The Eighth Guest

Chapter Nine

by TT (a.m.tilmouth.s99 at cranfield.ac.uk)
12/6/01
Tessa could scarcely breathe any more. Too frightened of losing Lestrade in the world of shadows to pick up her palm phone and call Holmes, but too frightened of her own lack of sight to fight Fiona, who was obviously stronger than she appeared. Her brain spun. How to get Lestrade away from that woman without drawing attention to herself? How best to act to save her friend?
Then it was too late. She felt the icy breeze as someone opened a door up ahead, a door to the outside world. In her evening gown she was almost crippled by the cold as it ripped through her skin and into her bones. She trembled with fear and cold. She knew Moriarty had to be behind this. She knew he had to be; what else made sense? But why Lestrade? why not her?
Over the wind she could just hear Fiona tapping and then she smelt something...like smoke but not quite smoke, more like tea but not quite. Her brain kicked into high gear. She had only smelt something like this in a museum once. It was tobacco, a cigarette. Not the rank bacco that Holmes smoked or the synthetic museum one; this was the real thing and highly illegal, a slow killer. She crouched; shaking took over her whole body. She had to find something to warm herself up or she would freeze to death.
'Think rationally', she thought. 'They have to have something to go out in, something near the exit.' Moving away slightly, never quite sure of where Fiona was, she felt up and along the wall, back further and further, until eventually her probing fingers found something soft and fleecy -- a jacket. She tugged it on carefully. She could find nothing for her legs but the jacket was better than nothing. Slowly she made her way forward just in time to hear the sky car landing...and then her fingers hit something else. Running her hand gently over it, she felt raised letters under her shaking fingers.
'Fire axe'

 

Fiona stubbed out her cigarette and kicked it off the side of the building. By the time it had ridden the winds no one would be able to trace it. Now all she had to do was get the tapes of her smoking outside the restaurant and no one would ever know. She sprayed herself with perfume and popped a mint in her mouth as the sky car touched down. The body at her feet didn't move. Fiona had the stunner ready just in case. Fenwick got out first, followed by the tall frame of Moriarty who smiled at the greeter -- that is to say, his mouth opened showing rows of white teeth.
"Excellent, my dear. Very resourceful of you to giftwrap her as well, but no need; she knows my face very well."
Fiona sneered and held out a hand for the tapes. "Yes, but she doesn't know mine. I can get away with saying another man stunned her and threw me into a closet or something, but I'm seen here by her and there's no help for it. The tapes, please."
Moriarty frowned, pausing in the act of digging a hand deep into an inside pocket. He snarled.
"What do you mean, seen by her? All you have to do is keep quiet and she'll never know!"
Fiona laughed a hollow laugh. "Why, you going to blindfold her?"
Now Fenwick piped up, his shrill little voice oozing with loathing. "No, you stupid fool, she ez blinded."
Fiona went pale, her voice quivering. "Nobody said blind. You just said red dress, brown hair, red dress, brown hair."
Moriarty growled as he reached for the cloth that covered the body's head. "Don't you ever read the newspapers, you fool?"
The hysterical woman shook, sweat poured off her forehead. "Not the sporting section. I hate board racing."
Moriarty ignored her, concentrating on the body. "If you're not Tessa, my fine friend, who in the name of hell are you?" He whipped off the covering and Lestrade groaned drowsily as her head hit the metal of the walkway, her brown hair spilling out to form a kind of tangled halo. Moriarty fumed.
Behind him Fenwick moaned. "Oh, no, not her again, master. She always cause trouble."
Moriarty grabbed Fiona round the neck. "You stupid cretin. Do you know what you've done? You've brought out the Yardie, and where she goes, Holmes will soon follow. Where's my granddaughter?"
The woman made some vague gurgling noises; her eyes rolled back in her head and she fainted. Moriarty growled and threw her to one side with a sickening crack.

 

On the metal floor Lestrade groaned again and blinked. To say waking up with Moriarty standing astride her, a cloth dangling in one hand, was a shock could be the understatement of the year. Lestrade blinked again and made a mad kick upwards with her leg.
Moriarty caught her foot in the cloth and threw the leg down, and stepping over her body he grabbed her by the throat as he had done with the unfortunate Fiona. "Not what I wanted, not what I wanted at all. Fenwick, get the ioniser and set it to 'rope'."
Lestrade tried to kick and knee Moriarty in the back but she was at the wrong angle. Try as she might, he was just too strong to make him let go; and freezing in an evening gown was not helping her situation much, as she eventually gave in to shivering and lack of air.
"Now, I have just one question, and one question only. Where exactly is my granddaughter?" He released his grip enough for her to speak.
"So it was you she heard earlier."
Moriarty smiled. "A radio signal, my dear, from far away, a little taster of what was to come. Now where is she?"
Lestrade spat at him. Moriarty snarled, baring rows of teeth as he wiped the spit from his face. "Very well, we won't bother with the rope."
Letting go, he kicked her hard in the ribs. She skidded over the slippery surface and down the sloped sides of the walkway. Moriarty grinned as she disappeared from his view, but then stopped as he heard a metallic clang from beneath. Fenwick pointed, screeching like a monkey. "There she ez, master. She ez caught the framework."
As Moriarty moved forwards, he could see her dangling there just out of reach, arms wrapped round the complex framework of the building. Moriarty sniffed. "Fenwick...give me the gun."
There was a clatter. Moriarty turned. On the floor was Fenwick, and the gun skittered over the edge of the walkway, bouncing once before it disappeared.
"Leave her alone, you monster." Her dress was ripped; blood flowed freely down her hand where she had broken the glass to remove the fire axe which she now clenched tightly, the handle slick with blood. Tessa stood, face burning with anger, muscles tensed, dark glasses barely containing the heat of her glare.
"Ah, my dear Tess...."
"Don't you dare 'dear Tessa' me, you psychopath. How dare you come here, on this occasion -- how dare you try to scare me -- how dare you hurt my friend. This time it won't be Holmes that pushes you off a great height, and there'll be nothing left to clone once I've gotten through with you."
Behind her Fenwick made a lunge for the axe, but his noisy footsteps betrayed him and Tessa buried the butt end into his stomach, knocking him incapacitated to the ground. Snarling, Moriarty made a move forward but she bought the axe to meet him and he backed off.
"You can't evade me forever, my dear; your fate is in the blood."
She growled. "I hope so. My father Thomas Moriarty was a good man until Oreo killed him. My grandfather was a good man, too, and my great-grandfather, all the way back to Edward Moriarty, your son. It is you who are the misfit, Professor James Moriarty -- a mistake which I assure you will soon be rectified."

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