Creaky Door Productions presents...

The Beast of Hampton Moors

by Mike 'The Baron' McManus

 

Starring: Martin Landau as Lord Peterson, Veronica Carlson as Mary, Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes, Dwight Frye as the Butler, Nigel Stock as Watson, Michael Ripper as the Old Soak, and Andre Morrel as Inspector Smith, Ron Moody as the Landlord.

 

Once again the wind howled across the common and with it the came the heavy rain.  Old oak trees bent their branches and now and again they would scratch along a windowpane.  Lord Peterson sat in the comfort of his old armchair supping on hot mead, which had been prepared for him by Graves the butler.  "Would there be anything else master?" Said a nervous Graves as he stood silently by the large mahogany table shaking.  "No thank you Graves, I think I'll just sit here and take in the warmth of the fire and mead and relax awhile."  Graves slid off into the darkness of the corridor and into his chamber.  He hated nights like these, and could not settle.  Nights like these reminded him of the beast.  The terrible giant black beast, which roamed the countryside in fowl weather carrying out nefarious, acts of horror.  But who ever believed what Graves said.  "Silly old fool they would say."  But he knew better, oh yes old Graves new better.

 

Down at the Tavern Inn the landlord was starting to call time and hopefully get everybody out at once.  "Come on now lets be 'avin' ya all out.  A man's gotta get his kip."  But it wasn't sleep the old rascal was after it was Mary the new barmaid.  She was a stunner and no messing.  "Ere Mary, itís a baddun out there tonight, why don't you kip in one of the rooms up stairs."  Mary looked a bit unsure, "Well if it's no trouble."  A smile came to the landlord's face, "Na trouble at all, hey, beep beep" In the corner of the inn was sloped John the old soak, as drunk as a lord and hardly able to stand. "Well well drunk again eh?" Old John looked bleary eyed at the landlord and tried to mutter something. "Well I... has...another drink pleaassee."  The landlord with the help of a local lifted the old soak up and carted him outside. "Now on your way old timer, and watch yourself."

 

Sitting in his laboratory, Sherlock Holmes was conducting another experiment.  "I say Watson old chap, look at this It's most amazing."  Watson came over to the table, which was covered with all sorts of glass beakers, pipes and liquids.  "I say Holmes, what have you concocted there?"  Holmes looked up at his old comrade, "It's a substance I have perfected to replace the drugs I been having to take. Just think Watson, no more cocaine now I've produced this."  Watson sat next to his old friend just a little concerned.  "Are you sure old boy that it is safe, I mean you know what happened last time you tried to replace your addiction."  "Poppycock Watson don't be such a ninny hammer. This is good stuff.  I'll prove it now to you."  Holmes took the beaker and placed it to his lips then took a deep quaff of the liquid. After a few minutes Holmes looked at his old friend, "There, you see nothing to worry about, I'm fine.  Lets have a cognac and then retire, we're up early tomorrow remember."  "Ah yes Hillcrest Hall." Replied Watson.

 

The morning brought about a bright day and the sun was starting to heat up the damp sodden lawns and parklands in London Town. Outside a certain house in Baker Street stood a coach and horse and atop of it sat the driver waiting to take his fare on a long journey.  Inside the house Holmes and Watson were preparing to leave, when a letter was pushed through the door.  "I say Holmes what's this?" Holmes opened the letter and read its contents.  "Hmmm, it looks like Hillcrest Hall will have to wait.  My old friend Lord Peterson is in need of our assistance Watson."  "Well what...what is it old chap?"  Holmes donned his coat and deerstalker hat and replied, "I'll tell you on the way my friend."

 

Lord Peterson was standing in the great lounge of the Manor shaking slightly.  The sight that greeted him this morning when Graves hadn't shown up with his breakfast had unnerved him.  Peterson had gone into Graves' chamber and found him dead, mauled to death, his face slashed and body half eaten.  The amber liquid in his glass swayed as his hand shook at the memory of his Old Faithful butler and the horrible way he died.  His maid entered the room, "Sir, a Mr Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are here to see you."  "Oh good show them in." Replied Lord Peterson.  "My dear chap I came as soon as I got your letter.  It's just as well our homes are not far from one another."  The maid poured drinks for the great detective and his friend and left the room.  "Is the body still here?" Asked Watson.  "Yes it's in the chapel, oh it's so horrible. I've never seen anything like it in my life."  Their drinks finished, the lord of the manor escorted his friends to the chapel and the remains of Graves.

 

John the old soak lurched his way unsteadily along the towpath swaying this way and that and singing a old melody to himself.  A smile was painted across his face and his cheeks bright red with the affects of the alcohol consumed throughout the night.  In the dark of the woods to his right something stirred and began to pace old John step for step.  But being in such a stupor the old man didn't notice anything was amiss until he heard an almighty growl. "Groooowwwllll!" "Oh my giddy aunt, whatever could that be?"  Old John stood rigid and again heard "Ggrrrooowwwlll!".  He began to walk faster and then began to run as best he could.  "Oh my, it's the Beast, I'm a gonna here an no mistakin". Suddenly he lost his footing to a dip in the pathway and fell crashing to the ground.  He turned his head and screamed, "Aaahhhhh".

 

"Now Mary you gets yourself upstairs into one of those there rooms and I'll lock up, an bring ya somfink hot, ay beep beep. "Mary found a room to her liking and shuddered at the thought of the landlord.  "Dirty old sod." she thought and locked the door of her room, undressed and slipped into a white negligee. She lay in bed and heard the landlord's footsteps coming up the stairs, then stopping at the room she was in.  "You alright Mary, want somefink hot inside ya ay beep beep." Mary didn't answer.  Outside the landlord waited and listened at the door.  "A sleep ay. Well there'll be another night." The lecherous landlord thought to himself.

 

At Hampton Manor the master detective Sherlock Holmes and his able assistant Dr Watson were just finishing off a light supper and were speaking to Lord Peterson about the horrible death of his butler Graves.  "What I don't understand is how did whatever it was that killed him, get into the house let alone his room.  The building was locked tight."  "that is why we are here old friend, to deduce what went on.  There is definitely something afoot!"  Replied Holmes.  "Dr Watson, what do you make of it all, I mean those injuries he sustained are horrific.  What in God's name could have done this?"  Pleaded Peterson. "Well old boy, I say, I'll have to run some more tests to get to the bottom of it all."  Came the reply.  "Well off you go then Watson, I'm off to the village to see if anybody has any answers to these goings on."  Holmes dragged on his great coat and hat and took up his walking cane.  "Would you like a carriage to take you into the village, my friend?" "Heavens no, it's a lovely day and a saunter to the village will do me good, tally ho."

 

Holmes had walked about a mile, when he came upon a group of locals and the village bobby.  "Hello, what's all the kafuffle?"  "And who may you be sir, if ya don't mind me arskin?" Intoned the village bobby.  "Allow me to introduce myself." Holmes extended he card in a gloved hand.  "Strewth, it's Sherlock Holmes the great London detective." Came the response. "Now if you could be so good and tell me what is a miss, maybe I can help."  "It's old John sir, he was found dead here this morning.  Ripped to pieces he was, 'orrible!"  "And where is he now?"  "Rested up in the local church, till the doc can 'ave a look at 'im." Came the retort.  "And where is the doctor now?"  "He's off on Ďoliday won't be back till tomorrow."  "Tomorrow!!! Good heavens man you can't let a body lay in a church till then.  You there sonny, here's a shilling, run up to Hampton Manor and fetch my friend Dr Watson back here with you. And be quick about it, and I'll give you another shilling."  The young lad took off at a pace and half an hour later arrived back with Watson in a carriage.

 

The two men covered up the ripped dead body of old John, and asked the vicar to conduct a mass and burial for the old timer as soon as was convenient.  Slowly they walked up the aisle, "I say Holmes, it appears we have to bodies killed in exactly the same way." "Yes, Watson and by the looks of the injuries, I'd say that the beast that the locals clam is wild in the countryside is very real indeed."

 

Back at Hampton Manor, Lord Peterson was looking worried.  He was answering questions that were being asked by Inspector Smith.  "No, I don't know how it happened and yes all the doors to the Manor were bolted firm."  The Inspector still looked puzzled and scratched his head.  "Could anybody have snuck down in the night and opened a door to let the killer in?  Did Graves have any enemies here at the Manor?"  As Lord Peterson was about to answer the front doors of the great hall swung open and in breezed Holmes and Watson.  "Ahh Inspector Smith I presume.  I'm Holmes and this is Dr Watson."  "Pleased to make your acquaintance gentlemen.  Have you found anything of interest in the village?" "We have.  We now know that Graves and the old man were killed by the same thing."  The Inspector and Peterson looked baffled. "You said thing, not person, what do you mean Holmes."  "I mean gentlemen that it was the beast that killed the two men, the very same beast that has been sighted by the locals over the moors and heard howling at night."

 

It was now fast approaching 11 o' clock and the landlord of The Cloven Hoof Inn was asking for time, "Come on now gentlemen and ladies aint ya gor 'omes to go to? Sup up now and lets be 'avin ya out!"  Mary looked at the landlord and knew she didn't want to spend another night in the inn. "Ere Mary you can stay again tonight if ya like."  Mary tried to ignore him and walked over to a gent sitting in the corner smoking a pipe and sipping a brandy. "Excuse me sir, but could I ask a favour of you?"  Sherlock Holmes looked up from his paper, "Why yes, what is it child?"  Mary pretended to clean the table while she asked Holmes if he could do the honour of walking her a little way down the lane to the hotel.  "Why yes I'll be most happy to." Came the reply.  Holmes was waiting for Mary to finish off when the landlord approached him, "Excuse me guvner, but I'll 'ave to arsk ya to leave, we is closed."  "Thatís alright my good man I'm waiting for Mary to finish."  The landlord looked stunned, "You is waitin' for Mary is ya, and 'ow does she know a fine gent like you if I may be so bold to arsk." Holmes stood up and looked the landlord in the eyes, "You may not ask sir, you do not need to know."  "Now 'old on a minute." Cried the landlord as he made a grab for the sleuth.  Holmes raised his fist and punched him in the nose. Crashing to the floor the landlord felt blood trickle, "You've touched my claret, that's wot you done."

 

 

Walking down the lane Holmes asked Mary where she was heading for. "I don't know". Came the reply. "I just don't want to stay anywhere near that old letch again, ooh he makes me flesh crawl 'e does."  "Then we'll hear no more about it, you will be my guest at Hampton Manor.  Lord Peterson and I are old friends he won't mind you staying for awhile I'll be bound."  The two continued on their way when out of the darkness the great detective and his companion suddenly heard a loud howling.  "Quick run as fast as you can it sounds like the beast that's been terrorising the village." Shouted Holmes. The two ran as hard and fast as they could and arrived breathlessly at the manor.  "Good heavens Holmes what is all this?" cried Watson. "Watson the beast, it's on the moors, we've just heard it. Where is Lord Peterson?"  Watson looked dumbstruck, "Well he was hear earlier but retired to his chamber. Why do you ask?"  Holmes looked at his old friend closely, Quick fetch him from his bed and get him to guard this young lady, we are going on a hunt."  Watson did as he was told and moments later arrived back in the lounge, "Holmes, he's not there. His bed is empty and his window is wide open."  "Just as I suspected old friend I think Peterson has something to do with everything that is going on, I think he knows what the beast is."  Again Watson looked flabbergasted, "I say Holmes, and how the deuce do you come to that conclusion?"  "No time to say now old boy, we've got to get to the moors now!" Holmes instructed a servant to look after Mary while they were away and to keep all doors and windows locked, and under no circumstances open the door to anyone but himself or Watson.

 

The two old friends bounded down the driveway and onto the moors, with flashlight in hand they scoured the area for the beast.  Again howling could be heard, nearer this time and the two men strode on. In the light of the silver full moon a body was being ripped to bits and was left to lay in it's final death throes as the beast made off into the wilds of the moors.  The beam of Holmes' flashlight caught a shape on the ground and also a shape running off in the distance.  "Steady Watson, it looks like a body over there."  The lights beam proved Holmes rights, "Good lord its Peterson. What was he doing out here?" Cried Watson. "Well I'll be." Is all Holmes could say.

 

Back at the Manor Holmes, Watson and a very sleepy Mary were trying to deduce what was going on.  "I take it Holmes you fancied Lord Peterson to be the beast."  Holmes nodded affirmation.  Mary looked wide eyed and asked "What do you mean doctor?"  Watson informed Mary that Peterson had been mixing potions and taking it daily, which resulted in some strange behaviour patterns, Holmes naturally suspected that he had somehow turned himself into a beast, a kind of Jekyll and Hyde character.  "So you or what is the beast then?" Asked an incredulous Mary.  "That is what we are going to find out." Replied Holmes and Watson in unison.

 

"So Holmes who do you think is involved with these murders then if it wasn't who you suspected?" Asked Inspector Smith as he sat in a great leather armchair by the blazing fire that a maid had prepared.  "I do not know at this precise moment Inspector, but rest assured I will inform you as soon as I have some answers to this confounded riddle."  The Inspector got up to leave and was escorted out by the maid who was looking very nervous indeed.  "Now then child do not worry while Holmes and Watson are here you'll be safe." The Inspector left with a nod and as he left the great hall a look of satisfaction crossed his countenance.

 

Mary sat at the table sipping the remains of a cup of Earl Grey tea and looked over at the detective. "Mr Holmes, do you think the beast will ever be caught?" Holmes walked over to Mary and placed a warm hand on her shoulder, "Do not worry so much dear lady, I will solve this riddle of the beast once and for all tonight." Just then Watson joined the couple, he had been in the study where Holmes and he had set up a laboratory. "I say Holmes are we to go out on the moors again tonight?" "No" replied the sleuth, "We are going into the village tonight, I've a feeling what we are looking for is there." Again Watson looked flabbergasted, Holmes, is there something you haven't told me yet?" Holmes smirked at his old friend, "Later my good fellow, later."

 

The Cloven Hoof Inn was busy this night and the landlord was up to his eyes in beer and drunks. "Blast that girl Mary, ain't come in tonight that's what. Got a do it all myself." At the bar stood a young girl with flame red hair and she kept eyeing the landlord up. "Got a problem 'ave ya girl?" The girl smiled, "No I ain't, but it looks like you 'ave. Need an 'and do ya?"  The landlord rushed over to her, "Cor, you a fast one 'ainít ya. Corse I needs an 'and." The girl looked at the landlord again and moved closer to him, "I'll start now if you like, but I wants paying, two guineas." "What!" The landlord looked startled. "Take it or leave it, I can go elsewhere for work." "Okay okay, start now."  Julie proved to be a big hit with the locals and the landlord as well and proved her worth in gold.  "Now gents, an ladies, time to go 'ome to ya beds, drink up. 'Ere Julie you want to stay here tonight, plenty of rooms?"  Julie shrugged her shoulders then answered, "Yeah I fink I will."

 

Trudging along the lane towards the village Holmes and Watson were warmly wrapped up as the night was bitter cold.  "I say Holmes old chap we should have taken a carriage, it blistering cold out here." Holmes walked on without saying a word to his comrade, he was listening to every movement and sound the night had to offer.  Suddenly from the direction of the village came a loud long howl.  "Quick Watson, the game is a foot."  The two men ran as fast as they could towards the village and again the howling came, but this time it was followed by a human scream, "Aaahhhhhhhh!!"  The two men continued running towards the village, "Where is it coming from Holmes?" Asked Watson in between gasps of air.  "The village inn if I'm not mistaken."  Arriving at the inn the sleuths pounded on the door, suddenly, the sound of glass smashing was heard and a large figure dived out of it and vanished up the lane towards the moors.  Holmes and Watson kicked the door in and entered the inn.  On the floor ripped to pieces and dying lay....

 

The door of the Cloven Hoof Inn burst asunder under the combined force of Holmes and Watson, and the sight that greeted their eyes made them stop dead in their tracks. On the floor lay the remains of the landlord and a young girl.  "Ye Gods what a mess!" Exclaimed Watson.  The two men felt violently sick at the sight and Watson rushed over to the bar and poured two large brandies.  "Here Holmes old chap, knock this back." The sight of the gory remains and the stench of freshly torn up flesh and blood was enough to make even the hardest man feel queasy.  Watson rushed over to the bar again and refilled the glasses.  Holmes now bent down closely to the remains with a kerchief over his countenance and held out a magnifying glass looking for clues.  "Quickly Watson an envelope if you please."  Watson handed him the package and with some tweezers, Holmes lifted from the bodies what looked like long blonde hairs.  "Well well well, this is most interesting." Inspector Smith came through the broken entrance with two constables, "I thought I'd find you here Holmes." "What do you imply by that remark?" Asked a calm Holmes. "I'd just like to know how you happen to be here amidst this mess."  Holmes faced the Inspector,Ē Itís quite elementary my dear Inspector, we had an inkling that the beast my have been the landlord, alas as you can see, we were wrong." "Yes that's twice now you've been mistaken, first Lord Paterson, now Jones the landlord, and I thought you were the great detective."  Watson came forward, "I say, hold on there a moment, Holmes has been following clues and it's obvious to us that someone is deliberately leaving false clues."

 

Holmes had had quite enough of the Inspector and decided it was time to leave him and his men to clean up the whole sordid mess.  On the way back to the manor, Watson asked Holmes who he thought the beast was, Holmes replied quite casually that he thought it could be Mary. Watson was flabbergasted, "Now hold on old chap it can't be that lovely young lady, she's too pretty."  Holmes laughed, "Ahh my old comrade, still after the pretty young ladies eh!"  On their entrance into the manor's spacious lounge they found Mary sound asleep in a great leather armchair near the blazing fire. "There Holmes it couldn't be Mary she's fast asleep."  Holmes woke Mary with a little shake of her arm, she woke with a start. "Hello Mary, I'm sorry I woke you but we seem to have a problem."  The three guests of the late Lord Paterson sat together going through all the clues with generous helpings of brandy.  "So what happens now Mr Holmes, you now know it isn't me who is the beast, so who could it be."  Holmes studied Mary's face for a few seconds and had to agree with Watson that she was a very pretty young lady indeed. Just then he jumped up out of his chair, "Eureka! I have it! It can only be one person, and that one person is...Inspector Smith!"

 

Watson and Mary sat in silence as Holmes reeled off the facts as to why he came to his conclusion. "By jingo Holmes I think you may be right." Cried Watson. "That ninny hammer has been playing us for fools and tried to implicate Mary as the beast."  "Yes, but where he has failed is by turning up minutes after the murders have taken place.  How would he have known they had occurred, the station is a good ten minutes from the inn and from where the old soak was found dead, but he arrived minutes later."  Holmes took out his pipe and filled the bowel with a good helping of Old Virginia, lit it and happily sat down again.  "Tomorrow Watson our plan will go into action."

 

The next day the Inn was closed due to the horrible deaths even though some drunken clod pates insisted on trying to get in. "Now then you lot, go 'ome and drink your 'homebrews, let the dead lay in peace." The constable stood his ground and the drunks made their way off down the lane.  "'Ere its a bit parky tonight 'ain't it Bill?" "Yep it is Jack, wot's old Smithy doing? I thought he was gonna be out 'ere tonight with us guarding the place." "Ahh you know wot 'ees like. Tucked up with his bit of stuff no doubt."  From the distance a noise came to the constables ears, "'Ere I didn't like the sound of that did you Bill?" "Nope and if it comes any closer I'm off 'an no messing'."  The sound came closer and the two men could hear a grunting noise as well, "It's the beast that's wot it is, the Beast." The two constables began to run and as they did so they could hear the beast in hot pursuit, "Oh my giddy aunt, we is dun for." The two men turned a corner and dived to the floor. Standing in the road with shotguns stood Holmes and Watson.  The beast rounded the corner, eyes blazing red fangs dribbling saliva, and standing not on four legs but two.  Holmes and Watson let off two shots and hit the beast square in the chest.  It fell instantly.  The two policemen had seen it all but could not believe their eyes, laying on the floor was the form of a man beast.  It was now beginning to change it's appearance and the four men looked at the figure of Inspector Smith.

 

Back at Baker Street Holmes and Watson were enjoying a game of poker and sipping Napoleon Brandy, "Well Holmes old boy, another case solved. Ingenious plan you had getting the two constables to stand guard at the inn.  What puzzles me though, is how on earth did you know he would go for the two men?"  Holmes grinned, "Elementary my dear Watson, Smith had seen me speaking with his constables later that day, remember I popped out for a walk and came across the two and chatted to them. In the distance I could see Smith watching intently.  It was a gamble to take I know, but I knew he would bite the leash if shown it."  Watson began laughing, "Bite the leash, I say Holmes I like it."

 

The End

COPYRIGHT © Mike McManus 2001