Doctor Watson and associated characters belong to the Doyle estate; the Doctor (who?) belongs to the BBC

My details may or may not be correct; I think Watson was married for a short time in the books or between them, possibly following Holmes' 'death.' I also believe she died.

Anyway, this is my take on it. Not a happy story, but I hope it's interesting.

I sat in an old chair beside my Mary's bed. I held her hand.

I cursed myself, though I knew I had done my best. No, more than my best, and the best of some of the finest gentlemen I flatter myself to know. The finest colleges, the finest...

I beg your pardon, dear reader. I had to go for a moment to refresh myself, and seek calm. It is not now, nor will it ever be, easy to discuss my private life. Especially not when I speak of my Mary.

But I digress.

The tuberculosis was far advanced, now. It was simply a waiting, now; one I know I never would have wished on anyone.

That night, however...

I was woken from a fitful rest by a strange roaring sound. I started awake, to find a blue light playing about my bed-room, a haze at the far end! I snatched up my my revolver from the bedside-table.

This was nothing I could invent, dear reader. I assure you that, as a medical-doctor, I know of drugs which would produce such an hallucination. I was consuming none of these at the time.

At the far end of the room, where none had stood before, was a large, ornate 'grandfather'-clock. I tried to steady my hand on the weapon I held, and stepped closer. I positioned myself between Mary and this strange phenomenon.

I waited. Seconds ticked by.

Suddenly, the pendulum-door opened, and what emerged...

Dear God. Such an abomination.

It appeared to be a cadaver, looted from a long-neglected grave; one only seeked by the more despicable grave-robbers. The kind of cadaver, mind, that no respectable college of medicine would touch.

Its eyes were in a shone with an unnatural health, strangely enough. Even more strange, and horrifying, the shroud-wrapped figure spoke!

It called me by name.

"Doctor Watson," it rasped.

I must confess that even with all I have seen, it took me a moment to rally. I raised my revolver to fire -

I found I could not move. I was transfixed, as the creature walked slowly toward me.

It stopped, then lightly plucked the pistol from my now-useless fingers, and tossed it aside.

A low chuckle came from its throat, as it espied Mary, close to gasping her last. "My dear Watson," it said in a mocking tone,"any other time I might have offered a handsome bargain. It could have been, say, your life for hers? Alas, I must make haste." It turned to face me again, stepping closer yet.

I found I could still speak. "What is it that you want?"

"Nothing that you would miss," it said. "Your contacts, the papers in the safe of a certain famous detective... and your life."

"But why?" I was tired; full of ephedrine from the terror of this thing, but weary beyond endurance. Perhaps this would be best, in the long run, if I just gave in, gave this thing what it wanted. Obeyed. "I-"

The clock at the far end began to chime. The creature whirled to look at it.

"It can't be," it said. The mist began to gather, and the strange roaring began again.

The creature let out a shriek and raced to and leaped into the clock, just as it vanished. All at once, the paralysis left my body, and I fell to my knees. I noticed, too, that the suicidal weariness had vanished.

Not that I felt that much different without it, mind you.

I found my feet again, and was returning to my chair, when there were the sound of running foot-steps. In my hallway! I stepped over to where the revolver had fallen, and picked it up. I had frankly had enough of this home invasion, and Mary especially deserved peaceful surroundings in this difficult time.

I reached for the knob, when of a sudden, the door swung inward. A smaller man in tan jacket decorated with query marks, wearing a boater and carrying an odd umbrella, dashed past me and into the room. "Where is it? Something was here!" he snapped, his eyes scanning the room. His eyes scanned over the room, finally alighting on Mary and myself. His stance and manner abruptly changed.

"Oh. Oh dear. I am terribly sorry," he said, removing his hat. A Scotsman, I thought with an odd detachment, noting the soft burr in his voice.

"If you've anything to do with that thing that was here," I said, "then you have less regard for others than a child tracking in mud. At least the mud doesn't try to kill you!"

I fear, dear reader, that the events of the evening had taken their toll; my temper was quite frayed. I advanced on the man.

"You, sir, break into my home, shout orders at me, and why are you still here, you - !"

I will spare you the horrible abusive language I laid onto that man. It is even more of an embarrassment now, to me, because of my later realization that Mary was right there.

To my shame, I brought the gun up to aim at his head. I suppose I am glad that with a twist of his umbrella, he managed to pry it from my hand.

He laid a hand on my shoulder and looked me in the eye. "John," he said, "will you please listen to me for a moment?"

I stopped and blinked, thrown off-balance. I believe I muttered something about being well-known amongst housebreakers. He gave a sympathetic-looking grimace.

"I just wanted to say, John, that I'm terribly sorry for what happened here, whatever that may be. I've been following this... phenomena around for a while. I can assure you, sir, that it never manifests twice in the same place." He patted my shoulder, then stepped back. He took another look at Mary, then sighed.

"Late-stage tuberculosis is a horrible thing," he said, "especially in one you love." He looked at me again as he retrieved his hat. "You need to be here with her. I will make some... arrangements for you; the last thing you need to have is additional worry over expenses."

"But wait!" I said, but he was already out the door. A few seconds later, I heard the front door close.

I sighed. I hadn't the heart to follow.

I resumed my chair.

I pronounced her dead early the next morning, and did not eat or sleep for two days.

The fellow did make good on his promise, when I finally came out of my stupor enough to attend the funeral.

It was a beautiful, stately affair, one I can only appreciate in hindsight.

She would have loved the grand, somber air of it.

I last saw the man as the casket was being lowered into the ground, and the service being given.

He saw me, smiled a sad smile, and gave me a small salute with his umbrella. He then walked away. I lost sight of him behind a small copse of willows.

I have never seen him since.

Author's note: The corpse-like figure is the Master. In the series in the late seventies, he had run through his Time Lord allotment of regenerations, but through great strength of will, simply refused to die. After a while, he wound up looking like a walking corpse. The Time Lords tried to hold him, but he escaped in a TARDIS that looked like a grandfather clock. He later, in the early 80s series, stole another body and continued on. The Doctor in this story, the Seventh (Sylvester McCoy) incarnation, was in this story tracking down what he though was someone trying to kidnap or kill key historical figures; he never found out who it was (as the Master managed to ditch him in space/time), and never even once suspected it was an earlier incarnation of his nemesis.