Chapter Twenty Two of "Things that go bump in the Night," a new Sherlock Holmes Baker Street Adventure is now posted.
Chapter Twenty-Two Holmes was quiet as they left the small village, heading back to London. But Harry and Mrs. Hudson were having a great time joking with each other. Everyone was relieved to be leaving the horrid experience they had just been through. Not one of them had slept a wink the night before and it was telling, as Mrs. Hudson got more comedic and Harry began doing silly card tricks that threw them both into howls of laughter.
But Holmes, he had other thoughts. Somehow, they had been expected. The link that bound the events together was there, but for some reason it wasn't coming together for him as it should. He tapped his right hand fingers impatiently on the cab window edge, his eyes on the distant chalky hills as they drove past them, but not seeing them.
It was not noise that brought him out of his thoughts, but the sudden silence. A vacuum of activity. He turned his head to see Harry's head sprawled over his lap, cards spilled across the floor and Mrs. Hudson leaning against him, her mouth open in deep sleep.
He smiled, then settled back into his own seat. It was a long drive back and it wouldn't do for him to not be sharp. A lot had happened and he suspected much more would as well. He shut his eyes, but sleep did not come easy for him.
Chapter Twenty-Three Challenger helped Darling into their cab, then Conan climbed in and last himself. Watson was already seated and Conan slipped in beside him. It was a tighter company on the road back, but a safe one at least, thought Challenger.
"I wonder how our friends are doing?" He said outloud without realizing it.
Watson gave him a stare. "I imagine picking up the pieces as we have. Whoever this bloody bastard is that is trailing us and dogging our heels is devilishly clever."
Conan nodded. "Unlike any villain I ever wrote, this one defies description."
"Do you think it is the same man that Mrs. Hudson saw as a child?" Challenger asked, pretty much sure what the answer would be, but asking anyway.
"Truthfully." Watson said, shaking his head. "All the clues lead to it being such, but one thing I learned a long time ago from Holmes is that what is obvious is not always what is true, and what is true is not always obvious."
"Why are you smiling?" Watson asked.
"My exact words."
"But I just said them!" Watson exclaimed.
"And I just wrote them." Conan replied smugly. One of my short stories. Not published before I died.
Darling gave them all puzzled looks.
Challenger took her right hand and squeezed it. "It's not what you think. Mister Doyle here is not a vampire."
"Nor a zombie." Conan added with a twinkle in his eyes, thought I do sometimes have the strongest cravings for fresh meat at times.
Darling struggled to get further away from him.
"What's so bloody funny? She asked, feeling suddenly very unloved and unwanted, a stranger in the midst of...men!
Challenger wiped at the tears in his eyes. "Darling, he is so far from being a meat eater, that vegetarian seems like cannibalism to him."
Conan smiled. "Actually, I still eat a bit of egg and fish at times."
Darling looked at him suspciously. "What man in his right mind wouldn't want a nice bloody red steak?"
"I for one." Conan replied lightly, the twinkle in his eyes dancing about as he grinned widely at her dismay. "Don't you ever wonder if the poor creatures we eat have souls of their own, have feelings, know when they are about to die, and wish they didn't have to?"
"I bloody hell do not!" She cried out in her loudest voice.
Conan flinched, but didn't budge.
"Well you should think about it, because someday you might be the main course for some creature larger than you and wish you had shown a bit of mercy to those creatures lesser than you."
Watson put a hand on each of them to calm them, since both were about to come to blows.
Darling relaxed her grip on her umbrella which she was going to swat his nasty smile off his face with and Conan sat back, realizing he was close to actually striking a beautiful woman. His wife would never approve, nor his many readers. Imagine Sherlock Holmes suddenly striking down a woman. Unheard of. And he was Sherlock Holmes at his essence, wasn't he?
"Which brings us back to the original question?" She finally spoke through clenched teeth.
Watson agreed. "I think Sherlock will have many a thing to consider from our separate adventures. I imagine at this very moment he is wide awake, considering every ramification of what has happened to him and his companions, even as we are now."
Darling shook her head. "He's not immune to fatigue anymore than we are. He is, after all, just a man. Is that not so, Watson?"
Chapter Twenty Four A tall, cloaked and hooded man stood on top a chalky hill overlooking the highway as the Tesla Cab carrying Holmes, Harry and Mrs. Hudson drove past below. He leaned on a great piece of carved wood, shaped like a sword on one end with a massive grip for his gnarled hands, and a globe atop it that lit up slightly. He leaned his chin upon it and watched the Tesla drive into the distance and vanish.
Inside the cab Holmes sat in the same position as before, but his eyes were closed and his face relaxed. His mouth hung slightly open and he snored lightly.
"Oh that will be the day when he lets sleep ruin his predilection to analysis." Watson said. "I've never known him to sleep when trouble was near."
Holmes shifted slightly on his chair, then slumped to the side even more, letting out a loud series of buzzing snores.