from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:
From the diary of Doctor Watson
Day 2, Loch Ness (continued)
As we pelted up the shore towards the trees, I caught a whiff of the Monster’s hot breath in my nostrils. Rather unexpectedly, it smelled of fried chicken. I cast the image aside in my haste to escape the terror behind me. Throwing myself behind a large oak tree, I stumbled over Holmes and McCoatup, who were clinging together like a couple of sailors who’d just found out it was their turn to play ‘hide the sausage’.
“Careful Watson,” muttered Holmes, fiddling with himself under his duffel coat. “You almost squashed my Meerschaum.”
I hushed him to be quiet and the three of us crouched there for what seemed like ages, expecting every moment to be our last. Eventually, when we could detect no further sound from the monster, I dared to take a peek at our pursuer. The Monster had stopped and seemed to be ‘grazing’ on a patch of grass. But once again, it was the figure sitting astride the beast’s scaly back that drew my attention. As I stared at her, the woman waved at me, as if we were friends, merely passing in the street:
“Good evening Doctor, is Shirley around?” Her voice was like pure honey dripping from a hot spoon: rich and velvety with just the right amount of saccharin.
At the sound of her honeyed tones, my companion and the Inspector peered round the trunk of the tree. Holmes made a tutting noise and picking himself up, strode out from his hiding place. (Our detective friend, however, stayed exactly where he was).
I watched as Holmes approached the beast – it was clearly some sort of mechanical device made from overlapping sheets of metal and painted the colour of…well, monster. The shape of the creature was obviously modelled on the many sightings of ‘Nessie’ over the years, being somewhat dinosauric in outline: from its long neck, it widened out into three large humps before tapering off to a tail. I estimated it’s whole length to be around forty feet and perhaps six feet in diameter at its widest hump.
“Another one of your tricks, Miss Adler?” said Holmes, with only a trace of irritation. “A steam-driven contraception to scare off the locals?”
Miss Adler swung a leg over and slid down to the ground, brushing her wet hair back in a seductive manner. Then pulling a hidden leaver, she opened a hatch on the side of the beast. Inside I could make out some sort of piston engine and several rather plush-looking red leather seats. “Steam? Oh come on, Sherl, you can do better than that?” Leaving the hatch open, she sauntered up to him and pinched his cheek playfully.
Holmes sighed and glanced at me. “Tell her, Watson.”
For a moment, I was baffled, but catching the look in his eye and the curious shape of his tongue, I saw his meaning. “Oh, of course, Holmes,” I began. “In fact, Miss Adler, my companion and I were just discussing how your…” (I glanced at Holmes again)…”how your Submarine might be powered. We assumed some sort of vegetable oil fuel base, eh?”
The woman seemed taken aback, but quickly regained her composure. “Something like that, yes.”
At this point, our friend Inspector McCoatup stepped forward. “Right, lassie. Ah’m arrestin’ ye on charges o’…”
Holmes quickly laid a hand on the man’s arm and gave him one of his famous smiles: those smiles that seem to say “Don’t be a twat, Angus.”
McCoatup flushed and waved a finger at the monster. “Well, in any case, we’ll hae tae tak that thing intae custody…”
“I don’t think so.” It was Miss Adler who spoke. But this time the velvety honey-saccharininess in her voice had gone. In her hand she held what looked very much like a Luger and it was pointed straight at my head. “Mr Holmes and Mr Watson into the sub, please, before I’m tempted to blow someone’s brains out.”
And with that, my companion and I began to climb into the belly of the beast.
To be continued…