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In the Belly of the Beast…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

From the diary of Doctor Watson

Day 2, Loch Ness (continued)

As we pelted up the shore towards the trees, I caught a whiff of the Monster’s hot breath in my nostrils. Rather unexpectedly, it smelled of fried chicken. I cast the image aside in my haste to escape the terror behind me. Throwing myself behind a large oak tree, I stumbled over Holmes and McCoatup, who were clinging together like a couple of sailors who’d just found out it was their turn to play ‘hide the sausage’.

“Careful Watson,” muttered Holmes, fiddling with himself under his duffel coat. “You almost squashed my Meerschaum.”

I hushed him to be quiet and the three of us crouched there for what seemed like ages, expecting every moment to be our last. Eventually, when we could detect no further sound from the monster, I dared to take a peek at our pursuer. The Monster had stopped and seemed to be ‘grazing’ on a patch of grass. But once again, it was the figure sitting astride the beast’s scaly back that drew my attention. As I stared at her, the woman waved at me, as if we were friends, merely passing in the street:

“Good evening Doctor, is Shirley around?” Her voice was like pure honey dripping from a hot spoon: rich and velvety with just the right amount of saccharin.

At the sound of her honeyed tones, my companion and the Inspector peered round the trunk of the tree. Holmes made a tutting noise and picking himself up, strode out from his hiding place. (Our detective friend, however, stayed exactly where he was).

I watched as Holmes approached the beast – it was clearly some sort of mechanical device made from overlapping sheets of metal and painted the colour of…well, monster. The shape of the creature was obviously modelled on the many sightings of ‘Nessie’ over the years, being somewhat dinosauric in outline: from its long neck, it widened out into three large humps before tapering off to a tail. I estimated it’s whole length to be around forty feet and perhaps six feet in diameter at its widest hump.

“Another one of your tricks, Miss Adler?” said Holmes, with only a trace of irritation. “A steam-driven contraception to scare off the locals?”

Miss Adler swung a leg over and slid down to the ground, brushing her wet hair back in a seductive manner. Then pulling a hidden leaver, she opened a hatch on the side of the beast. Inside I could make out some sort of piston engine and several rather plush-looking red leather seats. “Steam? Oh come on, Sherl, you can do better than that?” Leaving the hatch open, she sauntered up to him and pinched his cheek playfully.

Holmes sighed and glanced at me. “Tell her, Watson.”

For a moment, I was baffled, but catching the look in his eye and the curious shape of his tongue, I saw his meaning. “Oh, of course, Holmes,” I began. “In fact, Miss Adler, my companion and I were just discussing how your…” (I glanced at Holmes again)…”how your Submarine might be powered. We assumed some sort of vegetable oil fuel base, eh?”

The woman seemed taken aback, but quickly regained her composure. “Something like that, yes.”

At this point, our friend Inspector McCoatup stepped forward. “Right, lassie. Ah’m arrestin’ ye on charges o’…”

Holmes quickly laid a hand on the man’s arm and gave him one of his famous smiles: those smiles that seem to say “Don’t be a twat, Angus.”

McCoatup flushed and waved a finger at the monster. “Well, in any case, we’ll hae tae tak that thing intae custody…”

“I don’t think so.” It was Miss Adler who spoke. But this time the velvety honey-saccharininess in her voice had gone. In her hand she held what looked very much like a Luger and it was pointed straight at my head. “Mr Holmes and Mr Watson into the sub, please, before I’m tempted to blow someone’s brains out.”

And with that, my companion and I began to climb into the belly of the beast.

To be continued…

Watson

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Posted by on April 22, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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The Monster Cometh…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

From the diary of Doctor Watson

Day 2, Loch Ness
It is with some reluctance that I am forced to commit to my own dear diary how low I sank in my own estimations during the evening following our first meeting with Inspector McCoatup. I cannot say what possessed me to partake of such large amounts of strong liquor when surrounded by kilt-wearing strangers, but (as Holmes pointed out) I appear to have accepted some form of invitation to one of the local hostelries “The Monster’s Testes” (or “Beastie’s Bollocks”, as it’s known locally), and ended up in a rather embarrassing position.

However, I’m glad to say that everything was back to normal the following day and after breakfast I found Holmes and myself back on the trail of the woman, as we set out to track recent sightings of the aforementioned Monster (the actual monster, not the local gin bar). Down at the water’s edge, we met up with Inspector Angus McCoatup again who (while Holmes looked on, smirking), remonstrated me for wasting time with what he liked to term “a bunch of arse-badgers and willie-ticklers” and advised that in future I confine myself to drinking at the hotel.

Holmes had organised the preparation of soup and sandwiches and a flask of coffee before we left, so there was plenty to keep us going as we trudged along the shoreline speaking to various individuals about their ‘sightings o’ the beastie’ and related matters. As the sun disappeared behind the mountains, all three of us had entertained more than our fill of ridiculous stories and were about to head back to the hotel when Holmes spotted something on the Loch.

“Look there,” he shouted, startling both McCoatup and myself. As we turned to follow his eager gaze, I beheld the fearful vision of a monstrous, writhing creature creating a considerable disturbance on the surface of the Loch. But what took our breath away was the figure apparently riding on the beast’s back.

As we stood there watching, the beast seemed to twist in the water and began to move towards the shore. I reached out to grab Holmes’ arm, but the space where he had been standing was empty. I whirled round and saw both my companion and the Inspector running pell-mell towards the bushes like a pair of screaming schoolgirls.

“Run, Watson, you blithering idiot. Run!” Holmes bellowed over his shoulder. Needless to say, I wasted no more time and made good my escape while the beast crashed upon the shore behind me, its fiery breath hot and wet on my neck.

To be continued

Watson

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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A Wet Welcome…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

From the diary of Doctor Watson

Once again, I find myself writing this in another railway compartment with my companion sitting opposite me. It has been some time since I was able to bring my journal up to date, so I shall spend the journey back to London detailing the events of the last ten days – the memory of which, even now, sends a shiver down my spine:

Tuesday
We were conveyed from the station by pony and trap in pouring rain and biting wind, a situation I would gladly have exchanged for a warm bed and a large whisky. Holmes, however, kept his eyes on the loch as we trundled along in the semi-darkness, the cart hitting every possible pothole along the way. Arriving at the hotel very late, we were greeted at the door by a rather surly constable, whose demeanour was not remotely brightened by the weather. Welcoming us with a surly “Ye’ll hae had yer tea?” he hurried us through the hotel lobby and into a darkened lounge where another, equally dour policeman, awaited us.

Inspector Angus McCoatup was a giant of a man with a large moustache. He poured three tumblers of Scotch and bade us to sit by the fire. “Be a wee change from your posh lodgings in the city, eh, Mr Holmes?”

“I am at home in the humblest cottage, the most proletarian of dwellings, Inspector.” Holmes gave him a surprisingly unpatronising smile and took the glass from the the other man’s outstretched hand, swallowing the drink in one gulp.

As I reached out to take my own drink, Holmes laid a hand on my arm. “No, Watson, I need you sober tonight.” Seating himself in the chair nearest the fire, he left me to make myself comfortable on the pouffe.

“Now Inspector,” my companion continued, “tell us what has been happening.”

The Inspector twiddled his facial fungus and took a moment to gather his thoughts. When he spoke again, his voice was low. “Whatever you have read in the newspapers should be treated as what it is: a pile o’ sheep shite. I’ll tell ye this, Mr Holmes, I dinnae ken what it is that’s oot there, but it is no monster.” He rubbed a hand over his face. “Whatever it is cannot be real. It just cannot.”

I leaned forward to get his attention and asked “And the woman? What of her?”

Holmes gave me a sharp glance, but said nothing. The Inspector nodded. “We do have the newspaper folk to thank for one thing…” and reached into his coat pocket. Pulling out a sheet of paper, he passed it across. “One of the reporters does a clever wee trick – sketching folk, quick like, caricatures, sort of. Anyway, he was oot in a rowboat the other night when the monster, or whatever it is, appeared oot o’ nowhere and came floating past him. Must have scared the shit oot o’ him, but he kept his head. Quick as a flash, he whips oot his notebook and does a sketch of the beast as it sails past and into the darkness.”

Holmes and I stared at the rough drawing. It depicted the head and body of a great beast, fire gushing from its gigantic mouth and smoke swirling all around. But our attention was on the small figure apparently ‘riding’ on the beast’s back. Her face was turned towards the artist and could only have been in sight for a few seconds, but the likeness was uncanny.

The Inspector leaned forward and tapped a finger on the piece of paper. “Ye’s can probably disregard the flames shooting oot o’ it’s mouth – I reckon that was what ye might call artistic licence.”

Holmes’ face was rigid, his eyes bright. “It is her. Irene Adler.” He turned to look at me. “Come Watson, we have much to do…”

To be continued

Dr Watson

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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