The Case of the Singular Suitor

Part 2

by Mary Christmas (unicorn_76010 at lycos.com)

"Oh my!" Watson exclaimed, as he helped her to the sofa. Holmes, after ascertaining that Watson had everything in hand, rushed out the door. Lestrade looked questioningly at the robot, who shrugged and continued ministering to her wounds. Though they looked bad, the bruises were easy enough to heal. The cut on her leg, however, would take a couple more days to regenerate.

"So, will I live, Watson?" she quipped.

"Most likely," he replied. She gave him a wan smile.

Holmes came back at that moment, looking downcast. "I could find no sign of them anywhere," he muttered.

"Of who?" Watson questioned.

"Why, of the ruffians who accosted Lestrade, old fellow."

Lestrade started. "Wait a minute," she demanded, "I didn't say anything about being jumped. And even if I had, what makes you think they would be anywhere around here?"

Holmes arched an eyebrow. "To your first question, the state of your face and the nasty cut on your leg when you came in proclaimed that you had taken quite a beating. It would take a group of strong men and the element of surprise (which would not be hard in this fog) to injure you to this degree. I have seen you fight.

"As to your second question, that should be most obvious. They had to have accosted you somewhere near or on Baker Street, otherwise you would not have made it here, weather conditions being what they are."

Lestrade sighed in surrender. "You're right. As usual," she conceded. "I was pretty lucky to have been on Baker Street when I was forced to land, thanks to the fog."

"Why don't you tell us the entire story?" Holmes asked, a familiar sparkle in his eyes.

Lestrade nodded and began her narrative:

"I was visiting my brother Thomas for the weekend. He lives just outside the city. Early this morning, he told me that he had something important to take care of in town, and that he would be back around three-thirty. Well at three o'clock, I received a call from him, asking me to meet him at a restaurant that is, oh, about ten city blocks from here. It was odd, though, because the message was audio only." She paused when Holmes made a small sound.

"Please go on," he said.

Lestrade took a deep breath and continued. "Anyways, I got in my hovercar and started out. It was already foggy, but I continued on. I was hoping I could reach my destination before it got too bad. Unfortunately, by the time I reached Baker Street, I was forced to set down. I got out of the car and headed here to wait out the fog. Someone grabbed me from behind. Before I could react, another person hit me hard in the face. I elbowed the one behind me in the breast bone, then trounced his instep.

"After I had gained my freedom, I could see that there were five burly men, although I couldn't make out any distinguishing features. One of them pulled a knife out and came towards me with it. I ducked and rolled out of the way, but not before the knife caught my leg. When I got up, I couldn't see them anymore, and judging by their frustrated groaning, they couldn't see me either.

"I waited until their voices faded away before I moved. I saw the light from your window and came here. You know the rest."

When she had finished, both Watson and Holmes sat in stunned silence. Then Watson proclaimed, "Imagine, attacking a defenseless woman like that!"

"She was hardly defenseless," Holmes said wryly, "but your point is well taken." Turning to Lestrade, he said, "Perhaps you should call your brother, so he won't worry? I take it your car is not equipped with a phone."

Lestrade nodded and placed the call. A few minutes later she frowned. "He's not answering his portable," she announced.

"Try him at home," Holmes responded.

She opened her mouth to argue, then complied.

"Beth?" Thomas Lestrade asked, "Where are you? I've been worried sick. When I got home, you weren't here and there was no message...." He trailed off at the look on his sister's face. "What's wrong, sis?"

"You called and told me to meet you at a restaurant in the city. I was forced to come to Holmes' place because of the fog. How did you get home?"

"I never called you, Beth," he replied, "Even if I had wanted to, I couldn't. My portable's not working."

On to Part 3!

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