The Doctor had just come home from a weary night at the hospital. He went to his bed and examined a small bottle with something invisible to anyone else's eyes and smiled happily, even though it was a tired smile. He stripped is clothing off to prepare for bed and in the process accidently knocked the bottle to the floor beside his bed. It rolled a tad and stopped against a foot warmer. The cap on the bottle came loose and rolled away.
Twas the night before Christmas, not even a mouse stirred, but something moved in the shadows beneath Doctor Wayne Spickermore's bed. Something dark and dreary. With an agenda that was not its own.
The good Doctor had been at work all day examining the mouths of numerous patients who complained of the local cough that had been going around London for the last several weeks. It was believed to have been imported from the India Isles, as it had all the markings of the Kali Flu that had struck the Britains this time a year ago.
He was bushed. He and Nurse Pennymucker had been working since the early hours of the morning and both hadn't slept much the night before, nor did they intend to this night either, for both their spouses were gone for the holidays, visiting relatives. She was expected to arrive any minute and he had been hoping for a relaxing bit of play before rest.
The good Doctor was an honest man in all ways, but that of matrimony, as was Nurse Pennymucker, but they had underestimated the alertness of their mates. They had been seen sneaking into the Late Night Waldorf for a snack and a snack. Their way of saying fooling around with a good stout in one hand and something a bit more lewd in the other.
Neither the husband, or the wife had said a thing, but rather it had solidified their own plans, which all along was to end their relationships. But how could anyone have dared to assume or cognize that these two upper-middle class citizens would ever resort to violence?
"I say Holmes, this is really quite awful to look at." Watson said to Sherlock as they puzzled about the way that the good Doctor had died in his sleep.
"Most puzzling as well, Watson, I fear." Sherlock mentioned.
Inspector Bloodstone entered abruptly, disturbing their melancholy.
"We've just finished the interviews with the husband and wife, and both have legitimate alibis."
Sherlock and Watson exchanged knowing glances. They'd seen this kind of thing before. There was always an alibi. Always!
"I'd like a go at them." Sherlock suggested. "Would you be so kind as to escort them here."
"It's rather late, don't you think?" The Inspector asked.
"Not at all. It's still Christmas and since none of us have anywhere else to go at this time, I can't think of anything better to do." Watson ventured.
Sherlock looked at Watson. He knew that Mrs. Hudson would frown at such words, but he also knew his companion was a sounding board that was a requisite in their partnership.
"I agree." Sherlock said finally.
The Inspector left and the two men searched the room, ignoring the bloated body of the good Doctor, and his eyeballs which had fallen out of their sockets and exploded.
Sherlock pulled a bible down. A Saint James version and rifled its contents, finding old portraits of the good Doctor's wife when they had first married and a picture of a tombstone with a baby's name upon it. His eyebrow rose at that, but he said nothing and put the picture back into the Bible and on the shelf he had found it.
Watson, meanwhile expanded his search into the living room area, and came across a locked desk with a secret compartment beneath it. He had found it by running his hands all over the wood. Another ploy of criminals was to hide their secrets in such ways.
"Ah-ha!" He announced to no on e in particular, and then opened the secret compartment with a surgical tool he retrieved from his black bag, where he always kept his medical supplies, and forensics tools.
"Something?" Sherlock inquired, leaning over.
"Likely." Watson replied, sliding open the secret compartment to reveal a stack of letters. The reek of sweet perfume caused him to be repelled for a moment, then he retrieved them and sat down on a two seat Edwardian Saddle Sofa. where one person faces front and one back. He began going through the letters.
"Holmes, look at this." He lifted a letter for his friend.
Sherlock took it and examined it closely a moment, then nodded.
"As I thought. The plot runs deeper than we surmised."
They continued their search.
The Inspector, meanwhile, abruptly showed up with the two suspects, who were watched over by Constable Evans, who kept a sharp eye on the nervous duo.
"Well now." The Inspector announced as he entered the living room.
Sherlock and Watson looked up from their work and nodded.
"Just a moment more, Inspector, then we will attend to your friends."
The husband and wife glanced nervously around as if expecting some kind of monster to hurtle from the walls and snatch them into oblivion.
Through, Sherlock nodded to Watson, who went back into the bedroom, while Sherlock began pacing the living room with his hands behind his back. His cape flowed from the movement, giving him a kind of mysterious look in the semi-lit room.
"Inspector, I see no reason to keep either of these people here a moment longer."
The Inspector gave him a shocked look.
Sherlock turned around to face the couple.
"Undoubtedly you both had evil expectations of the good Doctor, and possibly for good reason, but I'm sure that your heart of darkness had nothing to do with his untimely death."
"How so, Sherlock?" The Inspector asked as the relieved couple were allowed to sit down at the French table in the center of the room where a beautiful set of Prussian Candlestick holders sat in a buffet of glass roses.
Watson came back into the room and held a set of tweezers up. A roach struggled to get free from its grip.
The couple gasped.
"What makes this all so ironic is that the good Doctor had planned all along to dump Mrs. Pennymucker once he had secured your divorce, good lady."
The wife shriveled at that accusation. "He would never have left me."
"I agree." Sherlock said, inclining his head.
He held up a stack of letters. "But these proclaim otherwise."
He held up a pink letter. "Addressed to a Shaman in the India Isles. A very well known follower of Kali and a practitioner of the black arts, which I'm sure you'll agree Inspector are nothing to make light of."
The Inspector inclined his head.
"But how could his magic have possibly struck us from there?" The husband inquired, genuinely puzzled.
"By special delivery. Watson!"
Watson held up the roach again.
"His intention." Sherlock laid down all the letters on the table in front of the couple. "His intention all along was to have our tiny guest deliver a good-bye message to you, in hopes of not having to face the stigma of a public divorce, and a sanctioning by the Church."
The wife pale.
"Are you saying that foul insect killed my husband?"
"No. I'm saying that it was the device of his surmise." Sherlock responded pleasantly. "Watson?"
"You see, this little fellow is capable of carrying an inordinate amount of deadly poison in its front legs. It has tiny pouches on both legs, which when warmed to a certain temperature, open up and deliver their contents."
"Then it wasn't the dark arts that killed him?" The husband spoke up.
"Actually. It was. You see this tiny fellow will only wake up when it is shaken from its rest and then warmed to a certain temperature. The good Doctor knocked off the bottle that held next to a foot warmer he kept at the side of his bed."
"Yes." Sherlock said, pausing to light his famous pipe, take a few puffs, then smile at the surprised couple. "So you see the message he had intended for you dear madam, he instead inadvertently delivered to himself."
Later on Sherlock and Watson sat before their fireplace at 221B Baker Street and reminisced about the episode of the murder.
"It's funny, Holmes."
"How so?" Sherlock inquired, his long thin fingers dancing on the tip of his knees as he played them to a tune only his great mind could hear.
"In the India Isles they believe in karma. That what you put out comes back to you."
"Indeed. And it looks like this time it came back instantly, didn't it?" Sherlock replied with a wry smile. "The good Doctor's karma quite literally bit him in the..." Sherlock smiled again more broadly. "...the you know."
Both men laughed.
Outside a few late night Christmas Carolers stopped, seeing the lights on upstairs in 221B and began to sing "Silent Night."
But no one heard them above, for Sherlock and Watson had both earned a good night's rest, and were both fast asleep on their chairs.