felt the cold wooden floor at the base of the stairs he cursed himself for forgetting his slippers and headed for the door. The opened door let in a sudden gush of snow and wind that angered him as he held tight to his night clothes and took in the man before him. A small and plump looking man dressed in an array of drab grey looking wools produced a gloved hand that held an envelope. The strangers croaky voice spoke, “Ah lettar foh Docter Jon Waatson!” As the strange little man's beady eyes peered from behind a rank looking scarf, John shivered a nod of acknowledgement, “Yes, that is me. May I ask wh...” Johns words were cut short as the envelope was thrust into his own hand. The messenger then turned and left, “Gud day ter yer sar.” The shivering doctor spent a few moments just staring at the snow littered buildings across from him, his eyes making motions that suggested disbelief and confusion. A sudden shudder of cold broke this spell, John hurriedly slammed the door shut before racing back upstairs to his bed with the unexpected envelope. He sat himself comfortably back in his bed and looked at what had been delivered. It was a dull yellow offering that contained only a few brief words which John immediately recognised, John, from SH

Edited by Mark One
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