The Vortex - Part I

He is gone. I did not attend the wedding ceremony, alas, I would never have dreamt of going there, and Watson was wise enough not to ask me to be his best man. I had been watching the rising excitement and anxiety that had growing within my good friend, following the euphoria of the first weeks, but only when the great day had finally arrived did I realize the situation in which I am now.

They married the day before yesterday, and Mrs Hudson assured me that it was a most charming little congregation, the bride was very pretty, and the groom… To my shame I must admit that I did not hear her out. I cannot even recall what I said to her, but when I looked up again, the room was empty.

I feel a restlessness inside of me, some burning desire to act, yet I cannot tell what makes me feel so. There is this ridiculous case I am working on, a mere trifle, the important facts are neatly collected, and all I can do is wait. I look around the room, my eyes wander over piles of paper that call for being leafed through, a clutter of laboratory instruments that urgently need cleaning, and an empty hat stand. I feel a sudden pain in my hand, and only then do I realize that I have clenched my fist that tightly that my fingernails have imprinted themselves in my palm. There seem to be slightly older marks, too, but how they got there I cannot bring to mind.

This state of mind is not entirely new to me, but right now I cannot find a reasonable answer as to where it derives from, and why it is so intense. But, of course, I know: it is the hat stand. I only regarded it with the usual attention, taking in its emptiness, and my mind added an emotional aspect. It will remain empty unless my friend comes back to me. This time, a feeling similar to that of a clenching fist manifests itself in my stomach, and a sudden nausea takes hold of me.

After emptying last night's dinner into the bowl, I try to fight the convulsions, and cleaning my face I feel that it is wet. My eyes are burning. I attribute this to the lack of sleep; three nights with little or no rest are taking their toll. I have to lie down. My knees are shaking, probably due to the exhaustion, and I stagger to my bed. Must have been something I have eaten. Of maybe my stomach is not used any more to forcibly being stuffed full every other day, or whenever I think of it. With no one to remind me…

I shiver when lying down, chide myself for not having asked Mrs Hudson to feed the fire, and pull up all the blankets I can reach. I stay in bed for a while, maybe one hour or more, but sleep will not come. Trembling, I get up again and reach for the doorframe to support me. The room is still turning, but I know it is the poor circulation only, and it will surely get better when I move. On my way to the desk, I grab the water bottle and empty it, swaying only slightly. Then I see it slip from my hand, and I watch it fall, wandering how long it takes to hit the floor, and why I am not able to catch it.

The syringe is there, and not completely empty, but it seems that this is the last leftover. Strange, as far as I remember, I did not have that much of the obnoxious stuff during the past days. It cannot possibly be that I have spent such an amount within only two days. Nay, I must be mistaken, and there probably is another ampoule somewhere further back. I force my shaking hands to calm and inject the leftovers that are still in the plunger.

Immediately, the heat bursts through my system, warming me from within, and the powerful feeling of momentary euphoria makes my brain spin. But it is not enough, I hear myself laughing loudly, madly, and too soon, much too soon the pain starts again. I hear myself sobbing. The depravation is pressing me down rapidly, and my stomach rebels once more, even though there is nothing much left to expel.

For a moment, I must sit down, and when I run my hands over my face, I feel that they are wet with tears once more, or at least my nose is running, an occurrence which is not entirely new to me. It is nothing, my body merely needs some rest. I open the drawer once more and grope for the other ampoule, this time the morphine one, which is fortunately still where I had left it. I need to calm down. Reason shortly intervenes, reminding me of the cocaine I have recently used on me, but I convince myself that it has only been some leftovers, which would also explain the rapid fading of its effects.

Finally, the great tranquillity comes over me. I feel the syringe slip from my fingers, but the room stops spinning, and I find some rest, at last. I drop down from the chair, down on the welcoming carpet, where I can bury myself and let the world turn without me, at least for some time. And the world goes dark.

Through my muffled hearing I can discern a strangely familiar sound, and I interpret it as the door opening. I do not care, I am lying most comfortably on the carpet, sinking in, deeper and deeper. There, an oddly well-known voice reaches my ear, but I cannot make out what it says. And then, I hear it shout my name. "Holmes!"