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Books by Marie Wadsworth
SHFF: Holmes Returns Episode 1
By Marie Wadsworth
Posted: Saturday, April 21, 2012
Last edited: Sunday, April 22, 2012
This short story is rated "PG" by the Author.
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Recent stories by Marie Wadsworth
· The Newlyweds Chapter 2
· The Newlyweds Chapter 1
· The Journal Chapter 1
· The Early Years Chapter 4
· The Early Years Chapter 2
· The Early Years Chapter 3
· The Early Years Chapter 1
           >> View all 58
Kudos to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John Watson, Moriarity and the rest of the cast created by the classic British mystery writer are back in the modern day. Of course, there's a mystery to be solved. Holmes suspects his nemesis, Moriarity is involved in criminal dealings with cryogenics, genetic engineering and cloning and enlists the aide of his long time partner and friend, Dr. Watson who is performing surgery on a Marine at John Hopkins Medical Center in New York. Meanwhile, Sherlock's love interest, Irene Adler drops by his apartment and invites Sherlock to her wedding.

Episode One

A nurse lightly dabbed the sweat pooling around his forehead. The heated light from the massive lamp overhead added agitation and concern to the already overtaxed and overloaded strains and oppressions on him. Attending surgeon, Dr. Pacquing handed him a scalpel from his bag leather bag sitting on a metal stool behind him, and he made a clean incision underneath the patient’s breast plate.
      He, Dr. John Watson, had a severe bout of jetlag, nagging soreness throughout his body and a terrible headache after being on the job since they’d flew him from London on the red eye flight that arrived in New York at 3 that morning.
      The prominent 28-year-old British doctor had been called into save the life of a 22-year-old Marine who had taken shrapnel in heart during recent unrest in Afghanistan. The young man had been airlifted from Walter Reed Army Medical Center to John Hopkins Medical Center for this procedure.
       Suddenly machines began to beep incessantly; a nurse looking at the even green electric line on the monitor screen. “We have a flat line,” the Asian nurse said with cool analysis. “He’s gone into cardiac arrest.”
          “Get the defibrillator and 20 cc nitroglycerin stat,” Dr. Pacquing ordered and medical staff swiftly dispersed to fill his order.
          However, he refused to let this youngster who had just become a man and who had been under -- who knew how many hours – his lifesaving care die on him. Without hesitation Watson carefully pulled away the skin from his incision so that he could fit his hand inside. He didn’t need modern technology to help him, his hand instinctively travelled until it found the heart. His hand began gently massaging the thick, massive pulmonary muscle.
          The monitors began peeping again as the green electric line fluctuated up and down in a repetitive and positive manner.
          “Well done, Doctor,” Dr. Pacquing gave the younger man a congratulatory pat on the back.
          Grinning, Watson used his left hand to maneuver the tweezers to pluck the pieces of shrapnel out of the Marine’s heart. As each metal chunk plunked onto the metal tray, he felt a sense of satisfaction. He didn’t count the number of bits he’d removed because that didn’t matter since he was sure he’d pulled them all out.
          Ten hours after he’d started, he was peeling away his gloves and heading for the doctor’s locker rooms that were equipped with showers, saunas and Jacuzzi. Peeling away his borrowed blue scrubs, he headed straight for the showers.
          The hot water sprays from the shower pelted his medium sized, athletic frame and helped relieve some of the pain and tension in his muscles. After his shower, he dressed in khaki trousers, a sweater vest with stripes in various shades of brown that his wife, Mary had given him, starched white shirt, beige tie and a white lab coat. Next on his agenda was to find a suitable breakfast to eat.
          Staff smiled or said friendly hellos as he walked by with the Marine’s medical records attached to the clipboard he carried in his hand. At the nurse’s station was a box of assorted pastries and a pot of freshly brewed coffee. A raspberry filled pasty caught his eye, so he claimed it. A nurse handed him a large steamy Stryofoam cup of Joe. His brown eyes danced with excitement; his mouth watered as he took a hefty bite of the tasty, sugar-coated, frosted treat.
       Eating like this certainly wasn’t healthy he knew, and if his wife, Mary had seen what he was ingesting for breakfast she would never let him hear the end of it. His bride of two months would assuredly lecture him about the importance of eating a proper and healthy breakfast. But he didn’t care the sinful delight made him feel like he’d died and gone to heaven.
      Just as he was beginning to feel decent, a bunch of doctors shouted as they hurriedly pushed a stretcher with teenagers who had been victims of a gang shooting down the sanitized hallway. With a resigned sigh, he figured he should lend them a hand.
        Over the hospital’s public address system, an announcement blared, “Paging Dr. Watson. Dr. John Watson.  Phone call on white courtesy phone at Nurse’s Station B16.”
      Luck must be smiling on him that day because he just so happened to be at Nurse’s Station B16. Reaching across the counter, he picked up the white receiver and said, “Hullo?”
          There was a lot of static that is usually associated with calls placed by international operators. “Watson?”
          The doctor recognized his longtime friend’s familiar voice. “Holmes, you’ve caught me at a very bad time. They just brought in two 14-year-old boys who were shot by gangsters.”
         “Well, Doctor, I will let you go save lives,” the younger man sniffed as if he were annoyed by his friend’s dedication and passion to his profession. Actually, he respected and admired his pal and his calling very much. “But what I have to tell you is rather important.”
           Today he just didn’t have the patience to listen to Holmes’ intelligent ramblings or his deductive reasoning. “Be quick about it.”A garble of sharp squeals and clicking erupted and all Watson could make out of what the 25-year-old said was “Moriarity.”
         The Moriaritys were a very old well-to-do English family, and it was Holmes’ notion that one of the members of that family, Dr. James Moriarity, Ph.D. classic and contemporary literature and the dean emeritus of English, humanities and philosophy at Oxford University, was out to get him. Either his friend had completely lost his mind or he desperately needed to get off the drugs to which he was addicted.
       Before he had a chance to lecture him on going on a full scale assault against someone he had no proof  was crooked and evil, Holmes continued, “I’ve stumbled across something and I need your help.”
          Whenever he said he’d stumbled across something, Holmes enlisted him in helping to solve some dastardly mystery. That life was okay when the two men were in college, but his life was different now. He had a wife and a career; in that life he didn’t want to be constantly involved in solving mysteries with Sherlock Holmes.
          “I don’t know how long I’m needed here,” Watson told the detective honestly.
            The calm sigh barely feigned the frustration the younger man felt. “I hope you can get back here tomorrow because I might do something drastic.”
           With that, Holmes hung up; Watson feared what his friend would do because “drastic” could mean anything for the dramatic young sleuth. Concerned reflected on his visage, the young doctor told the nurse behind the desk. “Can you do me a favor and book me on the tonight’s red eye flight from JFK to Heathrow?” After getting her confirmation that she’d take care of it, he hurried to find out where they were working on saving the lives of the gang shooting victims.
      Hanging up the black receiver of the tavern phone, Holmes returned to his table in a cramped, smoky corner. There was a tall glass of hops and barley on his table. He picked up the glass and analyzed the alcohol. It wasn’t nearly strong enough to help him in his desperate situation.
      How had he ended up in such a low and unsavory place such as this? It was her damn fault. He was sure it was. It was always a woman’s fault. Even the best of them -- and Irene was among the best of them – weren’t to be trusted.
     His thoughts turned to early that afternoon when famous singer Irene Adler had stopped by his apartment on 221B Baker Street. Secretly, he had been pleased by the unexpected visit, he thought, considering drinking the beer in the glass but then deciding against it. Now that he thought about it he wished she’d hadn’t come to see him.
     He hadn’t been in the best state when she, dressed in a skin tight white pant suit and a red scarf tied around her waist, arrived. Both he and his house were unkempt.
      Her brown eyes swept across the untidy piles of papers on his desk, book cases and furniture, ashes and cigarette butts overflowing from the ashtrays and stacks of dirty dishes scattered around; in his mind he cursed Mrs. Hudson because from what it looked like his apartment had been cleaned in a week. His house was certainly a wreck, but he wasn’t much better.
      Surely there must have been a stench because he hadn’t showered in three or four days. His hair hadn’t been combed; a beard had begun to take root on his face; his robe had food stains and evidence of his other bad habits all over it. He lay sprawled in a less flattering position across his red divan; he sat up properly and lightly licked his finger to smooth out the stray wisps of his hair.
      Disgust flickered in her chocolate pools as she stared at him. “Are you high again?”
        “No,” he lied, casually removing the needle that laid on the arm of his divan to a spot beneath its cushion. The anger in her eyes told  him that she had no intention of falling for his lies. “What brings you here?”
       Unseen by either of them, Holmes' housekeeper Mrs. Hudson, a 32-year-old mother of two boys, leaned against the wall in the neighboring room eavesdropping.
      She held out an invitation; he slowly took it. “What’s this?”
       “I’m getting married, and I’d like you to come.”
        Christ, the beautiful angelic melodic lyrical singer had a thousand lovers worldwide, himself included, surely she wasn't taking herself off the market!  Maybe the marriage was just another publicity stunt her agent suggested; he refused to think it was real.
       Which one of them could she be marrying? He never imagined that this trendsetting adventuress who had droves of men who desired and wanted her around the world would ever settle down and tie herself to one man.
        Well, whoever she was marrying he knew it wasn’t him. He clenched his hands into fists, his fingernails digging into the fabric of the divan. If she was marrying someone, it damn well should be him!
        A smirk twisted his lips. “Who’s the lucky bloke?”
        Smiling prettily, her fingers stroked the charm necklace that he’d given her around her neck. “It’s Prince Rashid Ismael Habib Amad of Egypt. In case you haven’t watched the entertainment news on TV or read the newspaper, he and I have been having an intimately scandalous affair for quite some time now.”
        He smiled as he nodded. She knew him so well. She’d mentioned the media coverage of her relationship with the prince because he absolutely refused to own a TV or buy a newspaper unless it was absolutely necessary. He despised the media. Those in the fourth estate were supposed to be the guardians of truth and justice; reporters and broadcasters had a responsibility to report the news fairly and objectively but often the news reports reflected their own agenda’s or were all out falsehoods.
      Apparently,  Irene and the prince’s smoldering romantic affairs weren’t lies, but he seriously doubted that. His eyes caressed her smooth, pure perfect skin of her oval face. “Do you love him?”
       She laughed at the question. “Of course, I love Rash. I wouldn’t marry him if I didn’t.”
       His face looked like a poker player’s as he rose to his feet and drifted to his personal library. “Then you have my congratulation and my best wishes that you’ll share a long and blissful life with your prince.”
        As she saw herself out, she and Mrs. Hudson who carried a loaded plastic basket of laundry ran into each other in the hallway. Irene helped pick up the few pairs of socks and some of Sherlock’s briefs that had spilled onto the wood floor.
       Guiltily glancing at the attractive and popular singer, Mrs. Hudson’s face crumbled and she blurted out tearfully. “I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, Miss, but I was wondering if I’m invited to attend your wedding.”
         “Of course.” Irene gave the woman's arm a friendly squeeze.
         “Mrs. Hudson!” Sherlock’s disembodied voice called from the library of the apartment.
         “I better go,” the housekeeper said. She touched the singer’s face and gave her a friendly kiss on the cheek and then secured the laundry basket secured in her hands before departing. “I’m coming.”
           After he’d thoroughly chided her about eavesdropping and infringing on his privacy, Sherlock ordered his housekeeper to clean up the house. Mrs. Hudson was surprised to see that he had showered, shaved and changed in more suitable attire than he had on earlier when he had received his visitor. The bachelor sleuth had informed her that he was going out, which caused the older woman delight to no end, and would be back in a while and when he returned he expected his dinner to be waiting for him.
          His reverie brought him back to the present where he was still holding a glass of Guinness that he had no intention of drinking in his hands. Getting drunk or being high wouldn’t help him right now. 
         At the moment he really needed his mind. Earlier that afternoon one of his friends at Scotland Yard had called him with an intriguing piece of information regarding a case he’d been investigating involving Dr. James Moriarity. Supposedly the Oxford professor, prominent author and world renowned scholar also dabbled in cryogenics, genetic engineering and cloning because he had a large amount of money invested in these areas. From what his friend had told him, there had been a strange series of crimes that had occurred in major cities in England, France and the United States; the man suspected Moriarity was one of the central figures involved in these criminal dealings and asked him to do some sleuthing.
      He loved solving mysteries, but unraveling the ambiguities and secrecy tied to this scientific crime wave was not his immediate top priority. Putting this baffling puzzle on the back burner for a while wouldn’t hurt, he thought and then cringed. At least he hoped it wouldn’t.
      The first thing he had to do was to stop Irene’s wedding. He didn’t believe her when she said she loved Prince Rashid Ismael Habib Amad. She had to be lying. She was only playing a game, and he wasn’t buying the ruse she used in hopes of making him realize she really loved him. She was trying to make him believe that she didn’t love him with that unconditional love that often lead to marriage. She wanted him to think another man could truly love, satisfy her and fulfill all her needs and desires the way he did.  
       He truly loved Irene and couldn’t live without her, not that he’d ever tell her that. Let her believe that he disliked and trusted women and thought females, even the best among them, were master gold diggers, manipulators and criminals. Still, despite the fact he was her chivalrous opponent, he couldn’t find fault, sin or corruption in his Irene. 
       She, his radiant goddess and angel, was sheer perfection in every way and she was the only woman who could save him. Yes, it was terribly unromantic that he thought of Irene as his Savior, but she was more than that to him. She was his confidant, best friend, girlfriend and lover.
        When he told Watson that if didn’t come home by tomorrow that he’d do something drastic, Holmes meant it. Even if the doctor returned to London on the morrow his plan for action wouldn’t change. He’d move heaven and earth and do everything in his power to stop Irene’s wedding.

What will happen next? Stay tuned!!


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