Smog 1888 : Mechanical Precision…

Hop, petit article, ça fait longtemps que je n’en ai pas posté (boulot et flemme ne font pas bon ménage)…
Voici une petite nouvelle, pour le partiel d’anglais (oui, un partiel à la maison, c’est cool ^^), sur le thème de Sherlock Holmes.
J’ai essayé de reprendre le style d’écriture de Conan Doyle, ainsi que son type d’intrigue typique. L’ennui, c’est que pour ceux connaissant le jeu, vous risquez de connaître la fin avant, étant donné que je me suis inspiré des personnages de Smog pour tous les persos secondaires. Par contre, j’ai gardé un côté rationnel, en évitant de partir dans les délires steampunk, sinon je pense que la prof risque de ne pas trop apprécier…
Si elle a du succès, j’en ferai sûrement d’autres, mais plus tournées vers le culte ou le cloaque, donc plus glauques et imaginaires…
J’espère que ça vous plaira !

London was quite windy this morning. People were running fast towards their home, as the cold was freezing their bones. Baker Street was not the charming street it had been the week before. Time was altering, and fast.
We were eating Mrs. Hudson’s traditional bacon and eggs, which were as usual worthy of the best cookers in all the British Empire. I was reading the newspaper, and an article caught my eye.
- Holmes, what do you think of this new habit, consisting in replacing Bobbies by these machines ?

My friend removed his gaze from his fork, and looked at me absently. He had been quite sickened from his last encounter with the Colonel Moran, even though he had not told me anything about it at the time. I was worried about his health, for he was not eating much for a few days, and had not left our apartment since his previous adventure. He answered me in a very distant way.
- You are speaking of the automatons ?
- I am indeed. And may I also suggest that you eat what is in your plate ? This is really succulent, and it would be a pity to not…
- No need for that, my dear Watson ! The only sight of this grey fog surrounding the street has awaken me from my lethargy ! It has been a long time since the weather was so gloomy ! And, as I already told you, there could not be a better one than this grey atmosphere to enlighten my senses, and at the same time, criminal vocations ! I am telling you, we shall have a visitor today !

He was so sure of himself that I did not want to bother him with some skeptical reactions. This was a fascinating fact about Holmes : the less people were cheerful, the more he was. He was literally feeding himself on the misfortunes of the whole city, and even the country ones, if they came to him. As long as he had something to occupy his extraordinary mind with, he could be as spirited as a lion. But if unfortunately, no single affair presented any interest or difficulties, then he would fall asleep for a far too long time, or go in for his little experiences with drugs, his main and only guinea-pig being himself. Hence, that morning, I was pleased to see he was in a better mood than usual. He followed on the subject of automatons :
- Concerning these machines, I am forced to agree with our old friend commissioner Lestrade. Nothing can replace a human-being in a dangerous situation. You see, these machines may be better armed than usual Bobbies and body-guards, but they are missing the most important characteristic of a typical human-being : they lack improvisation. And through my adventures, I saw that this is what saved many people that should have died, if only for logic and methods. So, as you may have guessed, I do not think it is a brilliant idea, even though the Mechazylum members succeeded in convincing the Houses.
- The Mechazylum ? What is it ? A secret organization unknown to the public ?
- Well, that is exactly what it is, Watson ! That is precisely the point ! Although only a few people know what they are really up to.
- A secret society ! Holmes ! You are not serious !
- I could not be more ! Yet, for the moment, all its adherents are respectable members of the society, from scientific genius to wealthy bankers. Apparently, they are constantly in search for new technologies. Many famous savants are part of this organization : Alexander Graham Bell, Benoit Rouquayrol, or John Boyd Dunlop, you all know them I believe, and they can all be linked with the new technologies the Mechazylum has created.

All of a sudden, the bell rang. We heard Mrs. Hudson opening the door, and after a while, heavy steps echoed in the stairs. Holmes jumped on the arm-chair where he had moved to while talking. I could see a bright smile on his face.
- Watson, here comes our visitor ! I told you he would be here !
At these words, the door opened violently, before a strange looking man. What stroke me at first was his slim looking body : he looked more breakable than every other man I had met, for he was coughing and shaking like a leaf in a dark October night. He looked like a dead tree, his arms like long branches, his legs as gnarled roots, and his hair like colorful fall foliage. And then, I looked in his eyes, and I saw that under this fragile shell, lived a more formidable mind. His eyes were covered by large circular glasses, but those emphasized this impression of remarkable personality.

While starring at his visitor, Holmes advanced slightly on his armchair. He had his usual mischievous look when he was about to plunge into an exciting affair that would guarantee him a dense week of reflection and intellectual exercise. I believed the following events would have me worried about his health, since the man had not even told the story which preoccupied him.

The visitor stood there for a moment, and kept quiet. Seeing that none of us moved, he decided to break the silence, in a high-pitched voice, which reminded me of those yellow birds always singing in summer.
- Well, Mister Holmes, I thought you would have called me by my name just by looking at me ! It appears the rumors are exaggerated about your skills !
I thought this was a quite insulting way to enter in a gentleman’s house, and rose steadily on my feet. But Holmes always wore his impenetrable smile, and made a slight hand gesture in my direction. But our visitor followed his insolent speech, as if he had not seen my annoyed move.
- Since you have no clue of who I am, I may as well present myself. My name is…
- Baron Victor Mantes, third of the name, member of the Mechazylum secret society, famously known for your researches concerning gravity. You are an asthmatic man who tries to cure himself with the properties of a new gaze you discovered. This night, you had a walk in the countryside, and you felt on your knees at some point during your excursion. Since you hurt yourself, you decided to exceptionally take your cane this morning, not to aggravate your injury. Before coming here, you received a letter which might have been carried by a messenger, and which surely is the reason why you are paying us a visit, Sir.

The man looked at my friend in astonishment. He dropped his cane and put his hand to his heart. As we saw him falter, Holmes jumped out of his armchair to help him. He barely caught the old man, who was now unconscious.
- Well, Watson, for a doctor, you cruelly lacked of survival instinct for the poor baron !

I glanced at him in the most venomous way I could possibly imagine.
- I would not have to use my medical talents if you had not seen fit to surprise this man !

He had a satisfied smile on his face.
- I guess I surprised you too, didn’t I ?
- Indeed, I may know your methods very well, but those statements you made were rather bold ! How, for Christ’s sake, could you possibly guessed that he went to the countryside last night ?
- Elementary ! His shoes are covered with dirt and dust, along with some tufts of grass stuck in the sole. If he had been in town, the dust would be grey, not brown like the one you can find outside town.
- Then, I guess the marks on the pants to the knees allowed you to elaborate this idea of him falling on the knees…
- Not idea, but certainty ! I watched him as he entered the room, and he did not limp as a person naturally lame would limp. At one moment, he moved forward and had forgotten his injury, snatching a grimace of pain. A naturally handicapped person would not have forgotten so easily ! I concluded it was an accident, and a small look at his cane confirmed that theory.
- The cane ?
- The cane, yes ! This one is simply a decorative artifact ! No crack, no deformation, no different colors between the top and the bottom… I can affirm you he has never used it before.
- Indeed, it is elementary !
- And once again, the magic is spoilt after the magician explains the trick…

The baron moved slightly under the hot towel I had put on his forehead, and opened his eyes.
- Where am I ?
- My dear Baron, you certainly are more emotive than you look !
Lord Mantes swallowed with difficulty.
- How ? How do you know so many things about me ?
- Keep calm, Sir. The things I know are just based on what I see, nothing more. I will certainly explain everything in detail during our little journey to the crime scene…
- How… How do you know a crime happened ?

Holmes laughed quietly, starring at something in the window.
- When someone as wealthy and busy as you bothers visiting a detective at such an early hour, on Sunday, with a letter just unsealed, and his carriage waiting for him down the street, I allow myself to believe something just happened to someone he knows.

The man glanced at him in relief. He stood up, and went to the door. He turned back to Holmes.
- Then I guess you agree to come with me.
- I do. Watson, will you do me the pleasure to join us ? I might need your lightning senses at once.
- Fair enough Holmes, I am coming too.
- Then, Baron, lead us to this haunted mansion in East Anglia !
- How do you know it is a mansion ? In East Anglia ?

My friend had a curious smile on his face.
- Magic trick…

We arrived at the mansion two hours later. Holmes’ client explained us what happened to his friend, Lord Richard Ticklenott, earlier in the morning. The story was quite simple, but nonetheless as complicated and intriguing as Holmes was used to. Lord Ticklenott lived in a large house in the center of London, along with his unique daughter, Miss Jane Ticklenott. He had lost his wife four years ago, in an unfortunate accident while travelling to France. She felt in the water during a windy night, and Lord Ticklenott never fully recovered from her death. Our visitor explained us he had met the Lord a few days before, on the same boat to France. They had become friends, and since the loss of his wife, he could always count on Baron Mantes to help him. The two remaining Ticklenotts returned to London, and their only unusual trips were to their country house, in the Helmetheg mansion.
This month, they had been there for eleven days, and the Baron, who had become a close friend of the family, had joined them three days later. They were escorted by Miss Ticklenott’s butler, Cornelius Fauchelevent, a French man truly dedicated to his mistress’ will. At that point, Holmes interrupted his client, asking him about when had Fauchelevent become Jane’s butler. He apparently had had some common history with Lord Ticklenott’s wife, and they had met in France. Since her death, he was closer than ever to his mistress. Holmes then grinned somehow, but made a slight gesture to encourage the Baron to continue his story.

That night, Lord Ticklenott and his daughter had dinner, and according to Miss Jane’s letter, her father went to bed earlier than usual. He was quite tired, and Mantes was supposing this tiredness had been caused by an argument they had been through during the afternoon, about the use of a new type of gas. Once all the mansion was sleeping, around three o’clock in the morning, a terrible scream broke the silence of this lethargic house. Miss Ticklenott was the first to awake, and she ran out of her room. She saw Mister Fauchelevent, the butler, climbing up the stairs, frightened. The scream had stopped, but they had recognized her father’s voice. The door was closed from the inside, but Fauchelevent had brought a pistol, and he shot the lock down. They opened the door hastily, and switched the light on. And they saw the corpse. Lord Ticklenott’s body had been heavily crushed by a mysterious weapon, and his chest was disappearing under floods of blood. His daughter fainted, and Fauchelevent had to carry her to her bed. He then asked a farm boy living near the mansion to call the police. The local authorities arrived two hours later, but in front of the complexity of the affair, they decided to call for help from Scotland Yard. Since Major Dreadful, the head of the famous police institution, was a good friend of Lord Ticklenott, he chose to take the inquiry in charge. That was all the Baron knew from the letter he had received that morning. The conversation followed on the works of Mantes, and on his implications with the Mekazylum society. He was quite suspicious about how Holmes had received any information concerning the latter, but since my friend told him everything he had told me during our breakfast, he did not ask any further question. Later, I was the main object of the conversation, for he was very interested in my job. He told us his father had always wanted him to become a doctor, but his passion for science was stronger than the paternalist views. As we arrived to the mansion, we all fell silent, admiring the peaceful landscape, which had been the scene of a terrible tragedy.

Baron Mantes rang to the door. We could hear multiple steps behind, and we had to wait until it finally opened. A strange man appeared. His eyes were circled by large glasses, which made him look like an owl. This impression of silliness was reinforced by a large mustache and a bald head. He was dressed in the most perfect way, in a long black suit, wearing white gloves. I guessed, quite easily, he was the Ticklenott’s butler.
When he spoke, we were quite amused by his French accent, since he was accentuating every word with a carefulness that would have made the most respectable lady look ruthless.
- These Messieurs arrived, sir. Shall I introduce them in the mansion ?

A large shape came out of the shadow.
“That will not be necessary, Mister Fauchelelent, I will personally salute them”, said Major Dreadful.
I and Holmes had met the Major a few years before, concerning a terrible affair that had made the titles during an entire month. Because the protagonists were all from the very noble class of the Kingdom, I shall not give any precise details. Let it be known, though, that it only took two days to my dear friend to resolve it, while all Scotland Yard could not. The Major was, at this time, the leader of the inquiry, and since he could not fail this sacred mission, he decided to call for help. Help being personalized by Holmes. First doubtful concerning my friend’s unorthodox methods, he was forced to witness the success of such procedures. He sometimes required our help, but was clever enough to fulfill most of the crimes he had to solve. He was so successful that he was proposed the head of Scotland Yard. In his taste for glory, he agreed, and the famous institution had never been so effective than under his authority. He literally ruled it with an iron hand, for he had lost his left arm in the Egyptian campaigns, and had it replaced by a strong mechanical one. He was truly impressive, in his long brown coat, his beard around his mouth in the old-fashioned way, a large monocle on his left eye. Many saw him as the personification of strength, as moral as physical.
He walked towards the baron, and spoke to him in a deep and calm voice.
- My dear Mantes, lady Jane told me she sent you a letter. Keep a cold head, the crime scene is quite shocking. And I see you brought the most famous detective there is ! Holmes, doctor Watson, I hope you are not here to deny me the privilege to elude this affair ! Though, I have to admit the whole thing is quite an issue for us, at the moment…

My friend was smiling as he shook hands with the Major.
- Of course, we only agreed to come here to help, and because the whole story looks quite unusual…
- I see… So, since the baron told you everything there is to know, we maybe should go to the crime scene. Keep quiet, the lady is still resting. You see, she heard him shout, so she was quite shaken, and we advised her to go back to her room. Very well then, prepare yourselves…

We walked through a long corridor, following the Major and the Baron. The two of them were speaking inaudibly, until the Major laughed out loud.
- Baron, you are such a witty man ! Of course I can control it well ! You may have built it for me, but I can assure you, nothing is strong enough to resist me !

I looked at Holmes questioningly. He taped his arm with a grin smile. I remembered what he had told me about the Mekazylum, and I guessed that Baron Mantes was the creator of the Major’s mechanical arm. That explained why they seemed to know each other, and especially why Dreadful was unusually joyful.
We climbed up the stairs, and the Major stopped us. Behind him, the first door was on the ground, out of its hinges. The room was enlightened brightly, and it would have been a quite charming place to sleep in, if it was not for the corpse on the bed.
Through my adventures with Holmes and my previous experience as a soldier in Afghanistan, I had witnessed many deaths. But never had I seen such pain in the eyes of a corpse. Lord Richard Ticklenott was crouched on the bed, a mute cry on his face. His eyes were like dark stars in the cadaveric moonlight of his face. But the most terrific fact about the corpse was his chest. There was none. From the door, I could see the horribly unusual deformation on the body, and I could not dare to imagine what it was like.
Dreadful rotated towards us.
- Baron, you may not want to see him in that estate…
- Nonsense ! I knew him very well, and he considered me as his brother ! I shall not disappoint him in death !
- Very well. Doctor, you might want to be the first to take a look, and give us some diagnostic information. Holmes, you… Holmes ?

Absorbed by the vision of the corpse, we had not noticed that my friend had entered in the room. He was at that moment behind the bed, agitating his small magnifying glass maniacally. We could not see what he was looking at, but we heard him shout happily at some discovery.
- Interesting ! Very interesting !

The Major and the Baron looked quite outraged.
- What is so interesting that you did not even glance at the corpse, Holmes ?
- The corpse ? Ah, yes, the corpse ! Well, if you had spent more time to observe the surroundings, and not only the evident evidences, you may not have been blocked so early, my dear Major !
- Since you are so clever, how about you introduce us to your little tricks, so that we may all learn from your colossal knowledge ?

Holmes chuckled a little.
- Not yet, not everything is making sense. Now, as you suggested earlier, would be the time to look at this poor fellow.

We all made a circle around the bed. As I had feared, the scene was quite atrocious. Lord Ticklenott’s chest had been crushed by a heavy burden. All that remained was a large blood pool, with some bones and organs floating on the surface. This truly was one of the most nauseating I had ever seen in my life. I saw the Baron moving back towards a chair, a hand on his heart, and even Holmes’ face was repulsed by this horrific vision. Only the Major did not seem so affected by the scene, as he made fun of Holmes’ face.
- Not so arrogant now, are we, Mister detective ?

My friend had a serious look on his face.
- Dreadful, we are no longer alone.

We all turned back, and saw her. She was like a deceased flower, devastated by the horrid event of the night. Her red lips eclipsed the paleness of her flesh, like a red apple on a lonely tree in winter. Her eyes might have been bright, but that morning they were as dark as a black lake. I had seen many women in my life, but she will always stay as this pale figure in this haunted house in my memory. Miss Jane Ticklenott was surrounded by obscure shadows, and she entered the room as a shadow herself.
The Major felt hesitant at once, but, as the strong man he was, he quickly gathered his wits.
- My dear, you may not want to come back to this room. It is not the right place for a lady !
- Thank you, Major, but if there is anything new, I want to be inform immediately. I hope you will find the murderer, mister Holmes !

Holmes had a slim grin on his face.
- Actually, I might have already found him.

Dreadful’s face would have been comical if it had not been in such a dramatic time.
- You… You know who the murderer is ?
- And I think you know his identity as well as I do ! Now, Miss Ticklenott, if you would be kind enough to leave this room, I might have to do some dissection with your father’s body to prove my theory. Now, gentlemen, every one of you gather around me !

We all made a circle around the bed. I was next to Holmes, so I could perfectly see what he was showing us. My friend spoke once more, showing the corpse.
- You might find it interesting that I know what crushed Lord Ticklenott’s body. Just look at the shape of the sheet, under the blood.
- There are some kinds of levels. It looks… It looks like a hand !
- Indeed, Watson, indeed ! Here, you see the shape of the thumb, here the index finger, and here the third one. The two left are not so distinct, but you can see a hand silhouette. Now, what is the particularity of this hand ?

The size of the shape was around 12 inches long.
- It is enormous ! No man can have such a big hand !

Holmes had taken a small bistoury in his mallet, and was now tearing apart an inch of skin. He took it with a small claw.
- Now, look at the color of the epidermis.
- It is red. Most certainly bloodily red.
- Red at first sight, but when you put a magnifying glass in front of it…

I jumped in surprise.
- There is metal ! Some metallic pieces !
- Indeed Watson, small bits, very small ones, appear on the surface.

The Baron looked at my friend questioningly.
- So what does that mean ?
- It means that Lord Ticklenott was crushed by a metallic burden, with the shape of a hand.

The Major was turning livid.
- You can not mean that…
- And who is in possession of a mechanical arm in this room ?

The silence fell as we all turned to the Major. His face was as white as the bed sheet, and his nose was frowning. Unexpectedly, he roared and jumped on the detective. Holmes cried “Seize him !”, as the terrible mechanical arm was squeezing on his throat. The Baron leaped on Dreadful, pulling his head back, while I hit him on the leg. He made us both fall on the ground, but the Baron, who had caught himself on his legs, seized a candlestick on the chimney and hit the Major with all his strength on the head. The colossal man flanked a little, and as Holmes clapped his hands on his ears, he let him go, groggy.
Two policemen entered, at the sounds of the battle, and drew their weapons.
Holmes spoke to them, with some difficulties finding his voice back, pointing at Dreadful.
- Arrest… Arrest this man. He is Lord Ticklenott’s assassin.

The two Bobbies stopped, taken aback. As they saw the three of us surrounding the Major, they concluded some elements might have escaped them, so they listened to Holmes. One of them took a pair of handcuffs from his belt, but my friend stopped them.
- No need for those, I believe he understands what he will go through if he tries to escape.
Dreadful moaned in a voice filled with hate and rage.
- I will have you executed, Holmes ! You cannot prove what you are saying ! What about the door closed ? How would have I entered ?
- These are facts a further inquiry will prove. For the moment, we know you are the murderer, that is all that matters.

The Major sat on a chair, the two Bobbies around him. The Baron and I were out of breath, and I watched Holmes going to the window, whispering for himself. I could hear him repeating “How did he enter ?”. Suddenly, he turned back to the Bobbies.
- Will you excuse me, gentlemen ? I need to check something downstairs. Since it is really important for the results of the inquiry, if one of you might want to come with me. Watson, will you be kind enough to help this gentleman keep an eye on the Major and… Baron Mantes, why do not you sit down ? You really look exhausted ! This kind of fight might not be suitable for your health !
- Indeed, mister Holmes, my reflexes are not as good as before !
- Very well then, I shall all see you in a few minutes.

My friend literally ran out of the room, the bobby following his steps. The Baron sat on the chair next to the window, while I decided to make some order in the room. I firstly put a clean bed sheet on the corpse, I found it quite indecent to be waiting with an opened body right next to me. I then put the candlestick back on the chimney. The Major, for someone who was to be convicted of a murder, was looking extraordinary calm. His reputation was not exaggerated.
We had been waiting for ten minutes, and there was absolutely no sign of Holmes. I saw the Baron moving on his chair, towards the window. He then turned to me.
- I shall see what they are doing, a little walk won’t do me any harm after this fight.
- Very well, but be cautious, you look like a tree after a storm, all shaking. The combat was hard, and we do not need a second death, so, keep calm !

He chuckled in a high-pitched laugh, which frightened me more than it reassured me.
- Yes, that would be quite a problem ! Thank you for your solicitude, doctor !

He left on these words, and I reported my attention on the Major.
The huge man looked at me, and spoke in his profound voice.
- Well doctor Watson, I believe you are mostly satisfied by your friend’s work. A corpse, a theory, a culprit… Quite an affair, eh ? But this will be his last one, for he is wrong on the murderer’s identity ! And I… And…

His face was suddenly white again.
- I know… I know who did it !

He jumped on his feet. The policeman tried to stop him from advancing towards the window, and I joined with him.
- Don’t be stupid, let me go, you bloody…

A shout outside. What was happening out there ?
- Let me go, or they are lost, you fools ! Let me…

A punch on the head from his mechanical arm, added to the previous fight tiredness, made me passing out.

When I woke up, I was lying on a sofa. I heard voices behind me, but I could not see well. When my eyes were fully opened, I saw the Major Dreadful watching me.
- You ! You…
- Do not be too harsh on the Major, Watson, he only smashed you in order to save me !
- So I shall thank him for the headache ? Thanks, but no thanks !

Holmes laughed.
- Wait a minute, something is wrong… Who was the culprit, if not the Major ?

Dreadful’s mechanical arm squeezed, the colossal man grumping.
- It was this dirty little scientist… Next time I see him, I crush him like a fly with his proper creation !
- You mean that Baron Mantes was the murderer ?
- Indeed he was. But sadly, he escaped. And he could have done much more harm if not for Dreadful’s reflexes.

I was eager to learn more about what had happened during my absence. I raised myself on the sofa, and I saw we were back at Baker Street. Had I been unconscious for so long ? That arm was certainly a dreadful weapon ! But I should not interrupt Holmes, who seemed to be quite pleased explaining me what I had missed.
- You see, when I told everyone that you were guilty, I was still, excuse me Major, quite sure about it. Every proofs I had found were concluding to this. Except, as you told me back there, “How did he enter ?”. This was the only black spot in my theory. Therefore, since I knew you were a man of action, and could be dangerous if truly guilty, I had to take measures. So I told everyone what I was up to, in order to see what your reaction would have been. Well, it was quite what I had expected, but I have to say that you should be more careful with this arm, it nearly killed me under the pressure !
- Sorry about that, Holmes, you know me I guess. I cannot stand being accused for crimes I have not committed.
- And you lose your temper quite easily too, I would say !
- You may be right… But still, in this world, better being paranoiac than simple-minded, eh ?

Holmes chuckled. He then took a large breath from his clay pipe.
- As I was saying, after you were controlled, I had to think about this last hole in my theory. And then I came to the window, and I saw a windowpane had been displaced quite recently. However, its size would not have been sufficient for a man to enter. A man, no, but what about an arm ? I thought I had the answer, since your arm was in metal, could it not have been extending itself ? But while I was still wondering if the way I was taking was logical or not, my eye was caught but a small detail outside. Dirt.
- Dirt ?
- Remember Watson ! Remember the knees !

I could not see what he was talking about. And then the past few events came flooding back to my mind. The arrival of Baron Mantes in Holmes cabinet, how he had made fun of him when giving him details on what he had done this night, but without knowing the tragic issue behind it !
- Yes, Watson, the dirt on Mantes’ knees was the same than the one below the window. It was too much of a coincidence to not be considered as a clue. And then, with this new departure, a whole new theory appeared. Mantes had walked down there, and had fallen on his knees, which meant he had not been honest with us and had something to hide. Mantes had created a mechanical arm for the Major, which meant he could have created another one, slim enough to enter the room by the windowpane, and long enough to kill his target. Mantes had been considered as a brother by Lord Ticklenott, which meant there could have been agreements between them, concerning money or goods. Mantes was a member of the Mechazylum, an unknown organization whose associates would require money to build their prototypes. And last, Mantes was around seventy years old, yet he had jumped on the Major when I had accused him, which meant he was not in such a bad condition as he would seem to be. Therefore, I decided to go and check my new theories. I found indeed the Baron knees trace in the dust, as well as some metallic residues in it, as long as the shape of a hand the same size than the one above. However, this was a left hand, so I guessed he had some sort of machine allowing him to have extending arms. As I explained what I had found to the Bobby who had accompanied me, a huge hand came from the nearest door. The mechanical weapon tried to hurt me, but the policeman pushed me and took the shockwave on his leg. I shouted for help, as I saw Mantes coming from the inside, in this monstrous machine. His eyes were hateful, and I believed he had heard all the conclusions I gave to the Bobby. He was factually rising in the air thanks to the pressure of his arms, and I really thought I would have died this morning if it had not been for the Major. I heard a gigantic roar from the bedroom, and as I was watching, the window broke, and a riffle appeared. I do not know where you had gotten this weapon, Dreadful, but let me tell you I owe it my life !

A satisfied smile appeared on the Major’s face.
- Actually, I found it on the wall, and I was lucky enough for it to be full ! I tried to shoot this naughty high-pitched scientist in the head, but the weapon was somehow damaged, and I hit him on the thigh. And what did he do, this flipping little coward ? He ran away ! If I get my hand on him, I shall…

Holmes interrupted him.
- We all know what you would do in such circumstances ! And I am afraid I would be willing to do the same !

I was still bothered by something.
- What could have been his motivation for committing such an atrocity ?
- Well, we do not know for sure, but the butler told the Major afterwards the Baron and Lord Ticklenott had had several arguments concerning the use of a new type of gas. The Baron discovered it a few months ago. Apparently, he needed funds to create new sorts of weapons thanks to this gas, but Ticklenott did not want to participate in any sort of war equipment. He believed the gas could be of great use in medical facilities, for the greater good. It was used medically, but only for the Baron himself, to cure his asthma. For the most dangerous use of it, well, you know what happened.

We all felt silent, Lord Ticklenott’s body still in our minds. Holmes broke the silent, speaking prophetically : “Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one’s living at it. I do not know what this Mechazylum organization is up to, but I can tell you that if they succeed in whatever their goal is, a dark future is upon London.”

Voilà !
Grob’ ;)

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Auteur: Grobelin


novembre 2011
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