THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE 2: A NEW BEGINNING
A "Great Mouse Detective" Fanfiction By The Mouse Avenger
A Cry In The Night
Wednesday, July 22, 1897
Madame Elizabella Ratburn woke up with a startled gasp, bolting upright in the cot that she had been sleeping in. The elderly mouse-rat hybrid  cast quick glances to the left & right of her, breathing heavily at a rapid rate; her pulse & heartbeat accelerated with the adrenaline that surged through her veins, bringing her out of the state of sleepiness that had once occupied her senses. Then, when Madame Ratburn finally took notice of her surroundings, her breathing became much slower & steadier, & her body began to gradually relax with each second that passed. After Madame Ratburn had fully managed to calm her nerves, she took another look around the humbly-decorated interior of the wagon where she made her home...before her blue eyes locked upon the crystal ball that rested upon a simple table (covered in a draping silk cloth with golden-tassled fringes) in the middle of the chamber.
The enchanted orb showed no signs of activity. There was no turquoise smoke floating around inside the crystal ball, no images appearing in the haze, not even a faint glow emanating from the surface...& to Madame Ratburn, this was very strange. Considering the fact that she had just been afflicted with an otherworldly vision, the Gypsy psychic had to wonder, Why isn't my crystal ball picking up on this paranormal sign? At least, I would expect it to...
Madame Ratburn's thoughts were suddenly interrupted when she heard a noisea loud scream of animalistic rage that pierced the silence of the twilight, seeming to echo across every street & rooftop, as the bells of Big Ben chimed the hour...The next 10 seconds that passed seemed like a small eternity to Madame Ratburn, as her rat-like ears continued to be bombarded with that single, solitary soundthat lone cry in the nightuntil, almost as soon as it had begun, the screaming came to a swift stop, Big Ben's last chime faded in the air, & silence fell over the town once again.
No sooner did Madame Ratburn begin to reflect upon her recent experience, than a strange sensation rushed over her like a gust of cold air, attacking her bones with a merciless chill that made her teeth chatter. Shivers escaped from Madame Ratburn's mouth, as she wrapped her blankets tightly around herself, hoping it would ward off the cold...but when it didn't, the ancient clairvoyant soon started to realize that something was not quite right.
As if to confirm those thoughts, Madame Ratburn's crystal ball started to glow, its smooth surface radiating with a pale, ghostly luminescence. The owner of that otherworldly orb smiled in satisfaction when she saw what was happening. About time! she thought to herself, as she rose from her bed, gently lifted herself up into the air, & floated over to the single chair that rested next to her table. Upon taking her seat in said chair, Madame Ratburn leaned in towards the crystal ball, waving her wizened paws over the glass globe, as she goaded the spirits from the other side  to tell her everything they had to say...
Before long, the crystal ball became filled with hazy clouds of that turquoise smoke, which whirled & swirled about for several seconds, churning like choppy ocean waters in a seastorm...& then, seemingly out of nowhere, the first of a series of visions began to appear in the mistfaintly at first, but gradually becoming more & more vivid. Madame Ratburn's eyes lit up with interest, as she saw the animated image playing out like a scene from a stage production; it showed a young rat, who had been falling through the sky, being caught by two bats, who safely brought him down towards the west bank of the Thames River.
Upon taking a closer look at the figures, Madame Ratburn gasped when a wave of recognition hit her; she knew those rodents! They were none other than Professor Ratigan & two of his finest employees, Eunice Karlin & Shellington Batly!  But what on Earth were they doing in this part of Mouse London, & why had Ratigan been falling from Big Ben? Madame Ratburn soon got an answer (or, at least, part of it) when the crystal ball switched to an image of Basil Of Baker Street, her long-time friend & comrade (& occasional employer), flying up towards a homemade hot-air balloon in what looked like some kind of primitive helicopter...  As soon as Madame Ratburn put two & two together, she figured that Basil & Ratigan had just gotten into a fight on Big Ben, with both of them tumbling off the hour hand of the clock tower as the titanic timepiece was striking 10:00, & while the ever-clever Basil managed to save himself by pedaling on the propeller that served as his makeshift helicopter, Eunice & Shellington came just in time to prevent Ratigan from falling to what would otherwise have been a dreadful death on the streets below. But that was all that Madame Ratburn was able to figure out, for as soon as she saw Basil reuniting with three other mice on the platform of the hot-air balloon, the image in the crystal ball faded away, & the glass globe became dark & lifeless once again, its turquoise smoke gradually dissipating into oblivion.
As she rose from her seat to float back towards her bed, Madame Ratburn thought to herself, Well, that explains the vision I had of Basil & Ratigan fighting before I woke up, & that scream I heard soon afterward! But I'd still like to know what everyone was doing at Big Ben on a night like this! After all, shouldn't Basil & those other mice be attending the Diamond Jubilee celebration? And shouldn't Ratigan be with his thugs at their hideout, coming up with some diabolical scheme? Or, maybe, there's something fishy going on, & this has to do with all those odd visions I've been getting for the past couple of weeks... 
Madame Ratburn's thoughts were abruptly interrupted when she became alert to the sudden sensation of falling, & with what little energy she had left in her body, she managed to slow herself down, so that she would land safely on the mattress of her bed. As she came down onto her cot, Madame Ratburn felt utterly drained & exhausted...& it was no surprise, considering that she had been very busy today; all day long, up until the time of the Diamond Jubilee celebration, rodents from all parts of Mouse London& even a few out-of-townershad flocked to her, hoping to have their fortunes told, their palms read, or whatever else they desired. And the more Madame Ratburn used her psychic powers, the more tired she felt when her body ran out of the energy it needed to use those powers...&, subsequently, the more tired Madame Ratburn felt, the more sleep she needed in order to regain all that lost energy. Otherwise, if she tried to do any tasks of an otherworldly nature, she would quickly become too exhausted, & not be able to use her magic effectively. 
And if I'm going to be able to function tomorrow, Madame Ratburn decided, I need to go back to sleep right away! The energy I got from my last few hours of sleep won't be enough to last me all morning, let alone all day! With that, Madame Ratburn promptly lay her head on her pillow, curling up under her blankets as she quietly drifted off to slumber; her rat-like tail twitched every now & again as she slept soundly for the duration of the night, her medium-length nose-whiskers being blown back & forth by the air going into her nose (& out of her mouth) as she snored lightly...
 Before anyone brings up the topic of inter-species crossbreeding, I thought I should let you know that normal rules of genetics do not apply to certain alternate universes, such as the one in which our story takes place...&, for that matter, I don't think those rules always apply to our particular universe, either, especially when you consider the miracles of mules, science laboratories, & whatnot (but that's a whole 'nother ball game, isn't it, folks?).
 No, I wasn't intentionally making a reference to Dr. Facilier's song from "The Princess & The Frog" (awesome as it is!).
 Believe it or not, Eunice & Shellington have their own roles to play in the story of the original film, & that's part of the reason why they're out flying on the night of the Diamond Jubilee (& how they managed to stumble across Big Ben at such an opportune time!). My upcoming tie-in fanfic, "Bat Patrol", will explain this in further detail.
 Sometimes, Basil will enlist Madame Ratburn's help on a case, when he is unable to get ahold of more tangible leads, or otherwise needs aid or assistance that he can't get from ordinary fursons or with conventional means.
 In the days leading up to Queen Mousetoria's Diamond Jubilee, a great deal of unusual & puzzling images appeared in Madame Ratburn's mind, providing warning signs of things that were to come, but these visions appeared in sporadic intervals, & ultimately didn't give her a clear-enough picture of the events that would eventually unfurl on this fateful night.
 Alas, even the best of rodent super-psychics have their limitations...
One other note: since I'm juggling college & R.L. with my never-ending list of personal projects (including a book of poetry about the Jonestown tragedy that I hope to have published)& also in the process of moving everything on one of my laptops to a new computerI won't be able to update as frequently as I normally do, but rest assured that I will post new chapters as soon as they're completed.