The first thing that Sherlock noticed was the smell. It was not wholly unpleasant, but it was a bit cloying. He tried to anatomize the scents.

Most obvious was the smell of earth. Then there were several varieties of flowers—tulips, pansies, and… daffodils? He had always thought flowers smelled too sweet. And some slightly chemical odor mixed in with the earth. Fertilizer—a very familiar one. It was the kind they used on the beds in Regent's Park—he must be somewhere in the park.

And finally, a human scent—the source of which seemed to be getting closer.


Something rough but warm touched his face, and then started putting pressure on various points on his head. That was the source of the human scent—a hand.

He realized that his head was resting on something reasonably soft… but also grainy. It was dirt, of course.

And speaking of his head… An unpleasant sensation was beginning to bloom at the back of it. The sensation sharpened into pain. He gritted his teeth, and clenched his right hand (he could feel the cold pavement beneath his fingers.)

Then he felt a second hand grasp his shoulder and shake it gently.


"Sherlock!" The voice that accompanied the hand was familiar. "Are you with me, mate?"

Above all, Sherlock heard concern in the voice. But there was a touch of something else. Laughter? No, that was impossible! The voice was responding to his predicament, and the sight of Sherlock Holmes lying in a flowerbed with pain in his head and dirt in his hair was not even remotely risible.

A second voice broke in: "Is he okay? Do I need to call an ambulance?"

"He'll be fine. He's just a bit dazed." (The first voice again.)

"Sherlock! Can you look at me?"


When Sherlock opened his eyes he was not surprised to see John hovering over him. He wasn't even surprised (though slightly miffed) to have visual confirmation that John was at least one part amused to every four parts concerned.

Sherlock raised himself on his elbows, and took in the bright Spring flowers and the unknown concerned adult standing at his side. He looked down and saw some muddled impressions in the dirt from a creature that must have run through it and then down the path, judging by the messy tracks that began at the edge of the flower bed.


"You ready to get up?" Sherlock took John's proffered arm and hoisted himself to his feet. His head was pounding.

"I'm thirsty."

The as yet unidentified adult female shoved a plastic bottle into his hand. "Here. Drink this. I haven't touched it yet."

He took a sip, and then spat it back out and threw the bottle across the path. "Eugh! What is that? It's disgusting!"

The woman glared at him. "It's Lucozade. And you're welcome." She stalked away

"Most people would say 'thank you.'"

"I wanted water."

"She was being kind, and it's better than nothing."

"To you, maybe."


"Yeah… well, it wouldn't hurt to be polite now and then…"

Sherlock ignored John. Instead he examined the tracks.

"There was a dog here, John. That's obvious. He must have run me down. But that does not explain the pain in my head… Was I attacked?"

"You might say that… You suffered a blunt force trauma to the back of your head from a projectile, just before the dog arrived."

"Why would someone do that? Which cases am I close to solving?" If only his head would stop aching! "Have I been associated with any cases involving dogs? the RSPCA?"


"Calm down! It was just a kid with bad aim and his excitable dog—an entertaining accident. We're here because you wanted to have a think about that locked room murder, and I wanted to leave the flat until it aired out. What were you doing with sulfur, anyway?"

Dimmock's case! What was he thinking? Cranial pain was terrible for brainwork.

"It was not entertaining, and the sulfur is irrelevant. The murder, though…"

"Right before the extremely entertaining accident, you'd mentioned the key?"

"Yes, of course! As I was saying, if Dimmock weren't a complete idiot he might have noticed…"