The Curious Case of the Gorgon's Head
They were almost at her front door before she realised where
she’d seen it. Watson nearly ran them both over when she suddenly
stopped; he’d been quiet the rest of the journey home.
"I remember -- that’s the kid that knocked me over at the shops
earlier. At least I think it is!"
Holmes smiled and motioned to the door. "Maybe so, Lestrade, but
that doesn’t matter right now. Right now, what matters is we are blocking
the corridor and someone is trying to get out of their front door."
It took several tries to manoeuvre the table through the small
apartment doorway, and several more tries before Lestrade was happy
with its position. Eventually she smiled and wiped the thin sheen of
sweat off of her forehead, Watson tried to straighten out his bowler
hat, which had once again been squashed out of shape.
"Perfect. It’s big enough and near enough the office area to
work on, and near enough the kitchenette that I can slide the meals out
of the hatch and onto the table before I burn my fingers."
Holmes sighed. "When are you going to get someone in to repair
that meal fixing contraption? I am sure it was not designed to heat food to a
temperature that can burn flesh."
"It’s fine, Holmes, I just have to replace the fan...when I get
time. It means taking most of it apart and I need to find the
operator's manual before I even consider taking the front panel off."
Holmes shook his head and stared out of the big plastimix
windows of the flat. In times past, London would have unrolled before
him like a three-dimensional map from this height; now he could barely
see past the skyscraper opposite. He pressed a hand against the flat
surface. It would never cease to amaze him how much had changed, and
how much had stayed the same, all simultaneously. He glanced sideways
at Watson. The droid was sitting silently crammed into an overstuffed
seat, trying to push the dents out of his hat and, Holmes noted with
dismay, occasionally looking at his fist like it was some kind of
A yelp erupted from Lestrade as something buzzed against her
hip. Almost kicking herself, she pulled out her palmer and read the
"Uh oh. Greyson’s called an 'all officers' to an address
downtown...but this is weird. No police droids allowed on site."
Holmes turned and raised an eyebrow. "Then Watson will have to
Lestrade nodded, ducking into her bedroom and shutting the door.
Even in an emergency the police were expected in uniform.
Holmes looked at the confused police droid. "Sorry, old chap."
Watson looked like a dog that had just been kicked. Holmes put a hand
on his friend’s shoulder.
"But Holmes, what if I’m needed? Surely they wouldn’t expect you
to turn up unprepared."
Holmes smiled a thin smile. "Where would I be without my Watson?
However orders are orders, and as Lestrade has pointed out, he’s not in
good mood lately.... But all is not lost, I was going to ask you to carry
out some research on my behalf, and this would be a perfect opportunity."
Watson brightened up. Research for Holmes was almost as good as
being with Holmes, and at least he wouldn’t waste his time while the
others were out. "Of course, Holmes."
Holmes smiled. "Look through the good doctor's old journals and the
Web, and see what you can find about his first wife Mary Morstan. A picture
would be ideal."
Watson’s face lit up. "Mary Morstan? It would be my pleasure, Holmes.
I have always wondered what she looked like!"
"You mean you can’t remember?"
Watson looked confused for a second and then gave a sad smile. "I have
all the good doctor's notes in here." He tapped his head with a metallic clang.
"From every one of your cases he ever chronicled. But he wrote little about his
private affairs, only little notes in the margins, as I seem to remember, about
anniversaries and so forth...and I am not so fortunate to be blessed with the
good doctor's actual memory, I have no recollection of either his first or second
wife. But for the names, it would be as if they never existed."
Holmes smiled slightly and patted the droid on the shoulder.
"Watson, you are so much like the Dr John Watson of old, I sometimes
forget that you how new a friend you really are. Though no less dear
to me, I assure you."
"Thank you, Holmes." He gently plucked one of the first thick
journals from the bookshelf next to the armchair and almost reverently
opened it to the first page. "And now I think I shall proceed to find
out what I can about Miss Mary Morstan. Be sure to call me if you
require my assistance."
TO BE CONTINUED
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