Sherlock’s soft reflective voice, for that moment of emotion, was then set aside as he stated the conclusion to his argument. “The only abnormal moment after the death of the man, was undoubtedly the returning breath. The wife most likely considered it a miracle up until he began to eat her face. A daughter did hear her mother’s explicative cries, and discovered the grotesque scene you did not bother to read through.”
He stood then, brandishing the newly honed blade in such a way that it would be but a pen pointed at a student of his past. He then checked the edge, looking down the end like any man would a site on a riffle. Nodding perfunctorily at his work, like a general to a cadet’s salute, he sheathed the blade. Walking across the room to a cabinet, that was recently nailed to the wall, so as to prevent from any of the guests from using the wood for fire; he pulled out the key that unlocked it. This key was at the end of a ring that was placed on a chain. The links were pristine, obviously because Sherlock himself cared for the treasure, a sentimentality that belonged only to Irene or his mother. As his mother was long past dead and not returning, I can only assume it was a gift from her. It looked similar to that of a pocket watch chain, now fashioned into a necklace. I did not bother to watch him further as I smoked my cigarette, as I was so familiar with the scene. Thusly, when the cabinet closed and his steps indented the floor with his slight build, walking towards me. I was only forced to attend him when he handed me a pristine bohemian tea cup and saucer.
“You will admit that those details are not likely to occur within the imagination of the average storyteller?” He questioned. I was in such shock of the small cup that I did not touch it, nor did I answer his question.
He did not stand awkwardly at my silence either. But rather planted his stance in a fashion that would allow him to not tip over, even if he were pushed by a severe man or a blustering wind. His hand was steady and he then said, “Take the tea cup doctor, and acknowledge I have scored over you in this example. As to what you know now of the present holds no relevance to the moment you put into question.”
At this I took the tea cup and grumbled an accent of thanks and surrender. I in turn realized that when I took the cup, the small clinking that is usually a customary detail describe tea cups to have, began with the shuddering of my own hand. Whether the result was from the cold, or the shock of seeing such a pristine object of the past, I would guess the later.
I was so enraptured by the elegant gold paint, and the obsidian black interior that I did not really know what I was supposed to do with it. The possibility of Sherlock giving me this delicate treasure to be used as an ashtray was an atrocious affront to my appreciation for the existence of such a piece during these hard times. This surprising reminder of the past was so uncommon I could only comment with a somewhat stupefied articulation of my usually superb vocabulary. Sherlock responded without a hint of noticing such a lack of words on my part that I could only assume that he did this for precisely that reaction.
“Ah,” said he, with a rather prideful aplomb, which is unusual for his off the cuff nature, being so used to the lack of such amenities. “I forgot we haven’t held many reconnaissance meetings for the last few days,” which he gave as an excuse on his part more than my own.
He then continued, holding up his own cup and saucer for inspection, “These are some little souvenirs, more rather payment through our new bartering system,” he shrugged at the recitation of the past into our now tribal society within the streets of London.
“The bohemians down the street,” he tilted his head to the southwest corner, where they were holed up in a town house, “gave me these as a return for my assistance in the case of dispatching a few late clan members.”
He gave some hint of an explanation to their motives,” I suppose they wanted to properly mourn them at the pyre, without living with the guilt of beheading the remains themselves. I do hope they grow some back bone soon though. There are nineteen of them left.” He said, without voicing the contradiction that if they did, grow backbone, Sherlock would be at a loss of source for some of these exquisite supplies.
I responded to this with an observation I had been noticing in the families I had treated in the past few days.
“Yes,” I said, “many of my patients has admitted that though they know it is just a corpse, they still have difficulty killing something with such familiar faces.” I also added information that I assume, many would understand by saying, “I have encountered some other families that are far happier as units after some are dispatched. It seems that when a dead-walker had been a particularly belligerent member, the victims were more than willing to carry out the obligation.”
I contemplated the last part of the more insidious actions of those said units. The pause was more for my constitution, rather than a hesitation to shield Sherlock’s opinion of humanity at its present state, “the victims tended to hack the corpse, frequently taking off the limbs before actually beheading the thing.”
I shivered at the thought, though I understood the ramifications of those past sins so many committed without comprehending its concluding results, “I find it a very solid case in which we can say, evil begets evil, though I would elaborate to say, evil begets evil actions from those whom suffered by its hands,” at the resolving resolution of this oratory, I found myself contemplating my philosophical rendition, in which I concentrated more on the cup than the man I was addressing.
I looked up to find Sherlock addressing a tea kettle on the fire. “You have tea!?” I could not keep the shock and elation out of my voice. It had been near impossible to scrape up tea after the plague hit. It is quite a common misconception that we British would die if we did not have our tea.
Sherlock’s face held a significantly larger smile on his usually stoic and taciturn face. “Yes man, tea!” his voice even held a slight cadence of amusement. “I acquired it from the Holland street tribe. They had a few bins of the delicacy and didn’t know what to do with it. I suspect a few tried to smoke the leaves, but to no avail,” he said again with a few scoffing laughs in between the observations.
“I suspect the air smelled better?” I added, which gave us both fits of the reserved English laughter that gentlemen had never been able to change. We thought it was rather suited for the environment, being reserved and not loud enough to attract the infected for being jolly.
-To Be Continued-
Editors Note: 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.