As Holmes had predicted, it was a mere forty-five minutes later that the Evil Genius struck again.
I’d arrived back at my cabin just as Mary emerged from Phogg’s, a huge smile on her face. I waved an admonishing finger at her. “You did it again, didn’t you darling?”
She giggled girlishly. “Well, he’s got tons of cash, so why not?” Holding up a wodge of the aforementioned booty, she flapped the wad in my face. “Care for a game of Snap before bed? If you win, you can be on top…”
I shook my head and ushered her into the cabin. “Unfortunately, my dear, this game does not involve playing cards.”
“Very well,” she muttered with a sigh and began to undo her dress.
I closed the door and pulled over a chair to wedge beneath the handle. Turning back to my wife I noted she had stopped undressing.
“Oh, shit,” she said. “It’s not over, is it?”
I repeated what Holmes had told me.
Mary sat down heavily on the bed. “Better have some coffee, then.” She set about heating a kettle of water on our portable stove while I did a quick assessment of the cabin and its accessories.
Within a couple of minutes, I had ascertained that in terms of weapons we had very little at our disposal. Our meagre arsenal consisted of a camping stove, two mugs, a half-bottle of milk, a miniature harpoon gun ornament and a soap dish. Everything else had been abandoned on the SS Mangochutney.
“Where’s Holmes?” asked Mary.
“Back in his cabin by now.” I rubbed my chin the way the Great Detective often did. It didn’t help. “All we can do is sit tight and hope we’re up to the challenge when it comes.”
Mary nodded solemnly.
We sat together on the bed, ruminating on what our fate might be. We had hardly moved from the spot when the sawing began.
“What’s that?” said Mary, looking at the roof of our cabin.
I followed her gaze and a moment later the curved end of a chainsaw sliced through the ceiling. Jumping up, I dragged Mary over to the other side of the room, pulled the chair free and yanked open the cabin door. I’d half expected the Claw or the Professor to be waiting in the passage, but a quick glance up and down proved it was free of villains.
“This way, darling,” I said, taking Mary’s hand. Rushing to Phogg’s cabin door, I was about to knock rapidly in a manner that would indicate a sense of urgency, when the door opened and Phogg and Passepartout leaped out to join us.
“What the bloody ‘ell’s goin on, lad?” yelled Phogg.
“The Claw’s back,” I said, and indicated they should follow us.
Racing along the passage towards the stairs to the upper deck, it occurred to me that sawing through our cabin roof was an odd thing to do. If the Claw wanted to kill us all (which seemed probable), it’d have made more sense to lure us out of our cabin.
“Oh, bugger,” I said. At the same moment, I saw Moriarty’s two henchmen appear at the far end of the passage. Whirling round, I was greeted by the grinning visage of the Evil Genius himself.
“Going somewhere Doctor?” Moriarty laughed maniacally and swung his arm up as the chainsaw screamed into life again. “Slicing tonight,” he yelled, waving the murderous instrument up and down.
A sudden blast made us all jump in surprise and a second later the passageway had filled with coloured smoke.
“This way,” yelled a familiar voice, and a hand reached out and grabbed my sleeve. Pulling my companions along with me, I jumped through the hole that had appeared in the wall and was greeted with a not-totally-unexpected sardonic smile.
“Don’t hang about, Watson,” said Holmes, helping us through into the cabin beyond.
A shout of annoyance echoed behind us as we felt our way through the haze, across to the open door opposite and into a smoke-free passage.
“What now?” I gasped.
“Buggered if I know,” said Holmes. “That was our one and only flare gun – good idea, by the way – so I suggest we head upwards and hope for the best.”
Hurrying to the end of the corridor, we started up the stairs to the upper deck, the thumping of running feet and screaming chainsaws close behind.