The Case of the Resurrected Flatmate
Sometimes I try to remember who you were before the turn. I try to remember you as you were the first day I met you...broken in body but with an incandescent spirit which intrigued me from that first moment we shook hands. Were you kinder then than now, more of a gentleman? Did you have more patience, a greater mastery of your impulses...it is difficult to recall. I do know that you are a more practical creature now...Edward Hyde learned that lesson in a manner which still makes me flinch.
As Watson strolled toward the colossal monstrous gentleman, he said to Holmes, "Prepare to run."
"Come little vampire, it has been days since I snapped a neck," Hyde growled rolling his shoulders preparing for the fight to come.
"Very well then, Mister Hyde, let's tussle you and I," Watson replied with his purposeful stride increasing.
Hyde reached for him; suddenly, the massive creatures eyes bugged out and he made a squeaking noise that was inappropriate for his build.
Watson's booted foot was buried in his crotch.
"However, I like my neck intact like it is, thank you very much," Watson deadpanned as Hyde collapsed around his damaged genitalia.
"I suggest we be elsewhere by the time he recovers?" Watson called over his shoulder.
"I concur," Lestrade remarked and followed up by tossing Watson his jacket and running in the opposite direction.
Van Helsing and Holmes took one last look at the man shaped beast who was rolling onto all fours and cursing in a higher pitched voice, and followed suit.
Watson caught up to them effortlessly, and when Van Helsing's legs faltered he yanked the gentleman up by the back of his coat and carried him along effortlessly as he sputtered impotently.
"Lestrade is very fleet of foot, I'll hand him," Watson mentioned to Holmes matching his long legged stride carrying Van Helsing without any noticeable strain.
"Running in the opposite direction of danger is a Scotland Yard speciality," Holmes replied between puffs.
"I heard that," Lestrade called back from the next turn.
"I can no longer hear him, Lestrade, you can stop," Watson commented in a casual manner.
Lestrade stopped and leaned over all in for breath clutching his knees. Holmes leaned against a wall as a red-faced Van Helsing was set down; he shrugged his coat back into place shooting the vampire a glare. "My knickers rode up, I'm nearly in as much pain as Hyde," he grumbled.
Watson shrugged and flashed fang in a broad smile. "You are most welcome."
"How...far are...we from...the...Gypsy camp?" Lestrade managed to inquire between pants.
"Closer than you think," said a female voice from the alleyway.
"What fresh hell is this?" Lestrade complained.
She stepped out into the street light and they all stopped breathing...except Watson to whom breathing was voluntary.
She was not beautiful in the strictest sense, her features were too plan and straightforward to grace the canvases of Renoir, however, there was a compelling set to her chin and eyes, and she moved with an unearthly grace.
"I have been waiting for you to come find me," she stated in a matter of fact manner.
"Are you certain you should be out unprotected, Mina? Lucy is still searching for you," Van Helsing said as he approached her.
With no preamble swords appeared from the fog and cross in front of his path, they had curved blades like scimitars but with a notch near the top curving into the tip. The fog faded and two crimson armoured men appeared holding the blades. The armour was an odd overlapping band design with fierce looking spike protrusions, and on their chests carved into the metal itself was an elaborate dragon design, their helms were tight to their heads and aggressively shaped giving an opposing soldier pause just from looks alone.
"Who said that I am unprotected?" Mina remarked with a smile.
Van Helsing backed away. "I stand corrected."
She strode towards them with no fear as from around them silent warriors appeared from out of the fog to surround the small party.
"These are the Carpathian Crimson Guard, the Ottoman's believed them to be demons, they were not far wrong," She remarked as she stopped in front of Van Helsing.
"You've lost weight Abraham, did they mistreat you?" she inquired, her tone sounded sincere.
"I am not aware of how I was treated, they kept me drugged," he replied eyeing the silent warriors with trepidation.
"Probably a wise choice," she replied. She turned to Holmes. "Your reputation is well earned, Mister Holmes, however your Gypsy disguise needs work, the Romanii knew you were an outsider from the moment you spoke."
Holmes bristled. "How, may I ask, did they determine my subterfuge, my accent was perfect."
She laughed. "That is the difficulty, you see the clan always attempt to blend in to the culture in which they are immersed, your accent was too perfect, if you had spoken like a man whose native tongue was Romanian but was attempting to speak English then you would have been fine."
He nodded. "That is good information to have; we are here, however, on a different quest."
"Of course you are," she replied dismissively.
Holmes glanced around at the silent group of attendants, something that had been nagging him clicked into sharp focus. "Lucy is not the Queen, she is the usurper because you are no long Mina Harker are you?"
The intimidating contingent turned and began to move in on the small group. Watson pulled out his spare sword cane and began to pull it free with a bared fang and a low growl, Van Helsing began to pull his cross out while Lestrade sidled up to Holmes.
"The very next time you decide to upset the large group of armoured monsters carrying the swords longer than I am, can I get advanced notice?" he hissed as he reached into his coat for his revolver.
Suddenly, Mina laughed. "Leave them be," she ordered just before things went irretrievably violent.
"Let us step inside here," she ordered as she proceeded to the door of an empty building, with a show of unnatural strength she broke the lock and pushed into the musty darkness within.
Once inside the dusty abandoned parlour room, surrounded by her silent guardians, she settled gracefully onto an upturned crate.
"However did you guess, Mister Holmes, I was under the impression that Lucy was the only one who knows?"
"Seward said that Lucy was looking for Wilhelmina Harker, and he had a hunch that Dracula spent some time with her, that she would know something that threatened Lucy, however the fact that such a powerful vampire was taken by Lucy in the first place seemed to me incongruous, unless he was in a weakened state, in the human world we have ascension by blood line, a crown has not changed hands by force for nearly one hundred years, I believe that someone as old as Dracula would adhere to ancient traditions, so I believe he took a bride and she became his Queen, so Lucy has claimed right of ascension because she took Dracula's blood by force, but if an actual Queen stepped forward then the elder Vampires would follow her," Holmes explained.
"Very good, Mister Holmes," Mina congratulated with a pleased smile.
"Beyond that," Van Helsing spoke up, "you are no longer Mina, but Elspeth d'Mitri, Dracula's original bride, the one he left his self-imposed exile to find, you have her memories and her love for Dracula, and that is why his guard are protecting you."
Holmes let out a scoffing noise, but Mina nodded agreement. "It's called blood memory, when a Vampire shares his essence with another; he also shares the entirety of their life through transmission. It is a very draining process and it made him vulnerable I'm afraid. However, I have her inside me now, and Vlad and I were joined in the way of his people. When Dracula died, my dear sweet Jonathan allowed himself to get captured and disseminated the false information that he and I finally were wed, and then took his own life so they could not tell his deception. His sacrifice has protected me for these years. However, it is time for me to take my proper place as Queen of my kind, Lucy is turning men and women indiscriminately, and abandoning them to their own devices, she must be stopped."
Her eyes found Doctor Watson. "You must be Jack Seward's assassin, you scent like a newborn but you move like an elder, I take it his experiments have been successful?"
"So it would appear," Watson replied with a tip of his hat.
She let out a sigh of frustration. "Everything is in place, if I could just find her hide, while she has been looking for me, I have been searching for her."
Holmes pulled out his pipe, and lit it with a flip of a match, he settled onto a crate across from the erstwhile Queen, puffing while deep in thought.
"Seward has planned everything carefully, he created the serum, found the candidate, by his choice he involved me in the investigation of my dear friend's death, tipped me to Van Helsing and his location, managed to smuggle the phonograph emulsion to my hand, named finding you as my next task, now we are united on the eve of Lucy's planned ascension to the throne of England, moves within moves on top of manoeuvres, he has planned everything to perfection, he had to have left us a way to find her."
His eyes fell upon his flatmate and friend.
"Watson do you feel a indefinable tug or urge to go in a certain direction?"
Watson glared at him. "What am I to be, your blood hound?"
Lestrade stared at their "hosts" warily. "Can we not use the word blood just now?"
Holmes smirked, and then continued, "It appears to me that there is some sort of fealty that happens with the turning process. Seward talked of Lucy wanting to take "possession" of you in some way, so it makes logical sense that there is some sort of chemical component to this venom that creates a bond in the progeny to their progenitor."
Van Helsing beamed at Holmes like a proud teacher to a student. "There is indeed evidence of such a bond, Sherlock, less chemical based than spiritual than you suppose, however I believe that Seward created a severance of such a bond by using the elder venom in the formula, his desire to give Doctor Watson the ability to break free of her will to strike the fatal blow he would have eliminated such a link."
Watson nodded his agreement. "I feel no such compulsion, Holmes, so snapping a lead to my collar will not be forthcoming I'm afraid."
Lestrade sniggered at the thought, but silenced his laugh when he received glares from the others. "I do have a suggestion," he interrupted.
Holmes waved him on impatiently with the old imperious air.
Lestrade ignored him as he took a step toward Mina, pausing when he saw the ominous warriors shift. "Where was your former suitor discovered? I seems to me that Jonathan Harker would not waste a death just to spread propaganda, he was a solicitor after all, they do not give out those degrees for showing up to class."
Van Helsing became animated. "Of course, you are right about Jonathan, he was an extremely practical man, to allow himself to be captured in such a bumbling manner does seem provincial."
Mina placed a finger to her lips as she cast her memory back through the intervening years. "He was found in Wapping, near Rotherhithe Bridge, face down, he had taken some sort of rare poison, curare according to my men who have smelled it before, death was instantaneous, but there were signs that his arm was broken by a strong grip, and a man wearing American style clothes with a very long knife was seen threatening him."
"Quincy," Van Helsing muttered to himself.
"Do you recall how his arms were positioned?" Holmes inquired his eyes glinting with excitement.
"The arm that was broken was extended towards the bridge itself. I remembered thinking that lifting that arm must have been painful," she paused, "dear sweet Jonathan, he was steady and reliable, and I still miss him so."
Watson and Holmes exchanged a look.
"The arm was positioned post-mortem," Watson confirmed, "There was no way that a man with the large bone of his arm broken would have been able to lift it above his head, not even with an extreme pain tolerance."
"She's hiding under the bridge in the tunnel they attempted to build, before they scrapped it in favour of a bridge I'll wager, we've tried to get them to fill it in for years because of the vagrants and criminals that hide down there," Lestrade added.
"We need a plan before we go in," Holmes mused.
"You have the support of my guard and I," Mina offered.
Watson tipped his hat to Holmes showing he was game.
Lestrade was chewing his bottom lip, then he met Holmes's eyes and nodded.
Van Helsing saw Holmes giving him the eye and glared at him for even thinking he would back down.
"Very well," Holmes stated, "I'll do some scouting tomorrow during midday when the sun is at its peak, I'm sure that Seward has a plan for when we arrive."
"That beast, Hyde will be involved I'm sure, I don't think he'll be very friendly with me," Watson remarked with a grin.
"Oh really, John, you bounced his stones off of the back of his tonsils, I'm sure you'll be right pals," Lestrade lamented.
Ignoring the bickering from long experience Holmes continued, "Hyde will have to be accounted for, he is massive and from his reactions a formidable foe, so we have an honour guard of twenty-five heavily armed well trained vampires, one vampire with immunity to holy objects and who will be immune to the present queen's influence, one rightful queen who has a more legitimate claim to the throne if we can get her an audience, one older man with vampire hunting experience, and Lestrade. I think we have a shot."
Mina nodded. "We must do this now, if she gets an audience with Queen Victoria she will be beyond our reach."
There we were heading into the lair of the beast with a mysterious queen and her nightmare entourage at our backs.
To this day I question the logic of such an act, it does seem to be far beyond anything I would have attempted under normal circumstances.
Of course, normality had flown to parts unknown and it was a time for miracles, for Arthurian Quests. It was a time of heroes and foolhardy courage with no basis in sanity.
All I knew was that I had you and Lestrade at my side, two of the only men I have ever trusted.
Even if you were no longer a man, I trusted you then and I trust you still.