There was a little gathering in Lady Moldylocks’ garden, who had organized a trivia game with interesting prizes to win and many bottles of liquor spread around the tables and on the Loony Bin’s exterior bar.
Everyone seemed quite merry as they settled in for the game, looking forward to an exciting evening. Lady Moldylocks herself was dancing near the prizes’ table and greeting every visitor with cheerful welcomes.
The group formed slowly. Chance Geier, Eochai Sonnerstein and Galactic Baroque sat at the bar next to Miss Suzanne Supersweet and Mr. Ayden Blew. Then Mr. Dark arrived, along with his neighbor from the Repository of Medical Arts and Sciences, Dr. Mathilda Hewish, and Dr. Henry Jekyll, who they had met on the way. They headed towards the small, round tables set in the corners at the back of the room.
“Please sit, Doctor.” said Mr. Dark, holding one of the chairs for Dr. Hewish, while Dr.Jekyll settled down at the other table.
“Thank you Mr. Dark, you are a gentleman,” answered Dr. Hewish with a smile.
Eochai blurted out “And a saint … tan… The kids say he’s Satan,” which triggered Dr. Hewish’s laugh. Dark lifted an eyebrow and grinned.
Following this, the young urchin girl named Azura Loring walked in and let herself fall to the grass. “Ellos,” she said as she waved to all.
“Disgusting orphan child… HELLO!!” Eochai yelled to her.
Azura smirked and Jekyll lectured Sonnerstein.
“Eochai,” said Jeykll. “Please stop calling the orphans disgusting.”
“Some are not,” added Dr. Hewish.
“Me have ya know me took a baff last week!” Azura piped up.
While they were arguing, Dark looked over the room and whispered something.
Mathilda leaned forward, addressing him across the table : “You said, Mr. Dark?”
Dark waved a hand.
“It was of no consequence, Doctor. Merely a self-reminder.”
“Ah, very well,” she nodded, sitting back in her chair.
The game was almost ready to start. Lady Moldylocks explained the rules as Miss Kikio arrived and settled herself on the grass, followed shortly by one Miss Ambeylia, looking fresh in her pink dress and little hat.
The young lady introduced herself to the audience. “Hello everyone. I’m new to New Babbage, from Caledon.”
“Ah, how is Caledon?” asked Jekyll.
“Caledon became boring of late,” said Ambeylia, “so I traveled here for some excitement.”
Dr. Jekyll chuckled and shook his head. “You came to the right place, madam.”
“I am formerly of Caledon myself,” added Mr. Baroque, as Dark gazed leering at the newcomer.
“I don’t understand people who are absolutely looking for excitement.” Dr. Hewish declared. “I am rather content in the quiet of my laboratory.”
Ambeylia looked around and spotted the empty chair opposite of where Dr. Jekyll was sitting. She walked over and smiled at him. “It appears all the seats are filled, sir. Would you mind terribly if I joined you?”
“Jekyll offered the other seat to the lady from Caledon : “Be my guest.”
“Thank you kindly, sir.” She politely said, sitting down.
With everyone comfortably installed and slogging their drink of choice, Lady Moldylocks proceeded to the first round of her Trivia game, asking a question about the famous Bar Wars.
Spirits were high and the attendees were enjoying themselves. Old-timers Baroque and Geier were fighting for the first place while the most recent arrivals were listening keenly to learn more about their city.
Although they were all having a lot of fun, Drs. Hewish and Jekyll had to excuse themselves early to go back to their studies.
The next question was an easy one, as everyone knew that Wiggyfish was the main ingredient of New Babbage Chowder. Geier was the fastest, and won a holy water set, probably blessed by Father Pizarro, of the Church of the Builder, who had in earlier times created a formula to change children into Morlocks.
A cry of “Dunsany” gave the victory to Baroque for the following question, and he did a little dance to celebrate.
At this point, Geier and Baroque were neck and neck, and ready to jump ahead as soon as Lady Moldylocks finished her next question.
No one guessed correctly.
“The correct answer was Rip Wirefly won with his brick and wrought iron bridge,” said Lady Moldylocks.
But no one was listening anymore. They were all staring behind her, eyes wide open.
Lady Moldylocks stopped dancing and turned slowly to face the newcomer, a look of horror painting itself on her face.
Creaky Gloom stepped into the bar and scanned everyone there.
“Good evening,” he said amiably, in his deep echoing voice.
The young lady from Caledon gasped at his sight, having probably seen nothing of the sort back in her hometown. Azura, the scruffy urchin girl, raised a brow slightly. Kikio, who was sitting on the grass right in front of the massive creature turned and glared at him, her hand resting tensely on her blade. Geier stared back at Gloom, who grinned malevolently, his eyes shining.
Dark smiled slightly. Miss Supersweet widened her eyes and Baroque felt a chill on his spine.
Eochai eyed Azura. “Hmm… was nice knowing you, kid!”
But Gloom was looking at Ambeylia, the girl in the pink dress, sitting alone at the table. He approached her and stood over her.
“You,” he rasped. “You will come with me.”
Ambeylia sunk back into her chair and asked in a little voice “Do I know you, sir?”
“That’s odd,” whispered Geier, puzzled, “I thought he only went after urchins.”
Gloom shook the sack he was carrying, brutally.
“I shall not go with you!” cried Ambeylia. “How dare you sir!”
“Go in the blue outhouse, or go in the sack,” Baroque mused, observing the event.
Miss Supersweet could not help but noticing what was going on and she addressed the men around her. “Gentlemen, do we have a distressed damsel?”
“In New Babbage?” Geier raised. “The damsels are hardly distressed.”
“I would like to think so,” Miss Supersweet trailed off.
“I wish Chef was here to intervene…” Lady Moldylocks added, glancing nervously at the creature.
Gloom turned his head, his eyes wandering about the attendance, before locking onto the urchin girl sitting on the ground. He stared at her for a moment and finally tore away his gaze with visible regret.
He resumed staring at the lady from Caledon, who had stood and backed away from him.
“You will come with me as I demand,” he boomed loudly, “if not by your own free will then by force.”
“I think not sir!” Ambeylia said with indignation. “Just who are you?”
“Hey, Gloom”, Geier called out, “isn’t she a bit off your usual hunt?”
Losing patience, Gloom suddenly grabbed her by the wrist and threw her screaming and kicking into his huge sack with one fluid and effortless movement.
“Whoa!” Geier exclaimed. “Hey, wait a minute!”
“Oh my,” whispered Miss Supersweet.
Lady Moldylocks gasped, and Miss Kikio drew her blade, shouting “Oi you filthy bastard, let her go!”
But Gloom only grinned, nodded imperceptibly to Mr. Dark, still sitting in the darkened corner, and ran away with his loot before anybody could lift a finger.
A commotion ensued, and Lady Moldylocks had to put the next round of drinks on the house and assure everyone that the proper authorities would address the issue.