05 November 2009
Wherein Likely Takes Helena Up the Aisle
~ Lord Likely and the Bloody Nuisances: Part Eight ~
For the previous chapter, do please click here.
AND SO after a rather prolonged carriage journey from Scotland Yard (which seemed to take a good week and a half, though I am sure it was only a matter of minutes) we finally arrived outside St. Christopher’s church, wherein I was due to be married to Ms. Helena Handbaskett, my blood-sucking bride-to-be. With all the grace and poise one would expect of a gentleman of my considerable breeding, I tumbled out of the carriage and landed in a rather undignified heap on the road, clutching a now-empty bottle of whisky. To say that I was not particularly relishing the prospect of getting wed would be an understatement so enormous that it would easily warrant its own flag and system of government.
“Good heavens, Likely!” exclaimed Inspector Spunkleford as he picked me up. “Look at the state of you! Did you drink all of this in the carriage-ride down here?” he asked accusingly, prising the bottle from my hands.
“Yesh…yesh I did,” I slurred. “That, and five other bottles as well.”
“My word, Likely! It is a wonder you are still alive! I can only imagine that your blood must be at least ninety-nine percent proof by now…” Spunkleford fussed as he helped me up to my feet.
“Unhand me, sir!” I bellowed, shrugging Spunkleford off of me, which then left me dangerously unsupported, and thus I quickly found myself becoming closely acquainted with the road once more.
“What ails you, Likely?” Spunkleford asked as he helped me up again. “You do not need to be a master detective to notice that something is clearly playing upon your mind.”
“‘Tis just as well in your case,” I mumbled, swaying gently on the spot. “‘Tis this confounded wedding, Spunkleford! Wedding! Do you have any idea what that word does to me? It pierces my soul like a ruddy great knife piercing…” I faltered momentarily. “Piercing my…soul.”
“Oh, Likely!” sighed Spunkleford. “Calm yourself down! You aren’t really to be wed to-day, don’t forget! This is all just a ruse to help us get close to this evil devil woman, so that Mr. Hellsinger here may slay her and rid the world of her dark influence.”
“But…but you do not know this fiend!” I exclaimed. “She managed to convince me to marry her in the first instance…what if she pulls off the same trick again, and I find myself waking up as her husband? She is curiously persuasive, almost hypnotic…”
“That’d be the hypnosis,” Hellsinger interjected, loading the inside pockets of his jacket with various vampire-slaying accoutrements. “She does that, y’know. Just don’t look her in the eyes, y’lordship. Divert your gaze, an’ you’ll be just fine! Besides which, when the vicar gives the whole ‘anyone know why these two should not be wed’ bit, we’ll make sure to make our objections known!” Hellsinger beamed, slapping me heartily on the arm. “Now come on, ya big lummox, let’s go do this thang!”
“‘Thang?’” I repeated as I watched Hellsinger dash up the path to the church. “You know, Spunkleford, sometimes I cannot tell who is the most blood-thirsty: the vampires, or Mr. Hellsinger with his infernal insistence on massacring the Queen’s English.”
THE church was a tall, stone building with stained glass windows and…well, it looked rather like a church, to be frank. I shall not insult your collective intelligence by describing what a ruddy church looks like, they all seem to be much the same. So just imagine a church, and there you have it – that is where we were.
As we entered the building I could not help but notice that the congregation was weighted firmly in the bride’s favour; row upon row of pale-skinned, shallow-eyed faces turned to face us as we strode in, all of whom were undoubtedly despicable vampires. Either that, or the nearby university was missing an entire class of students.
On my side of the church sat Botter, all on his own, looking increasingly uncomfortable in the presence of so many demons. As soon as he noticed our arrival, he started waving wildly at us, and beckoned us over frantically.
“Thank goodness you did that, Botter,” I said sarcastically, as I took my seat beside him. “Otherwise we might not have known where to sit.”
“My pleasure, m’lord,” Botter replied, slightly too pleased with himself. “Milord,” he continued, leaning in to converse with me in rather more subdued tones. “Can I be the best man?”
“Botter,” I sighed. “You are barely a man, let alone the best man, so my answer to that would have to be a resoundingly conclusive ‘not if you were the last bastard on the planet’.”
“Oh.” Botter fell silent. “Best Man-Servant?” he added, hopefully.
“Do shut your pie-funnel,” I hissed.
Suddenly, the main doors of the church flew open, and everyone turned to see Helena glide in, accompanied by an extremely old man whom I presumed to be her father. He looked older than the church itself, but in considerably less robust shape, and was clinging feebly to the bride’s train as they flew in.
Despite the fact that Helena was an evil succubus intent on slicing open my veins and feasting on my blood, I did have to conceed that she looked well considering her undead status, and was rather fetching in her wedding dress – although I had to baulk at her choice of colour. White? Who on earth did she think she was fooling, the enormous whore?
Helena descended gently to the ground in front of the altar, just as a wizened vicar popped up behind it, clutching a bible in his gnarled hands. He nodded to me to join them, and with a cursory glance to my companions, I made the dreaded walk to the altar.
“Excellent, we are all here!” the vicar smiled, revealing an all-too familiar set of fangs. “Now we can begin!”
And so the old coot waffled on about marriage and love and ‘a gift from God’, all of which I paid little heed to (though I did perk up when he mentioned ‘the delight and tenderness of sexual union’.) Finally he got to the part that my companions and I had agreed upon as the moment when they would spring into action, and save me from a fate worse than death.
“First,” droned the man. “I am required to ask anyone present who knows a reason why these persons may not lawfully marry, to declare it now.”
I looked over to the trio sat on the pew beside me, only to find that Spunkleford had dozed off; Botter had become overly fascinated with a cushion, and Hellsinger was preoccupied with assembling some sort of garlic-based bomb. I rolled my eyes in dismay.
“No objections? Excellent!” croaked the vicar. “Then let us proceed!” He turned to face me. “Lord Likely, will you take Helena Handbaskett to be your wife? Will you love her, comfort her, honour and protect her, and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall…live?” he concluded, letting the final word hang in the air like a thinly-veiled threat (which would also describe my would-be wife fairly well too, now I think about it).
I looked at Helena, who was staring at me very intently, those dark eyes tunneling and boring into my mind once more, trying to wrench my own thoughts and actions from my own control. I remembered Hellsinger’s words and fought desperately to avert my eyes…if only I could turn away…
Happily, Helena had chosen to wear a distinctly low-cut wedding dress, which meant my eyes naturally fell upon her heaving bosom, which was rather hypnotic in it’s own way, but did not make me want to do anything that I would not ordinarily consider. My attention thus diverted, I was able to focus my thoughts clearly.
“Well?” snapped the vicar. “Do you?”
“I do…I do…NOT!” I yelled, and before I knew it Hellsinger had finally prepared himself fully, and was at my side, brandishing a spring-loaded stake-firing pistol at my bride-not-to-be.
“Here goes the bride,” he grinned.
And then all bloody hell broke loose.
- Lord Likely.
Next time in The Astonishing Adventures of Lord Likely: No Wedding And A Great Many Funerals!