I quickly whipped up this story for the CGSociety Steampunk Challenge
It was late in summer when all of Londoninium was enthralled by a series of horrific murders. Over a period of a week, numerous men and women were found dead – with their limbs torn asunder.
“I’m afraid Watson, that this may be a case we cannot solve,” said an unusually modest Sherlock Holmes.
The tall, rangy detective sat with his legs crossed, while staring into the embers of the ornate fireplace in his lodgings at 221B Baker Street. I, Dr Watson, stood with my back to him looking through an open stained glassed window, and watched as an airship sped past like an air-engorged leviathan. Its powerful engines shot out blue flames as it sped through the burgeoning storm clouds, towards some exotic distant destination. Two smaller winged craft flapped their wings furiously as they escorted the beast through the crowded airway. On particularly busy days, these crafts could blot out the sun. I cannot stop marvelling at our modern age of steel and steam.
The cosy room was bursting with miraculous and beautifully crafted devices, which Sherlock Holmes required for his detective work. Many of these connected to the numerous body modifications that jutted out here and there over the great detective’s head and body. As I looked at these marvels, he unscrewed a brass ocular magnifier from his right eyesocket, revealing the complex clockwork moulded to his brain.
However, all these forensic instruments seemed like pretty curios when faced with crimes of such barbarity. Crimes that could have only been committed by someone with inhuman strength.
“Watson,” Holmes paused and turned his head towards me. “All the evidence points to Miss Hyde.”
I was taken aback by Holmes’ statement, because mention of Miss Hyde sent shivers down my spine. She was truly an inhuman blight on humanity. “Holmes, it cannot be her, you killed that monstrous travesty with your own hand at Reichenbach Falls.”
Her story was familiar to all. It began many years ago when Dr Frank Jekyll – once a gentleman of great wealth and greater intelligence – lost his lover, Miss Hyde, to the Plague. Devastated, he froze her putrid body and spent his vast fortune on discovering ways to bring his beloved back to the land of the living.
His initial experiments, on the local graveyard corpses, proved promising. He was soon ready to operate on the frozen body of Miss Hyde. We are not completely sure how he did it, but Dr Jekyll merged her with the latest machinery. Miss Hyde’s mind was powered by the finest Swiss clockwork. A small exhaust pipe protruded from the back of her neck, which let steam escape from the engine in the pit that was once her heart. Brass plates were rivetted onto her body to cover where wounds once seeped. Enhancements such as these were common amongst the living, but no-one had been able to reanimate the dead.
Something went horribly wrong, and instead of the love he so craved, Dr Jekyll only received anger and hatred from his creation. She became more machine than human. The deluded doctor was her first victim – the first of many. The heinous murders only ended with the famous duel at Reichenbach Falls.
“So, you see Holmes, she is dead. She can’t be responsible for these murders.”
Just as I said this, with a thunderous explosion, a bolt of lightening hit the wrought iron gate on the balcony that I had just been looking out of. It filled the room with a blinding light. Our hair rose and the room was charged with invisible energy.
Holmes calmly puffed once more on his pipe, and his opiate-sullied eye suddenly cleared as he looked at me. He smiled, put on his deerstalker’s hat, and said “The game is afoot.”
It seems that I must once more follow Sherlock Holmes, our age’s greatest detective, into the mysterious night.