Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 41

toric displays. Sir Henry glanced about himself, a few guests stood in the main room close enough to see into the dinosaur room but no one was paying him any attention. A great monster of bone with a huge jaw lined with teeth stood before him, not what he wanted. Display cases lined the walls and the bones of ancient dragons and beasts were assembled in displays across the floor. Now, where was the one with three horns and a frill? Aha, it was behind the two legged monster, its horns and head just visible behind the tail of the king of dinosaurs. Sir Henry walked the length of the first monster, his custom leather shoes making the slightest of sounds on the polished stone floor. As he walked he glanced up at the bones towering far above his head. He could see why people thought that there were the bones of dragons or creatures of myth. Then he found himself facing a great horned skull, the beak like mouth bigger than his head, the two upper horns stood above his head and longer than he could reach. A most fearsome beast indeed. But he was not here to look at its face. Sir Henry walked around the side of the monster and looked up at the great frill that covered its neck, the room was lit but the underside of the frill was in shadow. Nothing a well prepared man could not deal with of course and a few seconds later Sir Henry placed his lamp on the creatures spine and gazed at a map, crudely drawn but a map none the less. Peaks here and here, this valley with the hooked shape, this mountain pass and here, the cave of crystals. He glanced around to ensure he was alone then took pencil and paper from his coat, a minutes work and he had the map copied. His final act was to slip a small knife from his pocket and make more marks and lines, change the existing ones and make it impossible for anyone else to read. Now he and he alone could find the diamonds. He turned off his lamp and tucked it away along with the knife and pencil. He stepped down from the plinth upon which the dragon bones stood and smiled. With the map the cave was his. “I’ll take that, monsieur.” The voice came from the shadows further down the room and a figure stepped into view. A cheap suit over an stained shirt, both were ill fitting and well worn. A grubby raincoat finished the ensemble and above all of this a thin faced man, slick black hair framed a weasel like face, a weak chin hidden by a unkempt goatee beneath a hook of a nose. Sir Henry grunted and slipped the map into his jacket pocket, of course it was not going to be easy. “Well well, La chef, what brings you here? Hardly your sort of party, oh and you could at least have dressed for the evening, this is a formal event.” Piere La Chef. Chief agent of the French bureau of external security, spy, assassin and all round manner less republican thug. Of course he would be here. “You stuck up English pig; you think to fool me with your manners and your tricks. I am here for the same thing you are. The diamonds belong to France and I will make sure they are returned.” Sir Henry laughed, a deep booming sound that turned a few heads among those who stood closest to the doors in the main room. “Belong to France. I must say you have a fine sense of humour for a Frenchman.” La cheef walked closer and stopped no more than a few paces from Sir Henry then spat on the marble floor in front of him. “France deserves its place in the world, with the diamonds and our new weapons your precious Empire will fall and I will be there to see it happen.” Lacheef slid his right hand into his raincoat and then pulled it back out but now his fingers were clasped around the blue steel of a military revolver. “Drop the map and back away Fitzwarren. Nothing would give me more pleasure than shooting you.” Sir Henry stood firm but raised his voice a little. PAGE 41