Readers Gazette Short Stories

Short Story The Legions of Tomorrow

The Legions of Tomorrow by John Pirillo Fantasy short story

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“A Sherlock Holmes Story”

His swarthy complexion always confused anyone who first met him, as they always assumed that the undead were...undead looking. He would take their stares with good grace and let them off easy with the words... “I do not drink...blood!” A direct contradiction to those who had seen the once famous Bela Lugosi movies that had been perpetrated on the masses to scare and frighten them. The aging actor had been a distant cousin of the Count and had to apologize to him for the bad press, but he needed the work at the time and the Count had encouraged him to take the work. He didn't care about superstitious people's beliefs. Everyone knew there were good and bad in anything, good wolves bad, bad wolves; good vampires, bad vampires; ghosts that meant well, ghosts that had no such intention of every doing anything well for anyone. Demons who rocked the foundations of the earth to destroy it and demons who were working on getting their angel wings.

So what others believed...he really didn't care or mind. Take your pick. Had he been featured in a vampire movie, he would be more like that famous Latin actor who had made Dracula a dancing hero. He also loved to dance, thought at this particular moment, as he hung upside down from his bedroom beam, thinking about what he had in store for the morrow, he had no particular juice on any kind of dancing, except dancing to the bathroom as soon as possible. He had drunk a lot of blueberry wine the last night and his bladders...yes, he had two...his bladders, as strong as they were were screaming to be emptied.

So he dropped from the beam, flipping over nimbly midflight, and landed lightly on his feet. He yawned, then stretched and stumbled. Yes, even vampires wake up slowly and sluggishly. He stumbled into the lavatory to relieve his bladders. His eyes felt like they were going to pop until he was able to empty them. So many there was some truth to the eyes floating in...well, you know.

He took out his favorite razor, lathered it with a fine soap he had imported from the India Isles, and began drawing it delicately across his chin, then throat, until the fine mist of hair he was growing had been mown down like a savage forest trying to overtake a city.

He yawned again, revealing his two largish front incisors, which had given him and his father their legendary appearance in most modern horror tales of fanged monsters. The fangs could indeed suck blood through them, but never by force, always by free will. They never took what wasn't freely offered, and many friends would offer them a drink in exchange for the favors done for them, not because the Count or his father demanded them, but as a showing of appreciation and gratitude.

“Now what?” He thought as the huge bat knocker on his front door clanged loudly, making a shrieking noise up and down the hallways of his two story mansion. He smiled. Any guests were always startled by the joke he had installed, but after another visit or two caught onto his sense of humor and came to appreciate it.

He leaped from the second floor landing to the floor below, ignoring the beautifully carpeted steps and opened the front door. His good friend, and servant, Charlie Fritz, was not in the house at that time. He had been given leave and a good sum of money to fly back to Rome in one of the new fangled Tesla dirigibles to stay with his family for a month. The Count was not afraid of a little housework and since he only needed a few hours a night or day to refresh himself, he never had too little time to take care of the details of household chores.

“Ah!” He said as he looked at Sherlock, resplendent in a tux with Watson next to him, and James Moriarity, their mutual friend.

“Come in! Come in!” He said, motioning them inside. He glanced outside. It was a full moon. He expected more guests and one in particular.

“I've had the table prepared since this morning for our repast. I hope you don't mind Charlie not being here. I shall happily serve you just as well. Or at least as well as I am capable.”

Sherlock smiled. “It is not the service we have come to visit, my dear Count.”

He stepped inside, throw his over cloak onto a hanger by the door, allowing Watson to do the same and they headed into the dining room.

“Good doctor, how's your fiancée?”

“Marvelous. She sends her regrets for not coming, but was struck by one of those obnoxious colds that strike this time of year. I prescribed some sleeping potion to help her rest. By this time she should be comfortably between her sheets and covers and resting well.”

“Very good. This way.” The Count said, guiding them the rest of the way into the dining room. Inside was a very large table that shone like glass with settings for twelve.

“When will the others be coming?” Sherlock asked, seating himself at the near end of the table.

Watson sat on the corner near him and looked at the Count.

“I would imagine they'll all trickle in as usual.”

The door bat slammed home again, sending shrieks through the home.

“Excuse me. I think we have more guests.”

He went to the door and let in Lord Graystone and Lady Shareen, who were followed by Professor Challenger and Conan.

“Harry's on his way with Tesla and Edison.” Conan explained as he and Challenger set their hats and cloaks on the hanger by the door.

“Very good.” The Count said, then led them into the dining room.

He began bringing out food and drink for everyone, who all insisted that he wait for the others, but he insisted he had more than enough for everyone several times over and they shouldn't wait for one more minute.

Watson and Challenger tucked in immediately, their bellies almost screaming for food, they were such stout men.

James went into the kitchen with the Count and helped him bring more food out.

“You look good, James. The sea life must have agreed with you.”

“Very much so.”

He helped the Count set out the last of the food and drink as the Count went to answer the next shriek of the Bat ringer.

Tesla, Harry and Edison came in chatting up a storm.

Everyone sat down and after hurried greetings began eating.

Sherlock looked up. “We're missing a guest.”

The Count looked at the empty chair. “I suspect there's a good reason.”

A loud bang came from the door.

The Count smiled. “I think our guest has arrived.”

He sniffed the air, then smiled.

He went to the door and opened it. Larry was there, his hat in hand. “I hope I didn't keep you. The moon has made me miserable. It's almost full.”

“Don't worry, I have a nice room for you to stay in if you want to wait for the moon to pass.”

“Thank you, Count. You're a great host. As always.”

After everyone had eaten to their heart's content, the Count rose and held up his glass. “A toast to our brotherhood. To each other, our friends, and to those whom we serve.”

“Here, here!” They all joined and drank their toasts.

They set down their glasses and looked at him expectantly.

“The reason why I've invited you all here this evening is not only for the companionship we all enjoy and share with each other, but to give you warning.”

Sherlock tensed for a moment, then relaxed.

“Warning?” Challenger demanded.

Conan cocked an eye on the Count.

“About what?”

Watson shook his head. “Always something to sour the milk, isn't there Holmes.”

James leaned over and whispered into Watson's ear. “No one drinks milk here.”

“I do.” Watson declared.

Everyone broke into laughter.

The Count waited for the laughter to subside, then spoke again. “We all know that the Hollow Man for quite some time now has been amassing an army.”

Lord Greystone nodded. “I spotted some of his forces on my last patrol of the Isles of the Behemoth.”

“Aye.” James agreed. “Captain Nemo has spotted them as well.”

The Count nodded, then eyed his friends.

“My warning is the Legions of Tomorrow are on their way!”

The room became deathly silent.

“Have Wells and Verne confirmed this?” Sherlock demanded.

“Yes. And it's a very real threat. But that threat is still some time away. For tonight...” He said, raising his glass again in a toast. “Let us rejoice in our friendship and pray that we can continue to protect the innocent from the hordes that surely will soon be storming our gates.”

“Here, here!” Everyone said and joined in the new toast.

Their jollity filled the ancient hallways of Count Dracula's home, but coming nearer and more near were the hordes. The Legions of Tomorrow, who had a more deadly agenda in mind.

To see more of John Pirillo's work, click the link to his website or scroll down to the bottom of the page to view his member details Visit John Pirillo's Website.

Images used for the story are from John Pirillo

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