The Eighth Guest

Chapter Eleven

by TT (a.m.tilmouth.s99 at cranfield.ac.uk)
12/22/01
Tessa lay flat on the floor, arms straining as she held the fire axe firm, one of the metal supports that lined the walkway biting into her shoulder as the weight of Moriarty threatened to drag her off the edge. She knew what had happened, but still couldn't believe it; in the fight for the weapon, she had slipped on the cold metal slates and Moriarty had pulled her back, throwing himself off balance in the process. In two seconds he had done something she would never have thought possible; he had saved her life. She screamed out as he moved beneath her. He was too heavy; the pain was almost unbearable. Only the icy wind full in her face was keeping her from fainting.
"Stop...moving...or...I'll...drop...you." The weight settled again.
Below she heard Lestrade. "Tessa, what are you doing?"
She gritted her teeth. She was not strong enough to pull him up. "Can't...let...go."
"For God's sake drop him or he'll pull you off!"
She shook her heard more to clear it than to answer. "...No..."
She could almost hear Moriarty smiling. "She has made her choice, Inspector."
"Shut...up...and...keep...still." Colour spun in front of her eyes; she felt sick. He was too heavy to hold for much longer but she couldn't let go. She needed to understand why; she also needed to think. Movement started up behind her followed by a groan. She half-turned her head. "Who's...there?"
The voice was still as slimy, but with a slight pitch that only pain could put on a voice. The axe must have hurt him more than she'd realised. "Miz Moriarty, how nice of you to hang around." Fenwick was awake, and angry by the sound of it.
In too much pain to panic, her thoughts tried to assemble themselves. She remembered the sky car and also Lestrade. If she saved Moriarty first they would undoubtedly try to hurt Lestrade; whereas if they hung around here for much longer they would both be dead, as Moriarty would pull her off into the waiting oblivion below. Precious seconds ticked by. She could hear Fenwick moving.
"Do...you...know who I'm...holding?"
She could hear Fenwick snarling. He was nearer now, his footsteps echoed on the walkway. "Who else but the Yardie!"
The Professor's voice was a snarl from below that was caught by the wind and echoed by the metal of the building. "Wrong, you idiot. Get the car and help me."
There was stunned silence for a second as Fenwick tried to believe his ears. "Master?"
"Do it, Fenwick."
There was scurrying behind her. Tessa grimaced as Moriarty moved.
"WAIT, FENWICK." The footsteps stopped. "Lestrade... first... when she is safe... I'll let you take... your Master."
More snarling. "You think I would help the Yardie!"
"If...you don't...I'll drop him...."
Silence.
"Hurry...Can't hold on much...longer."
Moriarty screamed at his servant from the air below. "Do as she says, Fenwick!"
"But, Master..."
"NOW, Fenwick."
There were hurried footsteps and the engine kicked into high gear. She heard the powering of engines move nearer and nearer, then past her. Her arms started to shake with the strain; it seemed like she'd been holding on for hours. She heard the movement of the car's engines and then everything seemed to happen at once.
The three men burst into the open air at the same time. Cold air hit them full in the face. In one horrible second they saw the unconscious greeter, Tessa spread flat on the walkway, Fenwick in the sky car. It was a confusing scene to unravel but before anyone had time to blink, Fenwick was screaming his ugly little head off. "Master it'z Holmes, and the droid, and..."
Tessa jerked as Moriarty moved below her and yelped. She didn't think she could stay conscious for much longer.
Moriarty growled. "FENWICK."
Then she heard Holmes, Watson and Ling running forward. The sky car moved and felt the weight go from the axe as Moriarty grabbed onto its side. She tried to look up.
"And now, my dear."
She heard shouts from behind and felt fingers grab onto the back of her dress. For a brief second she thought they might be her friends, but she was pulled forward out into the air. She kept still; to struggle would be a quick trip to oblivion as her feet lifted up from the ground.
"TESSA." It was Peter. Watson grabbed his shoulder as he got dangerously close to the edge. Holmes paced at the edge of the platform like a caged tiger.
An arm wrapped around her waist and she was pulled fully into the car. She shuddered, but was not afraid. Things needed to be sorted out, had to be said. Now was not a good time, but it was a time, and was better than nothing. The door of the car shut and she placed a hand against it, before turning to face Moriarty.

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