The Fulham Fiend: Chapter 13

“Oh, what a chill evening it is,” said Miss Henderson, “and me a poor flower girl alone on the street. Will no-one buy my flowers?”

From across the street, in an alleyway, someone made a downward waving motion. From further down and round a corner, three figures looked at the girl.

“Do you think anyone will believe she’s a flower girl,” said Sir John. “She’s been standing on an empty street for hours. Won’t the Fiend get suspicious?”

“Don’t ask me!” said Phlebotomous, “I’m not that kind of vampire.”

Sir John unwrapped a device from the bag he had been carrying.

“What’s that?” asked Phlebotomous.

“You should be careful of this,” said Sir John, “ it’s a Soluminescinator. It fires off a bright light at the same wavelength of sunlight, but ten times the intensity. Just in case.”

“Fascinating,” said Phlebotomous. “You must show me …”

“Quiet!” said Marie, “Something is happening.”

The door of the building opposite the flower girl was opening and a tall, dark, hooded figure with a pale face emerged.

ff-ch-13“Excuse Me!”

“Is that him?” said Phlebotomous.

“Well, unless it’s a boarding house for undead gentlemen who’ve fallen on hard times, I would say so,” said Sir John.

The Fiend gazed along the street before looking across at Miss Henderson. He started to walk towards her.

“Will you buy a lily sir?” said Miss Henderson as the figure crossed towards her silently.

“I said, WOULD YOU BUY A LILY SIR?” said Miss Henderson emphatically.  Suddenly policemen came running from two alleyways beside the ’s building. Directed by Dawlish and Symonds, and with whistles blaring, they attacked the Fiend. The left flank arrived first, three policeman grabbing the Fiend’s arm. The Fiend flung out his arm and the three fell backwards. He turned to face three on the other side along with the two detectives. The policemen drew truncheons and hit the Fiend but he seemed impervious to the blows. In return, he punched out at the men. They fell to the floor unconscious.

The three policemen who attacked first  got up from the floor and ran at the Fiend’s back. Dawlish and Symonds, more adept fighters, were trading blows at the front, but they were getting the worse of the deal. Symonds fell first and an impressive backhand sent Dawlish to the ground. The Fiend turned his attention to the police on his back, pulling two over his head and adding them to the pile of unconscious constabulary. Then, the Fiend turned and grabbed the last policeman’s hand, holding it fast for a moment. The man instantly stopped hitting the Fiend and wandered drunkenly away. The Fiend turned back to Miss Henderson and walked forward

“Good lord!” said Sir John. He ran forward with the Soluminescinator and pointed it at the Fiend.

“Hey! I say!” said Sir John, “Excuse me!”

The Fiend turned to look at Sir John and there was a violent burst of light from Sir John’s hand. When it passed the Fiend still stood there. He took a few steps to Sir John and swept him aside with one hand. Sir John fell to the floor.

There was a sound then like a strangled cat. It came from Phlebotomous as a sort of roar as he ran full speed at the Fiend, his teeth bared. Phlebotomous jumped up at the taller creature and sank his fangs into its neck. There was an unpleasant clang and Phlebotomous grabbed his teeth with one hand. One blow from the Fiend sent him flying.

Marie stepped forward and shouted “ARRETER!”. The Fiend stopped, then looked at Marie. It picked up one of the constables truncheons and threw it at her. Marie tried to avoid the truncheon,  but it caught her in the stomach, winding her.

The Fiend turned again to Miss Henderson. He walked lazily toward her. The maid screamed.

The Fulham Fiend: Chapter 14

The Fulham Fiend: Chapter 12

Sir John and Marie were sitting in the parlour when Miss Henderson opened the door.

“Your guests are here Sir and Mrs Jennings,” she said. Sir John glanced at Marie who looked a little surprised. Symonds, Dawlish, and Phlebotomous came into the room.

“Ah, Mrs Jennings,” said Dawlish, “let me introduce…”

“We’ve met,” said Marie and Phlebotomous almost instantaneously.

“So sorry about our previous encounter,” said Phlebotomous to Marie.

“A perfectly understandable mistake,” said Marie, “but one best not repeated, perhaps.”

Phlebotomous opened his mouth, stopped then closed it again. Dawlish shot a quizzical look at Symonds who looked embarrassed. At Sir John’s indication all three men sat down.

“We thought Mr Bosch may be able to help with his … specialist knowledge,” said Symonds.

“Since I’m a vampire!” said Phlebotomous.

“Indeed,” said Symonds. “It was quite some effort to get him here. And no small expense in drapery.”

Sir John looked puzzled.

“To protect Mr Bosch from sunlight,” explained Symonds.

“But congratulations are in order, Mrs Jennings,” said Dawlish. “You have found the fiend.”

“Indeed, Inspector Dawlish,” said Marie. “More accurately, I have located the building where I believe he resides. After the incident last night I was able to track him until he entered. It didn’t seem safe to enter the building itself.”

“Remarkable,” said Dawlish. “How did you accomplish this, this swine has given my men the slip for weeks.”

“I was … lucky, I suppose,” said Marie.

“Yes,” blurted Phlebotomous, “that’s why! She is very lucky!”

Dawlish and Symonds looked puzzled at the vampire.

“Well, however it was done, I have a man watching the building, but one man won’t be enough. If only we knew when he was going to strike. The killings are getting more frequent.”

“Tell us the dates,” said Sir John, “we may be able to see a pattern.”

“At first it was around once a month, then almost once a week and now we’ve had 2 in 2 days.”

“Around a month?” said Sir John. “Is it a lunar pattern?”

“Are vampires affected by moonlight?” asked Symonds.

“It’s still sunlight,” said Phlebotomous, “just reflected. I get a headache when it’s full moon.”

“Here are the dates,” said Dawlish, passing Sir John a note. Sir John dug an almanac from the bookshelf and compared.

“The first four are all on a new moon,” said Sir John. “Then, the next four are the quarters of a moon. The ninth, the one that occurred when we went to, er, meet Mr Bosch, was less than a week after that. Then yesterday the murder Marie witnessed.”

“Once a moon, once a quarter, once a day,” said Phlebotomous.

“Does that mean something?” said Symonds, “to a vampire?”

“Not really,” said Phlebotomous. “But it has a ring to it.”

“I think it means that the fiend is getting to the end of his killing, for whatever purpose it is,” said Sir John. “And the next murder will be tonight.”

“If we lay a trap, we can catch the swine,” said Dawlish. “If we had a suitable lady to tempt him…”

“You can’t use Marie!” said Sir John.

“Well, obviously,” said Symonds.

“Why obviously?” said Sir John, looking put out.

“Well … I presume obviously,” said Symonds looking embarrassed. Sir John still looked puzzled so Marie leaned toward Sir John and whispered in his ear.

“Oh!” said Sir John turning red. “Of course.”

“Why obviously?” asked Phlebotomous. Symonds leaned forward and whispered into his ear. Phlebotomous went a light shade of pink.

Just then, Miss Henderson arrived with some tea and biscuits. The room was deep in thought as she placed them on a small table, keeping away from Phlebotomous. When she had finished laying out the cups, saucers and plate, the vampire extended an arm towards the items. A small mechanical grab, on the end of an extendable arm, came out of his sleeve and headed for the biscuit plate. When it arrived, it tipped the plate over onto the floor, spilling the contents under the table.

“Hmm,” said Phlebotomous, “needs calibration.”

Mrs Henderson bent under the table to pick up the biscuits. The room was still silent when Phlebotomous leaned forward excitedly.

“Is your maid a virgin?” he said.

There was a crash from the table as Miss Henderson tried to stand up quickly. She crawled slowly out from underneath.

“Mr Bosch!” said Marie.

“Oh dear, my head,” Miss Henderson said. “I’m sure I must be hearing things.”

Marie went over to help the maid and escorted her out of the room.

Wooden box and chess pieces“Too Apt!”

“Badly put, but he has a point,” said Dawlish half to himself. “Sir John, I want to show you the layout of the area, and what I have in mind. Do you have something I might use so I can demonstrate on this table top?”

Sir John looked around the bottom of the bookshelf.

“Will this help?” he said. Dawlish’s moustache twitched in amusement.

“Almost too apt,” he said. “Alright, imagine this piece is the maid and this box is the house. My men will hide, in the alleyways with crucifixes and water. You and Mr Bosch can be here, at a safe distance, but ready to offer advice if needed.”

“Maybe we should bring Mrs Jennings?” said Phlebotomous. “Er … for luck?”

Dawlish frowned. Symonds coughed and nodded.

“I … shall ask”, said Sir John, “and see if she is feeling … lucky.”

Dawlish frowned some more.

“Well, whoever comes, when the fiend comes out to catch our bait then my men come left and right. And we have him.”

Marie came in the room.

“Miss Henderson is both capable and willing to assist this evening,” she said.

“The game’s afoot!” said Dawlish.

The Fulham Fiend: Chapter 13

The Fulham Fiend: Chapter 11

“Marie … I …” said Sir John.

He looked down from the mirror and sighed.  Then he looked up again.

“Marie! I!” he said then looked down and shook his head. There was a knock at the door. He span round to face it.

“Come in!” he said with a tremulous voice. The door swung open.

“Marie? I …” said Sir John. Behind the door was a young maid.

“Sir Jennings?” said the girl. “There’s a French lady at the front door to see you.”

“Ah, that will be my wife,” said Sir John. “I hope. Show her in please.”

The maid started to leave the room when Sir John said,

“Wait! Who are you?”

“I’m Miss Henderson,” said the maid. “Mrs Flitwick, she’s my cousin’s aunt’s best friend, she said you would need some help as she had become spontaneously indisposed.”

“I see, very good,” said Sir John. “Please send in my wife. Oh … wait!”

Miss Henderson turned back into the room.

“What did you call me?” asked Sir John.

“Sir Jennings?” said the maid. “Have I got your name wrong, sir?”

“No, not at all,” said Sir John. “Welcome to my home.”

ff-ch11“Sir Jennings?”

Miss Henderson did a sort of curtsy then left. Shortly after, Marie came hesitantly into the room. She dropped her hat on the sideboard and looked at her husband.

“Marie, I…” started Sir John, then paused. There was silence.

“Marie. I.” said Sir John and paused again. Marie’s eyes started to water, and her chin trembled a little.

“Marie! I don’t care what you are,” said Sir John. “You’re my wife. We belong together.”

He moved to Marie and held her.  She gave a couple of little sobs.

Je t’aime,” she said.

“And I t’aime you too,” said Sir John, “with all my heart.”

“I want to explain, mon cher,” said Marie, “but first you must call the police. The fiend has struck again and …  I …  I found where he lives.”

“He has? You did? How?” said Sir John. Marie looked down.

“I’ll tell you later. I’ll tell you everything later,” she said. “But please, let Dawlish know. Farm Lane.”

Sir John left the room and Marie sat down. She looked at the crochet and picked it up absently, her fingers working as she stared into space. Presently, Sir John came back in the room and Marie stood up.

“All done, they’ll come over in the morning,” he said.

There was a pause.

“You could have told me,” said Sir John quietly.

“I … I could not,” said Marie, “I was afraid.”

“Of me?” said Sir John.

“No, not of you,” she said. “Maybe a little of what you would think. But mostly of me. Of what I can do … I … I barely know.”

Sir John stepped close to her and smiled warmly.

“We can do experiments!” he said excitedly.

Mon cher?” said Marie, a little taken aback.

“Nothing surgical, obviously, “ said Sir John, making a scissor motion absently with his fingers. Marie looked down in shock at his hand and Sir John followed her gaze. He jumped back in horror and shoved his hand in his pocket.

“I mean,” he said, “we can work this out together.  As a couple. As we should.”

Marie’s face softened and she moved close to him again.

“We certainly have all the equipment!” he said and held Marie in his arms. She rested her head on his shoulder.

There was another pause.

“What do we do now?” said Sir John.

“Something else for which we have all the equipment,” said Marie. Sir John looked puzzled.

“What’s that exactly?” he said. Marie whispered in his ear.

“Oh!” he said and turned red.

The Fulham Fiend: Chapter 12