September 1889. Lord of the Dance

When I got back to London I found I had been blackballed from the Travellers Club. [Blimp: I did try to plead Tweeny's case but he had done too much damage to his reputation.] Still no real loss, they were all a bunch of old farts that never went anywhere. I sent them a letter pointing that fact out. [Blimp: I expected a little more gentlemanly magnanimity from Tweeny. I think he was upset about missing out on the regular Sunday morning crumpet with raspberry jam because the Club serves the most exquisite raspberry jam in London.] Julian received a letter a Miss Agnis Cardew saying that his cousin, Dorothy Amis, had gone mad, and asking if he could come and find out what the cause was. We travelled to Chelsea and went to Agnis's house. She said Dorothy had been found by Kings cross station in a state by the police a couple of days ago. She had been uncommunicative since. Dr Simms in the Brookbury nursing home has been caring for her since. The only thing she talked about in the last 6 months was her lover Sebastian Fewkes, an artist. [Blimp: a "lover"! I was shocked and outraged, and conveyed this in no uncertain terms to Miss Cardew. She had an alarmingly relaxed attitude to her friend's behaviour.] He lived in Bromwells Road, south of the Thames. The nursing home was in Kent. We arranged to take a train there. Dorothy was completely unresponsive. Dr Simms was running a treatment of relaxation and sedation. [Blimp: for once Father O'Brien and I were in agreement: administering sedatives to someone already in a catatonic state seemed largely redundant. We, along with Tweeny, suggested that the more traditional shock treatments might be in order, but Dr. Simms rejected our suggestions. Miss Cardew similarly brushed aside my suggestion that she move Miss Amis to a proper asylum.] Julian talked to her but got no reaction until he mentioned the name Sebastian, at which point she suddenly started singing a hymn. She sang the same hymn every time the name Sebastian was spoken. We were unable to learn more so we took the train back to London. The following morning we went to the Kings Cross police station. She had been found in a tunnel which was still under construction, in an area which was padlocked shut. They did not find how she got there. They also found her purse lying in the tunnel. The police had not been able to contact Sebastian though they did find he had connections with the Canlis gallery. They also got his address as 17 Bromwells Rd. Julian got Dorothy's possessions from the police, and we went to her flat. We looked around and Patrick found a wall safe. I unlocked the safe. Inside was a will, some money and some diaries. The diaries said she had met Sebastian at a party 6 months ago, and had been immediately been attracted to him. [Blimp: the harlot!] The relationship had soured in the last few weeks as he had been spending far too much time at the Dorianean Club. She had posed nude for Tom, one of his friends, to make a waxwork. [Blimp: words fail me!] Patrick spoke with the landlord. He was half deaf. He did not like Sebastian, who he had last seen 3 or 4 days ago. We took a cab to Sebastian's flat. They were owned by a Mrs E Barton. She said Sebastian had not been seen for a few days. The way she spoke about him suggested she did not like him much. He had a load of paintings in his room. We found a ledger showing he owned about £4000. [Blimp: it disappointments me to think that someone so obviously a cad and a bounder had amassed, what was for him, a tidy sum.] We also found a note saying 1 Tiber Street, rear, 8:00 sharp in an address book next to the entry Smythe, David, Dorianian club, the strand. We had met David Smithe in a field a while back. [Blimp: I remembered him because of his strange habit of consorting with foreigners. He must have gained membership of the Dorianean Club by subterfuge.] Nigel decided to buy a painting of 2 figures joined together which was marked up as costing £100 so he could investigate it further later. [Blimp: now I understood how Mr Fewkes had acquired such sums of money: wealthy fools like Mr. Golightly, with considerably more money than good sense, were prepared to throw money around without any consideration to its true worth and a man's station in life.] We went to Tiber Street. The house was locked up but looked like it had been used recently. [Blimp: I had to deter my colleagues from trying to gain illegal entry in the properity. Really!] We then went to Kings Cross Station. Julian bribed someone into letting us go to where Dorothy had been found. [Blimp: seven pounds he gave to the lower class working type! Seven pounds! I was scandalised!] I spotted some tracks which we followed. They lead upto wooden boarding in the side of the tunnel. We pulled the boarding aside and found a tunnel behind. We went down the tunnel. Near the end the surroundings turned to rock, and there was a hole punched in the side of the tunnel. Beyond was a large hall which Patrick announced to be neolithic in construction. We all went in, except Julian who was acting scared. [Blimp: this came as no surprise to anyone.] At the far end was a set of stairs. With a trapdoor at the top. There was also a pit with a black boulder with carved alien forms. There was a chair on top of the boulder. Sitting on the chair was a life size wax figure. On one of the walls was a chalk diagram. Nigel said the pattern was some sort of gateway. [Blimp: this was starting to explain Mr. Golightly's profligate and unseemly approach to money: he was another of those gullible fools who believed in this spiritual mumbo-jumbo that was infecting non-military people in London at this time. I was resolved more than ever to ensure that the boy started to behave as a gentleman of means should behave.] The trapdoor was locked but I put my shoulder to it and forced it open. I climbed through the trapdoor and found myself in the basement of the house in Tiber street. Julian and Patrick followed me. We went upstairs. In one of the rooms we found a pile of black robes and a metal cylinder. Julian said he thought the cylinder was made of the same metal as the knife that was used to kill the guy on the train when we were travelling to Henley. He does have a vivid imagination. Patrick picked it up, stared at it then said 'open'. The cylinder seemed to squirm in his hand then transformed into a knife. I have no idea how he performed the trick, but he and Julian must have been planing it for a while. Patrick must be quite good at that slight of hand stuff. Julian and Patrick insisted we had to go back down the tunnel. Something about the guy in the station wondering where we were if we did not go back. Julian drew a sketch of the pattern before we left. In the evening I went to the theatre with Blimp. The others went to Nigel's library to do some reading and try to find out about the pattern. They read books that claimed it was a gate to Limbo. Nigel also claimed he found how to cast a spell with the dagger. I went to see them in the morning. They were still reading their books so I went and did something more interesting. They read wax statues could be used in a ritual to transfer life energy. The next day Julian had bought a camera and wanted to go back to the cave to take photographs. We went back to Tyber street. There were people in the house. I crept up and listened to them. There were 3 male voices. It sounded like they were playing cards. We went back to Kings Cross Station to try creeping through the tunnel again. The ticket officer said someone called Smythe had been round a day ago asking if anyone had been in the tunnel. He was very reluctant to let us back in as he was scared of loosing his job. Nigel offered him a new job looking after his seaside home down in Brighton. We heard more voices coming from the cave. I crept down the tunnel to listen in. There were 3 men in the cave. One had a rifle. The other two were playing dice. They all looked lower class. I listened to their conversation. They were just there to guard and were going back to the citadel afterwards. The others did not want to try to destroy the wax statue, which we suspected was the cause of Dorothy's illness, as they were scared of attacking the thugs, so we left. Nigel went to do more research on the statue. He found it was likely to be protected by some sort of enchantment, but also found a spell he claimed would dispel it. The rest of us looked for Tom's Waxworks. We found one run by a Tom Luthwaite. I went there with Julian and Patrick. Patrick saw a waxwork which he thought looked like Dorothy. When he started talking about Dorothy Tom made some excuse about being busy and went into a private room. I heard him talking to someone and asking what to do. We burst in and saw him kneeling next to a candle, talking to it. Patrick blew the candle out and Julian told him not to move. Tom attacked Julian and grappled him to the ground. Julian had his pistol drawn but froze in terror and did not fire. I grabbed a chair and started battering him. The chair seemed to have no affect so I drew my knife and stabbed him. The knife went in to the hilt but there was no blood when I pulled it back out. I struck a couple more times with the same result. Patrick threw a blanket over him and I grappled him to the ground and started trying to squeeze the life from him. Having freed Julian, he got chloroform from my bag and threw it in his face. It had no effect. Julian then started looking round the room. He found a life size wax effigy of Tom in a cupboard as Tom looked at Patrick and said “I curse you in the name of Azathoth” in Latin. Patrick exclaimed he was blind. He said the same to me but I was unaffected. Julian then broke an arm off the waxwork. He screamed and stopped struggling. An awful smell came from under the blanket and a puddle of something disgusting crept out from under the blanket as his body slowly dissolved. We searched the room. There was a cloth covering what looked like a mirror but it had an image of a young bearded man looking like Sebastian Fewkes rather than a reflection. I prodded the surface. It was solid but had an oily feel. A close inspection of the Mary Queen of Scots waxwork revealed it to be a close likeness of Dorothy and to be anatomically correct. [Blimp: I shudder at the thought of how my colleague's were so sure that the model was an anatomically correct image of Dorothy; but the woman was clearly a strumpet so I shouldn't be surprised.] In the basement were waxworks of strange mythical creatures. There was also a library with hundreds of books and some paper with diagrams and a set of coordinates. We left. I took the papers, Julian took the waxwork of Dorothy and Patrick took the mirror. I looked up the coordinates and found they pointed to a stretch of the East Anglian coast near Tollesbury. Specifically Shinglehead point. [Blimp: I should clarify that I was out of town that day having some business to attend to. It was becoming clear to me that whenever my colleagues were denied my firm guiding hand they ended up in all kinds of ludicrous, and frankly borderline criminal, escapades.] We all decided to go to the Dorianean Club in the evening and were admitted into their visitors room. [Blimp: a slightl correction: I was astounded that their first port of call had been anywhere other than The Dorianen Club, and insisted we went their immediately!] Blimp knew someone there and asked him about Smythe. He was a stockbroker with a flat in Kensington. We arranged to meet with Smythe. He was somewhat blunt and said we should not interfere in his affairs. He also said Fewkes was under his protection but he got upset when Patrick suggested we should break the mirror. Later in the evening Patrick read up about travelling in Limbo. I went to see some Shakespeare with Blimp. Patrick also researched the paperwork I took earlier. The page with coordinates and other symbols apparently meant there would be an event there in the next few days. [Blimp: Tweeny and I were very keen to destroy the painting - for it was no mirror as it showed no reflection - if only to irriated the destestable Symthe. Father O'Brien was passionately opposed to this for some spiritual mumbo-jumbo about souls being trapped in the object. He was so adamant that we relented for fear of upsetting the volatile priest.] The following day Julian was busy. He said something about learning a spell. I had a lie in. In the evening we decided to go back into the underground to the cave. Julian was flagging badly as he had not slept, so I gave him a shot of cocaine to pep him up. When we got to the cave there was no one there. By the waxwork were some bones that had not been there previously. They were human and had been dead less than a day. Somehow the flesh had been removed but there was no knife marks other than evidence of a blow to the back of the head with a sharp instrument. Julian knocked the waxwork over and announced he had broken the enchantment. Patrick tried to catch it but failed, and it smashed when it hit the floor. Patrick announced he was going into the dreamworld and started walking towards the chalk marks on the wall. When he got to the wall he vanished. Blimp went up to it but could not find the secret door. I shut my eyes and walked towards the wall with my arms outstretched. I was expecting to hit the wall but instead got a strange feeling and when I opened my eyes I was in a vast expanse surrounded by fog. A few seconds later Julian then Blimp followed. [Blimp: I followed Tweeny's example. My theory is that hallucinogenic spores had been placed in the cavern, very much like those used during Thugee ceremonies back in the Raj. Father O'Brien believed we were in some kind of portal, but the man had already established his credentials as a lunatic in my mind. The effect was disconcerting, I'll grant, but nothing that can't be explained by the nefarious deeds commited by bad men. Clearly this was supposed to be some kind of warning as we were not harmed while under the influence of the spores. But we were made of sterner stuff. Or rather all of us excluding Mr. Fitzpatrick were made of sterner stuff.] Patrick said something about following a symbol he had drawn on a piece of paper and started walking off. The rest of us followed. We passed some strange symbol hanging in the air before we heard a trumpeting sound. Ahead we saw some more symbols. Patrick headed towards one which turned out to be the same as what was drawn on his paper. Patrick walked through the symbol. Blimp and myself followed. For some reason Julian did not. We found ourselves near a shoreline which had not been there a moment ago. [Blimp: at this juncture I believe the spores had worn off. While under their influence we had obviously been moved to another location to disorientate and demoralise us. A ploy destined to fail!] A short distance away was an old house and a large pile of stones. Patrick said something about going back and vanished. Shortly afterwards he appeared again with Julian, who was shaking and looked like he had been crying. We walked to the house. Outside was a sign saying Polseaze. Patrick opened the door and went inside. Julian followed him. A couple of minutes later they came back out and shut the door. We then set out along the nearby path. The path led to a signpost which said St Just and pointed south towards a village. The only place called St Just I had heard of was in Cornwall, but clearly we could not have walked from London to Cornwall in a few minutes. We headed to the village, a walk which took about half an hour. We looked round but could find no tavern where we could get a drink and meal. Julian knocked on someone's door. A peasant answered. He said the nearest tavern and train station was in Penzance, which was about 8 miles away. When asked about the house he said it was where the Polseaze lived. They were twins who worshiped Satan. [Blimp: this level of ignorant superstition confirmed to me that we were, indeed, in Cornwall. Up until this point I had been skeptical.] He said the shopkeeper had a cart, so we went and hired him to take us to Penzance. When we got to Penzance we took rooms in a hotel and had a good nights sleep. [Blimp: well, as best we could get in this establishment that could barely be called a hotel.] In the morning we had breakfast. Julian complained of feeling ill. He was clearly suffering from an addiction to the medicines I had prescribed the previous day. [Blimp: the man is blubbering fool. Tweeny's ministrations were sound and sensible, whereas Mr. Fitzpatrick, whatever his talents, is a lilly-livered fop.] I gave him a placibo but he complained it did not help and went to find a local doctor who gave him tranquillisers. We then took the train back to London. Julian went to another doctor [Blimp: I paid for him to see my Physican, mainly to stop his interminable whining] and got a prescription for some more morphine. Julian then went and read some more of his books. I went back to the cave in the underground with Blimp. It was as we had left it, and there was no evidence of how we got taken to Cornwall. [Blimp: all evidence of the spores had obviously been removed by the perpetrators.] I we went back to my house. The cook said Smythe had visited, and the maid said she had seen a ruffian in the garden the previous night. I told her to call the police if she saw him again. Patrick wanted to go back to Penzance to investigate the old house. He wanted to take the overnight train, but we persuaded him to wait and we would catch the train in the morning. During the night three ruffians broke into my house. I fought and killed them all, though they got some lucky blows and I was badly wounded in the fight. I went to hospital to get stitched up. The police came and took the bodies away. The following morning we took the train to Penzance. Patrick said he and Julian had also been attacked last night by people sent by Smythe to get the mirror, but they had backed off when Patrick threatened to smash the mirror. Blimp telegramed ahead to arrange for horses to be ready for when we arrived. We rode out to the Polseaze house. Patrick said the pile of stones nearby was a cairn where the small people lived. I think he must have been reading one of Julian's novels. [Blimp: I concur; Father O'Briena and Mr. Fitzpatrick seemed to have talent for exaserbating the farcial in each other. It wasn't so damn irritating it would be mildly amusing.] When we went to the pile of stones we found an entrance and it was hollow inside with a pit in the centre. Patrick climbed in the pit but could not find anything. We went up to the house. We went inside. Suddenly the ceiling seemed to shoot upwards and the fireplace shot inwards and seemed to grow enormously. The doorway behind us seemed to be 200 yards away. The house must be full of those funny fairground mirrors. [Blimp: also my conclusion.] We headed back towards the door but a strange creature appeared behind us and attacked Julian. [Blimp: the chap seemed to be a Turkish mamluk; they are singularly odd chaps in my experience but I wouldn't really describe them as creatures.] I fired at it, but the bullet seemed to take a strange trajectory but did hit it. A second creature appeared. I tried running back to the door but seemed to go nowhere. Patrick said something about going where they came from, then jumped forward and vanished. A 3rd creature appeared, but one of the first two turned and seemed to follow Patrick, disappearing. [Blimp: I surmised that they were understandably upset about our illegal entry into their property.] After taking a few steps I found myself back at the door. Blimp and Julian also shut their eyes and managed to find their way through whatever was causing the optical illusions and got to the door. [Blimp: I've often found that a cool head and the ability to ignore any distractions will resolve most problems.] Patrick was nowhere to be seen. Blimp said he thought the creatures were in fact Turks. I had not been to Turkey but Blimp seemed confident so he must have been right. [Blimp: they were definitely mamluks.] We waited for Patrick to come out. After an hour we heard him calling from the beach. He must have left by the back door and crept round behind us. He told us a tale about being chased by a demon through limbo and escaping through a portal back to the beach. I however looked round the back of the house and found a tradesman's entrance which he must have come out from. [Blimp: his flights of fancy were getting worse. He was now resorting to cheap tricks in order to try and convince us. I began to fear for the priest's sanity.] We rode back to Penzance. We then took the train back to London where we rested for a few days. Patrick and Julian read their books and claimed a dance was due to take place in Thaxstead which would let them go to a city full of treasure rising up in Tollesbury. What rubbish they must read. [Blimp: one was a cocaine addict, the other a Cathloic priest. The conclusions are obvious.] Patrick had some hip flasks made with an eye symbol on the side. He gave us one each and said it would ward off demons. I think it probably could once I had filled it with brandy. We caught the train to Thaxstead. It was a market town in the centre of Essex. [Blimp: which was curious becuase my cursory research had suggested it was a fishing village on the Essex coast.] At the train station was a sign advertising the dance and sponsored by Mr Tarrant. Questioning the locals we discovered he was the major landowner in the area. We booked into a hotel then took a cab to Tarrant's estate. Blimp told the gatekeeper we were acquaintances of Smythe and had come to see Tarant. He went up to the house then returned and said Tarrant would see us. We went up to the house and met Tarrant. He seemed to know about us. He admitted Smythe was staying at his house. Were invited to stay for dinner. At the table was Smythe, Tarrant and two short individuals in monks robes who were introduced as the Polseaze twins. [Blimp: their appalling table manners made it obvious that they were Cornish.] We chatted over dinner. Smythe made some threats about us leaving in the morning and never coming back. Patrick claimed afterwards he had seen Smythe cast a spell on Tarrant. What an imagination that boy has. After dinner we went to the smoking room for cigars and port. Blimp gave Tarrant his hip flask and Tarrant started acting strangely for a few seconds like he did not recognise Blimp. Patrick and one of the twins had what sounded like hostile words in Latin. The twin tried to poke Patrick with his staff but Blimp knocked it aside. [Blimp: the twins behaviour in polite society was almost as bad as Tweeny's!] In the evening we played bridge. I partnered with Smythe against Patrick and Blimp. We won both games. [Blimp: when the chips are down, as it were, it clear where Tweeny's alliances lie. Fortunately I had the satisfaction of ensuring that Tweeny was unlikely to get his share of the wager by making a cheque out to Symthe.] Afterwards we retired for the night. Julian woke me up in the night complaining about a light in the garden. I opened the window and heard a strange clicking noise. I watched for a while and saw nothing so I went back to bed. In the morning we went down for breakfast. Tarant and Smythe had already left. I had a look round the gardens where I saw the light. There was some broken branches on the ground but no sign of footprints. After breakfast we went to Thaxstead. Blimp went round town trying to incite them to riot at the horn dance in the evening. [Blimp: I fell "riot is perhaps a bit colourful"; I was hoping for more of a noisy demonstration.] Patrick went to the hotel because he wanted to draw some magic symbol on a load of pieces of paper. [Blimp: it appears that not only does God move in mysterious ways; his servants do likewise.] I went into the church where a service was taking place. Julian went to the blacksmiths then joined me shortly afterwards. In the church was a casket bolted onto the wall. Smythe's two turbaned bodyguards were standing either side of it. Smythe was sitting in the front row listening to the sermon. I left the church and waited to see who came out after the service ended. Julian hung around inside. He heard Smythe talking to the priest about the evening dance. He said Fewkes was in the crypt with the twins, who also had the 'burden' and were waiting to infuse it with the power from the Madonna. Smythe had to travel to Tollesbury to get the receptor from the sunken city. He also talked about a lure the twins had. Smythe then said if we continued to interfere he would have us killed. He also said he was not scared of guns. They then headed off into the crypt. Julian called me back inside. I opened the casket and took out the Madonna. On the base was a catch which opened a small compartment in the bottom of the Madonna with a strange round object inside. I took the object, stuffed some other stuff in the Madonna to make up the weight. Then I put the Madonna back and left the church. I went back to the hotel and showed the object to Julian. He said it was evil and had “beware of the dog” written in Latin. He also said it appeared to defy the laws of physics. I am not sure how he came to that conclusion. Patrick tried hitting it with a hammer. He did not put much effort in it so I took the hammer and hit it as hard as I could. There was a click and the object started ticking. When I tried picking it up I got a shock. Julian ran away. [Blimp: Mr. Fitzpatrick is at least consistent in his cowardice.] A strange haze then started coming from the object. I decided it was a good time to leave and left the room. As I went I noticed that strangely all the clocks in the room had stopped. I ran out of the hotel. When I turned around I realised Patrick was not behind me. Julian was still running and was almost at the end of the street. I heard a few screams from inside then everything went quiet. I went back inside. Patrick was nowhere to be seen. There were a few drops of blood on the floor and a lot of water. The room looked badly smashed up. The object was lying on the floor so I wrapped it in a cloth and picked it up. There was a scream from outside. I looked out the window and saw a woman collapsed in the street. When I went down I met Julian and Blimp who had returned. They had just looked in an alleyway where the woman had been. Patrick's body was lying in the alleyway, mangled and torn. The woman said she had seen a giant skinless hound licking on his body. Blimp commented she had probably been on the gin. We decided to go back to London. Blimp said he had to do something in Patrick's room first. He used Patrick's hammer to break the mirror with Fewkes image in it. It made a strange screaming like noise as it smashed. [Blimp: I suspect the screaming was someone in the village overwhelmed by the recent traumatic events. I had to protest at the repeated use of the description of the object as a mirror. It was clearly a painting. I'll admit it was an act of petty vandalism on my part, my intention being to deny the object to Symthe who had been very clear on wanting it handed over to him. If he had asked politely and behaved like a gentleman I would have probably acquised. However, his heavy-handed boorishness led me to desire to deny it to him instead.] We took the train back to London. Julian read his books and said the object was called a lure which stopped time and opened a portal and summon a hound of Tindalos. [Blimp: I said, and still say, "Pah!"] Nigel said it could be destroyed in a furnace, so I went to a blacksmiths and threw it into his furnace. There was a funeral for Patrick. Blimp and Julian went and gave a eulogy. I did not bother going as I find that sort of thing boring. [Blimp: the eulogy was composed by Mr. Fitzpatrick, and I have to remark that it was extremely well written; not only were there no references to Moontions but it placed poor Father O'Brien in an extremely favourable light.]

Last updated: February 27, 2014