"When you have to kill a man, it cost nothing to be polite."

Winston Churchill


"You really have found everything against me, haven't you?"

"It would appear that way, yes."

"As it should be, I suppose."

"I find I quite agree with you."

"And do you intend to pull that trigger?"

"I've been prepared to do so for the past thirteen seconds, my austere friend."

There is a darkness filling this room, the only visibility being granted by a solitary candle placed quietly on the other side of the room. In this dark space, however, there exist no fear, no sorrow, no regrets, and no intentions of escape. What we do find are two gentlemen sitting across from one another in complete and total repose. The only detail to mar this composed setting is the solemn figure of Sherlock Holmes holding a steady pistol no more than two inches before the chest of one Joseph Stone.

The individual at gun point cannot help but relinquish a small laugh. Sherlock Holmes smiles at this, eyes gleaming despite the wickedness of the situation.

"I really don't know how you did it, Holmes. I honestly don't. Would you please, as a last request, tell me how it is you found me out? Before I am to depart this world at your steady hand?"

There is quiet suspense in the air as the man sitting in front of him tilts his head to the side and studies the criminal before him. He is silent at first, turning over the man's request. Why not, he decides, why not tell this man about his final folly?

"You forgot to remove the small hair pin from your collar, I'm afraid. Had you not done so, you would have been a free man for... oh, I don't know, maybe a few more hours?"

"A few hours would have been grand." he responds heartily.

"I am sure your wife would have enjoyed them. Maybe even more than you. It's most unfortunate you ended her the way you did." Holmes recounts.

"Indeed? I was sure you'd agree with my motives." The man remarks.

"It is true that she was wrong-- terribly wrong. But to stab her with the very pin which you gave her as a birthday gift was brutal, Mr. Stone."

"Aye, I suppose it is. And I suppose again that you are going to shoot me because I have, in some way, wronged you?" There is sincere curiosity in the man's voice. Holmes slowly blinks and readjusts the gun's position.

"I am going to shoot you, Mr. Stone, because there is no hope for you. True, your endeavors have been most disturbing and the gallows will surely be requested, however, I don't think they will suffice. And if I can be morbidly honest, I do find myself thinking that had I been in your shoes, I would have done the same thing." He now pauses as the man before him closes his eyes. The detective can see the single escaped tear slid slowly down the face of the man with bloodied hands. In a gentle manner, Holmes continues. "There are no suspects; no one knows but me. I am sure the gentlemen at Scotland Yard will find something to report to the awaiting citizens of this great city, but it will all be false."

Stone casually wipes the falling tear from his cheek and looks deeply into the murky gray eyes before him. He sees that there is an odd combination of passion, anger, anxiety, perhaps even a little regret? No, not regret; vengeance. This is strange.

"Why?" he asks in an interested whisper. "Why will you not tell them of this?"

"Because this is a matter concerning no one but ourselves. You struck a nerve of mine when you inadvertently sent my dear friend to the hospital, so I feel it justified that I may present the punishment as I see fit. I could have killed you at first sight; I could have screamed at you for all you have done; I could have even tipped off the officials. But it wouldn't be enough, you see?"

The condemned man nods, putting hand to chin as if contemplating his next move in a chess game. Finally, he looks up to the ceiling of the dank room and sighs.

"Have you ever had any regrets, Holmes? Will you regret killing me?"

"I can't say that I would. I've never regretted killing anyone before this, and those words will still stand true once this is done."

"Better me than you, eh?"

"Better you than my closest and dearest."

"Of course. I only wish my dearest Lucy was as considerate as you."

The click of the hammer being pulled back shatters the calm like a pebble to a thin sheet of ice. Joseph Stone can feel the pressure of the barrel on his breast and knows what is about to happen. Sherlock Holmes stares at him, taking note of the free falling tears over the yet serene features of the man about to die.

He leans in, and in a low soothing voice, whispers, "I'm going to pull the trigger now."

"I really do hope he pulls through."

"As do I."


I'd leave off with "*Click*" but I've already done that in one of my stories. :D