Monday, 9 June 2014

REDD: The Den (part 2)

"Oh look, it's the News of the World!" Professor Ruedalow exclaimed, like a child on a school trip, as he saw a young salesman of the penny dreadful blatantly eavesdropping.
Emery pulled his hat down over his brow, and stalked up the pavement towards the barbers, being as stealthy as physically possible. "I say!" Ruedalow exclaimed. "Do come and have at look at this, David!"
Emery crept over to his companions, irritated by Ruedalow. "You do realise we're trying not to gain ourselves attention, old chap?"
Ruedalow shook his head. "First rule of attack, Emery. Always let your enemy know you're coming."
"But that takes away the element of surprise."
"Yes it does. But it increases the probability of receiving a cake."
"Ruedalow, this is no laughing matter. There might be a demon in there!"
Ruedalow turned to David. "I hear demons are rather good bakers. How else would you explain Paul Hollywood?"
"Who's Paul Hollywood?" David asked.
"And why did you have to bring David, along with us?" Emery demanded. "No offence, David."
"None taken, Mister Emery." The post boy replied.
Ruedalow ignored Emery and David and walked over to a door beneath a sign that read, 'Gentlemen's Barbers.' "Here we are." He said.
"Be careful, sirs." David said, taking watch outside the shop. "Don't die."
"How beautifully morbid, chap!" Emery replied, drawing his service Beretta.
The door swung open, leading into the darkness of the barbers. "Someone hasn't been paying for their electricity bills." Ruedalow muttered.
A man was sat in the chair, one half of his face covered in foam. "The barber just went to get a new razor. He'll be back in a second." Ignoring the man, Ruedalow and Emery walked over to the chair. "You can take a seat." He said, suddenly nervous. Ruedalow slapped the mans back and they both disappeared. A few seconds later, Ruedalow appeared on the other side of the room cradling his knuckle. "He was surprisingly resistant to my 'beating him round his face.'"
"Surprising. I thought he would have succumbed easier." Emery went over to the barbers chair and inspected it. There was a small outline on the floor, which Emery illuminated with his 1920's torch. "What the devil is this?"
Ruedalow hurried over and stared at it. "It's like the part of the floor with the chair on is separate to the rest of the floor. I think we might have found the trapdoor."
"There should be a lever somewhere, old boy. Have a look for that."
They began searching the room, until they came to the conclusion that there was no lever. Ruedalow decided to have a closer look at the chair, and the outline of the trapdoor. "I think I've found something. This lever here should make it easier to manoeuvre the chair, correct?"
"How should I know? I'm a scientist, not a barber!"
Ruedalow carried on. "But look, there isn't a spring to make it go up. I think it opens the trapdoor."
David burst through the door. "A blokes coming, Misters Ruedalow and Emery. Looks like an engineer."
"Thank you, David. Go to the church, and have a look for anything suspicious. Eh, David, take my gun." Ruedalow said, passing him the matching beretta.
"Thanks, sir." David said, and ran off.
"Emery, come here." Ruedalow said, pulling out some scissors. He quickly snipped away at the Doctors remaining beard, until it wasn't as obvious. "Go sit in the chair and rub some lather over the side of your cheek with the beard on. I'll go sit over there and pretend to be in a queue."
"Ok." Emery said, running over and putting the lather on. "Service!" He cried.
The bloke who looked liked an engineer came in and sat down with Ruedalow, as the barber emerged from the corner of the room. If the barber was a demon, he wouldn't notice the difference between Emery and the bloke that Ruedalow had deposited backwards in time. Ruedalow fought the temptation to release a relieved breath when the demon didn't recognise him.
Slowly, the demon began to carve the foam and hair from Emery's face, and the engineer bloke said, "You don't happen to have the time, old chap?"
Ruedalow smiled and drew his pocket watch. "Ah yes, it's three in the afternoon."
"Thank you. I say! What an exquisite time piece. Did you build it yourself?"
Ruedalow looked down at his pocket watch. A series of cogs, ticking and tocking behind a round glass screen, controlled four intricate hands, a second, minute, hour and hontime hand, each black and intricately carved. He clicked the lid on, observing the mountain carved into the silver and bronze and hung it back into his pocket. "As a matter of fact, I did. Professor Jeffery Thornhill," he said, using an alias, "I'm an engineer for the navy."
The bloke offered out his hand. "J.M. Rymer, civil engineer. Pleasure to meet you."
They shook hands and slid back into silence. Then the doors clicked shut and the barber drew his razor backward and Emery's head rolled across the floor towards them, leaving a trail of blood across the floor. Rymer was sick, his yellowish green vomit forming a puddle around the decapitated head. "Do you mind?" Emery's head asked from the floor.
Ruedalow jumped up and reached for his Beretta, only to remember he'd given it to David. The demon didn't give him the chance to decide what to do next, lunging forwards with his razor. Ruedalow instinctively stepped back, and swung out his fist, punching the demon in the face, but it made no difference. The demon simply kicked Ruedalow, and the Professor dropped to the floor, in pain. The demon swung his razor down, but Ruedalow swung forwards, threw his legs and jumped up, smashing his knuckles into the small of the demons back. Ruedalow followed this with a kick to the ankle and, reaching out for the small brush on the ledge in front of the mirror, smashed the handle of that into the top of the demons head. The demon collapsed to the oak floor, and Ruedalow gave him a few kicks for good measure. Then he turned to Emery's body sat upright in the chair. Blood had  run down his clothes, from the oozing gore of his severed neck, and Ruedalow hoped the doctor would dispose of those clothes before it turned crispy and black. Ruedalow walked over to Emery's head and picked it up. "Much obliged." He said. "I generally thought that vomit might touch me."
Ruedalow took the head over to the body and slotted the part of the spine connected to the skull to that protruding from the body. "I hope you never did this at medical school. If the other students had seen you, they would have had a nervous breakdown."
"I never went to medical school. In fact, my PHD is in philosophical architecture. And tourism and leisure." Emery replied, standing up. They turned to J.M. Rymer and saw that he had dropped unconscious. "Drop him at home." Emery said. "He'll wake up and think it was just a dream."
Ruedalow nodded and vanished, soon reappearing.
They walked over to the demon and knelt down, minding the vomit. Emery drew a scalpel and slid up the sleeve. "Let's have a look."
That was when they heard a gunshot far beneath them, from the Professors Beretta, but that wasn't what really got them. Because David was stood outside, peering through the window.

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