After composing myself, I asked for further information, “Why were you even in that section?”
He looked guilty when I asked the expected, though he answered me anyway, “I had heard Irene was supposedly there, so of course I went to investigate.”
I nodded, as I had suspected that being a possible scenario, I was obligated to add, “Was she there?”
He started answering rather quickly, “Of course she wasn’t there. The proof was in the fact that the Holland street tribe had about twenty full bodied diseased on their doorstep.” He didn’t even need to mention how that was proof, because Irene was a woman that would be enjoying the slaughter. If she had been there, she would have been in the melee, possibly cackling. Women seemed to have acquired said trait rather quickly, something about the rush of cutting through a crowd. My educated guess was that they were not accustomed to hold their composer as men did, as they were fairly new to the battlefields.
He sighed, “I relieved the store of the demanding crowd, hungry for brains,” at this point he shrugged, “and they rewarded me.” He titled his chin towards me tea cup, as a question of great import crossed his lips, “Would you like another cup dear fellow?”
I could only nod, for fear that tears would riddle my voice incoherent.
As I sipped on my second cup, I brought the conversation back to the more infinitely deplorable subject of Sherlock’s new studies on the uninfected and their reactions to said infections.
“Have you any cases on hand just now?”
He answered the positive with a that jarring head motion, while he poured himself another glass. “Some ten or twelve families have been requesting my skills to rid their back yards of past dead clan members.”
He set into action the prescribed movements of drinking his hard found elixir. My mind took it upon itself to reconfigure the image of him and his tea cup, to that of a man drawing his a weapon, the generality being because he had so many at any given time outside, and thusly carving the diseased back into the fire pits of hell.
“They are important, you understand, without being interesting,” he said bluntly while referring to his pay to kill profession. “Indeed I have found that it is usually in the unimportant matters, that I am free to practice the more essential movements and blows that quite correctly save my life in those more important ones.”
He gazed at the weapons, perusing their littered shine. Speckled by the light of the fire while he mumbled, “there is a field of observation, and the quick analysis of cause and effect for the dead,” as he became trapped in the corridors of his meticulous mind.
“We still need to answer the question,” he asked a tone more directed towards himself than me. “What are you saying old chap?” he shook his head, as to stave off my questions, while he continued his thought, “who was infected first? How long did the others avoid that perplexing notion of killing said infected? How was it spread in the beginning? What about that blasted vaccine so many have hinted at these last weeks?” I calmly waited for the questions that carousel through his mind.
I could not help him when his state of duress was enough to make him ignore the surrounding public.
“Didn’t you say it was a dead clan?” I asked dragging the last dregs from my cigarette and Sherlock back to the present conversation.
He looked at me with a slight nod, “You paid attention this evening. Tell me dear fellow, do you classify it as a large crime or small crime?”
It was after this last question that was such a customarily innocent derivation of our past and present professions, which Sherlock began to walk towards the draperies. A table comprised of sturdy English framing, which at one point, was an antique cupboard. Stripped of all unnecessary bits, the thing that remained was a slab, nailed to the wall. Propped at waist height, its purpose was to place things on when one needed their hands free to move the draperies, which I had mentioned being quite cumbersome.
Sherlock sipped his tea. Once finished, he placed the delicate cup and saucer on said piece of furniture. I believed that the man’s excellent hearing had distracted him enough that the conversation was now postponed. As he moved the cumbersome curtains as any young man would, very easily. It was then I noticed the rattling at the gate had stopped. Sherlock had just noticed the anomaly sooner. I placed my own tea cup and saucer on the stool beside me and walked to the other side of the curtains, articulating a soft huff; I moved them enough to allow a view of the street. Even though the weight of my own body was much less, as running places was the only way to stay living, I still lack the strength of the young. Even with a such a decreased size in frame, I would not want to interfere with the man’s direct path to the door, reason enough to position myself on the other side of the window.
A few of the gathering had fallen, and I could see their heads separated from their torsos making them irrelevant to the rest of the scene in front of our window. On the other side of the street, what I suppose was a woman at one time, stood with a strangely animated snarl on her face. The large woman, whom met the fate of her condition for being so large, wore a heavy fur boa round her neck, and a large curling red feather in a broad-brimmed hat. These being a fashion for a wedding party, I would assume her last event she attended was just that. And a member in that party must have cleaned the room of any living being left. Her body oscillated from backward to forward, which seemed to be her fashion of moving, as her feet would stiffly swing with each circling motion. As I watched this specimen of decay, a fascinating thing happened. The haunted creature was removed of her head in a rather quick and deadly fashion, while the body began to fall the person of such talent took their time hacking at the fat riddled body, like a whale hunter did to a whale once. Though the motive behind this attack, as well as the result, I suppose to be quite different. The slayer was adept at avoiding the contagious blood. Were I to rank the talent and station in any clan was Master.
-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.