by Liz De Jong (corellian_whiskey at hotmail.com)
Sitting patiently, her feet hanging over the lip of a cliff of
startling height, Liz cast her grey-eyed gaze out over one of the last
natural bodies of water in this world, thinking quietly to herself. It
was often that she came here, her tall, erect form finding rest on this
cliffside, soothed by the rhythmic lapping of the waters below. It was a
pleasant escape from the usual bustle of life, and even though she
mourned for the natural beauty that she once knew, she still managed to
enjoy what was left.
With a slight sigh, she closed her eyes, and tried to recall this
area as it was, so very long ago. A faint recollection of a more rocky
shoreline drifted into her vision, with various shrubs and the occasional
wild rose. A picturesque remembrance of a single calm, red sunset here
found its way to her, and was quickly taken from her again as a chill
wind gusted her back to reality.
Frowning, Liz stood, wondering if the effects of the experiment
had caused damage to her memory, and quickly put it out of her mind again
when she saw the time. She would be late for her appointment.
Stepping into her rather broken-down coachcraft, she took off
immediately, back towards the bustling city that was London. Liz still
regarded this... city with suspicion, finding it hard to believe that
this was what she had once called home.
She was again drawn into a sort of reverie about her past, most
of this daydreaming being occupied by her more recent memories of what
the scientists had dubbed her "re-awakening".
Liz had been one of the first to actually be successfully
successfully revived from the dead and a severe state of preservation
with such now modern techniques, and just as successfully re-awakened
in a day and age where the effects of her death could be reversed. Why
it was she who was brought back, and not someone more important, she would
never know and that damn scientist group would never reveal; they had
She retained a vague memory of who she was in those days, and only
the faintest recall of how she had died. Such a mystery, it all was...
Liz recalled that she was on her way to see the then-famous Sherlock
Holmes about something, but her patchy memory would not allow her to
recall exactly why she was doing so. She never made it.
The only other thing she could "remember" was the great and
penetrating feeling that she had to make it there, as though she were
racing against time in a desperate struggle. Little did she know she was
Liz smirked a little at that thought, taking her profession into
account. It was quite comical, really, when she thought about it... at
the time she did "readings" for people with her deck of tarot cards,
which had been in the family for years, and often got such feelings when
with a client. With some it was a great need for closure that wafted from
them, others a great morass of need. But that day, and still, to this day,
she knew it was she herself who was in need that time.
Finally landing her coachcraft, Liz hurried into her little shop
on the corner, her client already browsing through the various artworks
and trinkets scattered about the dimly lit, atmospheric room.
With a sigh, she hung her coat on the little coat-rack at the
door, and her tall, lanky guest sat himself down at the table covered
with the traditional black cloth.
If only Sherlock Holmes were still alive... then maybe I could get
some help. Some answers....
Liz smiled, and sat down in her usual spot at the head of the
little table, picking up her cards and shuffling them quietly with a
practiced ease. Her posture was unusually strict, but did not seem
forced; this was a practiced and habitual position, not uncomfortable
to one who was used to it. More a remnant of days gome by than anything
"Forgive my lateness, if you please. I got caught up in a personal
The tall stranger smiled back warmly, removing his oddly familiar
hat and placing it on his lap. Liz couldn't help but notice a faint
fluttering in her gut that wasn't entirely due to his features alone,
although it helped. He was.. important, somehow. This was no chance
meeting; she could feel it. But she could also sense a bit of a personal
distance, a distance from some of the more extraverted aspects of life,
and was not quite sure what to think of this. Perhaps there was something
she was not seeing.
"It's quite all right." he answered back, relaxing a bit in the
chair, now studying her instead of the objects around the room. Such
attentions unnerved her, as she was not used to anyone paying any
attention to her whatsoever, but she tried her best to hide it behind
what she considered to be a professional exterior. It was very hard
to resist the urge to check if there were something along the lines
of a large dot on her forehead that had interested him so, but she
managed. "I only just arrived."
"You don't mind if I ask you some questions first, do you? It
usually helps me get a bit more familiar with the personality of
whomever I'm reading."
He smiled again and steepled his fingers before his face, resting
his elbows on crossed knee, fingertip meeting fingertip.
"Not at all."
Liz nodded, the fluttery feeling in her stomach intensifying.
Something was definitely unusual here, and it wasn't just her silly
heart running off with her brains for the moment. Liz still kept all
senses alert. She began to shuffle the cards absently, concentrating
on her client, his mannerisms, and his aura as best she could.
"Can you tell me the nature of your question? I mean, why are
you consulting me today?"
He paused a moment before answering, almost seeming to be debating
something with himself, then replied, "I've come on... Well, I suppose
you could call it a quest, of sorts. I want to know if, with the idea
I'm researching, I'm on the right track."
Liz nodded, not seeming too fazed by what her guest had obviously
expected to be significant, continually shuffling the cards. She was
trying to keep her mind blank, to keep her own thoughts from influencing
the cards. It was a battle she was losing.
"I see. I think I can help you
there." She spread the cards on the table, in the customary fan pattern,
still seeming a bit distant. She shook her head, succeeding in pulling
herself back from what seemed a long, long distance, to the here and
"Are you all right? You look...."
"I'm fine." Liz interrupted calmly, looking back at him,
accidentally catching his eyes. She could feel her face redden.
She kept reminding herself not to worry... the men of this century
tended to be a little more forward in all aspects than the vintage
she remembered. "Would you please pick the cards for me that feel
right to you... take your time, and allow your hand to float over
them until you feel the time is right to pick. Then hand it to me,
and I'll lay it in the spread."
Her guest nodded, and extended a hand over the cards, closing his
eyes in what she thought was mock concentration. Liz couldn't help but
notice he had very long, thin fingers, very fine hands, but also very
many scars and callouses. These were definitely hands that had seen
their time, and Liz found it odd that one so seemingly young could
accumulate the steadyness and sureness of movement and gesture that
almost always came only with age. It made her ponder his profession, or,
more along her current lines of worried thinking, his lack of it.
He picked his first card after a short wait, and the others soon
followed, each then placed in the correct position on the silk tabletop.
He opened his eyes again when he had finished, relaxing back in his chair
It suddenly struck Liz that she was being humored.
"You don't really believe in what I'm doing, do you?" she asked
casually as she flipped the cards face up, not really paying attention
to them, but waiting for his reaction instead.
"I..." He cleared his throat. "...no, I cannot fully believe what
I cannot reason through. I require more physical evidence. But... I am
curious, all the same."
Liz smiled, her cheeks reddening again. He was quite the
intelligent man, this she could see. That, along with some of the cards
that were turning up, contributed to her deep flush. She also found it
odd that he did not seem to put up a facade while dealing with something
that obviously was a little on the odd side, even now, but still meant a
lot to her... that he didn't hang back from every word she said.
"Well," she started, looking up at him again, "The card in the
first position here," she pointed, "indicates you and your personality.
I see the card of the Hermit... you are a solitary-type person, a person
He nodded slightly, but Liz could not tell if he were still just
"Crossing you is the two of swords... this signifies what's
crossing you. This specific card means you're possibly dreading a
confrontation with someone, but that this confrontation is necessary for
your peace of mind."
He nodded again, his expression changing ever so slightly. Liz knew
she was hitting home.
"Here, this is the Tower -- that signifies a great change in your
life, one that you can't stop but is necessary to grow as a person...."
She trailed off, definitely getting deeper into the reading herself, now.
She had never felt so sure of a customer reading before.
She remembered the reading of the past, the ones she did in her
day, suddenly... a lot of personal embellishment, articulate filler, that
basically told her patrons what they thought they had wanted to hear. They
were usually not really all that interested, and therefore did not provide
the belief or open-mindedness that a true reading required.
"And here, this is what's causing the change... the two of cups."
Liz flushed again.
"What does that card mean?" Her guest asked, peering up at her with
something akin to genuine interest.
"It.. in this position, it shows that the big change I was just
talking about is... the introduction of a new love interest. Someone is
going to catch your eye and throw your life into turmoil."
"Interesting." the man said simply, leaning back in the chair
again, seemingly lost in thought now. An expression that could only be
a scowl crossed his face.
Liz continued the reading, getting mixed reactions from her
patron. When it was over, however, he did not rise and wish to leave as
quickly as most customers did. He showed no intention of leaving
whatsoever. Liz grew faintly suspicious, and the feeling of being humored
again came to her.
"You weren't here for a reading, were you?" she asked bluntly,
snapping him from his train of obviously deep thoughts. He blinked a few
times, but this time did not smile. Immediately, Liz wanted to take back
what she had said. The constant battle of fighting to become a woman of
the times had been won for a moment, and a blunt, abrupt statement made.
In her time, most often such was not the case. She was torn between
hating herself for being rude, and hating herself for being stuck in the
"I allowed you to ask me a few questions; now, would you be so kind
as to answer some of mine?"
Liz swallowed. This was taking a very weird turn, one she was not
entirely sure she felt safe with. Yes, she definitely wished she'd taken
back that last phrase.
"I... guess that's only fair," she answered, not too keen on the
idea but not wanting to pass up this singular incident just yet. Even
though that old part of her brain screamed 'safety first!', that same
part of her brain that had always been slightly unique cried for adventure.
"Excellent. Have you ever heard of a research ground named Setats?"
Liz's heart knocked her ribs. "Yes. I was... part of an experiment
"Did that experiment involve cryogenic freezing?"
His relentless questions pounded into her skull, and Liz felt a
headache growing, as well as a fear. Setats were the people who had
re-awakened her, then left her to fend in this new time on her own for
who knew what reasons. And this man knew. Definitely, he knew.
Suddenly, Liz felt an anger growing within -- almost asking 'How
dare you?' but remembering that people these days were a little more
front and forward, so she held back. But that restraint did not quell
"Yes... it did. But.. how did you... what does this..."
Her guest again smiled, more warmly this time. "I, too, have
experienced this type of... experiment first hand, although under
different circumstances. I was preserved, if you will, and was only
recently brought back...." Liz's mind wandered back to that feeling
of familiarity, and immediately, she knew what had sparked it. It was
his clothes, his mannerisms, and just his general aura...they were
reminiscent of an era she had known... that she had called home. He was
from the same time.
"....and was looking over records to see if there were any others
like myself. I have heard of some unrest with these scientists from
others as well, and had been doing some research, when your case showed
up. I simply could not resist the urge to talk with someone whom I can
relate to. But I have forgotten myself... allow me to conduct an
introduction. I am Sherlock Holmes...."
It was too much. Her wish had come true, and the one person who
could have possibly solved her mystery, possibly known her longing for
the past, had found her. All at once, her eyes rolled back, closed, and
she tipped backwards in her chair, towards the floor. The back of her
head hit with a sickening thud, transporting Liz into a darker realm
swirling with dizzying questions.
On to Part 2!
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