The Case of the Stolen Keepsake

Chapter 2

by Stacey (SST205 at aol.com)
1/29/02

Michael came back to consciousness slowly. He heard voices near him, but at first was not able to open his eyes to see who was speaking.

"So, Doctor, why is it that you've called me here?" said someone with a definite English accent -- someone of culture.

"Yes," came another voice, with much the same tone. "The poor man appears to have been mugged, which is unfortunate, but why call on Sherlock Holmes?"

Sherlock Holmes!

Upon hearing the name, the American struggled to open his eyes, but they still didn't seem to want to be opened yet.

"Well, sirs, I would have called on New Scotland Yard; but that was before I saw this."

Michael felt something touch his collarbone. There were footsteps, then the voice he assumed was Holmes' said, close to his ear, "Hm. That is interesting."

"What is it, Holmes?"

"This mark on his neck. Judging from the fibers here, I believe that it was made by cut leather."

There was a silence, then "Someone tried to strangle him?"

"No, Watson, I don't believe so. Stranglers generally use material that does not leave marks. My assumption is that our friend here was wearing something valuable around his neck, or at least something that his attackers hoped was valuable, so they pulled it off."

At that moment, light penetrated Michael's eyelids. He groaned, suddenly feeling the aches and pains that wracked his body, then opened one eye. The other remained closed.

"Ah, you've decided to join us. I'm glad."

Michael saw that he was in a room with white walls, lying on a bed with metal guards at either side. He realized that someone must have taken him to a hospital.

"Wha--what happened?" he asked, blinking slowly.

"You were evidently mugged. A couple coming out of the shuttleport to look for a cab found you, and called a medivac unit."

Michael looked to his left. Two men stood there, one in a white coat with a stethescope around his neck, and the other wearing an inverness. The latter was gazing at him curiously, with warm eyes that contrasted with his hawk-like face.

"Sh-Sherlock Holmes?"

The hawk-faced man grinned. "One and the same."

He gestured toward the third figure in the room, who was wearing a dark frock coat and bowler. "This is my associate, Doctor Watson."

Upon hearing his name, the figure turned. He had a plump, pleasant face and friendly brown eyes -- but through the opening in his coat, Michael could see that his chest was -- or was covered in -- metal.

"I am a compudroid registered to New Scotland Yard," Watson said, noting the look of shock on the bedridden man's face. "I have, however, the privilege of working side by side with Holmes."

"Uh...."

Michael didn't know what to say. He certainly hadn't planned on meeting Sherlock Holmes like this. As he became more awake, some of the words he had heard while his eyes were yet closed came back to him.

"This mark on his neck...."

His hand was immediately on his chest. The old marble pouch wasn't there.

"No! They took it!"

"Now, there, young man, you shouldn't excite yourself," Watson said, stepping forward and placing a hand on Michael's shoulder.

Michael took a deep breath. No -- he shouldn't. Granted, it was a jewel, and expensive, but he did still have his life, didn't he?

"Doctor," he heard Holmes say, "when will Mister Walsh be able to be released?"

"Well, we've determined he has no very serious injuries," the doctor said, glancing at the American. "Though if you have headaches that persist more than a couple of days, Mister Walsh, I want you to come back here."

"Yes, sir."

"Very well, then," Holmes said, turning to Michael. "I assume that you did not have the chance to make any arrangements for lodging?"

Michael felt dazed, partially from being hit in the head, and partially because he wasn't sure what Holmes was getting at. "N-no, I didn't."

"As I suspected. Would you, then, object to staying at Baker Street with Watson and I?"

The man in the bed could only open his mouth slightly and stare at Holmes with wide eyes.

"I will take that to mean that you would not. Very well, then. Watson, assist our guest, won't you? I shall be waiting at the car."

On to Chapter 3!

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