The Eighth Guest

Chapter Three

by TT (a.m.tilmouth.s99 at cranfield.ac.uk)
"Stop, in the name of the law!" The man skidded 'round a corner just as Lestrade let off a shot with her ioniser. The blue energy rope bounced against the pavements and disappeared
"Damn, missed him." Holmes walked past her. Lestrade grabbed his arm and pulled him into a run. "Hurry up, Holmes, we'll never catch him if he reaches the Underground."
The detective coughed. "Hardly, but I think you'll find our thief has run out of places to run."
The two tore 'round the bend just as their opponent discovered his mistake -- a dead end. Lestrade raised her ioniser just as the cornered man flung something silver at her.
"Look out!" Holmes pushed her to the side, sending the shot wild as the throwing blade whizzed past Lestrade's shoulder. The long arms of the law ducked behind some convenient packing crates.
Lestrade rubbed her arm. "No need to push quite so hard."
Holmes peered out over the metal boxes. "You would have perhaps preferred a new scar?"
Beth shrugged. "Point taken. What's he up to?"
Holmes ducked as another blade whizzed past his deerstalker. "Our friend is now hiding behind the industrial bins at the end of the alley...and from the look of it has stocked up on those blades."
"Smilers." Lestrade corrected automatically. "They're called Smilers because they're used to cut throats from ear to ear."
Holmes raised an eyebrow. "I won't ask who thought up a name like that." Somewhere in his Inverness something buzzed. Holmes sighed and brought out a palm phone. "Holmes here."
The phone buzzed for a minute before a familiar voice came through. "Holmes, it's Watson. Have you caught the cat burglar yet?"
Holmes slid further down as another Smiler flew past the top of his head. "Not yet, no. There are some minor...difficulties." Lestrade glared at him and raised both her eyebrows. "In fact, my dear Watson, we would be extremely grateful if you could...."
Lestrade grabbed the phone. "Watson, this is Lestrade. The guy's got a load of Smilers and has us pinned down in Pickpocket Alley. Get over here a.s.a.p. NOW and that's an order." She clicked off the phone and handed it back to Holmes.
"Women," muttered Holmes as he slid the phone away.
"Dead Victorian detectives," said Lestrade, grinning at Holmes's sulky expression. "So, looks like we're going to be stuck here for a little while."
Holmes peered round the crate. "Unfortunately." He ducked as a blade nearly took his nose off. "It doesn't look like our quarry is going anywhere soon, Lestrade; otherwise he wouldn't be being so careful with his weaponry."
Lestrade leaned back against the crate with her gun resting on her lap. "Did you get the invitation this morning?"
Holmes nodded with a carefully blanked expression.
"Are you going?"
"I suppose I must!"
Lestrade gave a hollow laugh. "Aren't you the slightest bit excited for them?"
"My dear Lestrade, if Mr Ling wishes to marry Miss Moriarty the best of luck to them both, but please don't expect me to get excited about such a thing. Such pursuits do not interest me in the slightest."
Lestrade stared at him, shocked, for a few seconds. "I wonder if they actually bothered to restart your heart sometimes, Holmes. You obviously seem to have no use for it."
"It keeps the blood going, Lestrade."
"Look, cheer up or don't go tonight, but don't spoil the evening for everyone else, especially Tessa and Peter."
Holmes sighed. "Just because I do not agree with the practise of marriage...does not mean I won't come and smile, laugh and be my usual charming self. I survived two of Watson's weddings, I'll survive this one. I may even get to practise my throwing arm."
"There's a good detective. You can practise smiling when we get hold of this guy."
She peeked over the top of the crates. "He looks like he's holing up. Where in the name of Zed is...."
There was the sound of metal, followed by a muffled cry. Holmes and Lestrade stood up slowly to see Watson enveloping their quarry in a bearhug.
"Hello; I assume our friend here is under arrest. Shall I do the honours?"
Holmes laughed. "By all means, Watson, be my guest."
Lestrade shook her head. "For heaven's sake, just arrest him, one of you!" She turned and stormed off to get the car.
"Men."
"Hello, Night Light Restaurant!"
"Good morning to you, my dear; is it arranged?"
"Y...yes...the back door will be open this evening."
"You sound frightened...Good. If there are any slip-ups...."
"There won't be. And the laser discs?"
"If all goes as arranged they will be in your hands tonight. But if you call the police...let's just say your employers will get an unpleasant shock tomorrow...ha ha. Don't worry; soon this unpleasant incident will all be but a distant memory."
"And the girl?"
"You have my word she will not be harmed! Don't worry so. You are doing nothing wrong, just letting me resume an old acquaintance. Till tonight, my dear. Goodbye."

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