It had been a particularly dull week. No murders, no massive break-ins. Nothing. The only vaguely interesting case was someone attempting to poison their wife. Being a keen chemist, I was interested in how the man had tried to poison his wife, and what chemicals he had used.
So, the previous day, I had paid him a visit. John had gone out into the country to visit his sister, Harry, so I went alone. The man had looked a little surprised at first when he opened he door to me. Clearly, he wasn't sure who I was.
Anyway, after a short explanation into my motives, he reluctantly let me in. His house was a decent size; it was as cluttered as 221B, but I wasn't bothered about that. Once we sat down, I got straight to the point.
"Why did you want to kill your wife?"
"You promise nobody will know of this conversation?" The man asked, just as he had at the door. Still checking around as if a gang of policemen was about to jump out and arrest him.
"I already said I wouldn't tell anyone, so, why did you do it?" I repeated.
"Well, you see, we used to be really happy, my wife and I. We did everything together. It all went wrong when we found out we couldn't have children. Obviously, we were both upset, but we began to argue, always blaming one another and blowing tiny things out of proportion. So one day, I just got fed up." He paused, thinking through his words before continuing "she had driven me crazy, so I became desperate and decided we were never going to be happy. It was a stupid idea, but I couldn't think of anything better." He explained.
"Right..." I said after a short pause, I don't think I'll ever understand normal people.
"So, what did you use to try to kill her?" I asked eagerly, maybe a little too so as he gave me a queer look before beginning.
"Well, I heard from one of my friends, who's a vet, that to put down animals, they give them an overdose of sedative." The man started "with a quick Google, I found the name of a sedative: Thorazine"
I leant back in my chair. Very interesting. "How did you get hold of it?" I suddenly asked.
"That was the tricky bit. See, you need a licence to buy, own and use Thorazine, so I decided the easiest thing would be to steal it from my friend's vetinary practice..." He answered, becoming cautious again. It was his turn to ask a question "Why do you want to know anyway?" He asked, leaning forward.
"I'm a detective, and a chemist, I was simply interested in your means. Thanks for your time." I gabbled, getting up and heading for the door, my long coat sweeping behind me. The man shouted something as I slammed the door, but I made no attempt to listen. I had work to do.
As soon as I got back to the flat, I found the nearest vetinary practice and got a cab to it. It was a hot day so all the windows were wide open. It took me less than three minutes to find the room with the drugs cabinet and climb into it through the window.
Once inside, I swiftly picked the lock and found the right jar. There was compressed gas and liquid. I took both and left the way I had come. Pleased with my thieving prowess.
Now all I had to do was put my plan into action. I'm no vet, so I phoned the nearest person I knew to one, Molly, for advice.
"What are you sounding so pleased about?" She asked half-jokingly.
"Just solving a case..." I said vaguely. "Listen, do you know anything about Thorazine?" I asked, getting to the point.
"A fair amount, why?"
"Because I need some information about it." I said, exasperated.
"Ok..." Molly said cautiously "Well, its mainly used by vets to sedate animals, normally more violent or frightened ones" she began "The... Air is less powerful than the injection...? And... It can also be used to euthanise animals in high doses." She added with a little less certainty.
There, that was all I needed to know.
"Great, thanks Molly, bye!" I rushed.
"Oh, Sherlock, just remember that..." Molly tried to add, but I had already ended the call.
I looked at my watch: 4:38. John was meant to be home at about six. I needed to find a way to give him a small dose of the drug, he's always been my test subject, although he doesn't realise it.
It would be harder this time as Molly had said the air was weaker, so it would be the better drug to start testing with. After short deliberation, I decided the best way to administer the gas would be to lock John in the bathroom and pump it in through the air vent. It took me less than an hour to rig the bathroom, and I was ready. Just as I tidied up the mess, I saw John get out of a cab and then heard his footsteps on the stairs.
"Hi, Sherlock, I'm home." He said cheerily as he walked through the door, blissfully unaware of my plan, not that it would harm him.
"Hello John, good trip?" I asked. He looked a little puzzled at my sudden interest but replied anyway.
"Yeah, Harry seems to be doing a lot better now."
"Good. Hungry?" I asked.
"Starving." John said quickly.
We ate and I waited for John to go to the toilet. I gave him a drink to hurry things along.
I continued to give him more and more water and blackcurrant squash, his favourite, until he finally decided to go to the toilet.
As soon as the lock clicked into place, he was trapped inside. I had rigged it so that once locked, the door would only open again from the outside, a trick Mycroft had taught me when we were kids, I suppose he was useful in some ways...
Then, I flicked the switch and the gas began to slowly pour into the room. It made a slight hissing noise and I had no idea whether it was coloured or completely undetectable.
"Sherlock? Sherlock!" John shouted, sounding panicked.
"What's going on?" I innocently asked.
"A load of smoke's coming in through the vent and the door's jammed. Help! Is this another of your bloody tricks? Open the door!" He screamed at me.
I smiled to myself and waited for him to fall unconscious, unlike the other times I had used him as a test subject, he had some awareness of what I was doing.
Suddenly, I noticed I could hear sirens. 'Not now, Lestrade'. I thought to myself. Luckily, I had also blocked the door to our flat to stop interruptions from Mrs Hudson.
John had gone quiet now. I turned off the pump, using a separate system to suck up any left-over gas so that I wouldn't be knocked out too. Below us, I could hear people banging on the door and shouting, I ignored it.
Getting out the screwdriver, I went over to the bathroom door and tried to open it, it was stiffer than usual, John must have knocked it out of place from inside. Damn.
Two sets of footsteps came racing up the stairs, they must have broken through. I turned to see Lestrade and Molly, they ran over.
"What the hell are you doing?" I asked, furious at the interruption.
"I was about to ask you the same thing! Where's John."
"He's uh, he's stuck in the bathroom." I said plainly.
"Did you drug him?" Molly suddenly asked.
"Possibly." I said, a small smirk on my face.
With that, Molly's face dropped and she began crashing at the door. She gasped "On the phone, I was wrong, the gas is far stronger. How much did you give him?"
The smirk fell away. "What?" I ran at the door, the three of us managed to burst it open after several desperate attempts.
We dragged John into the light of the living room and I collapsed next to him. He was completely unconscious, his pulse was irregular and extremely light, putting my hand on his chest, I filled with horror as I realised his heart beat was slow, not just asleep slow, but dangerously slow.
Behind me, I half-registered Lestrade saying "Hello? Ambulance, quickly. 221B Baker street."
Molly nealt down next to me and prised one of John's eyelids open. His deep blue eyes were clouded and dim, they saw nothing. Inside my mind palace, I searched for anything I could think of, nothing came to me, so I stared helplessly down at my friend, John, who might never open his eyes again.
Eight minutes. That's how long the average London ambulance takes. Would John hold on that long?
I felt his pulse again, it was even slower than before.
"Can you do CPR?" I asked neither Molly or Lestrade in particular.
"No" they replied in regretful and horrifying unison.
"You can." Molly said suddenly. It clicked, somewhere, a door opened in my mind palace and I knew how to do it, I dreaded the fact that I was likely to have to put theory into practice if the ambulance didn't turn up soon.
6 minutes. I watched John's chest like a hawk, the painfully slow rise and fall of his ribcage was a terrifying comparison to my racing heart and heavy breathing.
"John? John!" I said weakly, knowing he couldn't hear my voice.
5 minutes. Lestrade had joined us at John's side.
"What can we do?"
"Wait for the ambulance, and hope." Molly replied firmly.
If only I had paid more attention when John talked about how he saved people's lives in Afghanistan. I would at least know something.
3 minutes. Suddenly, John took in a heavy, strained gasp. The rise and fall of his chest stopped, and I couldn't find a pulse.
"Sherlock! CPR! Now!" Molly almost screamed at me.
I placed my hands onto John's chest and gave a cautious pump. Nothing.
"Harder, you're going to have to hurt him to save him!" Molly said, although I couldn't tell whether it was actually her speaking, or just my mind palace. It didn't matter anyway. Not now.
Gritting my teeth, I pushed hard on John's chest. And again. And again.
2 minutes. John hadn't taken a breath for at least a minute. I continued to push on his chest, harder and harder, trying to keep a rhythm. I cried out as I heard one of John's ribs crack under the force. Still, I pumped.
1 minute. Sirens outside. Still pumping. Occasional crack. Shouts. Footsteps. Gasp. I looked up at John's face, his mouth was wide open, before, it had been shut. I did one more pump before pausing. And waiting. Eagle eyed, we stared at John's chest, waiting for movement. After what felt like forever, it rose very slightly, fell and rose again. I was filled with relief, but the ordeal was far from over.
An ambulance worker ran in, followed by two more carrying a stretcher between them. "What happened?" He asked quickly.
"Thorazine. Air. In bathroom. Heart stopped. I started it. Broke his ribs." I managed.
Lestrade and Molly stood back, but I wouldn't leave John's side. My gaze never moved from his chest. It continued to rise and fall, but only very lightly.
Once the ambulance doors closed behind us, it raced away. I could hear the siren, but I didn't really register it. The nurse felt for John's pulse. I watched his chest: rise fall rise fall. I began to say it quietly, probably incoherently. Then, to my horror, it stopped again. Spotting it first, I repositioned my hand and pumped hard. I had no idea what the nurse did then, or whether she said anything.
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I felt another rib crack. That was at least three now. They landed on John's pale blue shirt, I hardly noticed that the ambulance had stopped.
Suddenly, John took in a heavy gasp, just as he had before. I waited, watching, hoping. Rise. Fall. He was breathing.
Movement erupted around me. Someone ripped away John's shirt, exposing his bare, gently moving chest. His bed was wheeled out of the ambulance. I had to run to keep up, my feet pounding the tarmac. Only then did I realise I wasn't wearing shoes. I didn't care.
When we finally stopped, a curtain was pulled around the bed. A woman fixed a mask around John's nose and mouth. Oxygen. The mask was attached to a sack of air. I took it from the woman, somehow knowing exactly what to do. Squeeze, release, squeeze, release, forcing air in and out of John's weak lungs.
A screen next to the bed displayed John's slow but erratic heart rate. People surrounded us. I pumped the sack, eyes glued to John's chest once again. Watching it rise and fall with each pump of the sack.
I had no idea how long I stayed there. But slowly, John's heart rate began to grow stronger again. It steadied, timing with the rise and fall of his chest. With John's shirt removed, you could just make out his heartbeat without even feeling it.
After an eternity, his eyelids drew back, revealing John's deep blue eyes once again. They fixed on mine. Confused, weak but trusting.
We stared at each other for several minutes before John mumbled "Another one of your bloody tricks" and closed his eyes again, exhausted.