Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Gossamer Lady -- A ghost or a lost soul seeking redemption? Left behind, now see seeks a way to follow.
The Case of the Gossamer Lady
"A Sherlock Holmes Story"
By John Pirillo
Gossamer had a special purpose. She had been told that as a child and she still believed it. She just wasn't as naive and blind. She touched the crack of the warehouse door. It was less than two centimeters. No problem.
She still remembered that day. She was just a little over four. Old enough to start having some self awareness and a curiosity towards the bright world about her, but still young enough to be frightened of the immensity of it.
Her mother had held her hand as they stood at the edge of the Thames. It was near Midnight and the Constables that regularly patrolled the area were off fighting a fire nearby. It was almost as if it had been planned that way.
Her father had stood to her left, holding her other hand.
"It won't take long, Gossamer." He told her soothingly.
"Why are we standing so close to the water, Mommy?" She had asked.
Her mother had smiled at her. "Water is your friend. One day you will realize how much so. Now hush, sweetie, it's about to happen."
"What's about to happen?"
Both her parents had looked towards the sky at the same moment. She had sensed it, and looked up as well. A swirling ball of light had opened up into the air about ten yards above them, flooding their bodies with an incandescent golden light.
"Feel it, Gossamer. It's what makes us who we are!" Her father had calmly told her.
But Gossamer hadn't felt it at all. Instead she felt the tiny creature that had climbed onto her right shoe and was working itself onto her ankle. It had clawed arms.
She shrieked! And did what most anyone might have in that situation. She tried to get away.
Her parents had given her an alarmed look when she broke free to run.
The thing was still on her ankle. It pinched her. She screamed.
Then the thing had fallen off and she had turned around, sobbing, fearful and wanting comfort. At that precise moment there was an explosion of golden light and her parents, who had both been looking towards her, fear on their faces, hands outstretched. Vanished. Completely.
The swirling orb of light was gone as well.
She glanced towards the brightly lit pool of light that was to her left. It threw some light on her, but not enough to warn anyone. For a brief moment she saw her parents standing in the pool of light much as they had that fatal day when they had vanished.
She shuddered at the memory, and then looked to the door again. She was always careful not to rob from the places where she might be seen. She couldn't afford to let her special purpose be seen by anyone. Not yet. Maybe not ever. She gave herself a thin smile, swept a hand through her lustrous reddish hair that had glints of foreign colors swirling in it, and then tapped the crack lightly with her left hand. She closed her eyes and felt the harmony growing. Growing. Growing.
One minute she was there. The next she was gone. If someone had been lucky enough to have spotted her during the harmony. But there hadn't been.
Sherlock bent and examined the door frame minutely with his spyglass, while Watson did the same on the other side. Inspector Bloodstone paced impatiently behind them, while Constable Evans stood impassively, his arms crossed as he watched the examination.
"Will you stop that?" Inspector Bloodstone scalded Constable Evans, who as his son faced a double duty in the eyes of his father...one to do better than perfect, and two to be the perfect son. At first when his father had learned of his son, he had been ecstatic, but over time he had fallen into his usual rut of taking everyone for granted and expecting them to perform like some kind of mechanical object.
There were times when the more gentle fatherly nature shined through, but this was not one of those times. "Sorry, father. Whatever it is I am doing, I shall attempt to do it less."
Inspector Bloodstone gave his son a double stare, as if he were making fun of him, and then eyed the door as Sherlock and Watson stepped back, then gently opened it.
"See Watson. No signs of a forced entry."
"Most unusual." Watson replied as if Sherlock's remark was a surprise to him, which it was not. It was just part of their routine when they talked. Check and countercheck. That was the thing.
"Well?" The Inspector demanded his impatience at an end.
"Shall we?" Sherlock nodded to the open doorway.
They all stepped inside.
The interior was filled with stacks of crates to the overhead ceiling. But some of the stacks had gaps, where the crates should have filled, but were not devoid.
"Most peculiar." Sherlock said, eyeing the gaps that hadn't caused the collapse of the stacks above them.
"Yes, I feel like we've stepped into Alice and Wonderland." Watson noted, shifting his black bag, which he never left home, into his left hand.
"It kind of looks like a child's game." Constable Evans remarked casually.
Inspector Bloodstone eyed his son speculatively. "I wouldn't know as I never played games as a child."
"Your loss, father."
The Inspector glared at him.
His father looked at the stacks again. "An occult force perhaps?"
Sherlock's eyes narrowed in thought. "Perhaps, but I don't think so. Our good friends Wells and Jules did a flyover in the Master of the World and they couldn't pick up any kind of perturbations in the astral fields about the place.
Edison and Tesla had come up with a scanner for such when they had all been involved in the case of the invaders...the very mummy like beings who had given London the fright of its life.
"I see." The Inspector said. "Then what then?"
"Is that not what you requested us on this case to discover?" Sherlock inquired a bit sarcastically.
The Inspector gave him an appraising look. "Rather."
"Then let's to it, shall we?" Sherlock said.
"Watson, do give us what Jules was so kind to loan us."
Watson opened his black bag and scooped out four tiny devices. He handed one to each of the men, keeping one for him. The devices had small screens and horns at their top. Two knobs on each side and a toggle for on and off.
They all flipped their devices on. The tiny screens lit up, but remained empty of any signs of disturbance.
"These shall tell us if there is any kind of unusual energy signature in the missing gaps of the stacks." Sherlock explained. "But be careful..." He said with a pause.
Watson glanced over at him sharply. "You said these were safe, Holmes!"
"I did indeed. But Tesla reminds me that we are dealing with unknown frequencies, and sometimes there are side effects. Unexpected ones."
"What nonsense! Drat those men for making my life more miserable than it already is!"
Constable Evans gave Sherlock and Watson a commiserating glance, then followed his father to the stacks on the right, while Watson and Sherlock headed to the left.
Watson eyed Sherlock. "You don't expect to find anything...occult or otherwise, do you?"
"No, my dear Watson. This is all too perfect. And perfection is a domain I know only too well. It has flaws that only a few can detect."
Holmes put his scanner into his coat pocket and nodded to Watson, who did the same.
"Then why did you have..."
Watson's face brightened with a smile. "To keep the Inspector off our backs!"
"Precisely, old man. Precisely."
Sherlock stopped before the first stack and the gaping hole directly under it. "It's impossible, of course. No law of gravity could possibly allow a ton of weight above the opening, not to collapse the stack, but there it is anyway."
Sherlock stooped, and then dropped to a knee. He gently drew a finger across the floor. "No dust. The crate was removed without disturbing even the dust that is everywhere else."
Watson nodded. "Quite remarkable that, I suspect."
"And of course..."
"Impossible." Watson finished for his friend and partner.
Sherlock got up, and then went to the next stack of crates. On that one the gap was at eye level. He scoured the top of the revealed crate for a moment, and then he scoured the floor with his Tes light, searching for prints. It was a mess. "I told the Inspector not to let them inside!" He said in futility."
"And since when has he ever listened to you?" Watson asked.
Sherlock walked a distance, and then looked through another gap, but this time to the space behind the crates. "Watson, come here, I need you!"
Watson came over and peered. "Footprints."
"I think we shall need that scanner after all."
Inspector Bloodstone and Constable Evans ran over, having heard Sherlock's yell for Watson.
"What is it?"
Sherlock pointed through the gap of the crates to the prints on the floor of the narrow space beyond.
"This is insanity. Who could have fit in such a narrow space?"
"Watson, do the honors."
Watson nodded to Sherlock, took out his scanner and pointed it into the interior space. A glow lit the face of the scanner and jagged lines appeared.
"So it seems there is some kind of occult force at work here." The Inspector commented, nodding his head as he spoke.
"Watson? Tell me what you think."
Watson shut down his scanner, pocketed it, and then turned to the Inspector. "An occult force would not leave the footprint of a young woman of an average height, average weight with the bit of a limp on the right side."
Constable Evans lit up. "That's remarkable, Watson. How could you know that?"
Watson looked to Sherlock, who gave him the slightest of smiles and nodded.
Watson pointed to the left footprint. "See there, it's only about six to seven inches long and barely three wide. The fashionable shoes now for young ladies are just about an inch over. No man could have worn such a shoe, as their feet are much too broad."
"A child perhaps." The Inspector said, joining in the solving of the mystery.
"No. See the depth of the prints and how the dust moves away from it." Watson pointed out.
"Yes, several feet."
"A young boy would have not weighed enough to displace so much dust."
"But the limp, the limp you mentioned, Doctor." Constable Evans spoke up.
Inspector and Constable Evans both looked where Watson pointed. "The footprint on the right is somewhat angled to the one on the left, indicating the right foot is carrying more of the weight to adjust for the weakness of the left."
"Remarkable." Constable Evans gasped in admiration. "Well done, Doctor."
Inspector Bloodstone eyed Watson and Sherlock. "But brings us no closer to the solution of this mystery."
"Oh, I believe it does, Inspector." Sherlock said.
He cleared his throat. "We know you are hiding in there. Please show yourself. You will come to no harm!"
Nothing changed in the interior. Then they heard a gasping sound to their left. They turned in time to spot Gossamer, a waif of a young woman, wearing all purple silks, and light moccasins, run from the stacks on that side for the exit.
Constable Evans ran after her. "Halt! Halt I say!"
Watson drew his weapon.
Sherlock stopped him. "I don't think that will be necessary, Watson."
Watson nodded and he and the Inspector rushed after the Constable, who had run from the warehouse after the girl. Inspector Bloodstone sighed. "No rest for the wicked." He sighed, and then ran after them.
Outside the warehouse Gossamer reached a stack of crates being prepared to load onto a moored merchant ship, when Constable Evans grabbed her from behind. Gasping for air, he spun her around. "I say, must you...?"
She was the most beautiful young woman his eyes had ever laid upon. He couldn't say another word. She stared him in the eyes and gave him the slightest of smiles, then touched his face lightly.
"I like you."
Then she had turned to the stack of crates and before his amazed eyes had blended into the crack between them and vanished.
"Where is she?" The Inspector demanded as he reached his son.
Constable Evans was still speechless.
Doctor Watson came up and touched him. "You alright, Constable Evans?"
That seemed like a wakeup call. He blinked at Watson. "Where is she? Did you capture her?"
Sherlock gave the Constable an appraising look, then the crates. He walked about them and saw a walkway leading into the interior of the warehouse district. Small wet prints, like that of the warehouse they had examined, went that way.
Watson and the others joined him.
"I'd say our mystery is solved, if not the criminal caught." Sherlock noted, and then clasping his hands behind his back, began whistling and headed for their Tesla car parked near the warehouse.
The Inspector followed him. He stopped and turned back. "Son?"
"Coming, father." Constable Evans hollered after him.
The Inspector nodded, then continued walking
Watson looked at Constable Evans. "What happened?"
"I think I have met an angel!"
Neither one of them spoke again of it as they reached the car, and then returned to the inner city.
But Constable Evans would dream of Gossamer for a long time afterwards, praying when he woke that someday their paths would cross again.