The oak monstrosity seemed to fill the room. Mycroft and I looked upon it with respect as we recalled the day we chose it. In those days, Mycroft still had his youthful physique, before he had to turn some of his attention to his family’s estates and the other, darker side of his business. “I say, Hungerton, it’s got great legs!” Mycroft enthused to me quietly in the back of the furniture shop.
Indeed it had. The solid bulk of the honest table was only redeemed aesthetically by its pins, not that we were purchasing it for them. We were looking for a sturdy table and damn the rest of it. The shop keeper came upon us suddenly after that remark, only to be surprised when he found two gentlemen in his domain. He set about haggling immediately only to find, to his delight, that Mycroft bid him higher for the sake of two things – delivery and discretion; few would ever know of its existence within the bowels of the Diogenes Club.Now, though, as we looked upon it once more, we knew we’d have to break it up. But it brought back memories, such horrors. After it had been installed, we engaged a Dr Jekyll to brew a potion to hold a lycanthrope’s change back. That night gave us all a terrible fright and Mycroft might easily have been lost to us all. The sturdy leather belts, with their buckles, were new then and hammered in a roughshod manner into the thick top. We had a youngster delivered to us from the Shifting Lord to experiment on.
That was grim work as we were hidden from the light of the rising moon in the re-fitted basement. Jekyll had just handed over the medicine to Holmes after the poor lad had been strapped down firmly, along his limbs and one round his neck for good measure. It was that last which was so nearly our ruin. With care, Mycroft fed the liquid to the desperate youth, whose eyes brimmed full with tears and fear.
Whatever Jekyll had cooked up, it did not work and we were faced with the horror of the stripling adolescent changing in front of our very eyes. In our complacency we had not thought through this possibility, and, as the lad’s neck started to fur and thicken, Mycroft leapt from our safe distance to undo the neck strap. He shouted for us to get out and then he had to hold the werewolf’s growing muzzle so he could struggle the strap free.
In an instant I saw what was needed and after pushing the yammering doctor beyond the iron gate, I went to the aide of my Holmes. With Herculean strength he pressed the head down with the jaws away from us as I undid one arm. Shuddering as the form of man was no longer true I stayed my course and after one arm or one leg was free we ran to safety, beyond the iron gate.
From there we observed the change as the werewolf tried to free itself from its bonds but almost too late, one leg was caught and we heard a squelch as it became dislocated and then pulled through the remnants of the strapping. With a howl and a sickening pop we heard it go back in.
Standing there, after all these years brought it all back. After the raid on the club we were going to have to move and there was no way we could easily explain the pattern of nails on the table top. “It’ll be the furnace,” I said, saving Mycroft from having to condemn that faithful piece of oak.
“Still, it’s got great legs,” he replied with a thin smile.