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

The Heeled Jackal

149 posts in this topic

Recommended Posts

Mark One

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
 
Mark One
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.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
oldrover
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. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark One

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
Mark One

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
Mark One

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
Mark One

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
Mark One

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
Mark One

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
Mark One

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
Mark One

Chapter 6

The volatile path ahead of him was gradually churning itself into a wide concave slope which led perilously downwards. Its uneven covering of deep snow made navigation an hit and miss affair as each footstep told him a different story. The scattering of Horse Chestnuts whom all stood in foreboding silence around him also hid their unwelcome surprises too as he was soon to find out. His left foot suddenly slipped over something solid and in his effort to correct his balance he almost tripped and fell backwards into the freezing coating of outer snow. This alarming encounter left him with a more staggered approach as each careful footstep carried his progress with unsure caution. Wary watered eyes now glanced along the daunting and slippery terrain ahead of him as they searched for the tell tale signs of that which he had almost succumb to. For a very brief moment of time his right-hand longed for the grasp of a trusted cane as this new menace presented itself to him. He quickly glanced around with ideas of crafting something out of a fallen branch but only found that which he could not use effectively. Another slight breeze of cold air caught his eyes and added more annoying moisture as he steadied and prepared himself. It was now obvious to him that the deceptively obscured perennials, partially hidden under snow, now chose to hinder the path set before him and his bid for freedom from Mallens Poke. As he continued downwards, his apprehensive approach did come with additional shortfalls. He suddenly began to feel a deeper draft of cold air which rushed to meet him. In his current predicament he wasnt sure if the weather was turning or if he was beginning to wither under such unfair conditions. The initial signs of its woe came with an unwelcome temperature that chilled his outer clothing. Innocent swaying flakes of snow then started to drift around him as inner garments began to join in and match the outer chill.

 

ith cautious concentration now focused on the covert criss cross of surface root ahead of him, something else became apparent. Familiar Impressions in the snow began to return as he carefully trekked downwards. Such markings in the snow were now joined by occasional traces of footprints that had also suffered the ground root menace which currently afflicted his own progress. Holmes stopped to study the scattering of half buried footprints and decided to remain erect on this occasion as he did so. He visually followed their direction through the uncertain contours of snow and found a more remeasuring path that favoured balance. Around a third of the way down the path he began to notice that the signs in the snow were separating into small groups. Holmes counted and found 4 groupings that then proceeded off the track and headed off through and beyond the trees. It came as no surprise to him that their routes led towards the small pockets of folk who seemingly picketed the higher slopes of snow to his far left. Such sights and findings also revealed something else of importance. The dogs which he had previously spotted from afar had obviously travelled over harsher ground and not used the same route of their masters. This led Holmes to realise that these creatures ahead of him were obedient and well trained in the art of the hunt. It also revealed to the master detective that there must be another path that sweeps somewhere past the Arms, a secret route overland perhaps, that was kept deliberately well hidden. His attention then turned downwards and towards his chilled feet with curiosity. His thoughts bore through the snow and also the cold hard rock underfoot as his mind began to wander. Images of irregular tunnels and abandoned mines filled his inner vision with endless passages of various size. Has his imagination wriggled its way through the myriad of passages a solid light source soon became visible. And soon, Holmes inner vision was observing the caged barrier again. As he peered through its ice ridden, corroded bars, an interesting idea began to form. “...a splendid solution...”, he thought to himself, “...which brings with it, high risk...” His focus and attention was brought back to reality as the cold air began to irritate his eyes again. He released hold of his luggage and then generously rubbed his gloved hands together. When he was satisfied that the chill had been taken off of them, he then turned his attention towards his runny eyes before removing a glove. He then remembered the concealed item hidden inside one of his gloves and so, rejected his intention. A gloved forefinger carefully rubbed away the tears that had been born out of the cold in his eyes. As he did this he pictured the old man in the Inn, stood by a window with a hideous grin. He could almost feel his aged, cruel eyes burning deep into his back as he readjusted his gloves and then stamped his feet in the snow. As he did this he began to feel an unwelcome chill inside his poorly fitting riding boots which worried him and made him more determined to leave and find warmer dwellings. And so he hurried downwards with a cold aching sensation in his feet. All he was bothered about now was whether wood or rock would support his `splendid` plan.

 

Taking a glance to his right and far beyond the slanted trees revealed more open land ahead of him. Its level and angle of stability declined perilously downwards towards a lower layer of ground. Holmes did spy in such places, small patches of what appeared to be solid ground. Their desperately looking portions scattered along the white roughness loosely reminded him of a archipelago. There were also ample sightings of exposed bare rock and the occasional left over remains of fallen walls. As he pondered on the strength of that terrain underfoot, something else caught his attention too. His nostrils suddenly detected the strained smell of tobacco in the air. Without turning to look around, Holmes quickly made calculations on its origin and direction. From the direction of the slight breeze in the air he knew that it originated ahead of him and to his right. The watered down aroma brought with it two distinct smells which seemed to be a mix of both cigar and a rather poor brand of tobacco. Other distinct aromas soon met his nostrils as his passage underfoot became more stable and less deep. An unseen bonfire was recognised with what smelt like the outdoor roasting of meats. His own stomach signaled its keen interest as he ventured closer towards a gathering of townsfolk some 50 yards ahead of him. He steadied his approach to make a quick glance back far easier. Without surprise, the organized stalkers that equaled 4 where now journeying towards him at what seemed like a leisurely pace with excited dogs that begged to be released.  His arrival at the designated location was greeted with the expected release of curious interest from those present. A large selection of unsure and scruffy looking folk had gathered. Whilst most of them stood and scrutinised him, several others were found sitting on ruined walls nearby or peering through the roughly shaped , icicle littered windows of their questionable dwellings. Holmes soon realised that everything that was man made here had indeed been erected by poorly skilled craftsman. This make-shift village of Krystians had indeed been constructed by desperate men for desperate people. The stone walling approach had been taken to extremes here and obviously upon poor levels of ground. The houses which Holmes judged as superior animal dwellings did not conform to any natural or uniform design. Tightness seemed prevalent here with sincere desperation for solid ground. He observed many of them clinging perilously close to one another. Worrying issues with poorly layed foundations were also evident. He instinctively knew that there would be no uniform routes or pathways within this myriad of confused dwellings. All of this led Holmes to theorise that those who lived here were of a controllable, lower intelligence. A clan of sorts who lived by primitive methods. He concluded his assessment with a daunting conclusion. Around him was an expandable workforce forever trapped into slavery and dependent on Krystians questionable good will. With sincere pity he knew he was observing a village of the damned where hope was forever strangled by its Master who lived in the Inn. Holmes gloved hands suddenly cupped over his nose and mouth as a sudden gust of wind brought something else towards him. His ill fitting coat began to flap in the wind as putrid smells of waste met his nostrils. The scene ahead of him then became briefly dimmer as the air was treated to the smells and produce of burning coals and scorched wood. The eternal trailing of black smoke which originated from the makeshift chimneys suddenly blighted everything with its sooted mark. It was briefly joined again with the smells of roasted meats. He began to ill, with a sickening conclusion that the meat in question was infact horse. His suspicious over who originally owned it drastically altered his once - open impression of the towns folk – into disgusted disdain.

 

The lost souls that were gathered ahead of him expressed their opinions of him with an overall tone that was cunningly low. But their overall demeanor appeared equally fueled by something that he could only discern as being soured by his arrival.  Many gaunt looking opportunists lingered in small groups of two or three to chance a moment to observe him. Their cold and menacing glances didn't offer Holmes an assurance of good will as he halted his approach towards them. And then he noticed their grunt like language went silent as their demeanor became cruelly cold and judgemental. Not one of then stepped forward to greet his arrival, something he was now thankful for. But many of the ill weathered women that were present did giggle and spit into the snow as they glanced and pointed at him. The scruffy looking men folk who Holmes next paid attention to seemed distracted with unsure, trouble concerns. Their untidy presence carried the fed up persona of someone pressed into being present to take part in some form of duty. But their shifty eyes also told him another story. His own eyes followed their gaze and what he saw did not surprise him for he was expecting it. Those cruelly cold, distant sentinels who had monitored his descent, were now close and were also forming a crescent shape, many yards behind him. It was now clear that here he would learn of his fate as supplied by the Inn Keeper. The daunting and unpredictable scene around him was suddenly made worse as the distant sound of carriage wheels bumping and slipping their way in the snow, made themselves known As Holmes stood upon the poorly shaped t-junction he knew that the source of the noise was arriving from his left. From the very same direction he had arrived here in the first place via a twisted and lower ground route. As he longed and waited to see who or what was coming, his ears recognised the familiar sounds of panting dogs. Taking a careful look behind, he saw the completed formation of untidy but series looking men. He counted 6 in number, some 20 feet away. A sinister, weather hardened group of men who varied in shape and size. But all were dressed in plain looking, dull coloured coats which fell just below their knees. Holmes was immediately suspicious of what was hidden inside their long coats as his attention turned to the 5 hounds who were stood or sat before their masters. Then something important struck him about the gang – none of them carried or wielded a staff or stick. Glancing back and beyond the silent ruffians thankfully brought Holmes an answer. The organizes of this greeting party were all stood on higher ground and were clearly handling the missing items which had revealed great activity around the Inn. The sounds of the mysterious carriage got ever closer, both Holmes and the village folk saw it with many of the latter now cruelly laughing to themselves. Holmes ignored this and began to count an unusual number as he first picked out the horses. “...an odd number of horses, how strange...”, he thought to himself as he gently rubbed his eyes. His hopes of getting a clearer view though were suddenly dashed when the horses and carriage slid to an halt. The mysterious visitor was for now, still too far away to judge or recognize. A brief flicker of sunlight flashed along the side of the distant transport – something Holmes took to be the sign of a window being adjusted. And so Holmes had no choice but to stand, shiver and wait. All he could be sure of for now, was that a very dark coloured carriage with three stocky but firm looking horses was keenly watching him.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark One

Holmes calmly walked alittle further into the makeshift road and narrowed his blurred vision to gain a sharper view of shy carriage. This surprised those behind him for they were expecting another easy, `broken` man. One of the thugs watching took another deep drag of his pipe as he turned to the other members of the gang with an unsure look upon his face.. Their governor who stood confidently with them dead centre shook his head with no concerns and merely smirked as he studied the target. The ring leader was a dark bearded, small man in his early 50s, a proud person who specialised in whipping others into shape. His previous expectations regarding this latest `mark` were now lacking in credibility. Sure, he knew this man was a special case, a leading light of sorts who blighted the criminal underworld with his amazing skills. But out here existence was hard, off putting and a sincere strain on the senses. Those who dared such places as Mallens Poke often soon regretted it and crumbled in character soon afterwards. And yet here before him was rudely defiant man who refused to take onboard the futile nature of his lot. This ringleader now understood why he and his gang had been paid so much for their latest assignment. With utter disbelief, he now knew that this tall and apparent wiry man (by the choice of his unfitting clothing) had not been properly groomed into fear by Patryk Krystians tried and tested methods. Although he hid it well, the bearded brute named Sam Bell, was now wishing that he had more intelligence on the man famously known as Sherlock Holmes. The main finger from his left hand began to slowly rub along his bushy moustache as he studied the man in deep thought. A phrase from his past returned to haunt him, “...A man who still hath hope can make lessen your success...” Bell had heard the name Sherlock Holmes mentioned many times in the past by those who had returned from various areas of greater London. Many referred to him as a meddler, an pest whilst others described him as some famous, middle class Londoner whose life often crossed with that of the police. For Bell though, one thing was certain. He knew that his very brief time with Mr Sherlock Holmes would be a memorable one and maybe a learning curb too from which he could improve his own unique skills.

 

 

As the rampant whispers, grunts and excited mutterings continued to glare at him nearby, Holmes saw something ahead that brought further interest. Someone inside the carriage was now slowly waving a small flag. Two long sways from right to left were then displayed in the air. Fascinated by this Holmes then quickly turned to watch those who preferred to remain distant and witnessed one of them raise his staff with an almost identical reply from left to right. Holmes then looked back at the distant transport as its flag was then slowly lowered. Another speckle of sunlight then gleamed along its side. The three distant horses then suddenly erupted into life. Holmes took a few steps back, rubbing his hands together with eager interest as the carriage gathered momentum and got ever closer. The noises it made along the unstable ground sounded horrid and left him with the impression that a cart wheel would surely shatter soon under such strained use. Holmes face remained still but alert as he turned around to face the thugs again whose silence mocked him through their cruel eyes. He took a few paces closer and then dismissed them with a disinterested swivel as he returned his attention back towards the approaching carriage. By the troubled tones that now came from those nearby it was obvious to Holmes that they feared such things. And so, the poor gathering ahead of him quickly began to drag itself away with the help of some firm hand grips from the concerned men folk. Many of the alarmed villagers leapt over the frost ridden stone walls whilst others formed bottlenecks as they pulled and pushed against one another, desperately trying to flee down narrow alleyways. For one worrying moment as Holmes returned his gaze back towards the approaching roar he wondered if the thickly scarfed carriage driver had been given orders to run him through. Its shuddering form seemed tested by the cruel weather conditions as both the horses and its load took turns sliding sideways in the snow. But thankfully, as it got closer so the ground became flatter and the noise less daunting. What Holmes now saw more clearly really did surprise his expectations. He recognised the unique design of a carriage known as The Quicksilver. Holmes knew that it was a lavish and also highly sought after model of transport which was very costly to keep and maintain. Its overall colour was black, with an odd choice of duck green highlighting its edges and pronounced craftsmanship. Whoever sat inside of it was clearly shy in nature or very careful for the elegantly designed windows that were bordered with the off-green finish displayed tightly closed, black velvet curtains. The coat of arms that was presented below them became blurred as everything shuddered. But even there Holmes noticed another unique choice of colour too. But, before he could consider this more, the noise from the rough sounding the carriage driver distracted him. The man sat up in front wore a thick top hat which fell just above his unfriendly looking eyes. His thick, cosy looking brown scarf covered up the rest of his face, its ends seemingly tucked deep inside the collars of his jet black woollen coat. As the driver barked out aggressive commands to his active horses Holmes saw him take a quick glance at him. The mans blinking eyes studied him for a brief moment before he shook his head at Holmes and then returned his focus back on his job.

 

The Quicksilvers muddied, white cartwheels seemed very tested has they skidded and creaked their way through the earth, snow and ice. But as Holmes studied its shuddering design more closely he quickly realised that this particular model had been modified to support the odd choice of three Clydesdale horses. All three of them were jet black in colour with soiled white feathering along theirs belly's and lower legs. Holmes knew that to own such a breed with such colouring will have cost their owner a small fortune. Their erratic harnesses and reins closely matched the duck green colour which seemed to contain oddly placed patterns or shapes. As Holmes struggled to take this in all he could deduce was black depictions which seemed hand painted. Even though his attention to such details was limited, he did manage to see something which loosely matched that of a fishes tail. And so, his assumed transport failed to stop as it passed him by, instead continuing onwards in ignorance until it met a wider road which headed downwards and out of sight. As he stood there watching it rattle its way into the distance his mind was trying to decipher his mental copy of its coat of arms. There was something about its finely grey and black design which fascinated him. The passing shields central, blurred depiction held something most unusual, a large creature of sorts with several long and wiry appendages. As Holmes pondered on the possibilities of what this all meant he heard one of the men behind him speak with a surprisingly pleasant accent that seemed mixed with both english and welsh. “You look all cut up and very Kiff boy.” Holmes focus was again rudely distracted as his eyes narrowed with a slight smile forming along his lips. He gently turned to face the source of the voice as the small man with the busy beard smirked back at him and then continued, “Well, well Mr Holmes. Havn`t you got some tidy clobber then? You look a proper Sioni Dai in them old things, I can tell you.” Holmes lips parted slightly and smiled as he replied with, “You should never judge a book of literature by the choice of covering which binds it.” An introductory reply was then given to him, “The names Bell, boy. Samuel Bell.  And now the yarns and antics are over lets us all get down to business.”  Bells own expression then formed into a more delighted look as he turned to one of his men and asked, "Its very peaky out here Stanley.  Lets not keep Mister Sherlock Holmes hanging.  Be a kind lad and show him your shackles."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark One

^ Never try to extract data from a almost dead and corrupt laptop :) ^

WARNING TO READERS: The following part of the story includes violence.

 

Holmes rubbed his hands together to generate some warmth and then displayed a comical look of surprise towards the stupid man who was now edging his way closer. He then placed his unconcerned vision firmly on Bell and asked, “May I inquire as to why you require those restraints when I am so clearly outnumbered?” After asking this question his focus was drawn back towards the pass behind him. After all, time was short for Holmes and he currently lacked the enthusiasm to play along too much with the fools before him. So, without waiting for a reply, he carefully turned around in the unfavourable conditions and quickly began studying the freshly trawled tracks in the muddied snow. Both knees became cold and damp again with mild annoyance as he settled his balance into the unfavourable terrain. A slightly heavier fall of gentle snow now began to fill the air around him as he began his keen study. For Holmes this was a clear sign that he had to act now whilst the weather was tolerable. Both of his hands carefully touched the disturbed contours of the half frozen snow, hoping as they searched. As the muffled grunts and groans of the gang behind him became impatient, something caught his eagle eyed attention, and what he saw there deeply rewarded his efforts. Not far behind him though, deep furrows of bother began to form along the ring-leaders brow as he frowned upon this unusual reaction. His tired brown eyes lost their dull shine as the worn flesh around them tightened with deep suspicion. He was now judging the spectacle ahead of him with a mix of light confusion and high apprehension. It troubled him as he tried to explain away the eccentric and unexpected mannerisms employed by the strange fellow who felt now was the time to kneel into freezing snow and rub the ground. The ring-leader wished to sell this all off as the workings of a madman, but the feeling in his long trusted gut warned against this. From the very first moment he had laid eyes on Holmes, he knew something was amiss. But the peculiar man ahead of him was something which he could not identify. The strange mix of his clothing, his choice of voice and the lack of worry in his demeanour all left Bell remembering an emotional sensation that had for years been put to bed. For the first time in many years, Samuel Bell felt uneasy and this was something that his carefully crafted profession repulsed. He thought of the chosen men around him whom he had personally hand picked and then heavily tried by his own standards. With sincere force and determination he pushed away this unwelcome clink in his armour, to a place deep inside where its cries would never be heard. Both of his nostrils then took in a determined and relieved breath of cold air which in turn drew attention to him from those nearby. They all watched their proud leader, their own weathered, blinking eyes filled with the tell tale signs of yesterdays ale. What they witnessed next reassured their trust in him as one of his fists came with speed upwards before softly settling over his mouth. After letting out a good cough to clear his throat, his displeased glance swung back upon Holmes. Bell then gestured towards the man called Stanley with a pointed finger who reacted by revealing a length of narrow chain which seemed to contained two shackles. His instructive finger then swung back towards Holmes as he remembered the unusual captives previous query regarding unfair numbers. His head swung from left to right with a cruel smile as he looked upon his gang members. And then with silent words he bitterly replied, “We all have our methods boy-yoh.”

 

As the smiling, slightly opened mouth of the thug named Stanley carefully moved forward, Holmes made his way around in the snow to face him. This observation amused the owner of the chain who now assumed his newest prisoner was surrendering. Its smirking, stubble ridden smile then came closer and felt wickedly more confident as it warned, “There be no point in scarpering mister. See, there be no where to run.” Holmes own smile struggled to hide its seething reactions as he reluctantly added, “Your sardonic assumptions are flawed. I merely prefer to be seen in the company of virtuous people.” Upon hearing this, Bell turned to the remaining members of his gang with surprise and gave them a light warning, “We have a sharp case here boys.” The man with the chain responded with an eruption of excited giggles as his body began to shake and the chain he grasped became erratic. Holmes in the mean time had been scoping their path, preparing his escape and judging the ground upon which they stood. Without raising his head, Holmes called out to Stanley's leader, “ Bell, that carriage has connections with shipping doesn't it?” The chancer who was closest to him now felt confused and unsure on how to act. His free filthy hand began nervously fiddling with his greasy hair as his head turned to one side with hope that Sam Bell would intervene. His boss barked out an order at him, “Just cuff an chain him Stan!” Bell then swiftly turned to another member of his gang who was stood nearby with his dog. An instructive nod was given to the dog handler before he pointed towards Holmes and then ordered, “Go!” His next words which lacked patience were aimed squarely at Holmes, “Be the proper gent and do has we say Mister! We cun then all move on.” The same finger then gave an impatient hint of what was to come next as its line of direction pointed far beyond Holmes and deep into the horrid dwellings of Mallens Poke. And with this, every other member of Sam Bells gang moved forward to complete the capture of Sherlock Holmes.

 

 

Holmes was not impressed and appeared not to care as he looked away and shook his head, “Oh I`m afraid I`ll have to decline that intention of yours, Mr Bell. You see, I`ll be long gone soon and well beyond your reach old chap.” Those who watched him failed to notice the tainted traces of delight in his eyes sa cunning delving hands dug deep into the discoloured snow and found what they now needed. He had suspected that the dragged weight of the Quicksilver with the hearty pounding of twelve hooves would have easily loosened the earth and rock hidden underneath. And right now both hands were carefully gathering what he judged as an effective solution to the pests who currently delayed his plans. In plain sight of those who watched him he was easily formulating a weapon that he knew they would not be prepared for. His keen ears then heard the length of chain rattle very close to his right shoulder and with this he took his chance. He carefully glanced upwards and looked deeply into the grinning mans, sour eyes before asking him, “Oh, did you miss the tell tale signs of salted corrosion along its body as it fled us past? Could the owner have links with shipping perhaps?” As the thugs limited intelligence temporarily muddled inwardly with such unexpected questions everything suddenly went still around him. His eyes were the first to react with what came next as tiny projectiles impacted into his face or travelled perilously close as they flew past him. His head soon followed his eyes concerns with a swift turn to the left as both hands began to rise in self defence. But only one made it upwards, the other holding the chain felt a unexpected pull in its links which in turn took him off balance and pulled him forwards. A painful hand chop then shuddered nastily into his right hand shoulder, not far from his neck. Everything then became gradually numb and dizzy as he fell face first, deep into the freezing terrain and blacked out. Another thick handful of snow was then propelled with determined force upwards into the chest and facial areas of those who daringly chose to get too close. What these men didn't expect to meet as the snow hit them was the unexpected stinging, tingling sensations which suddenly attacked their upper bodies and in some cases painfully hurt them too. But before they could react to the sudden realisation of loose rock and chippings another bombardment of this slushy white peril attacked them. As alerted dogs began to bark and growl with worry, one of Bells men backed away, groaning in pain. A hand pressed deeply over his left ear as his confused balance led him into a uncomfortable lean. He then lost all control over his body, fell and then slid out of sight with only his cries giving reference to his ever decreasing location. The horrid screams of the man haunted the others as he was taken downwards into places never to be found or dared.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark One

 

The others were all in trouble now as their confused states began to struggle with the disruption which now attacked them from behind a mixed fog of erratic snow and harder materials. Many of them were now choking or rubbing their sore eyes when the next, equally unexpected bombardment took them head on by surprise. One of Bells chosen men let out a groan and looked woefully ill as his hand began rubbing heavily into a damp, soiled stain which lay along his left shoulder. This unfortunates footwork turned awkwardly in the quickly discolouring snow as his own dog pulled against him, its head awash with confused instincts. What this hired hand failed to notice or realise was that his loyal hound was now trying to protect him from a figure in the mist like haze, who was now upon him. His pained and surprised expressions turned just in time to face the menace which blurred its way towards him. The sudden terror that arose in his eyes twitched as a rather long and fully packed sack thudded into the side of his face. Its painful and heavy brunt hurt him and took his breath away as for a brief moment he strangely recalled a very large book from his childhood. His muddled mind was lost as he tried to decide what to do next and his knees began to feel wrong. The pain was incredible and so bad that he dare not yet risk closing his open mouth. His panicked breathing soon became a worried groan as he desperately shook his head in the hope of clearing away his unstable bearings. A jolt of sincere fear then raced through his veins as it cruelly dawned on him that his jaw was either broken or had been knocked out of shape. A shaking hand now rushed in desperation towards the disaster zone now known as his face. The highlighted, sounds of fear that now surrounded his ears brought forth forceful concerns for his friends, but it was now too late as his legs began to buckle. As his inner will attempted to stave off his own wounds and aid the others, the entire body suddenly shuddered with a reaction that told him it was over. The world around him gracefully raced into a peaceful silence where both fear and joy didnt matter anymore. Time now became slower and distorted as his balance was lost, but he nolonger cared. The ground which was fast approaching now meant nothing to him. But as he fell, his dog ran behind and pulled him sideways. His groaning voice erupted into a cruelly painful scream as his arm became twisted with a loud and unhealthy sounding snap. He naturally released his hold on the dog chain in a desperate attempt to straighten and free his damaged arm. But time and terrain was against him. He fell with a heavy thump as his brow hit something hard in the dangerously deceptive snow. The unconscious mans loyal hound began to pant heavily as it tried to rejoin him along what turned out to be a patch of concealed ice. Its futile attempts soon surrendered into a form of collapsed momentum which eventually saw it rolling downwards and far out of sight. The remaining dogs now felt caught in the middle of this commotion as their unsteady and unsure masters pulled upon their chains in an attempt to remain upright. One of the hounds became nervously afraid and ran around her master in circles until the leash found tightness around his thighs and he soon fell into the surrender of defeat. But unbeknown to those who had currently succumb to Holmes attack was the state of the ransacked mobs ring-leader. He too had received his fair share, had slipped onto his behind and found himself slumped next to Holmes first target. He growled to himself as he picked up his ageing form and stood again As he took in the chaos around him with shock, his own concerned attention was diverted back towards his mouth. Its upper lip began to smart and throb violently with a warm sensation which quickly spread down to his chin and high above his nose. Inner tingling then joined in with the unwelcome sensations and this is when his cautious tongue found loose teeth all coated with blood. Sincere anger and hatred towards the troublesome detective now began to swell deep inside of him as lips and gums did the same. As the alarming numbing sensation tingled its way comfortably into his outer lips he discerned the sound of a chain and then suddenly cried out with severe pain. With closed eyes now swelling into tears, the bone breaking sensation along his legs was almost too much for him to stand. Bleary eyes opened wide with panic as they frantically darted around and tried to grasp what was now happening. Bells wispy, heavily diluted vision caught a brief sighting of Holmes as he left him in pain. Through a mix of falling snow and watering eyes he half spied him hurrying back up and along the pass which led to the Arms. His own dumb foundered voice now fumbled and failed him as the blood enriched cocktail in his mouth hampered his words. Warm, watery eyes desperately blinked nervously as they struggled to refocus on the distorted, but active figure who was now easily escaping.

 

With a determined pace, Holmes now made his way upwards again as the remainder of the confused mess behind him struggled to understand what had just taken place. This recent clash with Bells men had actually improved his low temperature as he raced onwards. But the desperate rate at which he had moved had in turn put unwanted strain on his tired legs and chilled feet. And so, as the gap between him and the moans and groans far behind him got wider he decided to slow down. Both feet and legs now felt heavy as the former now retraced the original route he had made previously. His keen hands made a few last minute checks of his clothing and person before re-adjusting the satchel which now clung even tighter to his body. The chain which he had taken from the first of Bells stooges was then keenly wrapped around his left forearm. Feeling ready, Holmes took in a deep breath of cold air, cleared away any snowflakes from his face and then focused all attention on what had to come next. And so, now the intended method of escape was to be tested. As both eyes studied the downward slopes to his left he knew that if he was to succeed with the first step of his escape plan, two issues would have to first be dealt with. His primary concern was the descent and the content of snow and its concealed rock. The second obstacle to deal with would be the ground on which he landed. But the sounds of shouting and barking dogs not far behind him forced him into a hasty gamble for time was now short. Carefully leaping over the previously counted and noted exposed tree roots saw him soon approaching a spot on his left that had caught his attention previously. Here he used his feet to make a quick judgement along the crest of the slope as his eyes carefully picked out the swiftest route available. The sacks were then dropped onto the snow in the chosen area and rearranged before Holmes rubbed away the gathering snowflakes which were beginning to cling to his face and annoy his eyes. With one final good intake of air he fell onto the sacks with a deliberate thump which in turn created motion. The makeshift sledge was initially sluggish as it found its `feet` along the moderate slope. And the occasional surprise of hidden rock made him wonder if the planned outcome of his ride was to betray him. But thankfully, Holmes soon became more satisfied as his journey downwards gathered momentum and took him further away from the pests high above, whom could now be heard shouting vulgar things towards him. He also gratefully noticed a pleasing sensation returning in his cold and tired legs that improved his mood ever more. As the journey took him further he soon found the untouched snow that blanketed the slope mercifully firm and adequate to support his weight. But he soon found his hands grabbing tightly into the cloth of his makeshift sledge as the coarseness along the ice cold surface began to take its toll. His seating was becoming damp and this in turn was effecting both the rate and direction of his journey. The various items inside the sacks were now also affecting the expectant route as he encountered far bumpier terrain. As his grip tightened, he instinctively made good use of his heels, digging them into the snow to correct the direction of his descent. And to make matters worse, the cruelly cold air now bit deeper into the cheeks of his focused face as he sped ever downwards. Snow flakes came towards his determined eyes in greater numbers now as both hands took turns wishing to intervene. He knew that such a natural reaction would jeopardise his safety and so resorted to a more primitive solution. His cold lower lip overlapped the other and he blew short bursts of air upwards. This was of course limited in its success but it did reduce the bothersome snow that meddled with his focus. The ground eventually took control and led him along a testing route which he had no choice but to endure. But in his mind he didnt actually care for he had far greater concerns ahead of him if he was to survive Mallens Poke. His attention began to wander away from its current predicament and back into his inner calculations...The number of hounds, their number of men, their hidden weapons of choice...The insidious Innkeeper of the Mallen Arms...He unwittingly revealed... He paused in thought as closer to home needs now met him along the slope. Holmes found himself now swaying from left to right as he adjusted the direction of his downward ride. Thick patches of snow were hurled into the air ahead of him as his heels failed in their tasks. The bumpy ground underneath him was becoming cruelly uncomfortable and the soaked sacks now began to buckle. Both legs began to feel the strain again as his rigid body did what it could to hold everything together as he longed and hoped for easier ground. The snow now fell with more haste and seemed intent on blighting his goal with its mist of icy death. Eyesight became hindered, his almost numb grip on the unsuitable fabric began to falter and his heart rate increased. His only solace was in the knowing that there were none of those hideous looking, ice laden trees along this path. But this in turn brought forth further concerns. For all he knew, the deceptively plain route ahead could lead to some hidden and unexpected ledge with a painful drop. The snowfall and the deceptive terrain were now proving too much of a risk for him. He also knew that at least one member of the duet, that now no longer cushioned his descent, was close to ruin. And so with no other choices available he deliberately savaged the lining of the weaker link in his seating and prepared for what was to come next.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark One

As its contents spilt out into the unforgiving snow there was no time to regret that which was now lost to him forever. But he did realise as its unravelling continued far behind him that such sacrifices would no doubt stall those who pursued him and, hopefully buy him more time to complete his escape. The erratic descent was picking up pace now with both heels struggling to even kiss its terrifyingly fast moving, glass like surface. The well kept ice that coated his unpredictable path was now steering his almost useless seating out of all control. And again, the gentle, carefree thick flakes of snow which fell around him and into his cold face, made judging his journey almost impossible. His rump was then bumped to his left as the cruel terrain sprung him a lumpy surprise. This in turn forced his torso into the same direction and put untold pressure on his left hand as it struggled to maintain its grip. The struggling sack which for now had survived now began to slide uncontrollably sideways as he held onto it for dear life. And then out of nowhere he fell something hard impact into the side of his legs. For a brief moment he felt himself lift off of the ground before the side of his body collided with what seemed to him to be thick piles of built up snow. The impact shuddered throughout his body as each of his 5 senses began to weaken with shock. His shaking form felt sure that it had come to a standstill and yet he could have sworn he was still moving. For a few moments, Holmes could do nothing as he waited for the panic inside of him make its way through and then out. When he was sure that it had left him, he carefully lifted his head, using his arms and hands to force himself up. To his surprise he found himself facing up slope and with a careful turn he found with much relief that he had reached the knickpoint in a better condition than he had expected. He struggled back onto his feet and eagerly brushed off the ice chilled dusting that now clung to his clothing. His hands then rubbed his arms before removing the snow around his neck and face. After making sure he had not injured himself, both feet began stamping into the snow in an attempt to generate warmth. This led him into a slow spin on the spot and as he was doing this he spotted the sack. An annoying thrown formed along his rosy face as he studied it. “...the joke of it all...”, he thought to himself, “...Ive just narrowly escaped death along this slope and now Ive got to climb up again...” The surviving baggage in question was half buried, a good 12ft ahead of him up-slope. With careful steps his stressed feet took him towards it. Here he fell onto his knees and began its retrieval. As he did this he heard voices high above him.

 

Two of Bells ruffians who had survived and were still fit and able, raced with their enraged dogs in search of him. Their exhausted lungs quickly thanked them as both men slid to an halt near something interesting in the snow. The tallest of the two, an man in his late 30s used his bare fingers to brush his matted blonde fringe away from his brow as his watery olive eyes studied the trail in the snow. His hound sniffed the air around them with silent growls as she turned to watch her master. He fell into a careful crouch looking hopeful as something appealing caught his attention. He turned his head towards his colleague, spat some snow from his mouth and lips and then called out to him. “Summat happened here boyo, look!” His loyal hound began growling. The other man of similar age but dirtier in appearance was adjusting his thick, thread ridden, black scarf that clung to his neck and lower face. He whistled a certain command from behind its tattered and stained threads towards his dog who in turn remained as he turned back. His graceful and carefree movement within the snowy mists and the dark tones of his bulky clothing all emanated the dark aura of a truly menacing personality. He moved with calculated silence, taking in every available sight or sound as he moved closer. The breath ridden gravel of his voice then enquired, “Do not...waste my time!” The man before him who was now poking a portion of a small branch into the snowy depression shook his head, “Will yer stop the cribbing Jack! Look, Mister Homms may be sharp but we have him now.” The man known only as Jack stared deeply at his colleague and then the finding in the snow before returning his dark eyes into him with a brief and silent nod. Not far behind Jack, his dog began making impatient noises which saw its master fling out an arm with a series of hand gestures as it fell back into obedient silence. His voice softened into a hoarse whisper, “We shall...report back to...Mr Bell.” Keels eyes narrowed as a devilish grin formed along his face, “Nah, hes had it for now and besides old lad, we could claim the handling fee and split it see.” The suspicious figure observing him replied, “Betray...Mr Bell?” The other man shook his head chuckled and then got back on his feet. He pointed towards the slope, “Tis down there Jack. Now if hes dead or alive we can still make a packet and share it between us like.” No reply was forthcoming from his sinister friend who was now turning around the rejoin his dog. But then he stopped along his quiet route and without moving, calmly warned, “Ive...never liked you, Keel. And one day...you may find my knife...feels the same.” Joshua Keel smiled with no concerns as he watched the weird man walk away. He called out to Jack with confidence, “I`ll take him myself then, you old fool!” He then patted the head of his faithful friend who was now calming down after the departure of the mysterious man called Jack.

 

The route ahead was still bleak, lonely and treacherous as the stirring breezes presented annoying dances of swirling snow in the air around him. The daunting and distant conversations high above him were a nagging concern but thankfully, still distanced for now. Here Holmes had found the snow deeper more tiring underfoot but he was thankful for the remaining sack and its damp contents – if he should become stranded and need to dig himself into some additional warmth. As he thought of this, the breeze bit deeply into him, and so, the sacks icy wet contents soon bored him back towards the hindered journey he still needed to make. His perception then returned to a far warmer and familiar place as inner, ongoing calculations reconfirmed his suspicions about the mine entrance. His own `key` into that shaft had been realised not long after he had expelled himself out of the insidious care of the Mallen Arms. He had long known without any doubt that there was one unrestricted way with which to gain access and he now ached to apply it, as his sore knees did the same. There was still resistance to his plans however which came from the schemes of a chancer by the name of Krystian. Holmes had summed up the soiled qualities of that monster early on and endured his sociopathic performance simply to survive. But he did still wonder however if the old man up there was aware of Holmes current interest in that barred entrance? After all, every keeper of a gate knows its strengths and weaknesses, he thought to himself. The sudden, nearby barking sounds that he heard above reminded him that he was still at risk and perilously close to the teeth of determined predators. Surprise had pushed him past them previously but now he knew they were acclimatised to such tactics and primed for revenge. Ignoring his aching limbs, he hurried along and soon found the path rising at last as it rushed ahead of him to join the more level surroundings of the Mallens Arms. Visibility was now becoming a strain to the eyes and on bare skin as the snow fell in higher quantities. Many daunting, distant figures could just be seen lingering around that buildings wake. Their empty silhouettes clinging to the safe ground around the building as they waited, watched and wondered. Through the swirling mists of snow he soon picked out the guillotine and from memory aimed his direction towards its mark within the seemingly endless snowstorm that now cursed his desires.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark One

Using his left hand to shield his eyes from the merciless snow aided his approach as he met the rising mounds of snow that led some 20ft upwards towards the horrid device of execution. Turning to his left revealed the mine entrance, which his limited vision estimated to be some 50 feet away from his current position. He then noticed how hazardous the terrain was around him and then it dawned on him that he had moved upwards and somewhat off course. The passage down towards the iron bars was now hindered by unfriendly gatherings of snow which probably hid short, but painful drops. Holmes began to backtrack with careful treading in the uncertain snows. Again, he heard shouting and loud chatter coming from those who were stood further up slope, along the safer ground that the Mallens Arms provided. Paying more attention to his own safety eventually led him back to more flatter ground and from here he chose a newer route. Many long depressions in the snow suggested trails to him as he payed careful attention, making sure he wasnt leading himself into one of natures innocent traps. And so he took his first steps towards his goal as it waited for him in chilled silence. His ears then heard sounds that originated from behind. Holmes stopped moving to give his ears better range...a man with heavy breathing...no, a man with a dog!, he thought to himself. He turned to face them both and found them struggling to meet him from a far distance. Now he knew that he could have easily outpaced them both and got away quite easily. But on this occasion the volatile terrain was against him and so, he had no choice to face head on what was arriving. With frustration he dropped his remaining sack into the snow and peered out towards the man who through the swirling snow appeared pleased. Holmes rubbed his hands together for warmth and stamped his feet into the snow again as he waited. The mans voice which was filled with heavy breath called out to him, “Thank yer Mr Homms for waiting. Nice try squire but owt here yer have noh chance.” The figure stopped quite a distance away from Holmes and asked, “Soh were wah yer heading any-owt? That gate over there is frozen shut and the trail beyond ter Steeler Poach is manned squire.” Holmes was in no mood for conversation and so replied with a rather dry response, “None of your business.” This amused the fellow ahead of him who bent forward with the giggles before shouting, “Wah just trying to brake thee ice we yer!” “Tell me Mr Homms. Eh yer ever had a fight with a girl?”, came the next sickly sweet enquiry. Holmes shook his head in disbelief and was deciding to move on, but reluctantly replied with, “State your own business ruffian, for my time is rather short.” The smirking figure nodded, “As yer are then mister.”, he pointed downwards, “Here, yer are squire. Meet...well let her make her mark on yer first.”

 

Holmes mouth went suddenly dry as a medium sized mass of matted grey fur with two bulging eyes raced towards him. Its blood thirsty growls became terrifying as its confident fangs got ever closer. Holmes quickly unraveled the chain and then realised that it was not long enough. To wield such a short length of linkage would bring the beast way to close and within reach of his flesh. He dropped the chain and fell onto one knee before quickly reaching out for the wet sack. And then with a heavily beating heart he prepared himself as his new weapon of choice was flung behind. To his surprise the raging beast upon seeing this slowed its pace and began performing a crawl. Holmes began to think the creature was mocking him as its head lowered and its snarls lessened. Its horrid eyes never left his own gaze though as it moved ever closer. Its movements and cunning reminded him of a crocodile and he knew that it was waiting for him to do his bit – swing the sack. And so, Holmes had to carefully time his swing in order to outfox the dogs intellect. To swing it too soon would allow the creature to spring forth with its hind legs and then maul him. A swing too late would not save him from its claws and most likely – its jaws. He was also painfully aware that nothing of any effective use was inside the sack, so the swing could only be a distraction. He then discerned from the creatures now moving eyes that it was thinking of the ground around him. For Holmes this was a sign that it was about to strike and so he acted first. His upper body leaned back and then his arms pulled against the sack. This bodily reaction fooled the creature into its attack as it lunged itself forward and upwards with seething growls. At the very same moment, Holmes stood, backed away and quickly brought the sack over his head and into the dogs path. Its content landed with force along the top of its head and the back of its neck. Its head and shoulders instinctively ducked with shock allowing Holmes to back away and prepare to take another swing. But the dog was determinately quicker in its adjustments and it tried to charge into him. Holmes just managed to place the end of the sack in its path, the enraged animal then became crazy.

 

Its foaming fangs bit deep into the lining with a determined rage as its growls got louder and its bloodshot eyes widened with need. And the more he tried to stave off its attack, the more it adapted to his attempts. It was soon stood on its hind legs with its ferocious front claws dug deep into his baggage. Holmes was now holding onto its full weight and the strain was starting to work against his balance in the icy snow. The beasts closed mouth revealed its hideous fangs with trembling lips as it tried a hind legged jump to get closer to him. This failed but almost saw its prey tumble to the ground as his own feet began to slip with the burden of added weight. Holmes knew that if this confrontation had taken place on dry ground he would have soon perished. What he now struggled with was quickly draining his strength and could soon finish him. He desperately took in another deep breath of air as he franticly looked around in search of a solution and only saw more problems getting ever closer to him. The predator growled again as it watched his struggle and then tried a different approach. Its mouth opened and then bit further into the sack. With its jaw and claws deeply entrenched, its body began to shake violently as its hind legs fought to pull its prey towards it. Sweat was now forming across Holmes troubled face as both of his shoulders began to throb with strain. His stability was also buckling at the knees now as the grip under his boots began to fail. Keel soon found a more comfortable position to watch with a sickening look of satisfied delight upon his face as one of his soiled fingers began picking at his discoloured front teeth. Holmes heard him giggling as he fought off the dogs latest tactics. Holmes took several risked glances at the figure in the hope that he would call off his beast. But to his horror all he received back was a grinning look of ignorance as the cruel man focused all of his attention on his trained canine. Sensing its master nearby, the enraged creature released its strength slightly as its tiny ears moved around to locate him. The cruel oath observing its beasts latest catch then spoke to Holmes with mocking words from his wet voice. “...thah toff be scared Chancer...KNEEL!” With a welcome release of breath, Holmes stepped back and nearly fell over. With himself and the sack now free of the manic creature he still kept his eyes upon it as noise from elsewhere began to fill his ears. Holmes scoped the area and then looked upwards. As one of his shaking hands wiped away wet snow from his moist brow he spied several, intoxicated parties moving closer to obtain a better look. His captor then spoke to his dog and praised its obedience before turning his attention towards Holmes with a dire warning. “Run for yer life ahh-gen, and old Chancer here will maul you. Yer silly hop-scotching Londoner. And ahh wont call him off until we see the tears in yer toffy nosed eyes!” He then wickedly shouted back to one of the others approaching, “Ah say Len, the twit be hopeless owt here without his silver spoon to protect him.” This brought mocking laughter from those who were getting closer and several barks from the other interested dogs too. Holmes desperately glanced around again and this time he saw something which he refused to reveal in his face. After settling his breathing with several fresh intakes of cold air he then challenged the c***-sure man with some cunning mockery, “Send the beast away or you'll regret it?” Keel gave Holmes a menacing nod that was followed by some spit from his mouth and a hand signal to his beast who in turn turned on him again.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tcgram

I am thoroughly enjoying your story.   I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan myself.  :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark One
3 hours ago, tcgram said:

I am thoroughly enjoying your story.   I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan myself.  :)

Many thanks tc.  Comments like that makes it all worth it X

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark One

Having taken a few select footsteps backwards beforehand, he relinquished his use of the remaining baggage, even if his shoulders ached at such a thought. And unlike his last encounter with the monster who was apparently called Chancer, he now presented the sack to it instead. Its excited bulging eyes noticed this as the determined creature clawed its way along and through the snow without mercy. As the warmth of its panting breath came within biting reach of his offering, he surprised it by swinging the sacks preserved underside into view. Its undeterred ravaging front claws seemed to stretch outwards as they found its damp surface and dug deep into it. But the separation between Holmes and the raging canine was now worryingly less than their previous encounter. So Holmes began stepping back as he deliberately pulled with his moist hands and shook against the dreaded weight which was intent on harming him. This enraged the dog into even fiercer determination as cold claws and warm fangs penetrated deeper whilst hind legs aimed to spring her closer into his hands. The pains in his shoulders returned and were close to becoming unbearable as her masters nearby laughter caught his ears. Holmes alert eyes moved to take one last glance towards to man's viciousness before turning his steadfast determination back on the dog. As the dogs sinister snarls, plus its astonishing weight inched ever closer to his tight fists, he now had to act. His snow blurred vision took one last study and judgement over his current surroundings before both strained hands deliberately surrendered a slight portion of his resistance. The dog instinctively sprang off the ground and landed all of its weight onto the sack. And as its hind claws took a hold behind, its nose was lifted upwards by front teeth that aimed to bite into him. But the dogs desires were all about to be lost as its prey did something unexpected. Holmes cried out with sincere pain and strain as he pulled and then swung both the dog and sack 180 degrees. The dogs imposed posture instinctively decided to cling on as the world around it suddenly rushed past it. And as its mood lessened and cooled into mild shock, it then saw its prey moving away from it at an alarming rate. The dogs claws faltered as both she and the sack were hurled out into the open air above the unsure terrain, which Holmes had intentionally avoided. The dogs, now dumbfounded owner stopped laughing as he painfully listened to the unseen cries of his now lost dog. His mouth fell open and went dry as he turned back to find Holmes breathing heavily as he picked himself out of the snow. “Wh...Wah have yer don with her...?”,came the unsure words from his now trembling lips. A high degree of trickery was now implemented into Holmes appearance as he struggled and slipped his way back onto his feet. For this had allowed him to reclaim the chain which had thankfully become half buried – something which the dogs owner had not noticed previously. With most of the chain now safely hidden in his right fist he drew attention to himself by shouting with mixed breath, “Buffoon!”

 

Keels trembling form quietly called out to his beloved dog as his tearful eyes tried to probe through snow along the impossible terrain of lower ground. His focus though was broken, “Or should I address you with the title of Clown?”, came Holmes next offending attack as he began to move in closer. As the sudden loss began to settle into more calmer waters, a new storm began to brew deep inside of Keel. One of his shaking hands reached deep into a gap between some of the wooden toggles along his duffle coat. Upon seeing this, Holmes stopped moving and began to regret what he expected to be seen revealed. Keels shaking hand produced and pointed what Holmes identified as a Webley-Pryse, six-shooter, Revolver. This was indeed an unwelcome and worrying development as the man wielding it warned Holmes with, “Yull pay fah that Mister! Dead, alive or shot to pieces … you are mine!” Holmes remained silent as he lifted his hands into the air, his heart beating heavily again as he hoped to play for time and find a solution. He watched the mans twitching eyes and knew he was going to pull the trigger. He also knew that he was way to close to him to avoid or even overpower him without being hit. Keel managed a slight smile as he watched the hopeless man before him and took a small step closer, “Thah first one will be for Chancer...” But before he could continue, another voice far behind interrupted him and it was a familiar one that now brought with it, annoyance. Jacks slow and whispery voice ordered, “Halt...We are...not allowed...to use...them...here...” Without turning around, Keel answered back, “Shur-rup Jack! This b****** juss killed Chancer.” Holmes could now see the darkened figure coming into view and with great worry also noticed another accompanying dog. “...I have warned...you...before...Put it down...”, came the soft spoken figures demands. “Put it down?”, Keel shouted with anger, “Him here as juss done that to me dog, Jack!!!” The man known as Jack gave him one last warning as he slowly reached for something of his own, “I...wont ask you...again...Keel” Keels focused rage on Holmes faltered as he suddenly heard a clinking sound behind him that he recognized well. He swung around and shouted, “Dont you even ****ing dare! You old b******!”, Holmes heard a gunshot plus a thudding sound too as he dashed into the snow in hope of cover.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tcgram

I can hardly wait for the next installment!   :yes:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark One

Holmes landed on his side deep within a thick pocket of soft snow which left him almost half buried. As he shook his head and freed himself from its foreboding cushion of gripping chills, both ears now saw far more through mental imagery than his screwed up eyes could ever hope to. Displeased shouts and noises came calling from the onlookers further along the sloping grounds as another voice that was closer to home spoke with a higher degree of lessened ego. “Why dint you, go along with...”, came the burnt out mans failing words as he began to struggle with a gurgling sound in his throat. Upon hearing this, Holmes desperately rubbed away the melting moisture along his face as keen eyes eagerly peered through the falling snow. What he found was not unexpected as the c***-sure mans voice not far from his own position became garbled above troubled footsteps which struggled and quickly lost their momentum in the snow. Tiny trails of snow rolled there ever changing mass downwards along the innocent slopes towards the vulnerable figure as something dark and runny came out of his mouth. His unsteady persona then panicked and became infirm as his troubled boots tried desperately to turn him around. And then his knees began to buckle with a mumbled reaction that came from his slurred and bloodied speech. The will in the man then deteriorated and plummeted heavily with a slump onto its knees. His head fell forwards with one last release of breath before finding rest above his now still chest. And as the snow began to settle upon his form, Holmes quickly turned his attention towards his killer. Holmes blinking eyes spied the brute through the falling snow. The traitorous figure was sat upright. Holmes distant findings assumed that the mysterious figure was unharmed and far more interested in hiding its face, as both hands became heavily focused on a scarf. Holmes wasted no more time as he leapt onto his feet and then rushed towards the kneeling cadaver that nature would eventually dissect . A masked depiction of relief covered his face when he found the weapon still in the dead mans hand resting along his thighs. He gently removed it from the corpses hand before carefully wiping away its flakes of snow. Attention was then turned to the method in which the man before him had died. The small but highly sharpened projectile that Holmes found lodged in the mans lower chest was quickly removed and cast aside without interest. This action brought with it the expected gushing release of the dead mans blood. Holmes knew that the smell of warm blood would temporarily distract any predator – including that keen eyed canine who was now sat watching him from afar with its master. But something else about that blade suddenly began to bother him. Its angle of entry into the mans torso all seemed wrong...almost like it hadn't been intended for him. This led Holmes into the belief that it had been meant for him and that the gunshot had ruined the assassins aim! Such findings were of course kept to ones self as Holmes stood back to place more interest in the revolver. His mental assessment quickly fed him its findings, “... Obviously stolen … In good condition … First time it had been fired …” His mental feedback was put of pause as he queried the dead mans right-hand and more specifically – the thumb and index finger. His inner conclusions then continued, “... Afraid of using such a weapon … No indications of ever handling something similar … Liked to show it off … Improve his image …” Holmes eyes glanced over the silence of the man, “... A meek follower … Preferred safety in numbers … The use of a dog to instill fear and menaces ...”

 

As he was doing this he heard the killer speak. But only Holmes deceptive eyes moved to glance as the treacherous figure spoke. “It is always...a pleasure to meet the...famous detective...”, its voice coughed loudly as the figure shuffled itself into more comfort, “...of Baker Street..”  Holmes paid no attention to this suspicious praise as more important attention was now placed on the revolvers barrel, counting 5 remaining bullets. The haunting, heavy breathing voice continued, “...I am though..intrigued sir, to see...what your next move will...be. And I give...you my promise...that I...shall not intervene...until you have satisfied me.” Holmes decided to place the hand weapon into one of his coats outer pockets to shield its delicate workings from the frosty moisture around him. But after checking both pockets in which he detected dampness, he opted for a more inner and dryer solution. The air around him though was now thankfully clearing as the snow shower began to lift. This came as welcomed relief to him for he had expected far worse and greater winds. But he still had to remain cautious for he knew well that highland weather could often become dangerously volatile. Which was very similar to the suspicious characteristics of that outlandish man who was sat in the snow, a person Holmes nicknamed – The Lone Survivor. “Go on with your...business, Mr Holmes...bring forth that...which shall entertain my...fascinations...”, came his suspect encouragement. Paying little interest from such words saw Holmes pacing his aching feet and balance through the ever changing content underfoot with a look of determination upon his face until he met a clearing of more acceptable ground. Here he found evidence of a trail which led both to the entrance and also far past it before eventually curling around and out of view. Holmes recalled the latter as a path previously used by that dubious trio who had arrived at the Arms earlier this morning. He too trusted the same path until he was within touching distance of those horridly corroded bars which like primed teeth barred his entrance into the hidden world and workings of Patryk Krystian. Here he began to feel hopeful as he glanced around with the entrance not far from his left and the guillotine upon higher ground, roughly to his right. There was now heavier interest in his actions as Krystians onlooking minions began to shout, swear and laugh down to him. Such noises made Holmes smile for a few brief seconds as he prepared himself to execute the final aspect of his escape plan.  Such minions were, after all vital to the success of his escape as he carefully approached those painfully cold looking iron columns that sealed his passage.

 

The size of the arched opening was in Holmes opinion around 20 feet across and 14 feet in height. And unlike his recent experiences of the areas choice methods of construction, here he found himself looking upwards with surprise as he observed the finely built, stone arch. The thick, gel like layer of translucent ice preserved its beauty well and left it with a cleansing gleam that was pleasing to the eye. But there were also sharp cracks in the ice too which went far deeper than they should have done. Several blocks of stone appeared sunken and were heavily damaged. Their broken pieces held together forever by the ice cold glue which caught their edges with an occasional gleam. Holmes was pleased to find no surviving icicles clinging to the underside of its curvature, even if their were indeed indications that many had grown there in the past. Behind the arched fascia stood the caged barrier which fell deep into the untouched and discoloured snow. The thin bars were plenty in number and rusted well, into a mix of browns and blacks. Holmes now scratched a mental itch which had developed not soon after leaving the Arms. His previous and also distant observation of this area had revealed something which interested him deeply. The discolouration in the snow near the entrance now told him a story which confirmed his theories about the unstable land within this area. He leaned forward to study coating more closer. Its colour told Holmes many things about the danger to be found inside that mine and the clear fact that a mix of dust, gas and earth had been carried upwards to this spot where it had been vented into the open air. Curious to see the current state of the tunnel, Holmes peered in and only found darkness. But this did not deter him as his left hand carefully reached deep into his right-hand glove. What the searching hand found was carefully brought out and the shine that the small object made seemed to equate its vibrancy at night.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tcgram

Excellent read so far!!  :)  

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark One
7 hours ago, tcgram said:

Excellent read so far!!  :)  

Thanks X.  I hope that you and all of the other readers find the conclusion to Holmes Mallens Poke adventure pleasing.  Interesting fact about the story: The idea and need for Mallens Poke popped into my head oneday in December of 2015.  The plot for that location then kind of poured its way into my imagination.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark One

The hypnotic illumination once again shone its inner mystery towards him from the cushion of his palm. The allure of its mystical essence shone brightly along his tired face as he once again admired its beauty. `All that glitters may not be gold`, spoke in his thoughts to him as he remembered its darkened past. Sherlock Holmes knew all too well that the tiny star resting within his hand had led many to a painful and most frightening demise soon after desiring to keep it. But this was nothing compared to the true owners freakish and extant existence. A sincere problem which still agitated Holmes leaving many questions unanswered and several mutilated bodies. His inner distractions ceased however when a change in the level of the interested tones from those far behind him caught his attention. As their goading grunts fell into silent mutterings, the recognizable sounds of boots crushing into damp snow met his ears, not far from his left. Without taking a glance, Holmes knew what he had revealed had enchanted the scarfed man. His ears could tell that the murderers faithful pet was not with him as the sounds of crushed snow began to get closer and clearer. Time was now even shorter for Holmes as his attentive eyes carefully watched his open palm carry the light between and past the coarse ridden bars. The illumination that it delivered into the tunnel was amazing. Holmes paid careful attention to how each and every long spear of ice, which hung from above, now caught the light. The few icicles that remained unbroken were now glowing with a light almost white that bore no trouble upon the eyes. The once darkened and freezing doom of the abandoned mine passage was now closely matching that of something from a childrens fairy tale. The joint contours of both the snow and ice now glittered with magnificent harmony. Each and every surviving icicle seemed to liven up its neighbour as the mysterious glow from his palm became obviously contagious. As the bizarre illumination spread further into the distant gloom and far beyond, he noticed something else which also astonished his observations. The perplexing daylight that now filled the tunnel did not in any way affect the temperature.

 

 

What Holmes expected to see was not present as his determined eyes searched heavily for the tell tale signs of water droplets. But the glimmer that shone along and around every lump of mass in there became strangely soothing and hypnotically wondrous to the eye. He began to detect an inner rebellion inside his own mind as the astute nature of his spirit lessened into the surrender of its alluring presence. His will shoved him ever so closer to its brilliance as his arm stretched further in. Warmth was now felt with surprise as it soothingly settled deep into and through the sleeves of his arm. The numbness in his palm began to ease as the tingling signs of cold softened away and left his hand feeling fine and gentle again. Holmes was now pressed deep against the iron bars with his lost face held back by their cruel pillars of refusal. The weather beaten complexion along his worn and tired face became lighter as healthier hues cleansed it back into health. His parted mouth also softened as the healing effects took place and soon he was smiling as the cleansing light reflected in his own eyes. The airy opening between the refreshed comfort of his lips now willingly inhaled the unnatural warm air with contentment as the outstretched arm began to falter under prolonged strain. The aching pressure in his arm then brought forth shuddered reactions which in turn then raced through to his palm and then into his fingers. Both eyes blinked with ignorance as they further fought to retain their sight and mindful focus on the illuminated comfort that was massaging his weary form. But the uncontrollable shaking in his outstretched arm now reached into his hand and this was when he slowly began to break the spell. The exotic artifact in his now twitching palm began to move and this was something which thankfully distracted Holmes focus away from the light show and back onto his hand. He instinctively formed a tightly clenched fist which covered and blighted the light into darkness again. Still amazed by his experience, Holmes now watched with delight as the light it had shared was still glittering its beauty within and along the passage. And then came the unexpected as the unseen sounds of cracking ice and dislodged snow began to fill the interior of the tunnel with worrying echoes, and rob it of its wondrous moment. The sparkling splendor was now quickly becoming overshadowed by daunting and foreboding murmurs that seemed to creep out at him from all directions. This unforeseen event enthralled Holmes as he watched and listened. His eyes could not believe what they were seeing as the frozen environment ahead of him began to break down. Large lumps of ceiling snow came down first before being followed by the remaining icicles which clung high above for sheer survival. The entire passage then became unstable as every portion of its depth began to break down on itself. The sight before him now became nauseating as the snow crumbled into ever smaller pieces, wrestling along the ground like wriggling maggots, desperate with hunger. He hurriedly took steps to removed his arm & hand as the bars surrounding his forearm began to groan under the strain of disturbed masonry high above. One of the iron bars beside his arm began to shudder under the pressure and became dislodged. The alarming gap had now narrowed and this meant his fist would remain stuck unless he released it. His fingers and thumb carefully freed themselves as the light source underneath bled through their gaps. And with this done he quickly removed his hand and returned the stone back inside his glove. Something else though had also caught the attention of his ever keen ears as he had done this. He distinctly recalled hearing a slight, almost silent buzzing sound which reminded him of a fly or maybe a distant wasp. Such puzzles though would have to remain unsolved for the moment as the same sense was redirected back towards the devastation beyond those bars.

 

The almost thunderous and possessed nature of that passage began to quieten into stillness again as the light source died away and everything became dark again. From what Holmes could discern, it appeared that all the snow and all ice in there had now reformed or solidified again.  His heart began to sink at such a finding for he now suspected that every inch of the tunnel which the light had blessed, had now strengthened its interior.   Backing further away saw the arched entrance crumbling down into its upright grated entrance. The loose stone fell with loud and naked bangs as it hit the iron bars and this is when Holmes began to notice an unwelcome sensation under his very own feet. It was a deep and distant trembling which seemed to be heading downhill before everything became stable again. This development now worried him as he watched the now collapsed entrance into the tunnel quickly blighting his plans.  What he felt and heard led him to conclude that the light source and travel far further than expected.  And by its mysterious methods, had now worked against him and done Patryk Krystian a unexpected favor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

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

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.