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Caring is Not an Advantage, Sherlock
BANG!!! Blood flies in an arc behind Moriarty’s head. I pull free from our handshake at the last minute.
No, this can’t be happening. It looks like I’ll have to go through with my plan after all. I never thought he’d kill himself. He has left me no option except to jump. He’s backed me into a corner, so clever. I knew he’d be able to trap me so I prepared an escape. But if I go through with it, he’ll win, and he’s dead. I can’t let that happen. I could walk away from this right now; I don’t have to go through with my escape plan. Moriarty would lose, since I didn’t complete his story. I didn’t follow his plan. No one’s going to stop me from leaving. I could do it. Right now. Just walk away.
Why won’t my feet move then? What’s stopping me? John. He’ll die. Why do I care so much? When did this happen? I actually care. About lots of people. About John, about Mrs. Hudson, about Lestrade, even Molly. And God forbid, I think I even care about Mycroft. All the time he spent training me to be impervious to feelings didn’t work after all. I guess John was wrong, again; I do have a heart. And if I walk away, then Moriarty has succeeded in burning it out of me.
But I can’t let this continue! Caring is not an advantage. It won’t save anyone. Sentiment is a trait found on the losing side. I know that; I’ve seen proof. But I do care. Does that mean I’m the loser? That Moriarty beat me after all?
No. He’s dead. He lost. I’ll lose too if I don’t jump. I’ll lose John. What kind of victory would it be if I let him die just to beat a dead man? John was right for once. Alone doesn’t protect me; it never has. Friends protect me. Lestrade tried to protect me from getting arrested. And Mrs. Hudson, she kept the Woman’s phone safe from the Americans. Even Molly. She knew something was wrong days ago, and she helped me with this plan. And then there’s John. He has constantly protected me since I met him: the cabby, the Chinese circus, the bomb incident by the pool, the hound, all this with Moriarty… He knew this was coming; he tried to stop it, to show me I was heading down a dangerous path. But I didn’t see until it was too late. He was protecting me this whole time. Friends protect me. So I have to protect them.
I step onto the ledge. John’s cab is pulling up. I have to convince him that I’m a fraud. It wasn’t part of the plan, but now it’s necessary; otherwise, he and everyone else will get suspicious. An investigation would be dangerous at this point. If it’s revealed that I survived, Moriarty’s men could still come after us. And all this would be for nothing.
I dial, he answers. “Hello?”
“Hey Sherlock, you okay?”
No I’m not. This plan isn’t perfect. So much could go wrong. I could die. There’s that strange new feeling again, doubt. And fear, unfamiliar but recognizable. But they’re not important right now. John’s running towards the building, but I can’t let him get any closer. He has to believe that I’m dead. I can’t let him see anything to make him think otherwise; it’s too dangerous.
“Turn around and walk back the way you came.”
“No, I’m coming in.”
“Just do as I ask! Please!”
Good, he listened.
He walks back.
He’s far enough. Time to break his heart. Because in his case, there’s no doubt about it; he has one.
He’s confused. And afraid. It’ll only get worse.
“Okay, look up, I’m on the rooftop.”
“I… I… I can’t come down, so we’ll just have to do it like this.”
“What’s going on?”
He’s suspicious, seeking a reason for all this. He’s looking for the man holding me at gunpoint, for the bombs strapped to my chest. Looking in vain. It’s going to be difficult to convince him. But it must be done.
“An apology. It’s all true.”
“Everything they said about me. I invented Moriarty.”
“Why are you saying this?”
Still doesn’t believe me; he thinks someone is making me say these things. But this is all me. I’ll have to work harder. Tears should do the trick. That’s weird. It’s easier than normal to cry. Must be the wind up here.
“I’m a fake.”
God, that was hard to say.
“The newspapers were right all along. I want you to tell Lestrade. I want you to tell Mrs. Hudson. And Molly. In fact, tell anyone who will listen to you that I created Moriarty for my own purposes.”
The more people, the better. I hope he buys this.
“Okay, shut up Sherlock, shut up. The first time we met. The first time we met, you knew all about my sister, right?”
Well, except that she was your sister. But he has a point. He’s actually smarter than I give him credit for sometimes. But it’s not helping right now.
“Nobody could be that clever.”
God, he’s too loyal. And trusting. I laugh, and more tears come from somewhere.
“I researched you. Before we met, I discovered everything that I could to impress you. It’s a trick. Just a magic trick.”
That last part was true. I’m about to perform the biggest magic trick in history: die and walk away from it. Hopefully.
“No, all right, stop it now.”
No, no, no, he’s walking forward. I have to keep him away.
“No, stay exactly where you are. Don’t move.”
He puts his hand up in surrender. Good, he’s starting to believe me. My own hand reaches out towards him of its own accord. Why’s it doing that?
“Keep your eyes fixed on me. Please will you do this for me?”
“This phone call, it’s um… It’s my note. It’s what people do, don’t they? Leave a note?”
“Leave a note when?”
He’s in denial. He knows where this is going; he has for a while now. He doesn’t want to believe it, but I think he’s starting to. There’s a strange pang in my chest. Why do I care what he thinks about me? I don’t understand. I’ve accomplished what I meant to do; I can’t feel bad about it. I've convinced him well enough. I’ve said all I need to. There’s nothing else to do. The moment is here. I have to end it. Before doubt and fear take over.
I drop my phone so I’m not tempted to keep talking. Those were the last words I’ll hear from him… No, I’ll see him again someday. This isn’t the end. I WILL survive this. It’ll be painful. It might not work. No, it will. John helped me rid myself of doubt before, with the hound. He can do it again. I look to my loyal blogger one last time, my arms stretched wide as part of the plan. It’s now or never.
My feet leave the ledge. I’m flying. My stomach jumps into my throat, the wind rushes past me, the ground rapidly approaches, my coat flaps. Will it be enough? I can hear John yelling my name as I fall, still trying to stop the inevitable. My mind empties as I near my permanent destination. Just one thought left.
This is for you John.
A sharp pain. Then a dark abyss.
I have won.