Investigator Extraordinary, Part 2: TBD

“You see it now, Weston?” hissed his companion.

“My...” Weston lowered his voice, “...goodness. What is that thing? It looks reptilian...surely it must be a costume. But why would they do such a thing?”

Holst’s hand grasped his shoulder.

“No, my good friend, it is no costume. That creature is a real and living monster.”

They watched the villagers pass packages and crates – no doubt stores of food and materials – onto the submersible. Then, when the loading was complete, the villagers walked off, returning to their homes – all of them, that is, except one. This one, a young man, barely more than a boy, stepped onto the boat deck and stood motionless.

Suddenly the creature seized him and bit him in the neck. The young man stood motionless and emotionless while his life blood was being drained.Holst put a restraining hand on his friend, holding him from seizing his revolver.

“Wait, my will not kill the unfortunate young man just yet. We must find their lair.”

His words proved true moments later when the young man was released and staggered slowly down the deck hatch and into the submersible. The reptile-creature followed him.

“Now!” hissed Holst. “but for heavens sake keep quiet.”

Weston watched in horror as the metal-hulled craft moved silently towards them. Then it turned slowly and slipped away downstream, sinking gradually beneath the water as it went.

“Not a word, Weston, simply follow me. Quickly!”

He led the way at a sharp pace – with a wide, strong beam showing now from his dark lantern – back to their camp and their hidden motorboat. Within minutes they were off in pursuit of the strange underwater ship.

“Holst, can we not go faster than this?”

“Yes, we can ... but not without using the full power of this boat’s engine and we dare not risk the noise. As it is, it is only because we are upstream from them and are keeping a distance that our quarry has not noticed we are in pursuit. We must let them have a loose leash, despite the danger that we might lose them.”

Then, suddenly, Holst grabbed his arm and hissed.

“Ha! There, do you see it? That opening there...half hidden by the trees. Their base must be nearby.”

Now Holst turned the engine power down until it was barely a murmur and they were gliding slowly up the river’s offshoot. A light appeared in the distance. Immediately he cut the engine and paddled towards the bank. Again, they crept through undergrowth towards some unknown destination, though Weston was glad of the exercise after almost freezing on the boat. Faint noises ahead alerted them that they were once more drawing up upon their quarry. Weston had no idea what to expect but what he did see astounded him more than he could ever have thought possible. The submersible had surfaced and was drawing nigh to the riverbank. Suddenly it was flooded in beams of light coming from what Weston at first thought was the roof of a building overlooking the water. But as his eyes adjusted to the glare, he could see, from the light reflecting from the water back onto its source, that it was no such thing. It had a metallic gleam and as circular in shape. At first he could make no sense of what he was seeing. Surely this was sitting atop some mound or structure – but he could see none, no matter how hard he stared. It seemed to float in mid air. His friend let out a sharp whistle.

“So it has come to this, at last!”

“What do you mean Holst? What is that?”

“A ship my friend. A ship from the stars.”

You can find the complete version of Investigator Extraordinary, Part 2 in issue 58 of TBD.

Stuart McPherson