A VERY VICTORIAN ABDUCTION (Part 2), a short story by Sun Tzu. Date added: 2012-07-15. Times viewed: 5357.
- Please SEND FEEDBACK - Writers love hearing from you. You can view the Authors profile here
- Intro: Intrigue and white slavery Victorian style
A VERY VICTORIAN ABDUCTION
As distasteful as violence is to me, one would be foolish to venture out onto the streets of London at night unarmed - and sheer suicide if venturing into the port district; as squalid a haven of thieves, cut throats and destitution as one could imagine. To that end my trusty service revolver sat snugly in the pocket of my coat along with the weighty reassurance of the sword cane in my hand. A gift from Crawford, who had presented it to me upon my return from India.
It was a devilish weapon, yet elegant also, an instrument in total contradiction to the calling of a doctor and the oath one takes 'first do no harm.' Dear Crawford however, was both a gentleman and a realist, for although a doctor seeks to aid others, there are those who hold no regard for the sanctity of life (as I discovered to my horror on many occasions in India). Evil makes no distictions where innocents and non combatants are concerned.
The cab halted abruptly at paradise street unwilling to venture any further. "This is as far as I go guv!" the cabby stuttered nervously looking about.
Once paid I thanked the nervous cabby and watched him leave rapidly, the poor man no doubt had a family to support, a duty that only compounds ones instinct for self preservation. I made slow careful progress along the street my senses alert for the meerest indication of danger. My years in India had without doubt changed me forever. I had arrived young, naieve and idealistic, eager to follow my calling as a physician. Later, to leave that wretched country a man who would remain haunted for the rest of his days with all that had been experienced. No longer the young idealist, but a man forged in the very fires of hardship, war and unspeakable horrors; to emerge chrysalis like, a veteran, hardier, wiser and - extremely dangerous. For when one has stood at the very gates of hell and gazed within there is little in this world that instills fear.
I emerged at the end of the street unaccosted even though there were numerous cold calculating eyes sizing me up as a predator does whilst hunting. None approached, nor sought to impede my progress in any way, for a predator recognises a fellow predator and will defer in respect to seek less challangeing prey. Through the thick fog the outline of a tall slender figure took form, for a moment the cane was raised ready to meet any attack. The moment is brief for the form that materialises in front of me from the fog is no theat, but Kethis the Indian man servant of my acquantence. He bows then beckons for me to follow. We venture deeper into dark streets unmolested, my acquaintence holds much sway and influence here, together with the presence of Kethis the message was clear I was a guest and under his protection.
George Marlow had been a corporal in my regiment, a weasle like fellow who sported an eye patch having lost his left eye in a skirmish. A fine soldier who had the unnatural ability to acquire just about any item that one might desire. The fellow who could seemingly conjour up an osais in the middle of a desert if one were required. It was therefore of no surprise that upon returning home Marlow captilaised upon his miraculous talents through an import - export business and had subsequently bocome extremely wealthy.
"Dr Bedford, how very good to see you sir it has been much too long, please be seated." I was bid to a large ornate armchair and watched as Marlow produced two large brandy glasses.
"As I recall sir you are a brandy man, this is the finest cognac you'll find anywhere,"
It was indeed good, a comforting warmth gently seeped throughout my body sweeping away the cold. "It is indeed a fine cognac Marlow thank you,
"My pleasure sir, now how may I be of service?"
"I require your assistance with a matter requiring handling of the utmost delicacy."
"Indeed sir, you may rely on me and rest assured of my absolute discretion."
"Thank you Marlow," with that I began to unfold the events that had transpired at my club.
"Poor captain Tomeral," exclaimed Marlow. A gentleman and one of the finest officers I ever had the honour to serve under, including your good self sir. It is indeed a sad state of affairs; how shall we proceed?"
The indifatiguable Mrs Crannock was still up when I returned to my rooms in the late hours. I was to be subjected to (though I protested not) to having a late supper before being permitted to retire. That night I slept exceptionally well satisfied that all was proceeding as it should. Two days later while taking tea between consultations my maid Alice nervously announced the arrival of a 'foreign gentleman,' who refused to state his business and had merely presented a card. It was of course Marlow's man servant Kethis arriving as agreed. The silent Indian merely bowed, then presented a letter from Marlow confirming that all arangements were in order. Further more Kethis now acted under instructions to assist in what was to follow.
The show was the talk of London. The great tenor Fabirini had arrived to perform in the opera Rochetto, a performance to which Sybella would be attending. It was of no effort to ensure that our paths crossed once the show had concluded then extend an invitation to do me the honour of dining with me after the concert, an offer that Sybella happily accepted.
I escorted Sybella to a waiting cab that was instructed to convey us to Costellos, a very respectable dining establishment.
"It's so good to see you again Dr Bedford, it has been too long," exclaimed Sybella. "You really must come and stay, Oliver would be delighted to see you again. He speaks of you constantly and credits you with saving his life."
Listening to Sybella speak was that of the most melodic symphony, her voice was so soft and sensual, her eyes were of darkest emerald green that once gazed into enchanted any man. Her hair was raven black. In sum Sybella was a woman of the most extreme beauty, I had for years envied Oliver for the great fortune he had of such a wife.
"Oliver is far too generous. I did no more than aid a good friend through a period of deep melancholy," I replied somewhat embarrassed at such praise.
"Forgive me doctor, but Oliver is most sincere in this, indeed, he has stated that this is the second time you have saved his life, the first I believe was at Surakand was it not?"
A cold shiver ran down my spine at the very mention. "The Surakand uprising was a ghastly buisiness, it is not something that one discusses!" I exclaimed with some hint of anger in my voice. Sybella's smile flickered for a moment at my ouburst. "Forgive me Sybella, it is a most painful subject. Not something I wish to discuss."
"Oliver also, is reluctant to speak of it, except to state that you saved many lives and that subsequently became known as the fighting doctor of Surakand and, a hero."
"I am no hero Sybella - merely a soldier that did one's duty in the most dreadful of circumstances, the experience tore into each of us that lived through those days of unimaginable savagery."
"It must have been awful for you," came her soft voice, at that moment I apprehended the soft touch of Sybella's hand upon my own, venturing to look upwards Sybella was smiling, one of warmth, her emerald eyes sparkled. For a moment I found myself transfixed, thoughts raced through my mind, thoughts that no man should habour for another man's wife. Nor - for the wife of one's closest friend. At that very moment the cab came to an abrupt halt, the door opened to reveal Kethis. Sybella gasped, before any other sound escaped her lips Kethis sprang cat like into the cab placing a gauze pad infused with chloroform over Sybella's mouth and nose.I gripped Sybella's wrists as she attempted to struggle. Fortunately all resistance was brief as the chloroform rendered her insensible. After being satisfied that Sybella was asleep the cab began its journey once again into the night.
- Use for below to send feedback to author - View the Authors profile here
- The following form will send feedback to the author about this short story, please enter your e-mail if you wish a reply (which is obviously at the authors own discretion)