The Mirror Cracked
Chapter 1: Back to the Future
He entered the large room just in time to see the back of her disappear into the shimmering, unnatural circle. Startled, he called out her name as he raced toward the circle, which flickered away as he reached it. Panicking, he screamed her name again as he whirled around the room in the hopes that the shimmering circle would reappear. Just as despair began to grip him he saw the shimmering circle reform 10 feet away from him and raced toward it, leaping head first as the circle began to flicker away again.
Landing with a loud "oomph!" on a hard, concrete floor, he rolled head over heels to land flat on his back with a big thump. Panting, he stared up at the tall glass ceiling beyond which a full moon shone brightly in a cloudy sky. The ceiling had to be at least three stories high. "Wow," he whispered as he sat up and took in the celestial scene above, and then he quickly shook his head. This was no time for sightseeing. He had to find her before some harm befell his curious partner. Looking back at where he had entered, the discombobulated man spied his hat lying on the ground. He pushed himself up and stood, only to wince aloud in pain as he put weight on his left leg. "Damn," he muttered as he dragged himself forward.
He had bent over reaching for his hat when pounding footsteps sounded in his direction. Loud shouts followed. Straightening, he had begun to turn to look around when a familiar voice yelled, "Move, move, move!" at him. It all happened so fast that he had little time to react and, before he could completely turn around, he felt himself being struck by a hard, moving object that projected him forward like a cricket ball. His landing this time was with a sickening thud against a nearby wall, where he ended up sliding down onto the floor as his left shoulder erupted in pain.
"Man down!" an unfamiliar voice yelled as odd sounding gunfire exploded around him. Footsteps pounded around the room, their echoing in the large room confusing the lean man lying dazed by the baseboard.
A shadow fell over him as a large figure kneeled beside him. Looking up, his emerald green eyes widen with recognition. "John?"
"James?" Druitt exclaimed back in surprise. "What the hell are you doing here? You're supposed to be out on the town with your date."
Watson's response of "What?" was drowned out by loud shouts from others. "It's coming back your way!" a female voice called out as loud pounding headed toward them again. Glancing over his shoulder to see the large abnormal barreling around back towards them, John muttered "Son of a…," as he touched his hand to Watson's bent leg to teleport them right away.
They reappeared in another unfamiliar room with glass walls. "Are you hurt badly?" John asked as he helped his friend on his feet and was rewarded with a grumbled curse as James clutched at his wounded shoulder while trying not to put any weight down on his left leg. "I'll take that as a yes," John said as helped him over to lie on a bed in the examination room. "We'll have Helen take a look at you as soon as we get the Xenartha Nahautal back into its cage," Druitt promised.
"Helen!" James exclaimed. "Where is she? I was following her when I ended up here."
"She's chasing after her beastie along with the rest of her team," John answered before stopping to get a better look at Watson. "Why do you have sideburns?" he asked curiously. "Surely your bird isn't into the hurly burly look?"
"My bird?" James repeated as he stared in awe at Druitt's appearance. "And when did you grow hair and a beard?" he asked as he took in the other man's dark, sleek fitting clothing.
This time it was Druitt's turn to say "What?" just as more shouts and blasts sounded outside the glass room. "Stay here," John ordered before he teleported away to rejoin the fray.
Struggling up into a seated position, Watson swung his legs over the side and peered out of the glass wall to watch the pursuit. A large, scaled, four footed creature with its elongated snout raised in alarmed squeals stormed past the glass followed by two young men, and then a woman. All were armed and shooting an advanced type of weaponry that Watson had never seen before. Their manner of lightweight dress was also mostly foreign to the sleuth. He had only ever seen one person dressed similarly… the older Helen that had arrived back in 1899 London several years ago.
As if on cue, a black leather clad Helen ran by shouting "Stunners only! Shoot underneath the shell!"
An irate chorus of "We're trying!"answered her command.
"Bloody hell," James muttered as he cushioned his shoulder to him with his right arm. He now knew where he was though he had no idea when it was. The last time he had seen the darker version of Helen Magnus was ten years ago. She had managed to kill Adam Worth and shortly thereafter disappeared into a shimmering circle similar to the one he and the younger version of Helen had walked into tonight. "I must be Helen's Sanctuary," he thought and began to inspect the interior of the room he was in. It was sparsely furnished and he deduced he must be in some type of infirmary. He was pulled from his inspection of the fascinating bright lighting fixtures above when he heard shouting outside the room.
"Go, go, go!" a tall, thin young man with spiky hair yelled as he ran by followed by the other young man and woman, who sniped back, "We're going as fast as we can!" Behind them, a squealing roar bellowed as the creature gave chase with its flat, wedge shaped head lowered down to ram into its prey.
At the rear of the group, Helen yelled "We need to flip it over somehow!" to John who then teleported away to the far end of the room in anticipation of heading the group off. "Everyone get up against the wall and try to lure the creature into ramming at you," Druitt ordered and was answered with loud protests of "Are you crazy!" and "Have you lost your mind!"
Watson scrambled to grab at the bedding as he almost fell off the bed trying to twist his body to view what was taking place beyond the corner stone wall that blocked his view. Panting, he managed to stabilize his position just as the group rounded the corner to run back the other way. "This is insane," James grumbled as he watched as the woman and man returned to run by the glass wall, followed by the irate creature.
"I really hate my job sometimes!" the man, who was the shortest among all the men, yelled in complaint as he ran for dear life.
"No shit, Sherlock!" the female retorted with a laugh as she raced ahead of him.
At the mention of "Sherlock," James's mouth had dropped open slightly. Was she aiming her comment at him? And what exactly did it mean? None of those racing by seemed to notice him seated upon the white sheeted bed with his head whipping back and forth as he watched the racing follies going back and forth in front of him.
"Are we going to do this all night?" the spiky haired man called as he panted after the trio and tried unsuccessfully to shot the underside of the creature once more.
"Not if you would do as I suggested!" Druitt bellowed from behind and came to a stop in the middle of the glass wall to throw his hands up in the air in annoyance. Looking at James, he grumbled, "See what I have to deal with while you're not around?"
"Oh stop your belly aching," Helen called out as she ran past, and then skidded to a stop just beyond the other side of the stone wall. A second later she return to Druitt's side, open mouthed, to stare into the glass room.
"What in the world?" she asked as she took in Watson's appearance.
"Maybe they were going to a costume ball?" John mused, rolling his eyes as he heard shrieks from the other end of the hall as the group turned to head back their way. "Although if it were me I certainly would not have picked Victorian England for my costume option. It was bad enough wearing that muck the first time."
"They were going to Alfredo's for dinner. I made the reservation," Helen said, narrowing her eyes at James. "Why are you clutching your shoulder?" she asked loudly through the glass.
"The creature knocked him into the wall in the dome room and I teleported him in there," John answered as another round of pounding and shouting reached their ears. Touching her, John teleported them away just as the two men ran past followed by the creature with the female in the rear crying, "Stay still will you!" as she aimed several shots their way.
John and Helen reappeared as a loud squawk was heard, followed by a firm thump and the female's cry of "Oops!"
"Oh, dear Lord! Is Will all right?" Helen called and ran off after them.
"Sure, if you consider being stunned out cold by a colleague alright," a male's voice sarcastically answered.
"It was an accident!" a female argued, then shrieked as the creature turned to charge at her.
John slapped his hands on his hips in frustration and shook his head at James. "I am surrounded by idiots."
"I can see that," James laughed. He should be alarmed and frightened by all this but really, the whole thing was a comical farce.
At the call of his name by Helen, John ran off around the corner to join the group. Unable to see what was happening, Watson stretched his neck and listened to the sounds of more yells, odd gun fire and running feet. A few minutes later he heard a very loud crash and a quick volley of gun fire before things seemed to settle down. Guessing that the beastie was finally captured, he leaned back and relaxed as he waited for their return. Things were just starting to get interesting, he thought.
Meanwhile, while all this excitement was taking place in the lower levels of the Sanctuary, the upper floors were just as chaotic.
The blonde had arrived into a long, unknown, dark carpeted corridor. Uncertain where she was, the woman stood stock still in the center and swiveled her head back and forth as she tried to determine which direction to go. The shimmering circle that she had stepped through had disappeared once she had gotten to the other side. "Where am I?" she muttered to herself. "Really, Helen, do you ever look before you leap?" she chastised herself as her hands clutched nervously at the folds of her full skirt.
The sound of crying reached her ears. Turning in that direction, she slowly and carefully walked along the corridor as she took in her surroundings. The place was nicely furnished and, judging by the length of the corridor, was enormous. Numerous heavy, wooden doors were closed on either side as she walked forward.
Another voice reached her ears. A woman's voice. A young woman's voice which seemed to be in distress. She picked up her pace and moved faster along the corridor, finally coming to a halt just outside an open door at the end of the hallway. The high pitched cries of a baby mixed with that of a female's as she tried to calm the upset infant.
Stepping through the doorway, she found herself in a very luxurious, strangely decorated nursery. A tall, thin woman stood before a window facing outward as she cradled a crying infant in her arms.
"Come on, munchkin, take your bottle like a good little girl," the woman pleaded with the baby. "You know you're hungry."
Bothered by the child's distressing cries, the intruder called out softly "Hello" to alert the other woman of her presence.
"Oh, thank God!" the girl exclaimed as she continued to try to coax the baby into taking the bottle. "It's about time you came for her. She's being really fussy and refuses to take her bottle." The girl gave a loud sigh and her shoulders slumped as the baby let out an ear piercing shriek and bawled louder. "Looks like you're going to have to do it the old fashioned way," she said as she turned to the woman in the doorway.
"Woah!" Ashley exclaimed as she took in the sight of her mother in a large, late Victorian gown. "Where's the costume party and why wasn't I invited? What am I? Cinderella stuck at home with the baby while you and dad party the night way at a ball?"
"I beg your pardon?" the blonde replied in confusion as she stared at the pair. The blonde headed girl could be no older than 26 to 28 years of age. The crying child in her arms under a year old. For some odd, nagging reason Helen felt like she should know them.
"Never mind," the girl muttered. "Here, just take her," she said as she walked over to hand the baby to the newcomer. "She's refusing any of my attempts with the bottle. You're just going to have to nurse her whether you like it or not."
Helen's head snapped back in shock as the child was shoved into her arms. "Nurse her?"
The girl rolled her eyes. "I know, I know. You're trying to wean her but the little terror doesn't seem to want to be weaned. You're her mother. You wean her."
"Wean her? Her mother?" the blonde gasped in shock. She looked down at the baby who was still fussing and jumped as the child tried to reach inside her top for her breast. "You must have me mistaken for someone else," she gasped and looked back up at the girl in alarm.
"Uh, you're Helen Magnus, are you not?" the girl quipped sarcastically as she peered at her intently.
"I am Helen Magnus," Helen replied primly as she shifted the squirming child onto her other shoulder.
"Hey, you play you pay," the girl smartly said as she pointed to the child. "The little shrieking siren here is the result. So can you just feed her already and get her to stop crying. Dad's going to have a fit if he hears how upset she is."
"What?" Helen asked, not understanding at all what was going on. The child had stopped crying, now only whimpering and once again tried to shove her fat little hand inside the adult's top, which Helen dodge by twisting her upper body. The child let out another frustrated whimper.
The girl grinned at her. "So, this is what you looked like as a blonde, huh? Dad did say you were lovely as a blonde. Course, dad thinks you look striking in everything. He's a little nutso that way."
"Dad?" Helen repeated as she bounced the whimpering child on her waist in an attempt to soothe it.
"Yeah, dad," the girl repeated back to her. "You know, tall, dark and brooding. Likes to stare at you like a lovesick puppy and brings you white roses while professing his love in lines of old poetry. Basically daft as an old English bat," she smirked.
Helen's eyes widened in shock as the name "John?" slipped out of her lips.
"That would be dad," the girl said. "Or Mr. old grumpy-pants as I like to call him."
"Montague John Druitt is your father?" Helen questioned as she felt her legs start to shake.
"Uh yeah," the girl confirmed with a frown on her face as she noticed her mother's reaction. "Mom, are you alright? Do you need to sit down?"
"Yes," came the answer as the shaken woman moved to sit down in the nearby rocking chair. A moment later her head whipped up in surprise. "Did you just call me mom?"
"Uh yeah," the girl nodded as she gave the pale woman a weird look. "You're Helen Magnus. Mother to me," she said as she pointed to herself, "Ashley Magnus," and then pointed to the baby who was again starting to cry, "and Amelia Druitt-Magnus." At her mother's face paling even more, Ashley dropped to her knees before her. "Mom, are you alright?" she asked again.
"You're my daughter?" Helen repeated with a deer in the headlights look as her hand reached out to touch Ashley's cheek. Her deep blue eyes stared in astonishment at the lighter blue pair staring back at her in concern. "I finally had you?" she whispered as a soft smile turned up at the corners of her mouth.