Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Many Misadventures of Master Mystery: Murderous Mohrgs from the Moors

Today was not a good day.
“Gods, the weather is just dismal in London,” complained a man of gaunt appearance and lean frame. For those to first look upon him, they would be reminded of the recently risen dead, ones that were heavily considering returning to the grave out of apathy rather than any true desire to harm. “How in blazes do you people live here? It’s always raining!”
The cabbie, a surly man with a much healthier build and skin color, turned and glared at the sallow skinned youth for a brief moment before turning back to the reins. “Ya get used ta tha rain after ah bit… where was it ah was takin’ ya?”
The passenger sighed, the rings under his eyes along with his sunken features made even more disturbing by the shadows cast by the cover preventing the rain from soaking him to the bone. His bags were safely stored in the undercarriage of the… well, carriage, and while he wasn’t against travel to the old country, he was most certainly against travel to England.
He hated the rain.
Well, in reality he disliked pretty much everything that could be offered in this fine world, but he chose to keep that to himself. Like others in his field, he was peculiar to the extreme, and the general public rarely felt at ease with him around.
Again, this might be because he looked like the recently deceased. He liked to think it was because the universe hated him.
“For the third time, take me to any inn or brothel in Whitechapel. I don’t care which.” He said with an annoyed huff, watching the rain pour in sheets onto the narrow London roads of cobblestone and mud.
“Whitechapel, eh? ‘Ou know wot’s goin’ on there, right mate?” The cabbie asked, whipping his horse once for slowing down. “Not a lot o’ folk willin’ to risk the alleys o’ Whitechapel, they is.”
“Hard to believe you’re English the way you speak…” The passenger muttered before raised his voice. “Yes, I’ve heard the tales, however tall they are. Just take me to my destination and be silent and I’ll tip you an extra twenty pounds.”
That shut the driver up, who merely pulled the collar of his coat higher to protect his neck from the pouring rain around him. Reaching into his coat, he pulled a flask of his favorite beverage, a colonial brew that fortified the nerves while providing vigor to the senses. Taking a long pull, he gazed out the open window at the rainy streets of London and sighed.
This was going to be a long one. He could already tell.
Master Mystery, as he was known by the many he chose not to reveal his true name to, was by far one of the world’s most well established Parapsychologists, Exorcists and all around Hunter of the Dead. This was not to say he liked his job, but with his gifts also came the curse of possessing those gifts. And so when he was relaxing in his New York flat with The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, only to be interrupted by the sudden appearance of a ghost wailing about her murder, one could say the Master, his true name Reginald, was most displeased.
The spectral image bore the horrific markings of her death, a great slash across the throat deep enough to cut into the spine, along with far more precise cuttings along her abdomen. Swirling green mists enveloped her, chains of the underworld wrapped about her lithe frame but unable to pull her to the great beyond due to her unfinished business. Wailing and moaning, she’d been taken aback when Reginald had politely asked her to “silence that racket and act like the lady you once were!”
And so over the course of an hour, and several cups of tea served by a very understanding butler, Reginald interviewed the spirit of Mary Ann Nichols, a streetwalker from London. She claimed to have been slain by a man with glowing red eyes and the ability to breathe flames, with “knives for hands, and steel for teeth.”
The dead were well known for being overly dramatic.
Still, when she told him of a secret cache of savings she and her friends had been hoarding, offering it as payment should he avenge her death, who was he to say no? After all, Master Mystery was a man of action! A man of vision! A man who had bills to pay!
And so here he was, sitting in a leaking wooden carriage with an Englishmen doing his best to butcher the language in the middle of a “light rain shower” that would have drowned out the Midwest. Snapping his fingers, a sudden twist of reality warped before him, green mist forming the face of a clock telling him the local time. Waving his hand through the vapors to clear them, he leaned back in his seat and took another sip from his flask.
Peering out the window, he saw that the street sign bearing the name of “Whitechapel” slowly pass them by, the stained wood cracked and worn from the constant beating it took from a very angry Mother Nature.
“We’re ‘ere Guvner!” The cabbie announced, pulling back on the reins of his trusty steed to slow the carriage to a stop. “Tha’ best brothel in all o’ London it is, wit’ cheap room and cheaper women!”
“How lovely,” Reginald replied drolly as he studied the building from his seat. Two stories high, the place was obviously an inn due to the small swinging sign bearing a bed and a bottle, paint-stripped lettering proclaiming the dank building to be the “Pink Swan,” “Go ahead and bring my luggage inside and rent a room for me. I’ll be in shortly.”
The cabbie looked ready to protest, but a pair of twenty pound notes shoved into his face quickly silences him, as well as hastened his rather rickety movements as he unloaded his large from the driver’s seat and quickly began to take the luggage into the inn. Clapping his hands, Reginald pulls on the spiritual chords of London, trying to sense any disturbances in the local area, before throwing a cheap alarm ward over the inn.
Pulling his cloak around his shoulders, he takes a deep breath before pushing open the door to the carriage and quickly climbing down the ladder, wincing as mud spatters up onto his favorite pants, a silken set of black pants from the Far East.
Looking to the sky and then back to the inn, he heaved a sigh and moved to the door.
Today was not looking like a good day at all.
Part Two

Authors Note: Like The Son of a Preacher Man series, expect to see additions to Master Mystery's story quite often. He's an older character of mine, a sort of magical Sherlock Holmes that deals with supernatural crimes. I enjoy his character quite a bit, and hope you will too. 

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