Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1
Mark One

The Heeled Jackal

135 posts in this topic

Holmes suddenly stood with the energy of someone who had just heard a lightening strike. His mind was awash with excitement as thoughts of the arachnid and its curious links to his previous case came flooding back. He was not a man who believed in luck nor fate, but right now he was experiencing a strange feeling which told him he was in the right place at the right time. He quickly gathered his belongings with a pleased smile upon his face nodded politely to many of the framed images as he passed them to eagerly open his door. His temperament soon changed back to that of a disinterested guest as he departed his primitive dwellings and was soon back upon the distasteful landing. The smells of breakfast were stronger here but still off putting by his surroundings. The trickles of sunlight that bled through the cracks and holes in the walls added further misery to the musky, soiled air. As Holmes retraced his steps, he quickly noticed fresh moist prints within the tattered landing carpets. His mind reflected upon the nocturnal foot ware as he met the top of the stairs. He paused and wondered if the mole at Millers Farm had origins or indeed links to this place and its own collection of underground passages. Holmes was tempted and half wished he was not already busy with his current case. The mystery and adventure to be found at Mallens Poke seemed both thrilling and also dangerous. These were two aspects which Holmes always cherished in his investigations. But alas, the unscrupulous affairs deep within Mallens Poke would have to be missed for now, if Holmes was to accomplish his current mission.

 

Each careful footstep downwards carried its own unique sound as the ever present rising damp did its worse under pressure. His keen senses picked up upon the pressure points along each step. They were all well used to one side which revealed a passage of traffic. A route used by questionable characters who wished to be free of their...daily obligations. This then produced an explanation for the limited condition of his own room. Holmes now knew that he was placed in there so that Krystians true business would remain unseen. As Holmes approached the ground floor and instinctively glanced towards the front bar, he heard the sound of a familiar voice coming from his left. He turned to glance down the primitive hallway and caught sight of Krystian who was stood within the doorway of another room. He was leaning with one hand rested against the doors dark wooden frame. Keen fingers caressed its splintered form as narrowed eyes keenly studied his most recent guest with a distinct hint of sarcasm in his crooked smile. His free hand eagerly beckoned his guest to join him. “Before you go, come...yes come. Freda has made the lovably table.”, the old man smiled as his devious vision fell away from Holmes eyes and quickly down towards the floor. As the old man returned into the room Holmes knew that it was the source of the cooking. It seemed as if Mr Krystian wished to see Holmes off with a good solid meal. He took one glance back towards the front bar and saw the three men all sat with tankards close to their mouths. They all appeared to be resting and taking in the more pleasing temperatures inside. Each man had a wooden bowl and spoon in front of them. The steam that arose from their breakfast suggested to Holmes something both succulent and also most welcome. By the tiny fireplace lay the two dogs with eyes closed as they took in the ample warmth provided. Holmes began to feel intimidated by their size and apparent strength. His thoughts pondered, “Italian Mastiffs...Am I now the condemned man who is to receive the obligatory hearty meal?...”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
On 5/19/2017 at 7:47 PM, oldrover said:

Just up to chapter 2. I'm enjoying it. First fiction I've read in ages as it happens. One point, I read a lot of newspaper articles from this period and your version read very convincingly. Apart from the fire 'service', other than that it was very much in character of the times I thought. 

 

Thank you and I`m glad you are enjoying it.  I should have the story fully complete by 2020 :D Originally, this tale was supposed to take around 3 months to complete.  The middle, beginning and end had been mapped out and then details, plenty of new details had to be added.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, Big Mirk said:

Thank you and I`m glad you are enjoying it.  I should have the story fully complete by 2020 :D Originally, this tale was supposed to take around 3 months to complete.  The middle, beginning and end had been mapped out and then details, plenty of new details had to be added.

I know how you feel, I started writing a quick history of the last nine years at Hobart Zoo, that was six months and 20,000 words ago. 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After following Krystians invitation through the uninviting doorway, Holmes suddenly found himself alone within a short and narrow passageway devoid of natural light.  The foul, stale air felt and smelt even colder inside this dull and depressing passage where sunlight seemingly suffered a daily loss.  The moist and sticky flooring seemed dismissed into the gloom, with only faint traces of what it once was.  Twelve cautious footsteps that carried a slight echo led to the other end of this tight passage.  To his right he found a large, half closed door.  Holmes nostrils were once again engulfed with the rich aromas of hot and cold foods and also noises which suggested his host was preparing an early, unwanted meal.  Before he entered, his mind pondered on the bizarre way in which the passage seemed to somehow hold back the smells from the kitchen.  For on approach at the other end of this short passage, his nose had easily picked up on that which seemed to vanish once he was inside.  But the master detective had no time to ponder on this mysterious and also fascinating void which he had just briefly encountered.  His primary aim right now was to be free of this horrid place and it’s disgusting conclave of wolves, who appeared to endeavour in detaining him .  Sherlock Holmes reluctantly gave the door a stern push and with a fresh lung full of “air”, he entered Krystians lair with rightful caution.  The very sight that greeted him was a detailed mix of assumptions and expectations with the unwanted inclusion of intensified stench from spoilt foods .  Holmes wished to flee has his inner, inbuilt tolerance struggled to remain inside this room.  Only his higher resolve kept him there with courage as the aged man ahead of him tendered to his daily chores.

Holmes stepped into an enclosed chamber of sorts where flame light randomly stroked its uninviting surfaces.  He found Krystian stood in front of a roaring fire that blazed and crackled inside its well used, open plan, fire place where several utensils, pots and kettles hung from hooks or chains.  There was no plaster nor wood along the heat worn chimney breast and the surrounding walls, only bare brick, old stone, soot, dirt and alarming signs of damp.  Along the centre of the room was a long, wooden table which appeared to have been fashioned by hand from oak.  Along its uneven surface lay many pots, bowls, dishes and trays. The state and structure of this room appeared derelict, untidy and would have easily suited a pauper or prisoner in its past.  The old man turned towards his guest and chuckled with a sly smirk has he dried his hands with an old rag, “Ahh, good, yes you come.”  A sweeping gesture offered Holmes a stool, situated not too far from the fire, “Take in the warmth my friend.”, the old man offered with a chuckle.  He then half-pointed a finger towards his other guests who were sat beyond the far wall as he added, “The beasts out there will wait not forever.”  Holmes was beginning to realise something about this room as he sat down.  His host then reached over the table with his left hand and grabbed a previously unseen cleaver.  His right hand plunged with a squelch into one of the bowls before producing a hand full of cold, rotten fish.  Holmes covered his nose with repulsion as Krystian went to work on the spoilt food cutting through it with ease as he continued with a sinister gleam in his eye, “The dogs…beauties and so loyal but the brutal to mine enemy.”, he grinned at Holmes.  The dismembered mess was then plucked from its chopping board and dropped into a larger, grey coloured bowl which also contained spoilt animal flesh.  He then took the bowl with both hands and quickly turned to face his unsure guest with a more serious look upon his weathered face.  He suddenly let out a violent cough which was close to becoming a choking fit before he saved himself.  The gargling noises which he next made suggested a careful gathering of thick mucus was now resting on his tongue.  As the old sailor was just about to spit the mess out and onto the messy stone floor below, Holmes interrupted his disgusting intentions with disdain in his voice.

“I have more or less grasped the true business of what hides behind the apparent limitations of this high peaked outpost sir.”  The hosts alarmed face remained fixed on Holmes, for he knew his guest was being sincere with his words.  His head tilted slightly to one side as he let the tar coloured mess pour out of his half open mouth with little concern for manners.  Krystian began to experience passing sensations and long forgotten feelings of fear in his gut as he watched the way Holmes glance seemed change in the dim light.  His guests face was split with one side darkened by shadow and the other forever alive with the continual illumination of the flickering fire light.  Krystians mind began to juggle up old memories filled with superstitions and folklore as tiny flickers of light occasionally shone in Holmes eyes as he continued, “Your Inn was built around the remains of some desperate, Saxon watchpost which you came across not long after your escape.  The wares, the booty and the trade, which you also, eventually brought here, soon granted you questionable business, close to a shipping port in a remote part of the United Kingdom far from your enemies.  Krystians wrinkled face gathered tightly as his old eyes watered with disbelief..  The bowl of spoilt flesh was slung back onto the wooden surface with disregard as its uneven fill splashed a thick residue onto its toiled wooden surface.  The old man backed away and then used the tables edge with a thud to steady himself as Holmes then continued.

“After you had settled yourself here with the comforts expected to survive, I suspect that you soon found the old settlements hidden secrets too…for I have without the need to explore.” In the obscurity of his current predicament, Holmes produced his filled pipe and it was soon lit and healthy with draw as smoke soon danced and obscured his face.    

NOTE: All of my previous work and plans for this "novel" are now lost forever.  My old laptop malfunctioned so Ive had to start again from where I left off on a far older Win 7 machine...happy days :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The voice that was now hidden from his gaze suddenly lifted in volume as its sincere face peered through, “I do suspect that you did indeed steal this site sir after taking care of its original owner.” When no response came in reply to his bold claims, he decided to press his host further as he fanned away the smoke with his hands. “Perhaps my bed & board for the night, plus that gallery of lost souls, may jog this tired `act` of yours, Mr Krystian?”  The well-practiced mask of the old mans persona suddenly began to shift and slowly crumble away. `The eyes give away far more than that which they assume is noticed`, Holmes recollected upon this pearl of wisdom as the unfolding scene before him began to reveal a most fascinating expectation.   The heart of the questionable rogue nearby, who had previously welcomed the lost traveller into his midst was now draining away like the pouring of cold water from a jug.  His aged face now began to lack the enthusing appreciation for Holmes with every passing breath that his aged shell took.  For a very brief moment as the transformation took full effect, Holmes perceived a vast look of emptiness within the old mans form.  This was the inner void of the man where no living being could ever hope to reign with mental dominance over the body- something which Holmes understood intently.  The detectives own mind then began to eagerly display important scenes from his own past with the added inclusion of bold lettering and informing whispering voices.  Fleeting energy raced through his mind in a way only his intellect could assimilate.  He heard deep inner echoes as verbal sensations formulated inside his mind from unseen speakers who were gone as soon as they arrived.  Almost all that he heard were despondent in nature (Sleep...Shock...Coma…death) but also related to the trance-like state now witnessed in Patryk Krystian.  The old mans eyes blinked with life again as his eyes darted from left to right.  For Holmes this left an unanswered question – His the man now possessed or has his own evil spirit returned?  Krystians tongue rubbed deep into one of his front upper teeth as a misleading smile joined his now thoughtful, downward glancing eyes. After several deep and relieving breaths he raised a fist in front of himself and lovingly began to judge its form and age.  Holmes watched with interest as he observed the glint in the old mans eyes begin to brighten again.  The old crook now appeared lost in the study of his own protruding knuckles.  The ancient skin that now clung over those brittle bones was weak and bruised with the blemishes of age.  And yet, in Krystians mind he now saw the fist of a younger man,  the leader of scoundrels who was stood aboard a deck and surrounded by pleased crewmen. The sun-tanned fullness and smoothness of its texture was the veteran of many victories.  More exciting scenes from his past flashed before his now, dull eyes and revitalised him.  And then from within the gathering, darkening of his memories came the unwanted sight of those marks along his forearm.  Their burnt in symbols returned with dread into his mind as his nostrils widened and remembered the scream filled stench that bled along his restrained skin.  And then the pain faded away as this haunting remembrance left him alone again with Sherlock Holmes.  He took a quick glance towards Holmes and then returned his vision back on the flames.  Disordered giggles began to erupt from the old man like that of a crafty child.  Before lowering his fist he double checked its forearm and then laughed with relief at the sight of no more wrist irons.

The old mans demeanour now carried a covert quality that Holmes also assumed now hid the sharpness of a well-used blade.  The fixed, bloodshot eyes stared downwards towards the filthy floor by his feet as his gravelly voice, which carried better English, slowly warned, ““You have not cracked the secrets, my old lag.”  He grunted out a deep cough and then wiped his shrivelled before adding, “Jest with me in here at your peril…you are the fool now!”  He then cruelly smiled at Holmes with a sly wink before eagerly rubbing his palms together.  The old mans weathered face began to reveal deeper signs of hidden age and cunning as his lips parted and revealed his uneven, stained teeth.  His old form then began to shudder with childlike shivers as he waved a crooked finger back in jest towards Holmes.  A cruelly horrid face glared heavily at his guest with the look of disdain before he spoke in the same raspy manner, “You are the one my friend who is alone..in a place of dark things and the horrid mischiefs.”  Again, his wrinkled smiling lips closed with the nose fuelled snigger of victory as he nodded towards his guest.  The same finger then picked away at a nostril as the dawning look of satisfied completion began to address the mans sinister intentions.  An unperturbed Holmes took little interest in these unhinged threats and continued to press the monster with some cunning illogic, “The wooden structure gave away some of your secrets old man.  The original Saxon build avoided such materials…it’s all down to climate, my curiously…”  Holmes paused as his alert eyes detected something in the old mans posture.  It was a sudden bodily response which had been brought out hiding by the current flow of conversation.  A sudden repetitive twitch in the old mans left foot suddenly became a most fascinating and hopeful sign.  Holmes quickly rallied its momentum with further inquiry, “Is this then how you snare all of your prey Mr Krystian?  Promote your catch with a welcome sense of good will and sincere safety from the appalling weather conditions outdoors?”  He leaned back into a more comfortable stature and added, “I must admit that I knew of this within minutes of sitting within your establishment.”  Krystian gave Holmes a quick seething look before taking in another deep breath of the putrid air.  His cruel demeanor suddenly realised it was not just being watched but actually being studied!  This forced the old mans attentions away and back towards the roaring flames of the fire.  As Patryk Krystians lips fought to hide his grinding teeth, his thoughts reminded him that timing was everything - especially with what he had planned for Mr Sherlock Holmes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amusing thoughts began to swim though his revolting mind as he admired the spitting glow of warmth in front of him. Patryk Krystian, the highly experienced `handler` of those who must be `snuffed` chuckled to himself. Even now with his guest sat nearby, he still couldn’t believe his luck.  One of the underworlds most wanted had quite literally been delivered to him on a silver plate.  But his proud mind was secretly soured by matters that distantly restricted his hands.  He shook this concern aside in his head, preferring instead to savour his limited time with Sherlock Holmes.  Many a great, financial, tale would come from this in time, he thought to himself with snugness.  And this was when he thought of the fist again.   The fingers began to relax and slowly return back into their normal positions when something was suddenly noticed which resulted with a silent, “Ahh…”  The keen thumb and finger then rubbed the nasal mucus into a fine ball as his newly fortified attention turned to remain fixed upon Holmes.  An evil grin was then offered with a patient slowness, “You were the, always free to pick…meet here or leave the freeman and be on your way…”, he maintained eye-contact with Holmes as he cruelly spitted into the floor with a slight nod.  As a final gestured insult, Krystian pointed his joined thumb and forefinger towards the pokey, damp ridden wall which adjoined the unseen drinking area.  The same digits were then displayed back towards Holmes with a wicked announcement from his bitter voice, “Caught.”  The uncaring voice now teased him, “The rules…You understand alittle now, yes?”  The same wizened finger and its neighbourly thumb quickly rolled and then flicked something into the fire. His head shook with another smile, “From the moment you arrived, you were the captured one Mr Holmes.”, he leant himself against the wooden table and relaxed.  His cruel sounding voice became deliberately ignorant and quieter, “You had been spied arriving here my friend, did you not see the peepings?  The big man and name of London - his flock scattered far to find you, no?”  Krystian sniggered to himself as his attention was drawn towards the door, “Do not think of the escape Mr Holmes.  One of my men and his loyal brutus await outside.”  His left hand pointed towards the meat bowl as yet another smirk shaped his lips.  “Mastiff dogs are the hungry brutus my friend”, he gestured towards the door with the sudden look of mimicked sadness upon his face , “the one is almost starved, it is the pity…”  Holmes seemingly uninterested reply to all of this puzzled the old mans intelligence, “So tell me then Mr Krystian.  Why did my nose smell cooked foods – edible ones, as I descended those crooked stairs of yours?”  The old man then stamped his left foot heavily into the wooden floor with bitterness as anger crept in, “The beggar’s mouth now asks of food yes?”  His head shook from side to side with mounting rage, “The last meal is not the importance here my foolish companion!”  His temperament then darkened even more and his face turned sour as he glared at Holmes with hatred, ”But you, what is to happen – is!”  A sudden loud thump hit the door by his side and startled Holmes current focus. 

Krystians bloodshot eyes blinked several times in response to this and then his depressing persona lifted into a far softer character. With warm and expectant voice he gleamed at Holmes, “Ahh, a delivery for me and the little surprise for you too.”  Again, Holmes was secretly amazed by the sound dampening qualities of that narrow passage – his eager thoughts began formulating possibilities as his ever astute ears listened on.  From outside came a rough sounding male voice, “We have it boss and may ah tell yer that last nights frost ror a right killer, mah son.  Where duh yer wan-it putting?”  The old mans mood improved even more and, as Holmes took care to notice – the anxious foot became relaxed again.  Krystians hands grasped one another with a muffled clap as he called out hopefully with, “Stick him with the coals– I cut him later.”  The voice outside grunted a casual reply of acknowledgement as Krystian returned his full attention back upon his curious guest.  Again, another sweet smile was offered before he taunted Holmes with, “Does the old Kree-stian explain to you or has the Mr Sherlock Holmes found out what is to be covering the cold coals today?”  

The master detective whose head had been turned towards the thick closed door now decided to take in another draw from his pipe.  He knew that the aged monster nearby was relying on him revealing a shocked response.  He did of course easily mask this expectation but did still feel inwardly responsible for this latest victim of Mallens Poke.  His own inner self then spoke to him about prolonged exposure to cold temperatures affecting his normal grasp.  It also brought up his lack of sleep in the last few days and the unbalanced diet taken in too.  He then looked deeply at the smoke in front of him as it spread without limitation before it separated into an almost endless expanse of gradually fading mist.  This reminded him of his arrival here – along those almost endless vistas of contoured snow.  It was an empty environment full of graceful peace where a clear morning promised success.  This recent weeks adventures had indeed restricted his senses and put him deep within the hands and at the mercy of the elements.  He had indeed let his natural guard down along a route where he had felt free from harm.  His mind quickly formulated the image of the chess board again where he saw himself sat within an open area which was far from visible harm.  His minds eye scrutinised the location and with alarm, he found heavy, well-worn creases within its base that spread outwards with the appearance of rotten roots.  His inner mind spoke without words to him a message– channels of intelligence.  The sweeping scene of travel towards Mallens Poke then returned to his mind and it nolonger felt so quaint as it had before.  The routes remarkable isolation was actually death trap for the unwary and equally a gold mine for the predator.             

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Holmes now knew that he had to fully play his part in this mad-mans schemes if he was ever to survive and escape unharmed.  Until now he had assumed only a modest performance was required to appease the old fool.  But Krystians recent display of psychotic behaviour had even surpassed Holmes own safe estimations of the man.  After carefully gathering his belongings Sherlock Holmes stood and declared, “My tolerance towards your indisposed character is exhausting Mr Krystian!  I shall not entertain this pathetic examination of my skills with an answer that you expect.”  Holmes pointed his finger at the old man, “I do know the name, age and occupation if that feeds your sickening needs!  Now, shall we conclude this masquerade with its final act?”  Krystians stone-faced appearance nodded, turned and then returned its attention back on the animal feed scattered along the table.  The old man began silently mumbling the words to some unknown ditty as something which had previously been covered on the work surface was now revealed.  The cleaver was quickly taken to something that appeared to be the partial remains of an large animal’s leg.  As the old butcher of both man and beast tendered to the meat, his narrowing eyes kept darting back towards the direction of Holmes.  His lips whispered, “Not long now old my friend.  Soon you will be…done.”  The cleaver made light work as it crushed its way through the bone, displaying the old mans skill as fresh slices of blood stained meat were easily tossed aside.  

He piled the freed flesh into the bowl with the side of the cleavers blade, casting away any unwanted remains.  With the bowl in one hand and the blood stained cleaver in the other he suddenly called out with some mumbled words.  The door to the make shift room of butchery swung open and as Krystian had promised, there stood one of the early morning guests and his eager hound who sniffed at and relished the pungent air.  Holmes held tight onto his belongings and turned to look at the uninviting doorman before sarcastically asking, “Am I to be thrown to the dogs with no breakfast beforehand?”  He received no reply and so turned back to the old man, “Or am I to lose my head this bright morning Mr Krystian upon that distasteful garden adornment of yours?  The old man laughed upon hearing this, “News does travels fast here my friend and a price there is on your head after all .”  His grinning posture gestured Holmes to follow the dog handler through the passage, “Tis better to keep secret what is meant for you…If my way I had, your head I would keep for you have many, rich enemies.  Your remains would feed my 4 pigs fully too.  Now, the chains are not needed hey.  Will you follow him…”, he pointed with a sickly sweet smile towards the other man, “…like that of a gentleman?”  The void of the narrow passage-way now carried an unwelcome overtone of awful nothingness as he walked its darkened path.  He thought of the others who had also succumbed to this fate and its cruelly horrid hopelessness.  Holmes thoughts tried and then struggled to conjure up a rightfully sour title that best suited its use and failed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

His ungracious guide and his callous natured pet soon became lost from view in the uninviting glare of tobacco smoked daylight as they casually left the passage and took a turn back in the direction of the drinking area. The mastiff peered back briefly, its nose sniffing in Holmes scent as its inquisitive eyes judged his size and shape with sinister interest.  Holmes instinctively reduced the pace of his progress upon seeing the deceptively glum look of such a ferocious beast glaring at him.  This daunting standoff was cut short by some daunting & familiar sounding laughter.  The cruel old man, not far behind him was busy closing the door to his private abattoir as the latch bolt scratched its way along the coarse stonework before slotting firmly into place with a muffled thud.  The grinning spectres gleaming eyes glanced first at the dog and then back at Holmes, who was now watching the old fool with utter distaste.  Krystians weathered face seemed pleased as his grins became ever so more insultingly louder with the crooked nose that seemingly fell lower into his withered smile.  A hand wiped his moist lips as he teased Holmes with, “Brutus is very the hungry one today Mr Holmes.  Let us not keep him waiting.”  The mastiff was dragged away and let out a frustrated grunt as the chain attached to its thick collar suddenly became tight.  This took Holmes look of contempt away from the old man and back towards the open doorway ahead where feelings felt gloomed by their uncertainty.  The expected pace along the passage was now encouraged by the old man who suddenly crept closer behind him.  His foul breath seemed way too close as he whispered just above Holmes shoulder, “That’s right my friend, back to my bar me thinks.”, he let out another bitter sweet giggle.  The open door ahead sprang into Holmes mind for a very brief but considerable moment.  A plan formed along the skin of his grey matter.  It was a plan to buy him precious time and a solution that would guarantee his safety with a free ticket out of here.  It involved closing the door in on both of them, easily over powering the old man before rushing back inside the make shift slaughter room.  From here he could easily…  Holmes suddenly rejected this projected possibility.  There was only one other way out of there – up and through its derelict chimney.  A dire risk for both him and his precious belongings – even if he waited for the blaze to burn itself out.  He reluctantly took the last few steps towards the doorway and soon began to recognise the smell of another dog somewhere nearby.                       

 

A deep, fresher breath of damp air was taken in as he exited.  The source of the familiar smell was soon found as he took a quick glance to his right.  The other dog was sat in an upright position but appeared less active than the one whom Krystian had referred to by name.  Its drowsy aspect on show clearly revealed a far older dog that had travelled further than it had ever wished to.  Behind the loyal hunting dog stood its unemotional master whose restrained and gnarled appearance gave away nothing.  Only his deeply darkened, narrow eyes revealed something to Holmes which seemed like a warning full of malice.  Such intentions of ill-will were then strengthened as the dog seemed to liven up and become gradually more animated.  This Mastiff too raised its nose and began sniffing the air with interest as Holmes suddenly realised that the foul stenches from that room were now littered deep within the fibres of his clothing.  Slowly but surely, the old mans clouded schemes were now beginning to reveal themselves.  Holmes recalled something which the old man had previously said - `…You were the, always free to pick…meet here or leave the freeman and be on your way…`  He then remembered the visually mixed deterrent of both man and beast who had been sat with no apparent interest in him, prior to that warm invite to join Krystian.  He then reminded himself about the absent cooking which had also coaxed him into making the wrong choice.  His empty stomach began to moan with the memories of such alluring smells as his achy form nudged him about his poor night’s sleep.  `… From the moment you arrived, you were the captured one Mr Holmes ...”, echoed in his mind, now with crystal clear clarity.  Holmes inwardly summarized his brief stay in the Mallens Arms with two words,  abundance and deprivation.  The former representing his warm welcome.  The surprising menu and the over keen friendliness of the landlord would easily lull the victim into a false sense of security.  This of course had not been the case for Holmes at that stage -but nocturnal contrivance did begin to unwittingly tip his finely balanced scales.  The latter point of his conclusive summary pointed towards those oppugnant conditions of his sleeping arrangements.  Their dreadfully apprehensive features which all seemed ingrained with sour and cursed feeling.  It was night designed to un-nerve the average lodger and also a curio for the far braver.  Such an uncomfortable night would have of course led to the desire for an early escape.  And what better to find down those creaky wooden steps – but the confusingly pleasant sensations of warmth, food and freedom again.  Holmes knew he had indeed fell into the well thought out, no, tried and tested trap of an aged master criminal. His inwardly focused calculations were suddenly broken by the old man again who now rudely poked him in the back and then joked with, “Oh no!  Oh my dears…My silly head!  Old Krystian forgot the meal.”  Holmes turned around with the look of alarmed expectation.  Patryk Krystian gleamed back at him and stood proud with open palms.  The animal feed which had been previously broken, cut and sliced before the detectives very own eyes was now, no longer present.        

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Holmes turned back, slowly walking onwards before hitting the old man's grey matter with an obvious truth, “Both animals are clearly beaten with exhaustion Mr Krystian. Such long climbs and the harsh winter conditions must surely play heavily on both beasts heart and lungs. Holmes paused by the stairway and raised a finger with conviction into the air, “Especially so for such hounds who in terms of years are well above middle age.” This was met with unseen silence from behind as his own line of vision was drawn to the first step of the stairs. He then counted each and every step, taking in once more the lacklustre quality of their roughness and tread. His gaze eventually re-met that unforgettable landing and there he spied two curious men. Their appearance was greatly obscured by the limits of natural daylight but it was clear that they too were interested in Krystians latest guest. Holmes gave them both a quick nod and a smile, looked away and then spoke. “Although we have never crossed paths sirs I do feel that I know you both far better than you realise.” The two figures took turns to shrug their shoulders, appearing foxed in their silence as Holmes continued, “All three of us here...”, Holmes took a quick glance back at Krystian before reluctantly adding, “...maybe three and a half is more the justified measure.” He turned back to the two men high above and explained further, “Gentlemen, do let me warn you of your folly in placing trust in both that flooring from which you stand and also the mining operations deep below us.” Krystian was just about to poke Holmes onwards, but decided to delay as he too wished to know what his guest had discerned. His guest smiled knowing Krystian was intrigued. He cleared his throat with a pleasent cough, “To my two most curious onlookers – your floor is perilously close to collapse. But this is already common knowledge to all who dwell here.”, he quickly turned and smirked at Krystian who in turn replied with a stern look. Holmes pointed to the floor, “Your precious dimly lit caverns and tunnels have bitten deep into the foundations. Those secretive smuggling activities,”, he looked up at the two men, “in which you traffic precious metals and powdered substances will soon end with a disastrous conclusion.” Krystian loudly clapped his hands together and mumbled out some order. As Holmes watched them with a smile he observed the two onlookers quickly flee into the shadows. His host prodded him, “So clever you find things my friend. But how this helps you puzzles me good...Now go you must!” Holmes walked calmly back into the bar and added without turning around, a reply to the instruction, “Well not at all Mr Krystian but if I were you I would invest in some form of thicker carpeting or ruggage. That rotted offering up there is awash with the spoilt remains of combustion.” Krystians wrinkled mouth formed a mocking smile, “A little fire told you such things? There are no proofs just the imagination in the words!” Holmes keenly replied, “Take a broom to it then, Mr Krystian. Then you shall gather away lime, coal and rock dust.” The old man grinned and then let out a unimpressed laugh as he returned back behind his bar. His guest then concluded the discussion, “And so with the light of a worthy candle you shall discover, deeply caught, into what remains of that fabrics struggle, several globules...” Holmes went quiet and chuckled at Krystians ignorance as the old man pretended to be distracted with a sour coloured bar cloth.

 

The drinking area had not improved since his last visit. It was still the same disease ridden melting pot, a place which even the hardy Bluebottle avoided. The humble offering called a fire place was bare and the cold in the room was ample and unhealthy. In the early morning it looked, smelt and felt like a room that one would only tolerate if they desperately needed to shelter from the outdoor winds. His arrival into such a void was of coarse met with silent repulsion from those whose boots meddled with its sticky floor.. Although only an handful of men were present, Holmes failed to locate the woeful man who owned a beloved hound named Brutus. His careful scope of the area did finally locate the third man though. The lantern owners soft eyes studied him from afar, over a newspaper in the corner near Krystians bar. The man whose age Holmes estimated at around 27yrs was clearly not in the employ of Patryk Krystian. His clothing was too modern and well made. Its cut and tight fitting style of blacks and greys carried the look of a man in some form of service. But as Holmes summed this fellow up it became obvious to him that he represented no legal authority. For Holmes, the presence of this out of place fellow suggested a young man who in fact served a distinct type of master – a wealthy sort, probably a Lord or Peer of the Realm. Holmes curiosity maintained eye contact with him as this strange young man simply looked back at him with silent confidence. Holmes casually turned back in his chair, disguising the unwelcome realisation that he had finally been located by those who had been pursuing him. Again, he looked towards the opaque windows with concern. His eyes then moved to the left as he theorised about the scout by the bar and the schemer who was stood behind it. His alert eyes then peacefully moved back dead centre as inner calculations began doing their work. To hide his mood and intention Holmes did the one thing that would deter suspicion – he glanced around and took in his surroundings with greater interest. Note was taken of the ignorant men who were sat or stood around him. Everything from the colour of their eyes to the type of hat they wore was memorised – even if such recordings disgusted him. But these poor examples of life which did exist around him right now were obviously some of Krystians more seasoned regulars. A messy gathering of men whom no doubt had their grubby fingers buried deep into the many pies that Krystian schemed, baked and devoured. Holmes knew that any form of polite communication with this breed of scum was futile. So instead he adjusted his seat which then placed his back towards his cruel host and the bar.

 

This was deliberate and also essential if he was to summarise the unpredictable journey ahead of him. But unfortunately, the poorly maintained glass of the windows on offer were either misted or unclean. This all meant little could be gleamed beyond a few feet of the Arms main entrance. Turning his attention away from such restrictive annoyance, Holmes instead focused on something else that he now needed to perform before leaving Krystians establishment. His right hand delved deep, with some minor difficulty inside the mish-mash of his questionable fashion. The deliberately pleasant look which he displayed to curious regulars around him frequently lost its natural balance as he fumbled his search into the inner pockets contents. As his own eyes began to realise this peculiar display was attracting unneeded attention he quickly nodded and smiled to anyone who watched. Eye contact with them soon repulsed their attention away from him. It was amusingly clear to Holmes that his own higher class of living standards were something they all detested. But such opinionated disgust towards him aided his deceptive means. Whilst they spat at the ground and then returned to their ale, his hidden hand gathered together that which it sought. Four items which he needed were now partially revealed. As Krystian watched from behind his bar with suspicion, Holmes carefully placed his pipe on that scarred surface once known as a table top. The second item was quickly pressed deep inside his right hand glove as he showed off his pocket watch. After glancing at its ticking display with approval, the time piece was casually placed back where he had found it – with a fleeting smile delivered to anyone whose bloodshot eyes desired it. The final item which had rested upon his lap was lifted and placed next to his pipe on the horridly marked table. In the mean time, Krystians own awareness had been nervously focused on the outdoors. A relieved look soon filled his face though with a relaxing posture as he returned his devious glare back towards Holmes. A highly suspect smirk then silently mocked his guest from the safety of the bar as its tongue joined in and softly moistened the wriggling lips. The cruelty in the old mans eyes then narrowed slightly as they studied their prey with pride. Holmes had by now relocated his last few remaining matches. But before he could strike one into life he heard the old man speak to him. “Oh so my friend. Your visit the short one and very soon to leave old Krystian yes?” Holmes took his pipe from his lips and turned his head to face the barman. Krystian who now looked cunningly cheerful leaned forward, against the bar and teased, “If only you had said! Your...what are the words...”, he gestured with a thumb and finger stroking the chin, “...thee eleven o-clock shadow yes?...thee bristles, no?” Holmes nodded with understanding towards the europeans deliberately, muddled english and saved him from further amusement, “Mr Krystian you refer to”, he returned the gesture in kind, “my unkempt facial hair.” Holmes then turned back and away from his host and refocused his needs on the pipe and its matchstick. Krystian then slammed a withered fist into the bars surface, to regain Holmes attention before softly offering, “Mine own blade would have been yours to use, but now the time is gone...” Upon hearing this Holmes gently shook his head as once again, he replaced the match into its box and finally gave up. The pipe and its fuel source were then placed back deep inside his clothing as he gathered up his tattered belongings and stood. As he did this something from his recent past suddenly came to the fore in his mind. Without moving his head, Holmes eyes widened slightly and then quickly darted to his left. He then swung around to face...an empty chair in the corner! The newspaper remained but the young man was now gone. As Krystians grins became louder, Holmes chose to ignore as he whispered to himself, “Below the eyes...he hid himself with intentional purpose. But this failed for he revealed himself by that which he could not conceal!” Holmes regained a more natural composure before pacing the short distance to the table and claiming the newspaper. His own belongings replaced it with a hearty slump as he keenly studied it. What he found was thankfully expectant and explained the young mans swift departure. The amazed onlooker behind the bar coughed for Holmes attention as one of his withered fingers pointed towards the main entrance. Holmes politely smiled towards the bar man with a brief glance as he rolled up the newspaper and then tucked it inside his coat. The doorway sprung open and caught all by surprise. Brutus and his master had returned! Both entered and without word passed through until Holmes could no longer see them. Krystian now looked excited by this as he poured himself a drink – which he sank quickly. He then rubbed his brittle hands together, took several deep breaths and then offered between his horrid teeth, “And so go, Mr Holmes.” The old man then turned away with little interest and towards another regular who approached with a demand for a re-fill. Holmes watched him one last time with sheer wonder and then realised he had become - his other again. This other aspect of Patryk Krystians personality had waited patiently for this very moment, Holmes speculated. Gathering his belongings Holmes wondered what this `other` hoped to experience with his departure. Holmes then without words, finally walked outside and into the freedom of fresh air.

 

The swaying but soothing breeze outdoors was still untrustworthy. But it was thankfully bearable to any exposed skin which dared to take on its depths. Empty blue skies shone with the hope inspiring allure of the suns vibrant rays from the west. It did indeed seem to Holmes that the elements around him had decided to play him a fair hand, as he stepped outside, deep into its grasp of uncertainty. His feet cautiously took on the hardened strength of the snow, judging its stability as fresher layers began to crunch and give way under foot. Behind him he heard the sounds of the Arms entrance being bolted shut. This was then followed by muffled laughter and the mumbling of excited voices.  Holmes returned his focus on the route ahead of him and took a few more cautious steps. A few gleaming droplets of icy-cold, water fell with innocence from high above. This briefly drew his attention to the worrying climbs of those high and long spears of ice which perilously clung to the buildings worn fascias. This weeping silence from above and its disguised potential for fatality briefly reminded him of those damp conditions on a certain cold night. That meeting place full of isolation and terror where his first encounter with the mysterious Jackal had occurred. As he reflected, he knew he hadn't seen the last of that horrid creature. Sooner or later Holmes knew that The Spring Heeled Jack would locate him. After all, Holmes was – as far has he could discern – the only person ever to survive a face to face confrontation with it. A creature of havoc such as the Jackal would probably never rest until it had claimed its retribution, he summarised to himself. His right hand which was resting on the satchel suddenly sprang into life. His four fingers rattled over the leather has he thought of the mysterious content inside and his needs for it. Carefully stepping through its daunting shadow of gaze led Holmes into the freedom of a most scarce but pleasingly illuminated environment. He did spy small pockets of people around him in the distance– innocent observers, he thought to himself. But something his eyes did notice, directly ahead of him in the distance brought with it some daunting concerns. Expectant men, Holmes thought to himself,... with dogs! Holmes stood in the snow and now began thinking quickly. The belongings which he had held ever so tight onto were now discarded into the hardened snow by his sides. Both of his gloved palms now joined and soon found rest over his mouth. Like that of a figure stood deep in prayer, Holmes now considered his next move. Now his eyes did all of the talking with sweeping movements as they scoped and they planned. The myriad of cruel onlookers pressed against the windows behind him began to mock and laugh upon seeing this. And then, the master detective did something which none of them could have predicted. The isolated man outdoors maintained his current poise and then suddenly took 5 brisk steps forwards before becoming still again. The goading noises from inside began to quieten with confused fascination as they both watched and also took more care with their ale filled tankards. Holmes gaze was now centred directly below and just ahead of his boots as his little fingers, which were ever-so close to his face began to tap one another. In a way that he had never expected, the harsh conditions of Mallens Poke had now given him hope and more importantly – an edge. His head began to follow his gaze to the right as he crouched above the snow in deep concentration. After several seconds, his pleased eyes noticed something which in turn triggered the release of his right hand, which softly fell to rest upon the dusted snow. He gently stroked its coarse surface as his forefinger began searching for something nearby. His careful investigation was soon rewarded when he spotted something half dusted with ice that was partially embedded in the snow.

 

 

 

Edited by Mark One

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Holmes carefully removed something very small which in appearance resembled a firm fragment of something tubular. His other hand fell and began fumbling inside his coat as he instinctively reached for his magnifying glass. With a frown, it then dawned on him that he was without his chosen spying glass. His left hand then gave up, before supporting him on the ground as his warm breath quickly melted the icy residue around the curious specimen. His keen eyes then narrowed as they inspected the tiny find held between his thumb and forefinger. Not far from his discovery, Holmes spotted two depressions in the snow – one small and one large. With a hopeful smile he discarded the specimen and then turned his attention back towards the building. The pointed finger then began tracing something unseen which appeared to originate from somewhere along the side of the Arms. He stood, returned his left hand to his mouth, turned and then began slowly following the unclear direction. To those inside, this current sight of Sherlock Holmes seemed both bizarre and comical. The man outside was walking with one hand still resting against his mouth whilst the other offered a pointed finger – which seemed to dance in the air ahead of him. All of this commotion did of course begin to annoy Patryk Krystian who was currently shoving the window watches aside so he too could hope to gleam the method of Holmes visual madness. The old man watched with amazement as the detective was soon lost from sight to his right. He rubbed his top set of teeth before turning towards one of his regulars, “What the devil does he do?” He shook his head and returned his sight back to the window and pointed at the expectant route, “Surely he sees that is only way?” Several drinkers groaned out amusing noises of drunken acknowledgement as the old fiend added with sourness, “The fool could slip the slopes to the death over there!”

 

The slope facing side of the Mallen Arms carried with it a slight path of unstable passage which Holmes estimated as being 11 feet wide in general. Its route carried on and along over a gradually uprising and bumpy path. Frost and ice laden pieces of wood, of all shapes and sizes littered the path. The endless snow had mercifully covered up most of what Holmes regarded as a botched disaster. The exposed and withered appearance clearly revealed the signs of some long forgotten project. It was clear that stone walling had once been considered (along its snake like edge) and later abandoned by the irregular tell tale signs of its limited construction. The ground beyond this futile boundary fell and sloped with perilous possibilities, down towards a more stable level area below. It was in this area that Holmes again easily picked out the foreboding and chillingly silent sight of the guillotine. Beyond this was a lighter slope of snow covered ground which eventually fell towards the cave entrance or what would better be known locally as the mine works of Mallens Poke. Holmes briefly studied its distant entrance with intrigue and felt sure that he could see vapor coming through its caged doors. He suspected that the tunnels other entrance – over a mile away down ground - bled open somewhere near the coastal boundaries which was probably located close to a cargo port of some sort. Such pondering was cut short though by the damp icy chill which began to creep along his knees. His direction of thought then naturally returned back towards his current findings. But before he could continue he recalled the earlier sighting of the Krystians meeting with the three men and two hounds. He then realised the possibility of another, safer path somewhere down there which could maybe serve him. Especially since it was becoming more and more evident that the snowy plains around him were dangerously deceptive with that which they hid. His `closer-to-home` investigations soon rewarded his efforts when he found more tell-tale signs that mirrored the original findings discovered not far from the Arms doorstep. Ignoring his now freezing knee caps, he got closer to the ground and studied, carefully prodding the snow with his gloved fingers. More specimens of something resembling perished fauna were found. A slight sign of hope began to dawn along his dry lips as something else became obvious too. Tiny depressions which his warm breath carefully gleamed back into their full clarity were uncovered. Closer inspection revealed a series of scattered marks, all of which appeared circular in shape– but not always flattened along their base. As Holmes continued with this study he identified at least 5 distinct types of this shape and each held a rough diameter that was close to that of a penny. Their range of coverage along the snow appeared random but upon closer examination this seemed unlikely to Holmes. Pleased with his findings, he stood and regained his balance with the ground. After dusting away the clinging snow from his gloves and knees he looked one last time at the white icy covering by his feet. A slight smile was now partially hidden by his joined hands as they returned and resettled under his nose. With a scrape of his right foot the signs that had been discovered were now lost forever. A cigar smoking denizen of the Mallens arms was the first to spot the return of Sherlock Holmes as he saw him regather his belongings outdoors. The bearded man with a face seemingly cursed by horrid warts removed the cigar from his mouth & quickly raised the alarm with his croaky voice, “Tis back again, Squire Krystian!” Upon hearing this, Krystian gulped down his drink of scotch before hurrying towards and pushing to one-side the man known as, Lotterby. As Lotterbay stood aside and cursed the loss of spilt ale the old man amusingly watched Holmes and guessed, “Maybe he took the leak before he travels!” The vermin within the Mallen Arms all joined in chorus as the room erupted with cruel laughter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.