The Masquerade

Part 1

by Mary Christmas (unicorn_76010 at lycos.com)
10/30/02

Holmes is snooping around, Lestrade is keeping secrets, Wiggins and Tennyson are acting strange, why does Moriarty suddenly acquire a penchant for breaking into song and whatís that weird book Deidre has? And why, oh, why -- will someone PLEASE tell me -- why this song wonít stop running through my head? Itís really annoying....

Yes, this is me again (Mary Christmas) and Iíve been pondering doing a story similar to this for over a year now...well, in the spirit of Halloween (and just because David Bowieís cute) Iíve decided to put pen to paper...or fingers to keyboard if you prefer.

Late one night, a deep fog blanketed the city of New London, making the already crisp air colder. A lone figure walked along the streets, his posture straight and his attitude confidant, despite the blinding conditions. For this was a man who did not need eyes to see. At least not human eyes.

And, it was easy to believe that the man was not of this world (or at least didnít belong to this time period). His hair was silver and spiked up in a style much like those of the punk rockers of the nineteen-eighties. In contrast, he wore a flowing white shirt opened to his chest, with a black leather vest over it and matching leather pants. An odd sickle-shaped gold pendant hung from his neck and sparkled in some unseen light.

A cold, cruel smile stretched the manís lips as hard as diamond eyes gazed beyond the fog, beyond even the city itself. He raised one black clad hand and a crystal sphere appeared from thin air, as delicate looking as a bubble, but infinitely stronger and more beautiful. He balanced the crystal on the tips of his fingers, letting it rest there for a second, then idly began twirling it through his fingers and passing it between his hands. Then, just as abruptly he stopped and threw it as hard as he could into the distance, and faded a way. Secondís later the sound of shattering glass was followed by deep laughter.

******

Chapter One: Of Ghosts From the Past and Goblin Kings

It was October. One of the few months out of the year that the denizens of New Scotland Yard dreaded. Oh sure, it was a great time to hold the yearly Masquerade Benefit, but that in itself was just more to do, besides the usual Halloween mishaps: pranks, people getting a bit too much into the celebrating mood and of course, pranks...mostly pranks.

Lestrade grumbled to herself as she knelt on the floor, examining the shards of glass, next to a constable she didnít recognize. He must have been straight from the Academy. The store she was in was an old bookstore, and while she would normally be head over heels with excitement, she was, to put it plainly, bored out of her mind. It was a simple case of some kid throwing something through the plexiglas window....

A frown creased her face and ran her scanner over the glass again. It was plexiglas all right. So then, how had it broken? She turned to ask the owner a question, but it died in her throat as a sparkle from under a shelf caught her eye. She bent over, ignoring queries from the constable, and reached under. Her hand quested for the object, and she gave a cry of triumph when it closed about something round and hard.

The triumph faded fast when she brought the object out for inspection. It appeared to be just a simple glass bauble, nothing more...

Itís a crystal, nothing more...but if you turn it this way...

"...it will show you your dreams...."

"Inspector?"

Lestrade blinked and turned towards the constable and gave him a smile and a shrug. "Just something I remembered from a play. Listen, Iím going to take this to the lab to get it analyzed -- it doesnít look like anything that belongs here...."

Not waiting for a response, Lestrade rose to her feet and strode purposefully towards the door, telling herself that it had been just a dream -- it had to have been. Had to have been.

Lestrade was in a haze as she landed the cruiser haphazardly on sidewalk in front of her apartment building. She nearly stumbled on the stairs leading up to her flat, and it was only through countless times of doing so before that she actually got inside. Her mind was turning circles as she flopped down on the couch and stared with unseeing eyes into the crystal.

She brushed at the annoying and persistant ringing in her ears, until she realized that it was her door. She blinked herself out of the trance she had been, gave the crystal a look of utter disgust and threw it down to the floor. It rolled under the couch.

"Good," she muttered as she stood up to answer the door.

TO BE CONTINUED

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