This is the eeriest of the fictions in this collection, and at the same time the most poignant. It is also a song fic which I have never attempted before or sense, I wrote this around the break up of Oasis last year this time. I've always loved Noel Gallagher's lyrics and this one, written about a writer friend of his that had a series of unfortunate circumstances happen in his life, was one of his most haunting.
Is this a ghost story or merely a tale of one man's decent into grief and madness...I'll let you decide.
Cast No Shadow
Here's a thought for every man
Who tries to understand what is in his hands
He walks along the open road of Love & Life
surviving if he can
Bound with all the weight of all the words he tried to say
Chained to all the places that he never wished to stay
Bound with all the weight of all the words he tried to say
and as faced the sun he cast no shadow
Here I am putting pen to paper once again. Some blokes deal with circumstances with drink, others with the occasional dalliance with the feminine, I have a friend who thinks putting a needle in his arm is an option, the idiot. For me, John Hamish Watson, it has always been a pen.
They watch me carefully here. My every action is managed by unseen hands controlled by the decision of men I have never met, they even watch this pen's location, asking every so politely if I have completed my epistles for the day then securing it before locking the door to my room back for my own safe keeping.
I have moments when I can clearly recall why I am here, but that lucidity is fleeting, and judging from the medications that I am given, those brief moments are accompanied by some dreadful realization that causes ungentlemanlike behaviour, so maybe I am better off not knowing.
I supposed I should begin at the beginning.
I was at Kensington, seeing to my patients, and in love with my wife living my life day by day with an occasional flight of fancy with my dear friend Sherlock Holmes, it was a very good life to be sure.
I was minding my own, paying my bills and staying busy, occasionally I would help Scotland Yard with a tricky autopsy; they see in me some rare skill I have never spied in myself. This extra work helps with expenses, and affords me some superfluous purchases from time to time. There is a vendor on the corner at Piccadilly that sells the most amazing roses, they are of a lavender colour that I have found nowhere else, I manage to secure one at least once a week for Mary. She accepts it with that rare grace that is hers alone, and nods for me to put it in a vase for her to admire. I get the most marvellous compliments from my patients. I tell them, "That rose is not as pretty as my dear wife." They give me the strangest looks at those words, rather rude of them I say, causing me undue amounts of stress.
I eventually decided that I wanted a week alone with my wife so cancelled all appointments and sent the house staff away, they seemed alarmed by that move on my part, but I assured them we would be fine, we survived before we could afford staff. It was not as if they would never see us again.
We talked of travel, but my dear wife seemed happy with just my presence, so I spent the days in her company, ignoring any summons I received, or telegrams, it was like a second honeymoon for us. The touches we shared, the looks and glances that spoke volumes of words that our lips had no need to utter, I wanted it to go on forever.
It would have except for that infernal banging on the front door, then the windows then the back entrance.
I insisted that they go away, but the door was kicked open violently.
It was Holmes and Chief Inspector Lestrade looking severely put out.
They rushed into the parlour where I rested with my wife. "What is the meaning of this outrage?" I bellowed.
He tried to argue with me some rubbish about my mental state. I assured him that if I were going mad my wife would let me know, he need not have bothered. He babbled on some more but I ignored him because Mary was moving towards me across the room, and her radiance took my breath.
"Watson, what are you looking at?" Holmes asked me in a patient tone of voice that held an edge of an emotion I did not know. "You fool, I am staring at my beautiful wife, how can you miss her?"
He and Lestrade exchanged a glance. "Is she in front of that window, Watson?"
I rolled my eyes at his sudden density, "Of course she is, do I need to shine a light in your eyes to check for cloudiness?"
He reached out and grasped my shoulder gently. "Tell me, my dear Boswell, does she have a shadow?"
I glanced down at my beloved's feet, I scarcely remember the next moments, and I awoke to find myself here.
There are days when I can convince myself that I saw her silhouette on those floorboards; days when I can almost see her delicate figure in that shadow at her feet, those days have been growing few.
They tell me that I must understand the significance...
Of what I...I cannot recall...I am giving the pen back now.
Doctor's Notes concerning patient John Hamish Watson:
The complete psychotic break suffered by the patient in question has continued to keep a grasp on his mind. All attempts so far to remind him of his wife's passing have been met with a violent outburst and immediate sedation. Watson was broguht in suffering a head wound from a pistol blow to the temple meted out by his friend and primary caregiver Sherlock Holmes. Holmes claims that he had to fight the patient for a revolver after he attempted to take his life; the struggle was such that he knocked the man unconscious to subdue him. This account, collaborated by a member of Scotland Yard who was on the scene.
One mystery that needs to be cleared up for security purposes, on multiple occasions, the nurse has come into Watson's bed chamber in the morning and found a peculiar shade of rose, it is a pink-purple colour of a type I have not seen before. He has bars on his window and is in a secure wing of the facility that keeps a guard on the door. His friend Sherlock Holmes is looking in on the mystery but as of yet has not discovered a perpetrator.
In the way of coincidence, Watson carrying on conversations with his dead wife during the night has accompanied these nocturnal Rose gifts.
I am unable to draw any conclusions at this time.
Doctor Emile Cabrera
I've never decided what this story is, supernatural or merely tragedy, but It always leaves me with a sense of melacholy. Don't worry though, the good doctor recovers eventually. At least I want to believe he does...you decide.