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A Ghost For Scotland Yard — Epilogue
by Tom Nichol

Based on the episode of the same name from the
Adventures of Superman

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: In reading this story, please bear in mind the length of time since it was filmed, and the many differences between the legal codes, and the criminal court systems, of Great Britain and the United States. Despite the undeniably somber tone of this epilogue, I hope you find reading it to be worthwhile.]

It had been a full week since Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen had returned from their European trip. The trip had proven longer than expected, for it had required a three-day layover in England to resolve a case involving a magician named Ivor Bolling Brockhurst, who had supposedly been struck and killed by a truck some five years earlier. Shortly before that time, Brockhurst had publicly boasted that his greatest magic trick would be to cause his ghost to re-appear five years after his death.

As it turned out, however, while Brockhurst had indeed re-appeared, he had, in fact, turned out to be very much alive, and had come frighteningly close to murdering not only his former manager, Sir Arthur MacCready (who was an old friend of Perry White, owner and editor of the Metropolis Daily Planet), but also Jimmy and Inspector Farrington of Scotland Yard. The former stage magician, said to be the greatest illusionist of his time, had used a film image of his face, projected on the clouds, to frighten Sir Arthur into having a near-fatal auto accident.

Only Superman’s timely appearance had prevented Sir Arthur, who had fainted at the sight of the image, from driving his Rolls Royce over a cliff. A short time later, the now elderly magician had attempted to commit suicide by means of a short-fused time bomb, taking Sir Arthur, Superman, the Inspector, and Jimmy Olsen with him.

Thankfully, this plot had also failed, as the Man of Steel managed to throw the bomb up through the roof of the barn where Brockhurst had been hiding only two seconds before the device had exploded. The elderly illusionist, who had long hated everyone, and especially Sir Arthur, was now safely in the custody of Scotland Yard, awaiting trial on a number of criminal charges.

Now, a week after Clark and Jimmy’s return, the two journalists, along with Lois Lane, were discussing the case with Perry in his private office.

“I just heard from Sir Arthur,” the editor informed them. “He sent word to ask you, Clark, to convey his thanks to Superman for saving his life and that of young Olsen here. Can you take care of that for us?”

The disguised Man of Steel smiled and nodded his head. “No problem, Chief,” he asserted. “That reminds me, though—have you heard from Scotland Yard yet as to what’s going to happen to Brockhurst?”

“Yes, I have,” Perry replied. “They told me that Brockhurst is currently undergoing a thorough psychiatric evaluation, in order to determine whether or not the man is competent to stand trial. If he is, he’ll most likely be headed for the gallows for the murder of John Rocker, the lorry driver he impersonated over the last five years, after making it appear that Rocker had killed him!”

And if he’s not?” Lois piped up.

“In that case, he’ll be confined to what we here in America would call a ‘hospital for the criminally insane,’” her boss (who was a trained lawyer as well as a journalist) responded.

“Personally, I’d say that’ll be the more likely outcome,” Clark commented.

“I agree, Chief,” Lois put in. “Everything I’ve read about the man indicates that he hated and threatened everyone he knew!”

Yeah,” Jimmy added,” and especially Sir Arthur MacCready. Sir Arthur was his manager, and helped Brockhurst build his reputation until he was at the top of his profession, and a wealthy man in his own right! It just doesn’t make sense!”

“No, it doesn’t,” Perry agreed. “Based on what I’ve read and heard from the MacCreadys, while I make no pretense of being a psychiatrist or psychologist, I’d classify the man as what we would refer to as a paranoid schizophrenic, in addition to having a world-class persecution complex. No matter what the formal diagnosis may turn out to be, however, I think we can all agree that Ivor Brockhurst is an extremely dangerous man—too dangerous, in fact, to ever be allowed to walk the streets as a free man again!”

As the others nodded their agreement, the phone rang. The caller proved to be Inspector Farrington of Scotland Yard. He reported that the psychiatrists who had examined Brockhurst had reached exactly the same diagnosis as Perry. As a result, the man who had formerly been considered the greatest magician in the world had been ordered to be confined to a psychiatric hospital for the rest of his life, with no chance of ever being released. In the unlikely event that he ever recovered sufficiently to be considered competent to stand trial, he would summarily be charged with the premeditated murder of John Rocker—in which case, he would go straight to the gallows if he were convicted.

After thanking the Inspector and hanging up the phone, Perry relayed the information to his three subordinates. As they rose to return to their desks and begin writing up the story, they noticed that their employer was shaking his head sadly. Concerned, Jimmy quietly asked, “Is something wrong, Mr. White?”

“Yes, in a way, Olsen,” the editor replied softly. “As you yourself pointed out just now, Ivor Brockhurst was one of the greatest stage magicians who ever lived. Yet, despite his success as a performer, his personal life went wrong—terribly, horribly, miserably wrong! He refused to allow anyone to help him or understand him. In fact, Jimmy, as you told me earlier, he actually boasted about that fact! I can’t think about this case without remembering the last two lines of a poem I read many, many years ago!”

What lines are those, Chief?” Clark asked, his own brow furrowed in concern. In response, the editor of the Daily Planet took a deep breath, then said:

For of all the sad words of tongue or of pen,
The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’”

Nodding their heads in understanding, the three reporters quietly left their employer’s office and returned to their own desks to compose what perhaps would be the saddest account ever to be published by the Metropolis Daily Planet.

Posted: June 17, 2020

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