The Fall of the Phoenix

Chapter Twelve

by TT (a.m.tilmouth.s99 at cranfield.ac.uk)

The room was grey fuzz. Tessa felt her way along the walls as she changed clothes and prepared for the worst. In her sleeve she had hidden the knife from the cutlery that came with lunch; she felt slighter safer with the dull blade resting against her skin but not much. All the time outside there had been footsteps, dull and flat -- the Doctor and some other technicians making last minute preparations outside, at a guess. Now the click of high heels caught her ear. She felt her way along the wall and pressed her ear against the door of her room.

'Doctor, is everything ready.'

There was scuffling. 'Yes, Lady.'

'And the girl?'

'Safe in her room, Lady.'

'Good...' A pause. 'Don’t look so nervous, Doctor. You are sweating like a pig. By tomorrow Moriarty will be dead and I shall have the complete control of the city's underworld...and you shall have the girl as long as you stick to our agreement, and give her the last few doses of drops.' More clicks followed, heading towards the door.

'I will take up position by the front gate. Let the girl out in five minutes and take her to the central room; here is the code.' There was a rustling of paper. 'Hugo will escort you to avoid any...mistakes.'

Tessa straightened at the name of her great grandfather; to have him dead would be a blessing after the pain and misery he had caused her. She still did not believe that he had come to her parents' funeral or indeed been watching her, Moriarty was a cold and selfish monster whose destruction she longed for. Even so she would not hang around in the cell to be taken by the Doctor and blinded by the chemicals they put in her eyes; she had plans.

Every second of the remaining minutes scratched their way along her nerves like fingernails on a blackboard. All too soon though she heard noises outside, but not the noises she would have associated with opening a door. There were sounds like footsteps, a scuffle, a dull thud and then a groan followed by the sound of something heavy hitting the floor. Soon afterwards the door was slowly opened. Tessa turned her head to try and catch every sound but there was only the dull footsteps of the Doctor; she felt his hand tighten around her wrist and an arm slip across her shoulders.

'Time to go my friend...they will miss us soon.' She let herself be guided along the floor.

'Doctor...What were the noises I heard a minute ago? Scuffling and a groan.'

There was silence from the Doctor for a second. 'Let’s just say that Hugo will not be joining us on our little trip, my friend.' She tried to keep calm as she realised the hand on her wrist was wet, and that there was the slight iron smell of fresh blood in the air.

Holmes, Watson and Lestrade were moving inside the building. They had already nearly alerted a guard by bumping into one of the broken crates which lay scattered around the building. Holmes had remarked on there journey here how lucky it was that this was only a temporary hideout for the gang, or it would have been better guarded. Above them somewhere in the dark Ling flew, ready to complete his part in the rescue at a word from Holmes; and somewhere on the other side of the building Moriarty prowled, trying to divert attention. So far, so good.

Lestrade had questioned him many times in the sky car about the Professor's involvement, but the only answer he would give her was ‘Needs must’ and ‘His turn will come for justice, but not tonight’. Lestrade found it infuriating that they had the master criminal within their grasp and Holmes would not let them tie the net. She did not question, though; the most important thing was to get Tessa out of the building and safe, then they would deal with Scar and Moriarty.

They rounded another corner. Holmes glanced round and ducked back. He signed the number two and then pointed a way round some old packing crates to their left.

Just at that moment, a fuzzing came over the guards' radios. 'Jake, Bill, Moriarty’s been spotted in the main delivery yard; get your arses over here and take up position.' The men broke into a run through the door they were guarding and Holmes, who had frozen, relaxed. They followed them through the open door and quickly found themselves in a maze of corridors and tunnels; they would have been quickly lost if Watson hadn’t had the blueprints downloaded into his memory. The group searched the bigger rooms and the ones which Holmes thought the best to spring a trap; eventually they found themselves in a laboratory. There were many stainless steel worktops and sinks; along one wall sat a row of rat cages, some dead, some alive and shrieking at the intruders. Holmes ignored them and hurried over to a bench by a small door; on it was a tray of half-eaten food and a tiny eyedrop bottle. Holmes examined the bottle and then dropped it. He pushed the door open with his foot, cane at the ready. The room was empty but in the corner on a chair lay the orange, red and yellow phoenix racing suit.

Lestrade gave a harsh cry, Holmes and Watson both came quickly over. On the floor by her feet lay a large man, broad-shouldered with a close-cropped haircut, and a knife in his back. The pool of blood was growing.

Holmes bent to examine the body. 'Dead but almost fresh. Whoever did this was here less than ten minutes ago.'

There was a footprint in the pool; the red stain led off through another door to the left. Holmes got up. 'We follow that, and quickly, I have a suspicion that our friend is in terrible danger.'

On to Part 13!

Back to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, and part 11.

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