Tuesday, October 9, 2012

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

Reginald rolled with the vicious strike, tumbling haphazardly into a bin of rubbish. The creature scuttled along the wall, hissing as it grew ever closer to his prone form. Another leaped from high above, jumping from the opposing wall to the one Reginald was propped up against, clambering down the wall with sinister intentions glimmering behind its twisted visage.
“Is there a reason you’re attacking me, or should I take this as a breach in the Treaty of Thames?” Reginald blearily asks aloud, rubbing at the side of his head where he’d been struck. Both creatures, their boneless arms stretched out with tentacles spread out to grasp at him. “So I assume this isn’t an attack?”
Oui…” One of the creatures slowly exhales, pulling back its offensive limb to better perch itself upon the wall. “’Ow is eet dat ‘ou speak?”
“With my mouth for the most part, though I do know how to do so with my hands should the need arise.” Reginald replies as he pushes the accumulated garbage away from him, pulling himself to his feet with the aid of the wall. “Do I need to speak with my hands gentlemen, or shall you explain yourselves to me?”
The second of the creatures, these Chokers as they’re so well known, are the twisted forms of orphans that have been kidnapped and transformed under the full moon. All of them are generally considered male, though they are actually genderless; they breed through their twisted kidnappings and witchcraft. Servants to those that bend the universe to their will, they generally act as protectors ever since they made a pact nearly two centuries ago stating as such: they protect the practitioners of magic, and they don’t get hunted down for the abominations they are.
“We… we though you was a Dead ‘ead milord… thought we might make a bit ‘o coin off ya, heh heh…” The first one answers, chuckling nervously as he extends a snake-like arm, tentacle fingers spread wide. “Me names Abner, and ‘e be Francois... we guard the alley, we do.”
I shake his hand in greeting, dusting off my coat as I do. The rain is dripping from the awnings overhead, and the trash had been hiding a rather nasty puddle of water tainted with the stink of past meals and rot. Reginald grimaced as the dampness soaked through his coat to his sensitive frame, and made a sweeping gesture with his left hand, forcing the water out of his clothes drop by drop.
Both Chokers wince at the sight of Reginald using magic, confirming their fears over what they had just done. Reginald let go of the offered tentacle mass, stooped low to gather his pipe from the ground. “We be nothing but full of shame, dear sir… we never meant to put the hurt on one so distinguished as yerself! It’s just…”
“I look undead; yes I get that quite a bit.” Reginald finished for the Abner, relighting his pipe and taking a few puffs from the treated tobacco, sighing once more as the relaxing chemicals entered his bloodstream. “But no worries gentlemen, I see no need to mention this to anyone so long as you don’t need to either. The very notion of telling this tale… it sickens me, I daresay.”
Both Chokers faces broke into horrid grins as they looked at each other in glee, before turning back to Reginald. “No, no need at’all! Go right on in, and tell Lucy the Abner says ‘ello. She’ll grant ye a spot of spirits, she will.”
“Lovely,” Reginald replies, stalking up to the door, knocking on it three times, “I’ll be certain to pass on your regards.”
A small window slides open on the door, revealing a pair of beady eyes beneath a heavily wrinkled brow. “And you are?”
“A man positively giddy upon hearing the Queen’s English spoken as it should be,” Reginald muttered before clearing his throat, “A fellow walking from the East, hoping to meet a fellow from the West. And you?”
“A fellow from the West well met.” The man replies from behind the door, sliding the window shut as a series of locks could be heard being lifted from the other side, the door finally opening after a minute of work, revealing the door to be heavy and thick, with numerous dangling locks and chains hanging from the side. The man was stooped and old, wearing a green cardigan and a thick woolen sweater. “Come on in then, out of the rain.”
Reginald stepped through the doorway, tingling as a wave of magical barriers and protections passed over him, making his way into the brightly lit pub full of men and women of all stripes and sizes. The entire room was kept warm by a central hearth, over which several spit pigs slowly turned on their own, filling the room with a delicious aroma that made Reginald smile a rare smile. The bar, low and set along the far wall, was bustling with patrons and servers alike, all laughing and drinking from great glass steins.
Taking off his coat as he moved into the light, he sighed as he heard a collective gasp come from those around him. “How in the world did one of them get in?” He heard someone ask from the gathered crowd.
“I assure you, I’m in no way one of them, whoever they are.” He said allowed, annoyed at being forced to defend himself once again. “And I must say, I don’t think I like the attitude I’m receiving from you lot. I thought the English were polite?”
“And I thought the Americans to be handsome!” A voice called out, creating a great stir of laughter throughout the entire pub. A large man, heavy set with a broad jaw and even broader shoulders sidled up to Reginald, throwing an arm around him to pull him closer to the fire. “We’re just playing around is all, no harm innit. Now, what’ll ya have?”
“Abner told me Lucy would provide me with some spirits on his behalf, and to send her his regards.” Reginald replied a bit stiffly, lowering himself into a seat at a table with the large man, along with two others. “Now who might you be?”
“Oh, so sorry then! The names Charles Clooney,” The gigantic man said with a gap-toothed grin. “And this ‘ere be Bill O’Donahue and Mickey McNully. We all work as porters down on the docks for Lucy o’er there.”
“Well my name is Master Mystery,” Reginald replied, ignoring the stifled laughter coming from O’Donahue, “And I am a detective, of sorts.”
“A detective are you now?” Charles said with a wide grin, slapping the table with his hand as his two friends both break out laughing. “And wot brings a Yank detective to the sunny side o’ England, praytell?
“The Whitechapel murders, actually.”
That brought silence over the three, as well as the surrounding tables that had apparently been listening in. An older woman with a long blond braid and a wide midsection marched up to the table with a tray of drinks, three glass tankards full of a dark frothy beer and one small bottle of green liquid, cork firmly stuck in place.
“Here ya go gents, one bottle of Absinthe for the stranger and three drinks for my own boys,” the waitress said with a smile, passing the drinks out. “I hope Abner didn’t do anythin’ too embarrassing sir. ‘E only offers to buy someone a drink if’n he does something embarrassing.”
“No Lucy, he was a perfect gentlemen.” Reginald replied, picking up the bottle. Snapping his fingers to shrink the cork, he took a long sniff from the rising air of the bottle as it let out its first breath, savoring the sickly sweet smell as if it were a fine wine. “Ah, a fine bottle. My thanks to you and your pub.”
Perhaps this wasn’t such a terrible day after all…
Next Time