07 September 2009
Is There A Doctor in the Hearse?
~ Lord Likely and the Bloody Nuisances, Part Two ~
For the previous chapter, do please click here.
From the Journals of Lord Likely, Aristocratic Adventurer and Gentle-Man of Action
AND SO with the scent of Adventure in my nostrils (my favourite fragrance, and one which was doing a fine job of masking the wretched odour emanating from Botter’s general vicinity), we hopped into a cab and headed off to Scotland Yard, to meet this dead body that had decided to stop being dead.
After an uneventful carriage-ride, we arrived at our destination – Whitehall, and the rather unimpressive sight of Scotland Yard itself. As my man-servant and I disembarked from our cab, I noticed a hearse waiting outside the yard, with the driver trying to determine whether or not he was supposed to be picking up a corpse from a rather embarrassed-looking police-officer.
Botter and I strolled in to the cramped offices of the Yard, to be met by a rather perplexed Inspector Spunkleford. Spunkleford, of course, is often in a state of great perplexity, but on this occasion he seemed even more perplexitious than usual.
“Oh, Likely, you made it!” he flustered as he shook my hand gladly. “Oh, there is quite a hullabaloo about to-day, quite a hullabaloo indeed! You bring in one walking corpse and the whole place goes tiddly-pop! It is all a big old brouhaha, if you know what I mean.”
“I have positively no idea,” I replied. “I am not entirely sure half of what you said was even in English.”
“No! No I have nothing more to say, you parasite!” Spunkleford roared, as a seedy-looking gent with a notebook harassed him by the door. “Get out of here! Go on, hop it!…Sorry, Likely. You were saying?”
“Journalist?” I asked, indicating to the hawk-faced man now smarting from a sharp boot to the backside.
“Hmmm? Oh, him? No, no, no. Divorce lawyer. I am afraid Mrs. Spunkleford seems to believe our marriage has hit the rocks…um, care to see this body, Likely?”
“Well, I have no doubt that you are rather missing those moments of intimacy with your wife, inspector, but I hardly think offering yourself to me will – ”
“What? No! The body! The body we bought in! The chap who turned out to be not-dead! Care to meet him?”
“Oh, yes, but of course,” I said, coughing lightly into my hand. “That…that is precisely what I thought you meant.”
FOR A deceased gentleman, Doctor Elton Whelkbladder was looking in remarkably rude health. Certainly, his skin had a rather pale tone to it, and his eyes looked so tired I feared that they might pop out of his head and go and curl up in the large bags just underneath. But in all other respects, Dr. Whelkbladder was exhibiting very few signs of bearing any of the afflictions usually associated with death. For one, he was moving about quite a lot, and secondly he was babbling away to us at ten-to-the-dozen, both traits one does not usually equate with a person who has shuffled off this mortal coil.
“I just don’t understand it!” exclaimed Whelkbladder, pacing the room in a manner most unbecoming of a fellow in his condition. “I simply don’t understand it!”
“And you say you cannot recall much of the events of last night, sir?” I enquired, while Spunkleford scurried over to converse with a rather serious-looking police constable.
“No, no…I went to visit a patient, and as far as I recall I prescribed him some medicine…and then…and then…GAH! It all goes blank, I’m afraid.”
“Hmm, how very…unhelpful,” I remarked.
“I think I might be able to shed some light on matter!” beamed Spunkleford, marching across the room while waving a small, brown book in his hand. “My men found this among the late doctor’s possessions. Well, latterly late. Early? The right-on-time doctor’s possessions…”
“Oh, do get on with it, Spunkleford,” I sighed.
“Right. Yes. Ahem, this is the diary of the good doctor…I think you shall find it rather interesting reading…”
“I say! You can’t read my private diaries!” Whelkbladder interjected.
“You’re dead, sir – I cannot see how it is of any concern of yours,” I snapped, taking the diary from the inspector’s hands. “Now, let me see…”
From the diary of Dr. Elton Whelkbladder.
Miss Mary Spimbuffet called by my surgery to-day. Oh! How my heart misses a beat whene’er I see her, her soft blonde locks cascading over those creamy white shoulders – heavens! I can barely suppress my glee when she arrives.
To-day, Miss Spimbuffet was complaining off a slightly ticklish cough. Naturally, I asked her to disrobe completely, as I do when examining all of Miss Spimbuffet’s maladies, no matter how big or small they may be. Oh! How my heart and loins twitched upon seeing her in all her naked, curvaceous beauty! Barely able to steady my trembling hands, I took my stethoscope and –
“No! Not that page!” Spunkleford interrupted, grabbing the diary from my hands and flipping forward a few pages. “This one!”
“But it was just getting really interesting!” I pleaded, receiving a withering look form the inspector in return. “Fine! But this had better be at least half as interesting as the part I just read,” I mumbled, returning to the diary.
From the diary of Dr. Elton Whelkbladder.
The bat stopped short beside me, and seemed to hover, as if it were watching me, staring at me with its beady little eyes. Then, there was a puff of acrid-smelling smoke, and in place of the bat stood Mr. Strix, looking considerably healthier than when I had checked upon him mere moments earlier.
“Good heavens, sir!” I exclaimed. “You gave me quite a start! Why, that is a rather impressive piece of trickery, I must say! How on earth did you ever squeeze yourself into that small bat costume?”
Mr. Strix smiled at me, a smile which sent chills running through my bones: for when Mr. Strix smiled, I saw a set of fangs so fearsome that I almost dislodged last-night’s supper into my undergarments.
And then, as I stood transfixed with terror, Mr. Strix lunged at me.
I lowered the diary slowly, an eyebrow arched in a quizzical – and undeniably handsome – manner.
“Are you trying to tell me, Spunkleford, that our dear doctor has been attacked by a…vampire?”
Spunkleford nodded silently.
“Bloody hell!” I remarked.
- Lord Likely.
Next Time in Lord Likely and the Bloody Nuisances: ‘Tis Strix O’Clock!
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