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The Pernicious Cure
Author's note: The Sherlock Holmes movies and soundtracks inspired me as well as my love for the films to write this novel. I was also writing this novel for National Novel Writing Month!
The Cure for CPD?
Professor Adam Macario after twenty years of research has finally discovered the cure for CPD (Cardiovascular Parasitic Disease). Announced today at the high government meeting, Professor Macario revealed joyfully his invention which many are already calling ‘The invention of the century’. This new cure will be put to the test over the next few months and then on be available to every patient suffering from CPD. Prof. Macario spoke out at the high government meeting today to fellow scientists and researchers with a joyful message to all. Every hospital across the capital will shortly be provided with the cure ready for use.
Grand Hall, 351 Regional Street
The crowd rose silently to their feet in anticipation of the oncoming speech. An ancient, grey haired figure took centre stage and cleared his throat before resting his shaky hands on the mahogany podium in front of him, shuffling through the stack of papers before him. He took a sweeping glance down at the crumbled papers and returned his gaze to the audience. The crowd once again took their seats and waited for the joyful news.
“Gentlemen it is a pleasure to see you all here today” He began with a firm tone, one clearly used to speaking in front of such large numbers. “It is of my pleasure to inform you all of the joyful news today”
Members of the audience started to chatter amongst themselves in happiness.
The crowd fell silent once more and he continued after a long pause.
“On November 23rd, I took delight in finally discovering the cure for Cardio Parasitic Disease. As many of you are aware, I have researching into this for many years now. The research has been long and tough but I proud to say we now have the cure in our grasps. Millions of lives will be saved with this and I am sure you are all as delighted as I am to finally hear this news.”
The crowd began cheering lightly at the speech and rose to their feet once again. A loud voice rose above the cheers with a heavy Irish accent “As you can tell Professor Macario, we have all been awaiting your arrival and what wonderful news I must say this is!”
The aged figure smiled crookedly at this voice “It is to my satisfaction to deliver you such fine news Gentlemen”
The chatter of the crowd began to rise once again into a bubble of joy. The figure took a sighing relief and shuffled again through his papers before heading down the stairs of the stage and towards the back of the large, overly decorated hall. Many gentlemen dressed in fine, tailored suits approached him as his made his path, all with smiles and congratulations. The figure, Professor Macario stopped mid stride in the middle of the room when a large group of gentlemen, all dressed in dark grey overcoats appeared in the doorway of the hall. Each of the gentlemen had a saddened expression on their faces and each was drenched head to toe from the weather outside. Macario turned on his heels and headed towards the group.
“Gentlemen, welcome!” Macario’s voice was shakier now with the unexpected arrival.
The gentleman at the head of the group, dressed in the darkest grey overcoat and a small, black bowler’s hat resting on his head, took a stride forward and held out a gloved hand. “Professor, we congratulate you on your news”
Macario shook the gentleman’s hand and nodded his head waiting for him to continue.
“I am afraid to inform you though that we have some bad news. Some very bad news”
Macario took a steady breath in and gazed at the rest of the group before meeting eyes again with the man in front of him, he guessed they were all at least 20 years younger than him. “Go on”
“Well Professor, I am sorry to say that Lord Mortythe has heard about your cure”
Macario leaned on the doorframe and wiped the sweat from his forehead.
“We were sent to inform you as soon as possible, is there anything we can do for you Professor?”
Macario breathed in heavily and gazed around the room “Check the building for a start, I don’t want Mortythe anywhere near me or my cure”
“Of course Professor” The gentleman turned his back to Macario and addressed the group “You heard the Professor, check the building!”
Macario regained his strength and gazed around the room once again, keeping a wary eye for any unwanted attention. The gentleman placed a firm hand on his shoulder “Don’t worry Professor, we’ll handle the situation”
Macario turned to face the gentleman and shook his head “No, the first thing you will do is call Sherlock Holmes and get him to me as soon as possible”
The gentleman nodded and pulled out a small notepad from his coat pocket, jotting down the name and shutting the notebook “Of course Professor, I’ll get to it straight away”
Macario nodded “Before you leave, I didn’t catch your name”
“Mark Hound, Professor. At your service”
“Well thank you Mark, now get to it before this situation gets out of hand”
Mark turned on his heels quickly and took off down the long corridor.
Macario gazed once again around the room to double check for any signs of Lord Mortythe but saw no-one through the thick crowd of the hall. He watched as the rest of the gentlemen who had appeared questioned individuals from the crowd and recorded down responses. He sighed lightly and returned to heading towards the very back of the grand hall. The large set of double-glazed windows appeared before him, showing the scene of pouring rain on the streets of London, mothers and their children ran from door-step to door-step to avoid the rain and crate carriers were constantly wiping rain from their foreheads, local market stalls were packing up hurriedly and dropping stock as they rushed, street children ran quickly past the stalls and grabbed whatever they could before running off into the alley ways and side streets, stall owners cursed after them before giving up and continuing packaging. A typical day in London. Rapidly approaching footsteps awoke Macario from his daydream; he turned his head to gaze over his shoulder and caught sight of the figures approaching so quickly, Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. John H. Watson Their clothes were dripping with fresh rain water and Watson nearly stumbled over a few times whilst trying to keep up with Holmes. Holmes stopped just a few inches from Macario and removed his shiny, black top hat with a bow, before shrugging off his black overcoat and thrusting it at Watson.
“Sherlock Holmes, at your service” he had a strong, upper-class British accent which came across straight away to Macario.
Macario ran his eyes over Holmes and Watson before returning his gaze to meet Holmes. Holmes was short, only just meeting eye level with Macario; his voice gave an impression of being highly educated and extremely intelligent. He wore a dark grey suit and a burgundy red tie, his eyes were a dark blue and his black, hair was untamed and wild. Watson on the other hand, towered over Holmes, he was dressed in a pin-striped, dark grey suit and wore a dark blue tie, he had dark, brown leather gloves on his hands and a plain black swagger stick in his left hand, he also wore a shiny, black top hat on his head but unlike Holmes, he appeared less intriguing. Macario smiled briefly and held out his hand towards Holmes.
“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you Holmes; I have heard so many great things about you. Astonishing things in fact.”
Holmes shook Macario’s hand without hesitation, he smiled momentarily back and nodded his head “You have no idea how many times I have heard that Professor”
Watson grunted quietly to himself and took a step forward towards Macario, removing his top hat and coat and holding out a gloved hand. Macario quickly shook Watson’s hand.
“You also Dr. Watson”
Watson smiled for a brief second “It’s a pleasure to meet you also Professor, I must say, I am inspired by your research and work” his voice came across with a more noticeable London accent.
Macario placed both hands into his trouser pockets and nodded his head “Why thank you, it does take patience but as they say patience is a virtue”
Holmes took five long strides past Macario and gazed out the window at the scene outside. His reflection in the window grinned and his eyes glistened with delight. “Lovely weather isn’t it?”
Macario chuckled lightly and walked over to stand by Holmes. “If you’re into the rain, then yes it is Dr.”
Holmes turned to face Macario with the hint of a grin lingering on his lips. At this close distance, Macario could see the stubble around Holmes’s chin and jaw line. Watson came to stand to one side of Holmes and glanced out the window.
“He has some strange habits as I’m sure you’ve heard Professor” Watson shook his head lightly with the obvious memory of a few.
Macario met gaze with Watson and nodded with a curious gaze appearing in his eyes “Yes I have indeed... what was the whole situation with your dog? I believe it was”
Watson smiled and shook his head, Holmes quickly interrupted before Watson could begin speaking again. “It would be better for him to tell you at a later date Professor, we are here purely on business at this very moment in time”
Macario nodded his head “Ah yes, of course. I sent Hound to find you both after all. I presume he explained the situation?”
Holmes stood upright and gained a few inches in height “In a swift way, yes”
“Well is there anything else you need to know about the situation itself Sir?”
“Please, I must insist on you calling me Holmes. No, Professor to answer your question but I do wish to know exactly what you wish myself and Watson to do for you” Holmes gestured towards Watson with a flick of a hand.
“As you wish, Holmes. Well I was hoping from all I have heard about you both, that you could locate Lord Mortythe and bring him back to me here in London for the police to deal with from there on”
Holmes nodded thoughtfully and gazed around the room full of hundreds of gentlemen in suits and maids in linen, ankle length, faded red dresses serving drinks on silver trays. “That shouldn’t be a problem Professor, I’m sure myself and Watson can manage that without too much hassle”
“You have to be warned gentlemen, Lord Mortythe is a lot more dangerous than you think” Macario stared directly at the two.
“I had already gathered that Professor from the swiftness of the request, to get us here to you” Holmes began pacing slowly between the two ends of the window as he spoke.
Macario watched him intensely, like a cat watching its prey, eyes full of curiosity “I can already tell Holmes that you are an extraordinary human being and will not fail me on this mission”
Holmes stopped pacing for a brief moment “I will not fail that is for sure Professor, as for the rest of that sentence; I can only say that is down to your personal opinion” he then turned to Watson and took back his overcoat “You are to gather all the reports from the police recruits Watson and bring them back to me at the house”
“Yes, of course” Watson scuttled off hurriedly towards the recruits hiding amongst the large crowd
“I bid good day to you Professor, I will be in touch” Holmes bowed his head slightly before placing his top hat back on his head and stalking off through the crowd and back the way he had came.
Hound reappeared in sight moments later, pushing past members in the crowd to reach Macario “Professor!”
Macario turned towards the sound of the voice and held his breath as he waited for whatever news Hound had for him.
Hound pushed through the last of the crowd and stumbled forward to Macario “News is that Lord Mortythe was in the building during the speech!”
Macario shook his head and balled his hands into tight fists “Well who was the idiot that let him in!”
Hound gasped for a breath after apparently running through the streets of London and back, his cheeks were rosy from the bitter wind outside and he had rain water dripping down his forehead “Professor, I....I’m sorry, we were all guarding the doors, you see, every single one of my men, there would be no way he would of made it in without a disguise, we couldn’t have known” Hound stumbled over his words as he rushed to explain to Macario, he fumbled nervously with his dripping wet hair before finally settling for sticking his shaky hands into his trouser pockets.
“Well is he still here?!” Macario voice slowly began to build as he rage proceeded to grow.
“No Professor, reports are that he left ten minutes ago” Hound gazed nervously at the carpeted floor.
Macario took a deep breath and tried to calm his nerves before a dreading thought washed over him, his face turned pale and his jaw dropped slightly as the thought crossed his mind. He started into a sprint across the room, pushing past the crowd hastily, towards the large wooden doors leading to the corridor.
“Professor, what is it?! What’s the matter?!” Hound raced after Macario
Macario flew down the main corridor of the building and turned sharply on the corner leading towards the grand staircase, Hound followed sharply on his heels. Macario sprinted up the two flights of stairs as fast as his feet would carry him before sprinting down a shorter, much narrower corridor with small wooden doors on both sides, he turned round another two corners before bursting through a set of double doors at the end of the corridor, he came to a sudden halt and Hound nearly ran into the back of him before skidding to a stop just to the left of him. They both breathed heavily from the sprint and gazed in shock at the wrecked study before them. The large mahogany desk at the far of the room was the only thing left in its original place, books and paper were scattered across the floor and the large set of double windows behind the desk were flapping against their frames letting in the bitter air. The desk drawers were cracked and laid against the far wall of the room, obviously from someone in a hurry to find something. Macario took three long strides into the centre of the room and observed the rest of the damage. Hound leaned against the door frame, catching his breath before Watson appeared in the doorway.
“I saw you both running off in such a hurry, I wondered what in hell could be the...” Watson paused mid-sentence as he took in the state of the room.
Macario strode over to the windows and looked out at the misty, bustling streets below “I knew it, God damnit!” he punched his fist into the window frame and hung his head in despair.
Hound gazed up at Watson and muttered something silently to him causing Watson to disappear back down the corridor, before walking over towards Macario and placing a hand on his shoulder “Don’t worry Professor, Holmes and Watson will sort everything out”
Macario sighed and kept his gaze on the streets below, scanning for his new found enemy “That’s 20 years of research down the drain in a matter of minutes”
“Like I said Professor, all will be sorted in no time so let’s just focus on heading back down to the hall and informing the crowd of the bad news” Hound ushered Macario back out of the room and back down towards the grand hall.
221B, Baker Street, 20 minutes after the incident
Watson ran through the streets of London as quickly as he could to get back to Holmes, he knew he had to inform him right away of Lord Mortythe sudden interference in the case. He barged through the market square and narrowly dodged a crate in the face before turning a sharp left and racing through a dim-light alley way towards their home, 221B Baker Street. Watson raced up the front door steps of the house and dodged the nanny in the hallway before dashing up the stairs and barging through the door to Holmes’s study. Holmes sat facing a freshly-lit fire in a worn, red leather arm chair, he wore a royal purple dressing gown over his suit and had a dark, brown wooden pipe hanging from his mouth, puffs of smoke rose out the end of the pipe as Holmes turned to look at Watson.
“News, I presume? You took long enough” Holmes gazed back to the crackling flames which danced in the fire place.
Watson caught his breath and strode over to stand behind Holmes, he leaned casually on the back of the arm chair and looked down at Holmes “Bad news, I’m afraid Holmes. Lord Mortythe has taken a sudden appearance in the case. He was reported to have been seen at the speech and must of slipped away while the speech was taking place, the Professor’s study was wrecked and the cure has vanished”
Holmes instantly leaped up from his sitting position and threw his dressing gown and pipe to one side before grabbing his top hat and over coat from the coat stand and hurrying out the door. Watson sighed and sprinted after Holmes down the two sets of stairs.
The nanny who had now appeared in the doorway of the large reception room sighed and shook her head as Holmes flew past her “I swear Watson, he’s not in‘a fit state to be runnin’ around I tell ya!” Her accent was rich and common as she yelled after the two of them.
Watson stopped just inside the doorway of the large house and shrugged his shoulders “You can tell me all about it later Miss Evans, I do apologise for anything he’s broken though in advance” he hurried on after Holmes.
The two of them ran side by side through the misty, damp streets of London, narrowly missing the busy pedestrian traffic of the market square. They turned a sharp left down a long alley way and came out onto a brightly light street, just opposite them stood the grand hall, in all its glory and magnificence. Holmes led the way across the street and into the hall with Watson following at his heels. The two stepped inside the hall and walked a fast pace down the long corridor leading towards the main reception room, a young, olive skinned receptionist was about to protest before she realised exactly who the two were, she returned to writing on the stack of papers in front of her like nothing had happened. Holmes burst through the huge double doors and caused the large crowd behind them to silence and look directly at the two.
Watson muttered under his breath “Nice going Holmes”
Holmes simply shot an amused grin towards Watson before pushing through the crowd towards the back of the room where the Professor and Hound waited. Hound straightened up to his full height when Holmes and Watson came into view, Macario didn’t as much as gaze up from the floor.
“I’m sure Dr. Watson here informed you of the recent events Holmes” Hound came across as a well brought up, mannered young man. His blonde hair was neatly combed to one side and a well trimmed moustache sat just above his upper lip. He wore a dark, navy blue suit with a black tie neatly tucked inside the pinstriped waistcoat.
Holmes nodded once before crouching down and staring the professor directly in the eyes “Where will we find your study Professor?”
Macario met Holmes’s gaze for a brief second before muttering “2nd floor, four corridors to the left”
Holmes stood bolt upright before gazing briefly at Watson and then making his way back through the crowd and back out the double doors once again into the corridor. Watson bowed his head at Hound and Macario before following after Holmes. The pair strode slowly down the long corridor, dim candle lit lamps lighted their path. They reached the first set of stairs and Watson couldn’t help but watch Holmes as they walked, he could always tell exactly what Holmes was planning by the expression on his face, the smallest twitch of a muscle could make all the difference with Holmes. He recalled the time the pair had, had to investigate a murder of a local newspaper boy; he remembered the distant glare in Holmes’s dark blue eyes and the regretful frown on his lips when they had seen the body. It wasn’t a memory he was likely to ever forget. Holmes caught Watson staring at him and managed a small smile in his direction before descending the second flight of stairs and heading down the many corridors. When the two finally approached the study, the doors lay wide open and the windows were rattling against their frames each time the gust of wind caught them. Holmes stepped inside the study and walked right over towards the large mahogany desk, it was decorated with a small band of detail of the erotic nature. Holmes shook his head with a small smile playing on his lips and traced his eyes over the desk towards the broken draws. Watson watched him like a child watching their parents; his eyes gleamed with curiosity as he watched Holmes at work. He had watched Holmes work for years upon end now but he still never failed to fascinate him. Holmes had a nature about him which said ‘extraordinary mind-set’ and this showed through his methods of work. He took in every small detail, every nook and cranny that most would miss carelessly. Watson had learned a great deal from watching him over the years and had been successful in many of his own personal cases as a doctor using the techniques of observation. Holmes stepped carefully over scattered papers on the floor towards the windows and leaned out. Watson cleared his throat and took two steps inside the room.
“Well?” Watson removed his leather gloves and shoved them inside his right jacket pocket.
Holmes ignored the question and continued with observing out the window at the streets below.
“Holmes?” Watson took another five paces towards Holmes, making sure to step over broken objects and scattered paper that lay untidily on the red, carpeted floor of the study.
Holmes leaned briskly back inside the study, he hair was wild and untamed like usual but a look in his blue eyes told Watson that he was onto something.
“Holmes, what are you planning?” Watson removed his top hat and ran a hand through his short, brunette hair.
Holmes simply gazed a Watson for a minute second before walking over towards a large pile of scattered paper which lay in the centre of the room, he shuffled through the papers and lay down slowly onto the floor, looking underneath the desk. Watson watched him curiously, trying not to smile at the sight, the man could be a complete and utter nuisance at times but he loved him thoroughly. Holmes reached a hand underneath the desk and snatched out a crumbled up sheet of paper, he quickly folded out the sheet of paper and scanned over its contents, Watson came to stand by his side and looked over his shoulder at the sheet.
My dearest Elizabeth,
I am pleased to inform you that I will be making my speech today and that I will be able to travel home to you shortly. I am missing you dearly, my love. I hope all is well with you at home and the dogs are not giving you too much trouble. I shall see you shortly.
All my love
Holmes looked up from the message to Watson “It appears the Professor, has a wife waiting on his return”
Watson nodded and started to read the note through again before Holmes shoved it into his jacket pocket and continued pacing around the study.
“Shouldn’t we get the recruits downstairs to look the room over officially?”
Holmes simply stopped pacing, looked up at Watson and nodded “Well off you go then”
Watson turned quickly on his heels and headed back out of the door back down towards the hall. Holmes continued pacing around the study for a few short moments while calculating something over in his mind, he knew a crucial detail of the case was missing, the cure was gone that was for sure but there would be no way that any man could have jumped from such a height to the streets below without being injured, there had to be another way Lord Mortythe had escaped. He leaned back out of the window and glanced down once again at the streets below, he sighed and turned back to face the study, a thought suddenly crossed his mind and he leaned out of the window slowly backwards looking directly above him. A small torn scrap of fabric waving in the breeze gave him his answer. He leaned further backwards out of the window and reached for the top of the window frame; he latched on and stood carefully onto the window frame before reaching up a little higher and grabbing the next available hand hold and then the next to haul himself up out of the study and onto the roof of the building. Watson shortly returned to find an empty study and stopped dead centre in the doorway scanning the room.
“Where the devil has he gone this time” He muttered under his breath as he walked over towards the window in time to catch a glimpse of a pair of dangling legs. He quickly leaned out the window and looked upwards “Holmes, you’re going to get yourself killed doing that!” The legs shortly disappeared up onto the roof and Watson sighed, shaking his head. Holmes looked back down over the top and smiled smugly at Watson. Hound and his recruits knocking lightly on the doorway startled Watson back into reality.
The recruits filled into the room and started shuffling through the papers and broken objects on the floor, dusting for prints and collecting any useful evidence. Hound came over to stand by Watson “Where’s Holmes old boy?”
Watson simply looked Hound in the eyes and gestured out the window.
“Still at his crazy antics then?”
“When isn’t he?” Watson let out a small chuckle before heading towards the doorway “The stairs to the roof are where exactly?”
Hound smiled at him “Down the corridor to your right and round the next left”
“Thank you” Watson headed off in the intended direction with a small smile planted onto his face, he headed down the corridor and turned to the left until he came to the large flight of stairs leading to the roof. He sighed and began his descent, when he finally reached the top of the stairs, he pushed open the large, heavy metal door in his path and stepped out into the brisk, winter air, he glanced around the rooftop before spotting Holmes lingering on the edge, he quickly walked over to stand behind him and tugged at his sleeve a little “Holmes please, you’re worrying me, step back a little bit”
Holmes half smiled and took a step backwards “You really do worry far too much about me, old boy”
Watson managed a small smile back and took a risky glance over the edge of the building, he instantly returned to meet Holmes’s gaze when the drop made him feel ill, he swallowed the lump in his throat and took a few steps backwards from the edge.
Holmes chuckled lightly and bent down to pick up the piece of scrap material that was snagged onto a loose edge “This is the whole reason I made my way up here, Watson” He held the material between his right index finger and thumb towards Watson.
Watson scanned his eyes over the scrap material and shook his head “Well, you could use the stairs like everybody else, you know”
Holmes smiled smugly “Now where is the fun in that Watson?”
Watson turned his back on Holmes and headed back towards the door he had entered from “Now that you have your evidence can we please make our way off the roof? I’m starting to feel nauseous”
Holmes followed after taking one last glance around the roof top, he stepped past Watson and took the lead down the stairs, when he hit the floor of the corridor he stepped into a fast pace back towards the study. Watson followed quickly and pulled his overcoat a little tighter around him as a shiver ran down his spine. The pair reached the study once again and stood lingering in the doorway watching Hound and the recruits search the room, Hound spotted them at once and made his way towards them “You’ll be pleased to know that we nearly have all of the evidence collected, Holmes”
Holmes nodded briefly before glancing over at Watson “I want you to collect all of the evidence and bring it to me downstairs, I’m going to go have a talk with the Professor”
Watson nodded and headed into the room over to one of the young recruits who was taking sketches of the whole room. Hound watched as Holmes headed down the corridor towards the hall, he looked over at Watson with a questioning look; Watson simply shrugged his shoulders and went back to conversing with the recruit. Hound watched Holmes as he disappeared down the hallway, ‘what in the hell is he doing now?’ Hound shook his head at the thought and headed back inside the room to help out the recruits to gather up the very last of the evidence, he really did hope Holmes and Watson would be able to get the cure back soon, for the professor’s sake if no-one else.
221B, Baker Street
Miss Evans, the hired nanny for Holmes and Watson stood in the doorway of Holmes’s study; she observed the room with a disappointed look on her face. The room as large as it was appeared small, miniature in fact in the current state. There were folders full of paper stacked high on the desk, inventions of a strange looking appearance scattered throughout the room, vials and a large selection of bottles filled with strange substances on a small shelf just above the desk and a rather dead looking dog laying belly up in the far right hand corner of the study. She sighed and shook her head, that would be the third time this week that he’d tried to kill the dog. She carefully stepped over stacks of paper that lay across the entrance of the room and made her way over towards the dog, she bent down slowly and stroked the poor animal’s head all the way down to its tail, the dog twitched before laying perfectly still again. She rose to her feet once more and surveyed the room before deciding to start with cleaning the desk. The front door swung open downstairs and two sets of loud footsteps thundered up the staircase. The door of the study creaked open and Holmes stepped into the room, spotted Miss Evans and quickly ushered her out of the room before returning to his armchair in the centre of the room, tossing his overcoat and hat to one side, picking up the large stack of papers that lay by the foot of the chair and placing his pipe in his mouth. Watson shortly followed, apologised briefly to Miss Evans and stood behind Holmes, leaning casually on the back of the armchair, scanning over the words on the paper. He stole a glance towards the small wooden window outside as the sound of horse shoes sounded down the cobbled street outside, London had always been busy for as long as he could remember but it had seemed busier these past few months. Holmes cleared his throat which made Watson jump; he instantly looked back to Holmes who was now shuffling through folders on the desk at the far end of the study.
“Holmes, shouldn’t we really have started solving this case by now?”
Holmes shot a glance back to Watson “All in good time, old boy”
Watson sighed and paced over to the open doorway, a mild draft was blowing from the open window at the end of the corridor, and he shivered a little before buttoning up his overcoat “Well I shall be off for now then, Isabel is expecting me”
Holmes didn’t as much as glance up at Watson “I expect you back here, first thing tomorrow morning”
Watson briefly nodded before heading down the staircase, Miss Evans standing in the reception room doorway caught him off guard.
She smiled slightly while fixing a loose strand of hair “I’ll be seein’ ya tomorro’ then Dr” She curtsied before scuttling off back to her duties.
Watson hurried out of the doorway and down the three greying steps onto the bustling street, his mind was occupied with the thought of Isabel, he was supposed to be marrying her next month, only 3 weeks away. She was a beautiful woman with her long, wavy brunette hair and tanned skin. Her rosy lips always wore a smile and her green eyes glistened. He loved her dearly and had done for many months but he was not as sure as he first was about the idea of marriage now. He couldn’t ask for more of anyone but he also knew his heart lay elsewhere. He glanced up at the small window of the study and sighed. Holmes, his best friend and companion for many, many years, they had solved endless cases together and really been to hell and back, he’d always been able to rely on Holmes but he also knew that, that was indeed where his heart truly belonged. He knew he’d never be able to admit this to Holmes but he wished that one day, Holmes would come out and tell him exactly what he wished to hear. He knew that day would never come and the thought made him miserable. He lowered his gaze and walked off down the street.
221B, Baker Street
Watson knocked on the rather large, glistening, white door of the house at exactly 7:00am the next morning. Miss Evans, who was dressed in her usual faded grey, floor length work dress answered the door within moments, he blonde hair was pinned back in a scruffy bun like always and she had small tired looking bags under her small, brown eyes.
“Mornin’ Dr” She curtsied as Watson stepped inside the house, shrugging off his overcoat and removing his top hat before placing them on the brass coat stand that stood just inside the doorway.
“Good morning Miss Evans. You look more tired than usual, I do hope Holmes hasn’t kept you awake all night” He removed his leather gloves and shoved them into his overcoat pocket before running a hand through his short brunette hair.
Miss Evans shut the front door behind Watson and looked up at him “Well act’ually Dr, e’s been up all nigh’ you see, doin’ some sort of crazy experiments like he usua’lly does you see.”
Watson shook his head and made his way over to the staircase “I am sorry to hear that Miss Evans, I do apologise on his behalf”
“Lon’ as you two pay the rent Dr, I’m sure I can manag’, speakin’ of the rent Dr...”
Watson reached into his trouser pocket and pulled out his wallet “Of course Miss Evans, I was just about to suggest that” He pulled out a handful of coins and handed them to her “Keep the change as a most humble apology from myself”
“Wh’ thank’u Dr!” She hurriedly placed the coins in her dress pocket and a large grin spread across her features.
Watson turned his back to her and headed up the stairs slowly, listening for any form of movement, he highly doubted Holmes would be up and awake at this hour but he was so unpredictable he never knew what to expect with the man. A large bang and smashing of a bottle sounded from the study. Watson quickly leaped up the rest of the stairs and thrust open the door. Holmes was sitting in his armchair, pipe hanging from his mouth, feet up on a small, worn footstall and a large stack of empty bottles piled by the side of the chair.
A hand appeared from the chair and grabbed one of the empty bottles before throwing it directly at the wall opposite. Watson stepped inside the study and closed the door slowly behind him.
“Holmes, what on earth are you doing?”
Yet again the hand reappeared and grabbed another empty bottle before thrusting it at the wall. Watson took two large strides over towards the arm chair and stopped the next bottle being thrown; he looked Holmes directly in the eyes and placed both of his hands on his shoulders. His eyes were slightly bloodshot and the bags under his eyes appeared a lot darker than normal. Watson could tell he’d been up all night drinking out of his mind. Holmes had a smug grin on his face and he instantly leaned forward towards Watson, muttering some un-intelligent comment before starting off into a fit of laughter. Watson slapped him lightly on his left cheek “Pull yourself together!”
Holmes continued with the fits of laughter and placed both of his hands lightly upon Watson’s cheek before leaning forward inches from his face and placing a light kiss on his lips “Morning old boy!” he threw himself back into his chair and continued giggling.
Watson wiped his lips briefly and stood upright once again “Holmes please, we need to get on with the case”
Holmes instantly stopped laughing and staggered to his feet, stumbling slightly as he made his way towards the window “All in good time”
Watson walked over to him and stared blankly out of the window, he could feel Holmes’s gaze on his face and he started to fidget uncomfortably.
Holmes shifted his weight from one foot to the other and crossed his arms “Something’s on your mind, what is it?”
Watson shook his head and continued to stare out the window without a word. Holmes stepped a light closer to Watson and placed his index finger underneath his chin forcing him to meet his gaze, he eyes glistened with curiosity as he waited for Watson to speak. Watson stared back into Holmes’s eyes for a minute before opening his mouth to talk
“Ever get the feeling you have made a horrible mistake?”
Holmes stared out the window thoughtfully for a second before shrugging “I can’t say I do”
Watson sighed and pulled away from Holmes before leaning back on the window frame and continuing with staring at the street below. Holmes took another step towards Watson and persisted in his curiosity. Watson could barely look him in the eyes anymore “Holmes, I have a feeling I’ve made the wrong decision in proposing to Isabel”
Holmes placed both hands in his trouser pockets and leaned against the opposite side of the window frame “I knew you would say that eventually, I can read you like a book Watson”
“She’s a wonderful woman Holmes, I couldn’t ask for more. She’s beautiful, smart, considerate... she’s just not the one for me”
“Then who is?” Holmes had averted his gaze out of the window at this point as heavy rain started to pour down outside
Watson glanced up at Holmes for a moment before looking around the room “You”
Holmes did not once avert his attention from the rain as he listened to Watson. Watson shuffled his feet before plucking up the courage to look at Holmes once again “Well don’t you have anything to say on the matter?”
Holmes removed his hands from his pockets, ran a hand through his untamed, black hair, took another step towards Watson and placed both hands on his shoulders before leaning in slowly and placing his lips to his. Watson, a little shocked, stood perfectly still for a moment before persisting back with the kiss. Holmes stepped a little closer once again towards Watson and pinned him back against the wall, the rain began to pick up and clatter against the small window. Watson placed his hands on Holmes’s waist and relaxed a little, enjoying the moment, he had been dreaming of this for years now. Holmes pulled away after a few moments and stared him in the eyes “Does that answer your question?”
Watson breathed in and a small smile spread across his lips “You have no idea how long I have waited for that moment, Holmes”
Holmes rubbed the stubble on his chin and walked across the room towards the door of the study “Right old boy, we have a case to solve”
Holmes ran down the staircase with Watson shortly following behind him, the pair raced past Miss Evans and out the front door. Miss Evans stood at the doorway of the house and waved them off before shutting the door and returning to her duties. The two walked side by side down the cobbled street, Holmes stopped looked around and whistled for a carriage. Watson wrapped his scarf around his neck as they waited for the carriage to pull over. The driver nodded at the pair and stepped down off of his seat, opening the carriage door “Where to gen’lemen?”
“Scotland yard please” Holmes climbed inside the carriage first shortly followed by Watson
“Scotlan’ yar’ it’is sir!” The driver hurriedly shut the carriage door and climbed back up to his seat before tugging the rains of the horses
“What exactly is your plan, Holmes?” Watson stared at Holmes from the opposite side of the carriage
The seats were a wine red colour and worn from multiple use of the years. The carriage itself was in a fairly presentable condition with freshly painted doors and roofs, all a sleek, raven black. Small, gold incrusted swirls were decorated around the edge of the carriage door and the windows of the carriage gleamed brightly, just freshly cleaned.
“I want you to inform Hound to keep an eye out for any disruptive or dangerous behaviour taking place around the city and to pass him these reports” Holmes reached inside his jacket pocket and pulled out a stack of crumbled papers
“And as for yourself?” Watson took the papers and flicked through them before stuffing them inside his own jacket pocket
“As for myself, I am going to start the search for Lord Mortythe and the missing cure”
The driver turned down a long street and pulled up outside Scotland Yard “We’re ‘ere sir!” he quickly climbed down from his seat and opened the carriage door
Watson climbed out and stood on the pavement looking at Holmes “Take care of yourself”
Holmes nodded and the driver once again closed the carriage door, climbed back onto his seat and pulled on the horse rains. Watson took a slight step back as he watched the carriage disappear into the distance of the street, he was alone once again.
Scotland Yard, Victoria Street, 1 day and 2 hours after the incident
“Where’ll it be then gov’nr?” The driver’s voice was hoarse and deep as he shouted over the noise of the horse shoes on the cobbled street
“The market square if you will please” Holmes stared out the window as he gathered his thoughts for the oncoming events
“Sure thing gov’nr!”
Holmes knew exactly where to start with his search, there had been a report from one of the witnesses outside the hall that Lord Mortythe was seen retreating down the alley way just off of the market. He had a good idea as to exactly where Mortythe would have disappeared to next. He buttoned up the last of his overcoat and stared out the window as the driver made his way towards the market.
“’ere we are gov’nr!” The carriage halted and the driver climbed down once again to open the door for Holmes,
Holmes hurriedly climbed out and handed the driver a couple of coins “Get the change and buy yourself a nice supper on me”
“Why thank’you gov’nr!”
Holmes looked around the market square and located his destination before pulling on his gloves and heading across the market, down the alleyway and into a small alcove of a rustic, tired looking building, he took a sweeping glance behind him and kneeled down to the keyhole before pulling out a lock picking contraption from his pocket and fumbling with the lock, the door swung open and he stepped inside slowly. Nothing could have prepared him for what happened next. A quick tug of a wire set up just behind the door and an instant fling of a knife towards the door followed. The knife narrowly missed his face by mere inches. He breathed in slowly to steady himself and stepped out the wire before proceeding on into the room. The room was dusty and smelled of decaying bodies, there were shelves and tables stacked high with bottles and flasks of all sorts of potions. The room itself looked old and untouched apart from a newly installed doorway at the very back of the room. Holmes strode slowly down the wooden floorboards, taking in all of the potions and contraption’s that lay everywhere, covering every available surface. He made his way towards the doorway and peered inside very slowly, making sure not to set off any more traps that may be lying around. He jumped when the sound of keys fumbling around in the lock clattered, he quickly spun around the doorframe and hid inside the darkness of the small room; he held his breath and watched for the approaching danger. A large, muscley man appeared at the very far end of the room; he looked foreign with his buzz cut hair and unusually tanned skin. He stomped down the room and stopped just before the doorway before picking up a set of flasks which contained a strange, glowing substance. The man fumbled around with a few more flasks before bottling them and shoving them into a large sac by the side of one of the tables, he tied the sac with a double knot and slung it over his shoulder before heading back down the room towards the door. Holmes relaxed and knocked a pile of wooden boxes with his elbow; they clattered and fell to the ground with a large crash. The man stopped and Holmes rose to his feet quickly and fled further back inside the room. The man dropped the sac on a table and thundered down the room towards the doorway, he flicked on a light switch and stepped inside the room. A growl rumbled in his throat as he spotted Holmes, he took five large strides towards him and swung a punch. Holmes ducked and ran out of the room while he had the chance. The man spun on his heels and stormed after him. Holmes stopped behind the opposite side of one of the desks and looked the man dead in the eyes. Another growl rumbled from deep inside the man’s chest as he reached forward for him. Holmes backed up a little and grabbed the nearest bottle to hand, he flung the clear substance at the man’s face and a large quantity sprayed into his eyes. The man staggered backwards, holding his hands to his face and started to scream in agony. Holmes took his opportunity and ran for the door, out into the street and back down the alleyway towards the market square as fast as his feet would carry him. After a few long moments the man appeared from the building and ran down the alley way and towards the market after Holmes. Holmes dodged a few pedestrians buying local produce from the stalls and ducked into the local pub, the sign read ‘The White Hare’. He stumbled into one rather large, bulky gentleman who stood just behind the doorway and apologised quickly before disappearing to the back of the pub and blending in with a large crowd of drunken men at the very back of the pub who were lost in their card game. The man thundered into the pub and caused the whole pub to stop their discussions and stare at him.
The barkeeper, rag in hand polishing a pint glass, gave him one stern look “Now see ‘ere mate, I don’t want any trouble, you ‘ere me?” he placed the glass on the counter and crossed his arms across his chest
The barkeeper was tall, muscular and had the strong smell on whisky lingering on his skin. His hair was coal black and his face was covered in scars and bruises from previous bar fights, he was clearly respected in the area by the way that everyone listened to him, the whole atmosphere of the room changed from friendly to wary in a matter of seconds. The man stumbled backwards slightly and rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand; he grumbled and muttered something un-intelligent before disappearing back out into the street. The bar went back to its uproar of laughter and conversations once again and Holmes wandered over to the barkeeper.
“What’ll it be gov’nr?” the barkeeper placed both of his large hands onto the counter in front of him
“Half a pint please” Holmes stuck a hand into his coat pocket and pulled out two large coins “Will you join me good sir?”
The barkeeper looked surprised for a moment before a grin spread across his lips “I’d be ‘onoured gov’nr!” he turned on his heels and retrieved two glasses from a cupboard before filling them from a large barrel with a dark brown liquid, he placed the two on the counter and stuffed the coins into his apron pocket “To you gov’nr!”
Holmes downed the drink in one and wiped his lips “Now good sir, I have a question if you do not mind me asking?”
“Course gov’nr, ask away!” The barkeeper placed his empty glass on the counter and leaned on his elbows looking Holmes directly in the eyes
“Have you heard of a man known as, Lord Mortythe?”
“Why sure I ‘ave sir! ‘veryone has round ‘ere!”
“Do you know of his where abouts at this moment in time?”
“No sir, I don’t but Terry does! ‘E’s practically known the man all ‘is life!” The barkeeper gestured to a lonesome figure who was huddled in a quiet corner of the bar
“Thank you” Holmes wandered over slowly towards the figure and came to a halt by his table “May I?”
The man glanced up at Holmes and scanned his eyes over him from head to toe before nodding once “If you must”
Holmes sat down across from him and placed both hands on the table “I have some questions for you, if I may?”
The man glanced up at Holmes “You ain’t a cop are ya?”
“I wouldn’t say so, no”
“What do’ya wanna know?”
“The where abouts of Lord Mortythe at this moment in time”
The man held his breath for a moment and looked startled, he straightened up in his seat and ruffled a hand through his shaggy brunette hair before rubbing a hand along his chin “What’s a stranger like you, lookin’ for a man like ‘im ‘eh?”
“I have some questions for him, now do you or do you not know where I can find him?” Holmes pushed the chair back away from the table and started to get to his feet
“I’ll tell ya alright, but what do I receive outta this?”
“I shall pay you for your troubles of sharing this information with me, good sir”
The man rubbed his chin and considered the offer for a moment before holding out his hand “Terry Horwood at your service sir”
Holmes pulled the chair back to the small wooden table and placed both of his hands flat on the table “Tell me everything you know about Lord Mortythe, Horwood”
“Please mate, call me Terry, ‘veryone ‘lse does” Terry recoiled his hand back to his lap
“Terry then, how long exactly have you known Mortythe?”
“A gentleman like you, shoul’n’t be throwin’ a name like that ‘round ‘ere, call ‘im by ‘is first name. Arthur it is”
“Well you see, Arthur ‘e’s a nice fella at ‘eart. Never done nothin’ too drastic in ‘is lifetime. Quite a simple soul really, keeps himself to himself; you know what ‘m sayin?”
“I assume you’ve heard the recent news on Arthur’s activities, Terry”
“Well you see I ‘ave, but I don’t believe a word of it me’self, ‘ve known him too long to believe the stories now sir” he fumbled for his half touched pint laying directly in front of him
“Well suppose the stories were true, where do you think Arthur would hide?”
“Well if I were Arthur and I had somethin’ to hide, first thing I’d do would be to go down the docks, lotsa hiding places there, you see”
“And if not there?”
“The market, plenty of people to hide amongst there”
“Thank you Terry, will you accompany me to see an old friend?”
“I would love to sir but it’d be safer for you and me’self if I stayed ‘ere. ‘m ‘ere all week, you can come find me if you need me”
The door of the bar swung open with a loud creek and Watson, wrapped up tightly in his scarf and coat peered into the bar, he spotted Holmes at once and shook his head in disappointment as he headed towards the two of them “How did I know that I would find you here, Holmes?”
Holmes looked up at Watson briefly before standing up and holding out his hand once again to Terry “Thank you for your services, Mr Horwood”
Terry shook his hand firmly “My pleasure…”
“Holmes, Sherlock Holmes”
Terry’s eyes widened a little at the name before nodding and taking the coins that Holmes had laid discreetly onto the table “I’ll see ya soon, Mr Holmes”
Holmes walked straight past Watson and nodded briefly to the barkeeper before stepping back out on the bustling market square; Watson shortly followed “Care to explain to me what all of that was about?”
“This is hardly the time or the place, Watson” Holmes pulled out a small, golden pocket watch from his jacket pocket and glanced at the face “We still have time”
“Time for what exactly?”
Holmes stuffed the pocket watch back into his pocket and walked across the market before whistling for a carriage, a shiny, black carriage pulled up within moments, the two clambered into the awaiting carriage and stared out of the window as the streets passed them by.
The docks, 1 day and 3 hours after the incident
The driver pulled up at the beginning of a long, narrow alley way leading down to the docks “This is as far as I ‘an ta’e ya gentlemen, ‘m ‘fraid”
Holmes clambered out the carriage first and brushed himself off before handing the driver a coin and staring down the alleyway; Watson clambered out of the carriage after him and started to head down the alleyway. Holmes smiled momentarily as he watched the carriage disappear in the opposite direction before following Watson, he quickly caught up to him and held his gloved hand for a moment “As much as I am not a romantic person old boy, you do mean more than what you expect to me”
Watson’s eyes gleamed with happiness and a smile spread across his lips, he squeezed Holmes’s hand “As do you”
Holmes replaced his hand back into his trouser pocket and took the last long step out of the alleyway and onto the docks; he looked from left to right and covered his nose and mouth with his hand to avoid the foul smelling stench that rose up from the water below. Watson did the same as the smell hit him. The pair stood in the middle of the pathway for a long moment as they figured out their next course of action. The sound of approaching footsteps made them return back to hiding just inside the alleyway they had come from. A large group of tall, muscular men, all carrying crates walked past the alleyway without noticing them and on down the street, further down towards the loading area. Holmes re-emerged from the alleyway first, taking a sweeping glance up and down the street while stroking the stubble on his chin. Watson leaned against the wall of the alleyway and watched him curiously
“Now if I were to hide something here, where would I hide it...?” Holmes mumbled to himself as he stared at the water below
Watson opened his mouth to speak but Holmes held up his right index finger towards him to shush him as he continued mumbling to himself, Watson sighed and glanced down at his pocket watch while he waited for Holmes to finish. Holmes suddenly stared up at Watson with a gleam in his eyes “I wouldn’t that’s the point!”
Watson stared at him with a confused look slowly spreading across his features “You mean to say, the gentleman from the pub has led us entirely in the wrong direction?”
Holmes nodded once and began pacing back and forth “Most likely he is in on this crime and knew exactly who I was from the start”
Watson removed his top hat and ran a hand over his hair, it was becoming long now, Isabel would have hated him for that but he no longer cared, he had the man he wanted in his life now, he was sure of that. Holmes raced past him in a matter of seconds back down the alleyway and onto the streets leading back to the pub; Watson kept a quick pace just behind him. The two barged through a large empty market square and down another alleyway before emerging onto Regional Street where the pub lay, waiting.
Holmes burst through the small door of the pub first, shortly followed by Watson, causing the whole crowd of the pub to fall into silence once again as they stared at the two of them. The barkeeper looked up and instantly recognised Holmes, for he bared a large grin towards him. Holmes scanned the room in a hurry and noted that the gentlemen known as Terry Horwood, if that was his real name, had disappeared entirely. Holmes slammed his fist angrily into the wall of the pub before storming over to the barkeeper “Where is the gentleman I was talking to earlier?”
The crowed continued to stare at the two before the barkeeper gave a stern, warning look towards them all which caused them to return back to their conversations and card games. Watson stepped inside the small room and walked over towards the bar, he leaned on his elbows as he listened to the barkeeper.
“Well ya see gov’nr, just ‘fter you left, he left for the ‘uter gates to the city” he placed the pint glass he had been polishing underneath the counter and pulled out another
“Of course!” the pair exclaimed at once
Holmes thanked the barkeeper and hurriedly head out of the bar, whistling for a carriage, Watson shortly followed and pulled out a set of coins from his jacket pocket. As the carriage pulled up at the pub and the driver climbed down from his worn seat, Watson handed him the set of coins “The quicker you get us to the city gates, the more I will pay you good sir!”
Holmes had already clambered into the carriage and was checking his inside jacket pocket for his revolver. The driver looked from Watson to Holmes and back again “I can get ya there in no time at all gentlemen!”
“Good man!” Holmes called from inside the carriage
The driver smiled and held the door open a little wider as Watson climbed in before slamming the door and jumping back onto his seat, pulling tightly on the horse rains, causing the carriage to jerk forward with the quick start.
The carriage jerked from side to side as the driver hurried along the cobbled paths, turning the corners far too quickly and narrowly missing pedestrians on several occasions. Holmes sat perfectly still, his expression composed and relaxed as he stared out the window. Watson on the other hand held onto the worn, red seat tightly with both of his hands, his expression was filled with anxiety and he shifted nervously throughout the journey. Holmes glanced over at Watson once or twice and shot him a brief smile to try and help him recover his nerves; Watson forced a small smile back each time before returning to his worried expression. The carriage crossed over the river far too quickly and rumbled from side to side as loose cobbles caught on the wheels, it then jerked to a harsh halt as they arrived just north of the city gates. The driver cursed and waved his fists in the air as he shouted towards the blockage in the road ahead of them, Holmes leaned out the carriage window and spotted the problem, a small wooden food carriage had collided with another smaller tools carriage and had toppled over onto its side in the centre of the road. Holmes leaned back inside the carriage and opened the door hurriedly before climbing out and searching down the road for the sign of the city gates, Watson climbed out after him and handed the driver another set of coins
“We’ll make our own way from here, good man! Can you point us in the correct direction?” Holmes craned his neck to stare up at the driver
The driver put a soot covered hands on his forehead to shield his eyes as he squinted into the distance ahead of them “’Bout a mile up that way an’ sligh’ly to the left, gov’nr”
“Thank you” Holmes called back towards the driver as he ran off down the street at a high speed
Watson stayed hot on his heels and the two pushed through the mess and through the masses of people that were gathered around trying to clear up. Holmes ran to the other side of the street before picking up the pace even further to reach the city gates in time. Watson stumbled a few times and caught his sleeve on a rough jagged piece of fencing as they reached a much larger, dusty path. At the end of the pathway, two massive, brass coloured, rusting gates stood high and proud in the daylight. A large sign hanging between the two gates had imprinted on them large, golden letters which read
‘Thank you for visiting London, we will see you shortly’
And in a much smaller, golden font beneath this another set of letters read
Watson held onto his top hat tightly as the wind picked up at blew a large handful of dust at the two. Holmes shielded his eyes from the dust but continued none the less with his fast past towards the city gates. The pair picked up the pace once again, their feet just skimming across the surface of the dusty path, a large, black carriage raced past them and nearly knocked Watson off his feet, Holmes caught him by the elbow before he could hit the floor; Watson looked up at him thankfully before regaining his pace towards the gates. Once the gates were only a stride or two away, they slowed their pace to an almost halt before glancing behind them to check no one had seen them. They quickly took up hiding behind a large oak tree which stood tall and proud just to the left of the path. Watson and Holmes both removed their top hats at once and crouched down behind the tree. Holmes peered around the side looking down the path they had just come and Watson peered around the other looking towards the gates.
“And your plan is?” Watson whispered as he glanced back at Holmes
“Wait for Lord Mortythe and his accomplice to appear”
“Gain possession of both them and the cure and then take them onwards to the police station for arrest”
“And how exactly do you suggest we do that?”
Holmes did not answer Watson and a long silence fell between the two, Watson was about the press Holmes for an answer when the sound of shuffling feet sounded down the path they had come. Watson peered around the tree a little further to see down the path, a pair of men, dressed in long, fine, tailored black overcoats and dark brown, leather boots. They both wore shiny black top hats upon their heads and both had darker skin than most. Watson leaned a little further around the tree at the strange sight before him. Both of the men seemed normal in appearance but while the one to the right walked normally and at a steady pace, the man to the left paced entirely backwards, facing in the other direction. Watson felt a tug at his coat sleeve as Holmes ushered him to hide back behind the tree as the two past by, they seemed to be walking in silence, neither one uttering a word to the other but both looking sternly at each other. Holmes leaned further around his side of the tree as the two past by him, Watson moved a little closer to Holmes and held his breath as the footsteps grew closer. A mutter of nonsense escaped from the man of the left as he skipped backwards and stopped at the gates. The man on the right stopped and leaned against the gate as he listened to the nonsense, he then pulled a small, glowing vile from his inside pocket and held it up in front of him to examine. Holmes instantly recognised him from the pub, it was Horwood, he could tell from the long shaggy hair that protruded down the back of his neck, Watson recognised him seconds after and shifted his position slightly to get a better view of the pair. Holmes watched them curiously, he focused most of his attention on the man accompanying Horwood, he could only guess that this was the famous Lord Mortythe, or as Terry had called him ‘Arthur’. He scanned the man from head to foot and found him fascinating as he realised the nonsense escaping from his lips was not in fact gibberish at all but words in reverse. Holmes paid close attention as Mortythe snatched the vile from Horwood and examined it with a huge grin spread across his features, a cackle escaped from somewhere deep in his throat and he stuffed the vile into his jacket pocket.
“On three, we go...1.....2.....3”
Holmes burst out from behind the tree with Watson shortly following and raced towards the pair, Horwood and Mortythe with shock written across their features stared at the pair for a moment before legging it through the city gates and down the continued dusty path, Horwood took off to the left and Holmes gave Watson a glance to chase after him, Watson nodded once and picked up the pace after Horwood. Mortythe on the other hand, still heading backwards, skimmed across the surface of the path like a professional dancer, his footwork was almost a blur to Holmes and a large, evil grin was painted across his lips, he began to zigzag down the pathway. Holmes kept his strides in a straight line as he chased after Mortythe. Another cackle sounded from deep within his chest as he picked up the tempo once again, leaving Holmes a few more strides behind as he struggled to pursue after him. Holmes picked up the tempo once again to match Mortythe’s; he concentrated on his breathing, in and out, in and out. The smile wiped off Mortythe’s features as he began to concentrate on losing Holmes, he stopped zigzagging momentarily before risking a glance over his shoulder and skimming tightly around a sharp corner in the path, Holmes followed quickly but lost speed on the corner, he cursed under his breath before forcing himself forward at a higher speed once again, his breathing began to turn rapidly from smoothness to jagged gasps of air. An oncoming carriage appeared in the distance, just visible in the fog which was now falling down over the city, Holmes slowed his pace slightly, ready to move to the side of street when the moment was right, and he kept a steady pace so he did not alert Mortythe’s attention to the oncoming carriage. The carriage drew closer and closer and Mortythe continued to race backwards, he legs a blur in the motion, Holmes watched the carriage very carefully as he counted in his head, in his mind the plan was set in stone and he knew exactly when to move aside, he had the timings down to the millisecond and Mortythe continued to race, completely unaware from the oncoming danger heading directly for him. Holmes slowed his pace once again only by a few strides and stared at the carriage, continuing to count in his head, the driver was now visible and laid on the seat, reins tied tightly around his neck. Holmes winced at the sight and dived to the right as the carriage collided with Mortythe. Mortythe flew several feet in the air before landing harshly to the ground, just a way in front of the carriage, completely silent and motionless. The driver’s body slumped off the seat and pulled the reins around his neck tighter. Holmes swallowed the lump in his throat and stood to his feat once again as he slowly made his way over towards the scene. Pedestrians came to a halt in the middle of street and stared with horror towards the scene, Holmes trod carefully over to Mortythe first, he bent down and placed two fingers lightly to his neck, he found the pulse and saw the slow rise and fall of his chest, he breathed a sigh of relief and glanced around him as two coppers appeared, the coppers instantly recognised him and tipped their hats slowly as they observed the damage. The first copper, was tall with long stretched limbs and much too long a face, his features were small and looked out of place, his hairline was receding backwards and he had a slight crook in his spine. The second was also tall but with much shorter, more natural looking limbs, he had big, gleaming, blue eyes and a small nose, his lips were full and a pale red colour. The second copper made his way towards Holmes and inquired about the incident while the second made his way towards the carriage and stepped back slightly as he realised the true state of the driver. Holmes explained in a rush to the copper what he had saw before sticking a hand inside Mortythe’s jacket pocket and pulling out the small, glowing vial.
Mortythe’s hand clamped around his wrist as he sat up slightly, a dark chuckle escaping from his lips “semloH, gnihtyna eganhc t’nseod siht!”
Holmes unclamped his fingers from his wrist and translated the words ‘This doesn’t change anything, Holmes’, he bent down to Mortythe’s level and whispered in his ear “Oh you are wrong my friend, you are very wrong indeed” Mortythe fell silent once again and closed his eyes. Holmes rose to his feet and placed the vile inside his own jacket pocket, he nodded towards the copper “I will leave this in your capable hands, I shall return shortly but I am afraid I must dash, this isn’t over just yet” Holmes barely finished speaking before he started a sprint back down the path he had travelled, he knew exactly where Watson had turned off and planned to help him retain Horwood. He picked up the pace and turned around the corner and continued sprinting down the straight of the path before he made another sharp turn onto cobbled pavements and heading down an alleyway towards the Thames. He burst through a set of crowded streets before he finally reached the Thames bridge link; he stopped and caught his breath as he glanced around the streets, hoping for a sign of Watson. Two figures on the top of a nearby factory caught his eye, he instantly recognised the one furthest from the edge, it was indeed Watson and Horwood. He glanced around quickly for the quickest route to the roof, he spotted and nearby chimney sweep ladder and made his way towards it, he climbed the ladder as quickly as he could to reach Watson. Horwood was backing away towards the edge of the building, every step he took was a risky one. Watson followed him with small steps as he tried to convince him to back away from the edge
“Come on now, come back away from the edge and I promise you all will work out”
Terry took another large step backwards and wobbled on the very edge of the roof; he shot a glance over his shoulder and noted the long drop to the pavement below. Watson repeated himself with a soothing tone as he took another step forwards towards Terry. Horwood shook his head and leaned back a few inches more. Holmes leaped up onto the roof and arrived just in time to see Watson grab Horwood by the arm before being shoved backwards by Horwood and then Horwood falling back off the edge to his fate that awaited him below. Holmes grabbed Watson from behind and pulled him back from the edge, he felt droplets of moisture land on his hands as he pulled him back to safety, he soon realised Watson was crying. He hushed and turned Watson to embrace him in a tight hug. Watson slumped in Holmes’s arms and cried silently at the recent moment occurring in his mind, he could hear Holmes’s whispering soothing words into his ear as he cried.
The Thames, 30 minutes after Horwood’s death
Holmes had managed to convince Watson that what had occurred wasn’t his fault and that they should come down from the rooftop to properly survey the damage done, Watson couldn’t look at the body at first so Holmes had to check for a pulse and came back with nothing, Watson pulled his thoughts together and brought himself to examine Horwood over. His neck was broken with the impact and a few ribs were shattered, he had bruising which had started to appear across his lower arms and face, blood pooled around his head from a crack at the back. Holmes watched as Watson changed instantly from a distraught man to a full qualified and skilled doctor, it had always amazed him just how quickly Watson could change when he needed to the most. A large group of around 5 coppers had soon appeared on the scene after being called by a local resident just across the river, they had cleared away the body into a carriage and questioned both Holmes and Watson before escorting them to Scotland Yard. Watson was completely silent during the journey and Holmes could tell the incident was playing on his mind amongst other things, Holmes sighed and gazed his eyes across the copper sitting next to him, he was a small round figured man, he had a fat face and large fish like eyes which stuck out against his much smaller nose and mouth. His hands were chubby and had stubby fingers attached on the end, he also had a long curly moustache that just cut short of his cheeks. Holmes crossed his legs and momentarily stared out at the passing streets of London before they arrived outside Scotland Yard. The copper hopped out of the carriage first, his stubby legs just touching the ground from the carriage height, he stood upright to appear taller and stared harshly as Holmes and Watson clambered out from the carriage. They both stared up at Scotland Yard and glanced at each other, a familiar and well known place for them both, before being marched through the wrought iron gates and into the building. A petite woman with curly brunette hair and small features glanced up as the three entered through the doors, she had large, rimmed glasses half way down her nose and she rose to her feet before nodding her head at the copper and leading them down a hallway and turning to the left onto another much larger hallway where a grand room stood at the far end, they reached the double doors of the room and the copper knocked three times before entering. A tall, aged man looked up from the grand desk which sat in the centre of the room and a smile spread across his lips as he recognised the pair
“Sherlock Holmes, Dr Watson, it’s a pleasure to see you both again so soon” he rose from his chair and crossed the office in three large strides before shaking their hands firmly, he looked questioningly towards the copper “Officer Cuffé, what is the meaning of this delighted visit?”
The small, stout copper standing beside the two fumbled in his trouser pockets before handing the inspector a set of crumpled sheets of paper, the inspector looked over his round, brass rimmed glasses and scanned over the messy handwriting on the pages in front of him, he sighed and walked back to sit in his chair “Please gentlemen do take a seat, that will be all Cuffé”
Cuffe nodded once before disappearing back out of the office door silently, Holmes and Watson exchanged a glance before taking their places in two, worn, leather armchairs which sat facing the grand desk. The inspector, known as Detective Inspector William Rickett as stated by the large, golden name plate on the front of his desk, placed the papers neatly in a pile on his desk and stared at the two men.
Holmes shifted in the seat and placed his hands on his lap “And the cause of this meeting Inspector Rickett is exactly, what?”
“Please, Holmes, you should know by now, call me William”
“Well I am afraid to inform you that I have some good news but also some bad. To start on a cheery note, I and all of the police staff here at Scotland Yard would like to thank you personally Holmes for your help in the capture of Lord Mortythe, otherwise known as Mr Arthur Blord”
“It was my duty William, Professor Macario asked me himself to reclaim his cure from Blord’s grasp”
Detective Inspector William Rickett looked from Holmes to Watson and the smile from his lips faded into a solemn expression “Indeed I have heard. On the other note, I am very sad to inform you Dr Watson that the man we had report from of the scene also reported seeing you push the man from the roof of the building and therefore I am afraid that I have to follow procedure and arrest you under charges of murder”
Watson’s expression changed from worry to panic in a sheer second as he looked from Holmes to the Inspector “W-what! That can’t be! I-I didn’t, Holmes can justify that!”
The inspector shot a glance at Holmes as he waited for conformation, Holmes simply nodded once and sat upright in the arm chair “Indeed I can William, I am sure though that you do not yourself believe the allegations against, Dr Watson”
The inspector sighed and leaned back in his chair “You are correct there Holmes, but I do have a procedure to follow, and this includes Watson”
Watson leaned forward, head in his hands and shook his head lightly as he took in the inspector’s words. Holmes nodded “Of course William, I wouldn’t expect any otherwise of you”
The inspector rose from his seat and held out his hand towards Holmes “You are free to leave now, I expect you will be off to the Professor now to inform him of the good news?”
Holmes shook the inspectors hand firmly “Indeed William, I am sure I will see you shortly” He glanced with a sad glint in his glossy, blue eyes at Watson before turning on his heels and leaving the office. He sprinted down the long corridors leading back to the main reception room and hurried outside just in time to spot a prison carriage arriving through the gates, he walked past slowly and hovered around the gate entrance, waiting. Just moments later Officer Cuffé emerged from the building with a terror stricken Watson to his side, stumbling along towards the carriage. Officer Cuffé opened the carriage door and helped Watson inside with a push on the back before climbing into the carriage himself. Holmes took a step back from the gates and watched as the carriage slipped past him into the streets of London, he caught a glance of Watson’s distressing expression and called “I will bail you out shortly old boy, do not fear!”
The carriage disappeared into the fog shortly and Holmes started his walk to the Grand Hall, it was an incredibly quiet and lonesome walk without his companion.
Grand Hall, 351 Regional Street, 5:00pm, 2 hours after the second incident
Holmes pondered the strange image in his mind of the dead carriage driver, his neck wrapped tightly in the reins, he could not for the life of him work out how the man could have got himself in such a state, he surely couldn’t have wanted to end his own life, no, someone had done this to the poor fellow. Holmes knew that this was a case for another day and therefore pushed aside the image as he reached the Grand Hall. The entrance doors swung open with a large amount of force on his part, he stumbled into the corridor and glanced around at the familiar pictures hung upon the walls, a young girl sat behind a small desk at the end of the corridor, she looked up, recognised the face and smiled “Welcome back Mr Holmes”
Holmes removed his overcoat and top hat and placed them on the hat stand which stood just within the doors “I assume the Professor is free to see me now?”
“I will just check sir” The young girl rose from her chair and paced down the hallway timidly towards the large reception room located at the end of the corridor, she knocked on the door three times before entering and closing the door behind her. Holmes stood back from one of the large high ceiled walls and gazed across the paintings that hung upon it, two were of the city streets of London, one by the Thames and one of the Professor himself, next to this hung a much smaller, more worn looking portrait of a young woman, very beautiful with rosy red lips and glistening blue eyes, she had auburn hair which hung loosely in curls around her face., Holmes could only guess that this was indeed the late wife of the Professor, he heard she passed away three years ago from a terrible coach crash, he looked away from the painting when the sound of timid footsteps sounded, he looked down the hallway and met eyes with the young girl “He’ll see you now sir”
“Thank you” he nodded once before strolling down the hallway at a leisurely pace towards the grand reception room that awaited him, he knocked once, loudly before entering and slipped inside the large room
He swept his eyes across the room before spotting the Professor and Hound sitting in the far corner of the room. Hound raised his hand to his hat and tipped the brim towards Holmes as he approached the pair, the Professor sat forward eagerly in his seat, hands placed on his knees and stared at Holmes “I hope you bring good news, Holmes”
Holmes moved his head from side to side briefly “I do bring good news for you Professor but also some bad news on my behalf”
Hound fidgeted at the Professor’s side and scanned his eyes over Holmes looking for any obvious signs of injury; he came back with nothing “Do tell us, old boy!”
Holmes pulled up a seat and sat leaning against the back of the chair, he rested his head on his arms and gazed between the two “I am pleased to inform you Professor that I have tracked down and assisted in the arrest of Lord Mortythe and I am also elated to tell you that I have recovered your cure” He reached inside his jacket pocket and pulled out the small, glowing vial holding it out towards Macario
Macario reached forward and grabbed the vial, a huge grin spread across his face “Oh thank you Holmes! Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Hound shifted his weight from one foot to the other “And what of the bad news?”
Holmes’s expression changed to a gloomy one and he lowered his gaze to the floor “Dr Watson has been arrested and charged with murder”
Hound and the Professor stared at Holmes in shock as he uttered the words, the Professor was the first to speak “How did this come about?!” shortly followed by Hound “Explain everything”
Holmes glanced up at the pair and raised his head a little higher on his arms “Of course. It all started with our search of your study Professor, while your recruits Hound had covered almost every inch of the study they did not search just outside the study window itself, just above the window I found a scrap piece of fabric belonging to Blord. It became obvious to me to look up when I realised that no man could have survived the drop from the study to the street below so I began my search above, I tried out my theory and climbed onto the roof, I believe Blord had escaped onto the roof with the cure while his accomplice, a Mr Terry Horwood distracted the crowd below with his sudden exit from the building, of course the man who reported the figure to be Blord was simply mistaken. I knew Blord had organised this distraction so he had the time to descend down the side of the building and make his escape. My next destination was of course an old warehouse just off of the market square where Blord, or as I should state, his doppelganger, Horwood had been reported to have been seen, I found my way into the building and saw an all manner of concoctions and potions scattered across the work surfaces. A sound of keys rattling in the lock notified me and forced me into hiding in the store room located at the back of the building, a large, muscular man entered and gathered some of the potions into a sack which lay by the end of one of the surfaces, he turned to make his leave but a mistake on my part alerted him to my presence, this of course ended in a fight and the man being left partially blinded as I made my escape, I retreated across the market and into one of the local bars to hide my presence, the man had followed me and entered the bar in such a alarming manner which caused the barkeeper to threaten him and send him on his way out, the man left without a fuss and that was the last I saw of him. I suspect he is a worker of Blord and the potions that I found were merely poisons that he uses in his evil schemes. I then was informed by the barkeeper of a man that lingered in the back of the pub who was a dear friend of Blord’s; this of course was Mr Horwood. I questioned the man and he sent me to the docks in search of Blord and the cure, I, of course at this moment in time along with Dr Watson had not yet figured out the true reason for being sent to the docks, a mere distraction of course to throw us of Blord’s trail. When we arrived at the docks, the thought struck me that I had been misinformed and that the cure and its captures were waiting elsewhere in the city. I figured that the city gates was the obvious choice for a quick escape route of the city, myself and Dr Watson made our way to the gates and waited patiently for Blord and Horwood to arrive, it took only a mere few minutes before they appeared and we sprang on them. It led into a chase of myself racing after Blord and Dr Watson racing after Horwood, we separated at a fork in the road and I followed Blord around a corner into a nearby village, an oncoming carriage made its way into our path and knocked Blord several feet in the air. He is a most fascinating creature, he carries out all of the normal functions completely in reverse, walking, talking, everything you could think of! Anyway after the crash two of your men Hound appeared at the scene and took over from there, I, myself raced back the way I had come to assist Watson with Horwood and found myself running through alleyways towards the Thames. I came out just to the side of the Thames itself and spotted Horwood and Holmes on the roof of a nearby building, I hurried over and made my ascent to the roof to assist only to find that Horwood was right on the edge of the building and still backing away from Watson, he of course was trying to convince Horwood to step away from the edge but Horwood took another step back and Watson grabbed him by the arm to try and stop him from moving any further, Horwood pushed him away and fell to his death below, his neck was broken and multiple ribs cracked. Watson has blamed himself for the man’s death even though it really was not his fault, I convinced him to come off the roof with me and a large group of your men appeared at the scene. We were then escorted to Scotland Yard, where we spoke with my dear friend, Detective Inspector William Rickett, he looked through the reports that Officer Cuffé had handed to him and informed Watson of the allegation made against him by a man who had witnessed the incident from across the river and mistaken Watson’s attempt to pull Horwood back to roof as a push to his death.”
The Professor and Hound both look astounded at the story and were silent for a long, couple of moments, the Professor once again was the first to speak “Well what are you waiting for, go and bail your companion out, if you have any trouble let me know and I will assist you in the matter”
Holmes leaped off the chair and uttered a quick thank you before sprinting out of the reception hall, down the long corridor, past the young girl who hurriedly passed him his overcoat and top hat and rushed out in the darkening street, he whistled and a carriage arrived to his feet in seconds, he clambered in and specified his destination, the prison.
Holmes arrived outside the prison within the next half hour, it was nearly 7:00pm now and the streets were rapidly becoming darker and the fog thicker like a winter blanket, wrapping itself over the city. He jumped out of the carriage and passed the driver a couple of coins before making his way inside the prison gates; he was approached by a tall, long limbed guard who squinted at him. He had a long curly moustache which tickled the tips of his cheeks, his eyes were small and made to look even smaller as he squinted, his nose was large and pointy and his hair tufted out at the sides from underneath his uniform hat. He explained to the guard who he wanted to see and was led inside a large office, he signed a handful of documents and was led down a long passage way outside leading to a prison yard. A large group of men were clustered around in the centre of the yard and were all laughing and joking, Holmes stopped outside the yard and waited as the guard pulled out a set of keys from his waist and unlocked the gate, the laughing came to a sudden stop and fifty pairs of eyes met his gaze. He spotted Watson in the crowd and stepped forward into the yard as Watson pushed aside from the men and headed over towards Holmes, he waved to a few of the men and assured them that he would see them soon.
“It’s good to see you again Holmes” Watson breathed a sigh of relief as the two headed back down the passage way and out of the prison
“It’s good to see you too, old chum” Holmes looked down one end of the street and then the other before whistling for a cab
“I knew you would come back for me”
“Of course, how could I leave a man such as yourself amongst the ranks of those men” Holmes glanced over at Watson and smiled
Watson smiled back and took a step closer to Holmes, Holmes turned and kissed him briefly on the lips before the cab arrived, it was as ever, large, shiny and a raven black colour. The two exchanged a glance and smiled before clambering into the carriage, the driver pulled away from the prison with a sudden start with caused the carriage to jolt forwards. Holmes leaned forward towards Watson and Watson leaned forward from across the carriage towards Holmes, just inches away from each other, Watson smiled once again
“What’s the plan Holmes?”
“The next case, as always!”