|Eliza Pennyton and the Dream Eaters
Author: nvpetite PM
Two very different people...one great and terrible Evil.Rated: Fiction T - English - Mystery/Supernatural - Chapters: 5 - Words: 7,382 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 02-11-13 - Published: 04-16-12 - id: 3013952
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's note: Finally, introduction of our brave and dashing hero!
Eliza Pennyton and the Dream Eaters
CHAPTER THREE ⊱⊱
Eugene Graywood, formally known as the Earl of Helisthorne or just plain Lord Helisthorne, prided himself as a man of great nerves.
Deviously artful too, if he had any more say in it.
From the shadows of the dimly lighted room, where the walls were bleak and cracked and the smell of dusty old wood was heavy in the air, Eugene watched as his assistant Lord Felix Houghton – a man of average height with clear blue eyes and sun golden hair – struggle to question the criminal known as Grey Hound. Grey Hound, a tall bony man of fifty years of age was shackled to a chair, his hands and ankles bound together.
"Come on old chap, we know you didn't kidnap those people. You are working for someone with much more power," Felix said, tapping the chair Grey Hound was sitting in. "Give us his name and we will lighten the charges against you."
When no response came, Felix glanced over to Eugene, eyes pleading for help.
Eugene shrugged, folding his arms over his chest.
Felix sighed when no motion to intercede came. Clearing his throat, Felix leaned over and stared into Grey Hound's eyes.
The man was pathetic. As a front Grey Hound was a business man, owning a chain of cheap bars and private clubs. In truth, however, his specialty was in prostitution. He was considered a leader in smuggling humans - especially women. When he became a prime suspect for the recent deaths of Tanglewoods citizens, Grey Hound vanished from the streets. It took days to find a solid lead and after two weeks of undercover work, they were able to locate and capture him.
Felix winced at their horrible detective work; they have been slacking to bitter tears.
They found Grey Hound living at Pandora Park; newly open amusement parkland on the west side of town. Apparently, the head manager was a patron for one of Grey Hound's club girl. Black mailed into providing a safe house for Grey Hound, the manager had kept his mouth shut for weeks until he let it slipped out during a drunken gambling brawl where one of the undercover detectives was stationed.
"Sir, if you don't give us the names of your associates," Felix began to bluff, "I will have to use brute force."
The criminal smirked, his eyes laughing at Felix's weak threat. Losing patience, Felix raised his hand in a mock attempt to slap Grey Hound, when suddenly the chair kicked over and Grey Hound tumbled down with a loud thud.
Alarmed, Felix jumped back. When he saw that it was only Eugene, he held out his hands in resignation and backed into the shadows of the room.
"Didn't think you had it in you, lad," Grey Hound groaned through his teeth from the dirty cement floor. "Looking so chitty and all."
Grey Hound paused, wavering when he saw that it had been a different young man who had kicked him over. Standing taller, a little paler than the previous lad, this young man was finely dressed in a navy blue silk vest, gray fitted trousers, and two well polished heeled boots. His light-colored hair hanged slightly over his face as his eyes glared down. He carried himself with power - his eyes flaring with hostility.
"Oh, that's just the beginning," Eugene smiled devilishly, using the tip of his boot to touch Grey Hound's face."My friend there is a nice man. He tries not to use violence because he believes in civility, no matter a person's occupation or status. I, however, do not care for something so trivial. A rat is still a rat. To me, you are nothing but a loathsome pest and I will crush you if I have to."
Eugene crouched down and deeply chuckled. He grabbed Grey Hound's cheeks and pinched them until they turned bright red. Grey Hound shrieked in a high pitched voice at the sudden act.
"Did anyone ever tell you that you sound like a girl?" Eugene laughed as he roughly smacked Grey Hound's forehead.
Appalled, the criminal shouted. "Y-you are a police officer! You are to uphold the law! Not in some perverse play!" He struggled to break free from his binding.
"You are right. I am a police officer," Eugene sneered, grabbing the disheveled Grey Hound by the collar, sitting him upright. "But not of the common kind."
Eugene stalked to the other side of Grey Hound. "I have leverage over everything and anything. I am so high above in the chain of commands that you can't even begin to imagine what I can do to you."
Grey Hound shifted uncomfortably in his seat, not wanting to hear whatever came next. Eugene rolled up his sleeves and undid his golden cravat.
"Fortunately for you, we don't normally deal with humans. We are after more horrifying creatures that lurk the streets," Eugene smirked. He pulled out a revolver and kissed it. Playfully, he pointed it at Grey Hound's head. He gripped Grey Hound's shoulder and leaned in close. "In fact, the only reason you are still alive is because you have something we want."
. . . .
It didn't take much to crack Grey Hound. The criminal was a coward through and through. All it took was a black hood, a few rounds of revolver roulette, and a nasty shot of sleeping draft and Grey Hound was soft as wet clay.
Why the regular Police Force had not thrown Grey Hound in prison must mean corruption within the force. Someone was allowing the rat to run free for extra gold.
Disgusted, Eugene watched as two guards drag an unconscious Grey Hound out of the room. In his hands, Eugene held a note paper with information scrawled on it.
"I think you went a little overboard on that last bit," Felix commented, coming out from the shadows. "You didn't have to do it, you know. I thought he was really going to piss his pants."
"Criminals like Grey Hound need to taste a little of their own terror," Eugene replied as he re-tied his cravat and pulled on his gloves.
"At least have what we were after," Felix shrugged, glancing down at his pocket watch. "We really should get going. It's nearly five in the morning. I have to wake at eight and behave as if I have slept for the last nine hours."
"Yes, yes. Your Grandmother throws a fit when you sleep in," Eugene stuffed the note paper into his inner coat pocket. "That reminds me…I have an important meeting at noon."
"That's right! You are to have lunch with Lord Pennyton and his family," Felix grinned. "I never knew you were engaged to his daughter!"
"It was a long time ago. My arrangement was set by my grandfather when I was seven. I didn't know of it until I was fourteen."
"Now, I understand why you are always turning down the affections of all those beautiful girls. I've always thought you were just more interested in work than women, but now, I find that you've been harboring the love of a sweetheart all along!" Felix roared. "What will you tell Lord and Lady Pennyton? They saw you with another woman!"
"Excellent work, by the way – you were a fantastic beauty, dressed in that skirt and wig," Eugene laughed, turning off the lights as they exit the room.
"Why thank you," Felix chuckled, while putting his hat on. "I do what I must to protect the city, even if it means posing as a woman for undercover work." Felix continued, "It's a shame you couldn't reveal to the Pennytons that it had been a man disguised as a woman who was at the market with you."
"I'm sure it would have only made it worse," Eugene replied nonchalantly.
They were beneath the city in the old catacombs believed to have been filled-in when the city began constructing sewers systems. The walls of the endless tunnels were yellowed from dirt and the stench of old plaster filled the air.
Bright blue crystals of varying sizes stood upright out of the ground every ten feet, lighting the dark passage. The crystals were elemental stones that channeled protective spells through the winding tunnels and into the many rooms of the catacombs, keeping unwanted visitors out. The stones only worked with old magic – a language that was quickly fading away amidst the rise of science and logic.
Magic had become a word and a world away.
Allowed to become lost within Tanglewoods' modern society and existing only in small certain circles, mainly those of the Creeper Police and the old families who funded the organization.
Eugene and Felix turned down the last hall and began to climb stairs carved out from the stone ground.
"All those unclaimed bodies in the city morgue, don't you think it's bizarre?" Felix spoke after a few minutes. "Some of them were mangled and torn beyond recognition as if a starved creeper had done its work on them, but there were no traces of magic to be found. Creepers always leave behind a rotten taste of magic."
Eugene clinched his fist.
Felix continued, "The city blames a loony serial killer."
"The killer is not human," Eugene replied.
"I know that," Felix answered. "No matter how you look at it, a human body cannot become that mummified in three days. Since we've already crossed off creepers considering there is no magic involved, it might be a Fergorgor – those beastly imps that enjoy sucking life out of anything living other than itself."
"No, we have to be more cautious with a problem as delicate as this," Eugene remarked. "Not all creepers are mindless ghouls that slither in the shadows. Higher level ones are known to mask their presence and power by dispersing it into other objects – if they are intelligent enough to do that, then a clever one may be smart enough to walk among us using the same trick."
Felix paused on the stairs and turned to face Eugene, "It can't be a creeper. We haven't had an attack for months…all thanks to that new invention. We can spot creeper cores before they are powerful enough to manifest." Felix's eyes wide in awe, "Now, all we really do is walk to a core, sprinkle a good amount of Etel powder and watch as it wither into dust. The machine is a life saver."
"Yes, the machine may save us from needless hours of work but there is still –"
"It's that one name, isn't it? Benjamin Knoital," Felix cut in. "I saw your reaction when Grey Hound muttered the name. You stiffen for a long moment; good thing Grey Hound was too muddled with sleeping draft to notice. Who is this Knoital?"
"He was a researcher for the Creeper Police, experimenting on creeper cadavers. His studies helped develop the weapons we use for eliminating them."
"Where is he now?" Felix questioned. "I don't recall a Dr. Knoital and I know most of the laboratory staff."
"He died in an accident two years before your joining," Eugene explained. "It was an experiment that went soured, the room caved in. I was at his funeral and witness his burial."
"But Grey Hound swears the man is alive."
"Well, that is where mystery begins." Eugene finished.
They climbed the rest of the stairs in silence. As they neared the top of the stairs, which seem to end abruptly into the ceiling, Felix murmured a spell and a rectangular passage slid open. They entered a room made entirely out of white marble. It was void of any objects other than a large statue of a gryphon, adorned with a necklace made of the same blue crystals used in the catacombs. As the opening in the floor slid closed behind them, the gryphon's necklace radiated light for Eugene and Felix to cross the room.
They made their way to the only other exit – a massive iron door with an epic hunting scene between sixteen men and seven beastly creatures etched into the front side – and emerged from a vine covered mausoleum in an old cemetery near the outskirts of the city.
The early morning air was damp and cold; a light fog had form and floated through the gloomy cemetery.
"Well, this is goodnight Lord Helisthorne," Felix yawned, pulling his coat tight.
"Same to you, Felix," Eugene replied. "Be careful on your way home. The sun won't rise for another half hour."
"Yes, sir!" Felix grinned, saluting Eugene in an orderly fashion.
Walking in separate directions, Felix headed towards his family home - a large mansion, two blocks west of the cemetery and Eugene towards his horse - hidden in a safe tool shed in the east corner of the cemetery.