The Curious Case of the Gorgon's Head

Chapter Two

by TT
9/3/06

They were almost at her front door before she realised where sheíd seen it. Watson nearly ran them both over when she suddenly stopped; heíd been quiet the rest of the journey home.

"I remember -- thatís 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 doesnít 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. Itís 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."

"Itís 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 alien object.

A yelp erupted from Lestrade as something buzzed against her hip. Almost kicking herself, she pulled out her palmer and read the message.

"Uh oh. Greysonís 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 stay here."

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 friendís shoulder.

"But Holmes, what if Iím needed? Surely they wouldnít 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, heís 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 wouldnít 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."

Watsonís face lit up. "Mary Morstan? It would be my pleasure, Holmes. I have always wondered what she looked like!"

"You mean you canít 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."

Watson smiled.

"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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