Welcome to a new blog! This blog is my spring and summer serial project. The inspiration was, of course, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series. I picked the “The Case of Identity” as my first victim to zombie-fy because it seemed right to have the first story be about a missing person. The full length of the project ended up being twenty-seven beautiful pages of a zombie-ridden London encompassing and effecting the pleasant conversation of Sherlock and Dr. Watson.
The setting is simple, as we never really leave the sitting room of Sherlock Holmes’ apartment at 221B Baker Street. The year is 2025, so as to keep the original story and this one entirely separate. Society has been transformed as the only way to really survive a plague is in small communities, which are called clans. A little expected, but the anthropologist in me kept to the patterns society tends to lean towards in a catastrophic setting. The disease originated in the city, and it spread quickly through the countryside. Similar to the Black Plague, which decimated the European population in 1348-1350, the infection is growing and there is no cure and no stopping it until every living person is undead. There is caste system which, gives roles to the characters’ based on their talents and education. This will be explained further in later posts, as the story is long enough to break up. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments as the story progresses. Here are the first paragraphs, of Sherlock Holmes: A Case of Identity, and Zombies.
“My dear fellow,” said Sherlock Holmes, as we sat on either side of the fire in his lodgings, surrounded by the weapons we were cleaning as a result of the death dealing we participated on Baker Street all day. Undead brains were crusting at the knife in Holmes’ hand. I watched him as he went to the fire, blade in hand, and crouched in front of it. Holding the steel in the flames, they began to burn off the remains. As he watched them burn off the dead flesh he continued the conversation, I was very certain, would take up the evening’s time.
“Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent,” he eloquently states, “We would dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplace of existence—” He stopped his pompous dialog as the rattling of the front gate signified one of two possibilities: the return of the party from their reconnaissance shift or the undead futilely attempting to get in.
I got up and peeked through the patch-work curtains, made of the finest arm chair and day lounge upholstery. A swarm of about ten to fifteen undead was outside, no doubt, attracted by the smoke from the chimney. I placed the curtains back. Making sure no light from the fire would escape the room we were currently occupying; I looked over to Holmes and shook my head, pulling out my cigarette case as I walked back to my stool.
Turning his attention back to the flames he continued, “If we could fly out that window, hand in hand,hover over this great dilapidated joke of a city and gently remove whatever is left of the roofs, and peep in at the queer things which are going on.”
I shuddered at the idea of seeing more of the undead and dying in this panoramic view of the scourged tragedy that wrecked London in the first months it struck the city. The walls had held out for a short time, but were overrun when the country side fell to the diseased. All we know is that there is not a single survivor outside of the major cities, where tribes have formed. Holmes continued staring at the flames.
As I did not vocalize my disagreement of these thoughts, he continued to allow his investigative imagination on its conscious path. “The stranger coincidences, the planning, the cross purposes, the wonderful chain of events, working through the surviving generations, and leading to the most outré results.” He turned to look at me as I sat down. His face was serious as he stated his conclusive findings to this fantastical approach of viewing the world we now lived in.
“It would bring to light that all fiction, with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions are most stale and unprofitable.” I was morose to point out the situation in terms of reality, but as I watched him clean the blade, I came to the realization that in the span of time we had been apart preforming duties to sustain the survival of the Baker’s Street cohorts; Holmes had come to accept it.
As he turned back to his wooden seat, which had only one difference from mine, as his was the only object that had a back, and could be considered much more respectable than the stools that populated the room., he reached for the rag in the water bucket that sat close to the chair’s foot. He fell into the methodical wiping of the hot blade. Steam came from that inevitable combination of searing steel and water. His expression was momentarily hidden from me as I began to state my own opinion on the matter.
“And yet I am not convinced of it,” I answered. “The cases which come to light in the pamphlet report from Scotland Yard, as a rule, bald enough, and vulgar enough we have seen, in our reconnaissance reports that realism pushed to its extreme limits, and yet the result is,” I said as I light my cigarette with the match box beside my stool, “it must be confesses, neither fascinating nor artistic.”
I inhaled the tobacco stench. It was like breathing clean air for the first time all day. The decaying city around us had started to smell of salt from the ocean, and decay from the walking dead.
-To Be Continued-
Editors Notes: Linda K. Strahl graduated with a degree in Creative Writing from Lewis University. She is currently a volunteer poetry editor for Jet Fuel Review, as it is the catalyst to her ongoing pursuit to join the publishing field. To keep her writing fresh she is currently working on integrating old classics with more present superstitions and fads, while also keeping her own word journal, and Evernote app on hand. To keep her finger dexterity, she knits, and practices piano.