To wake is to enflame his body with pain; to sleep is to surrender himself to the unyieldingly hostile depths of his unconscious mind. He could not tell you for how long he remained in this state, hovering upon the thin line which separates the mysteries of life and the mysteries of death. Blinding lights fell across him, but they were chased away by the comforting shades of the night. Voices floated from the void, sharp, hissing, cutting away at his mind. And, always, the shiver from cold, damp flesh.

Sherlock opened his eyes. Life had won out in his body. He was not sure if that was a good or a bad thing.

He had been left on a mattress. For a minute or so, he slowly watched light dance across the dull mildew of the ceiling above him. The room around him smells faintly fetid, of unwashed bodies and sweat, and it is a while before he realises that it is coming from him. He does not know how long he has been here. It can not have been weeks or months. His body is stiff and injured, but he cannot feel the weeping mess of sores upon his body. He can feel the sting of insect bites across his belly and chest, but they are old already. Someone dressed him in cheap trousers made of polyester, but they were made for a much smaller man. The hems flap around his ankles, encouraging the spread of sweat across his skin. The air is humid, thick with moisture, almost sponge like. The sweat of time has seeped into the mattress underneath him; it is moist and ripe against his back.

His fingers crawl along the mattress, gaining strength but already crying out from disuse. He finds the wound in his stomach. It had been delivered expertly into the soft space underneath his rib cage. It is a wound that is designed to kill a man within the space of thirty minutes. The wound is red and raw, new skin stretched tightly like a drum to knit his flesh together. There are no stitches on his wound. There are no bindings. He thought back to the last memory he has stored inside his mind. Can that be true? Is that what happened?

He begins to pull himself up. He edges his body out of the deep groove it has formed inside the mattress. His legs scream at him – his whole body is crying out for him to stop, for him to give up and to remain still and dead upon the mattress that has become home. He has never listened to the nagging chorus of his body. The room has been cheaply whitewashed; there are cheap pine floorboards beneath him that saw better days forty years ago. The light bulbs have been smashed in their fixtures. The room stinks of the pungent odour of death. By his feet, the floorboards have been bleached to a crimson black. It is blood. He knows it is his blood.

He staggered through a doorway which has had the door ripped from the hinges; the door that used to lie in the frame lies beneath the mattress he was laid on. And here he finds his saviour. Here is the woman who came to save him, the cold murderess, the dead woman who sees no mystery in life.

She lay in a stupor in a claw-foot bathtub, a black straw hat clutching at her face, and large, round sunglasses obscuring her face from the chaos in front of her. The room here stank of excess – vomit, alcohol, an undercurrent of sex. A slither of records lay upon the floor, having escaped from a battered record player. Cushions, half exploded, lay in tatters. Bottles, countless bottles glittering in their waste, and powdered remnants of substances with a stronger kick. And everywhere, black dots of dried blood, splattered around from where they had dribbled from the feast to the glutton.

And in the midst of this laid Joyce, an empress of expense, a doyenne of depravity. She was nude, her mottled dead flesh on full display to the discerning viewer. Her lips were black, for she was covered in blood. It stuck viciously to her skin in thick, smothering splotches. It was laced across her hands and forearms, before it snaked towards her shoulders and neck, before descended across her chest. He knew that some of that was his blood, and it sickened him. Her body was bloated with blood, and it had oozed out of her at every opportunity. She was disgusting. No one could drag their eyes from her. She was beautiful as she luxuriated in her cruelty. She was hideous in her wantonness.

"You can stop staring now. Or did you always want to see my tits?" She smiles, and it cracks apart the bloody mask. Her voice is wonderful and familiar in this alien room.

"How long have I been here?" He asks.

"Five days." She shrugs, tilting her head. "You needed to heal, so I thought I might have a few friends over while I was waiting. I… I haven't had blood in forever. Not since that night when – "

"When you brutally murdered a gang of teenage boys for daring to ask you for a light."

"Exactly. I fed on you and I had to have more. But you should be grateful for that." She paused to stand up straight, resting her left foot on the side of the bathtub. The blood from her orgy of feasting had dripped across her legs in light splashes, as if she had been skipping in the rain. "I healed you. I gave you life. To do that, I used those delightful friends of yours." She raised a hand to her mouth. She ran her tongue, a vivid velvet pink against the brown stains of blood, along her arm and across her palm. She shuddered, gnashing at her own lips from the taste.

"The friends who would have seen me dead. At least their lives had some sort of a purpose." He turned away from her. He could not stand to look at her while in her kingdom. It gave him the feeling of being a fly trapped in the web of a beautifully venomous spider. "It is remarkable that we happen to be operating in the same area of Turkey."

"Can't you just be happy to see me again?" Her feet patter behind him, quick little flashes of sound, and then she flings her arms around him. Her head lies in the middle of his back. She buries her face into his back, and he can feel the brush of her sharp teeth against his skin, like the sudden prickles of pins. "I'm happy to see you. I have missed you, and then I was told you had killed yourself and you won't believe me, I know, but I remembered the taste of your blood and the memory hurt, oh the memory hurt. I thought you might be strong enough to transition – "

"You were worried that I might not be able to solve your case if I died."

Um, yeah.

I am super slow at updating/finishing this story. Life got in the way, but as I watched the latest series, I remembered this story again. I re-read it, and while I found some things lacking, I remembered how much fun I had writing it. And I decided to finish it, and give it some conclusion. If you read this originally, I hope you still enjoy it and like the new addition. If you are new to this story, I hope you have enjoyed it and the spirit in which it was created. A little bit of horror is always something nice to have.