18 August, 1888
Four strangers arrived at a mansion in the ritzy Earl’s Court district of London. The mansion was owned by a well-to-do man by the name of Mr. Forester. Each of the strangers had their own reasons for going to the mansion, all of which were connected in one way or another to the grisly murder that had allegedly taken place inside.
Two constables from the London Police Service stood guard at the gate to the property of Mr. Forester. They allowed the strangers to pass. A sombre man, dressed in a grey trench coat and matching fedora stood near the entrance to the mansion. As each of the strangers arrived, he introduced himself as Harrison Gauss, a detective from Scotland Yard.
The first stranger was a disgruntled, young, well-to-do man by the name of Lord Lorrix-Havershire. He appeared to be a little the worse for wear and clearly wanted to get away from both the mansion and the police. Gauss wouldn’t have it.
An exorbitantly rich and somewhat pompous factory owner by the name of Mr. Stuart was the next stranger to appear on the scene. He immediately began making demands of the police, all of which were largely ignored.
An unusual man, by the name of Pepperton, arrived shortly thereafter, claiming to be an assistant coroner. Inspector Gauss took one look at him and saw through his ruse. Desperate for added protection in any form, Lorix-Havershire claimed the man was his attorney and managed to convince Gauss that Pepperton should stay at his side.
As the unlikely assortment of people headed into the mansion, they encountered a mysterious man by the name of Mr. Morris, who claimed he had accidentally walked past the police on guard and was trying to locate his old friend Mr. Forester. Although Stuart had known Forester for many years, he had never seen Mr. Morris in his life. Unconvinced by the suspicious man, Gauss sent him away. Apparently not easily dissuaded, Mr. Morris snuck back into the mansion and followed the group.
Gauss went on to reveal that Mr. Forester and his family were spending the summer at their home in the English countryside. The care of the property had been left to two servants, a grouchy old gardener and an unassuming old housekeeper. Gauss led the group into the Mansion’s cellar and directly to the scene of the crime.
The vivisected corpse of a young woman, identified by the police as Beth Middleton, a known prostitute vaguely familiar to Lorix-Havershire, was lying upon an improvised table. Copious amounts of blood had pooled and dried around the base of the table and had partially drained away through a grate on the floor. The woman had been cut open and her entire complement of internal organs had been placed upon smaller rough tables placed around the body. A large number of candles were also noticeable around the scene.
Gauss explained that the woman, last seen alive in the company of Lorix-Havershire two nights earlier, had been discovered in her present state the previous morning by the housekeeper. He believed the murder to be the work of a cult. Gauss further explained that he was concerned that the brutal and deliberate nature of the murder would cause a public panic, which would greatly interfere with his investigation. He had thus far managed to keep the matter quiet and intended to keep it that way.
After spending a little time inspecting the crime scene, Stuart walked off and confronted Mildred, the housekeeper, demanding facts. She claimed not to know anything beyond what she had already explained to the police. Hearing the commotion upstairs, the remainder of the group joined Stuart. Mildred was clearly feeling overwhelmed by the course of events and began trembling violently. She revealed that she had seen a man resembling Lord Lorix-Havershire (although only from behind) walking off the property the previous morning. She called out to him, as he clearly did not belong there, but he quickly ran off. This led her to search the house for signs of a break-in. She found nothing amiss in the mansion and so thought to look in the cellar, where she discovered the body. She immediately alerted the police.
Pepperton decided to confront the gardener next, but upon leaving the mansion, he noticed that the police constables were missing from their posts at the gate. He went to investigate and noticed a suspicious man resembling Lord Lorix-Havershire in height, build and hair color loitering nearby. As Pepperton moved to approach the man, he immediately fled. Pepperton gave chase, but came across an unconscious constable dumped in a bush lining the road. Pepperton paused long enough to rouse the man and sent him to fetch Gauss and the others, before resuming his pursuit.
The flustered constable ran to Gauss and the others and repeated the message he had been given. The message was simply that Pepperton had spotted a suspicious man matching the housekeeper’s description of the interloper and had rushed off in pursuit. Gauss, Morris and the constable left without hesitation, while Lorix-Havershire and Stuart followed with as much dignity as they could muster.
Gauss and Morris quickly outpaced the constable, who seemed to have suffered a rather severe beating and who soon gave up the chase entirely. Morris accosted a Monopoly-man, demanding to know where Pepperton had gone. Affronted by Morris’ ill-manners, the man was less than cooperative and only after Morris disarmed him in a brief stick duel did he reveal a direction.
Meanwhile, Lorix-Havershire and Stuart struggled to quicken their pace while maintaining their composure in front of the other. Lorrix-Havershire broke first and started to run, like a common errand boy, provoking Stuart to do the same, lest he miss an important development.
The long foot chase eventually led everyone to Chelsea’s wharf, on the Thames waterfront, where Morris caught a glimpse of Pepperton entering a warehouse. A couple of waterfront goons got in Morris and Gauss’ way, allowing Lorix-Havershire and Stuart to finally catch up. The conflict was short-lived as Mr. Morris quickly and remorselessly stabbed a man to death and dumped his body in the river. The other goon tried to flee, only to be shot down by Gauss. Lorix-Havershire and Stuart, perhaps only beginning to realize how dangerous their situation had become struggled to control themselves as they witnessed the violence.
Without hesitation, Morris charged into the warehouse, which he found dark and foreboding. He arrived just in time to hear Pepperton cry out, apparently in pain, from the other end of the warehouse. Dodging bullets from an unseen marksman, Morris was eventually joined by the others, all of whom were forced into a confrontation.
The unseen shooter fired on the group from an elevated catwalk, while a skinny, psychotic looking man armed with a straight razor tangled with Stuart. Showing a surprising knack for close combat, Stuart managed to grapple, bat and punch his assailant, knocking him down repeatedly. Meanwhile, Morris evaded the marksman and ran afoul of a beast of a man sporting a steam-powered punching machine, mounted on his back. Morris deftly disabled one of the punching pistons by cutting some of the device’s piping, but was then knocked unconscious by a metal fist powered by the remaining piston.
Meanwhile, having grabbed one of Gauss’ pistols, Lorix-Havershire displayed his marksman skills, wounding the enemy shooter and the giant man.
The enemy shooter managed to escape through the side door of the warehouse, while the giant man eventually went down after having been repeatedly shot by Gauss and Lorix-Havershire. After having been soundly beaten by Stuart, the skinny psycho was shot by Gauss and gave up the fight.