The Eighth Guest

Chapter Eight

by TT (a.m.tilmouth.s99 at cranfield.ac.uk)
12/6/01
The skycar moved effortlessly onward through the sky, sleek black outlines caressed by the air as the car cut through the darkening sky like a black blade. At the wheel sat Fenwick, gnarled hands clasping and unclasping the grey leather until the thin layer of stuffing between it and the metal was kneaded into a shapeless powder. The grotesque little man sat, eyes twitching like the whiskers of a rat as he switched his vision between the car's map and the outside sky, pale jaundiced skin sickly in the glow of the dashboard lights. He felt exposed and vulnerable while there was still light in the sky and he didn't like it at all. Behind him his master stared out the blackened windows, his brow creased and a single gloved hand at his lip, the white streaks in his hair just visible in the dying light.
There was precious little similarity between the master criminal and his descendant. His eyes were the darkest brown while hers were the palest blue; his skin was pale as Victorian gentlemen thought fashionable while hers was darkened by the sun and years of high altitude flight; her face portrayed care while his...was cruel. The generations that separated them were not the only thing that built the invisible barrier between James and Tessa Moriarty; it was their blind loathing of the ideals and standards each held dear. In this case, opposites definitely did not attract.
Fenwick, however, hated the girl herself. He held sharp the memories of being pushed roughly aside for the two weeks that she had come to stay, like a pet that has fallen out of favour. And next, his master had put himself in danger to help enable her rescue...and now they were actively seeking out their most hated enemy and his bloodhounds to find her again. He glared at the windshield. That ungrateful little witch -- what trouble would she cause this time? Moriarty could scarcely afford the time away from his criminal operations. They had the Scar on the run, and the last thing the group needed was Moriarty in prison...or worse.
In the back the Professor shifted position and stared at Fenwick with hard cold eyes. "Do you know what it is to have children, Fenwick?"
Fenwick adopted a smile and snivelled. "No, master, I 'ave no idea."
"It is to be tortured every second of every day for the rest of your life. When they are away from you, you fear for them; when they are near you, you cannot wait to get rid of them again. It is like nothing ever devised by man."
"Or woman, master."
"There you are wrong, Fenwick...woman can be much crueller even than that!"
There was silence in the car for a second until Fenwick's snivelling voice rose again from the front. "Master!"
There was a groan from the back seat. "What do you want, Fenwick?"
"If it is a torture why do we seek the girl tonight?"
Moriarty shook his head and rubbed his hand against his forehead. "Fenwick, you imbecile, try to grasp the situation. My great, great, great etc granddaughter is at this moment celebrating her engagement to this muscle-bound idiot Ling with two of my most hated enemies. Do you really think I'm going to let her get away with such an insult? Do you think I'm going to let the Moriarty name die with a whimper, go out with a snivel?"
Fenwick cowered in the front seat as Moriarty got more enraged by the second. "With respect, master, there is one other Moriarty alive today; the name could continue...."
There was silence again from the back seat. "But not with the blood of that woman, even in the most watered-down sense imaginable... You never knew my wife, Fenwick. She was a remarkable woman, a creature of fire and flame. I still see a little of her in Tessa, if only a little...No, I will not allow her to marry that jumped-up little upstart Peter Ling. We will find her a...more suitable match."
The car sped on towards the ever-enlarging jewel that was the world's only floating restaurant, and the wolf towards his prey.

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