Of Visit and Gunshot
My best wishes and admiration for Sherlock Holmes series!
It was only a small visit to an old friend I missed dearly after weeks of parting. I did not expect it to marvel into a dangerous one that would endanger the life of my friend. Still, I tell myself lucky that I was there.
It was late in the afternoon of August and I had just come from the corner of Baker Street. I was comfortably walking along when I found myself wondering near number 221 B. I almost smiled at myself and decided to visit an old companion, who, beyond everything, have my respect.
I knocked on the door and was showed the way by the familiar landlady. I knocked on the same door I used to live when I was still a bachelor. The door opened and my friend greeted me, and in my opinion, with much enthusiasm.
"Watson! How long has it been?" he told me as he whisked me away to one of the familiar chairs. I saw immediately the letters near his desk by the fire and asked inquiringly,
"You are expecting someone?"
Sherlock Holmes looked at me and then at the letters on his desk. He gave me a genial small smile.
"You have learned the art of observing." he said as he poured me some drink.
"The credit is yours." I told him as I drank quietly on his company.
"If you had stayed a little bit here I would have taught you more." He said as an afterthought that made me raise an eyebrow.
"Who are you waiting?"
"Ah, now that you have asked I might as well tell," he said cordially as he sat by the fire place, "This gentleman is a mysterious sort. He sent me naught but the idea of his visit. Pray, he did not bother to make it longer which is somewhat suspicious. What do you think, doctor?"
"I say he is too cautious, which reminds me I should take my leave when he comes."
"And came, he did." Holmes muttered as we heard a rough knock by the door and the landlady opening it. "By his steps he is carrying something heavy by his side."
I sat up straight at his word and turned to him with a crease on my eyebrow.
"He is armed?"
Holmes' eyes were transfixed by the doorway as he listened intently. Seconds later he paid attention to me with that calmness I admire.
"It must be for his safe guard."
We listened as the heavy footfall stopped by the doorway followed by a knock and the door opening after it. A huge man in black cloak appeared before us that nearly startled me with fear.
"Sherlock Holmes?" he asked in a bitter voice that sent chills by my spine.
"It is I," my companion answered as he stood up from where he is sitting. He gave me a look that made me stand up unconsciously as if I had understood his message. "Send Mary my best, Doctor."
I nodded at him with a little frown as I head for the door without really meaning to. Somehow that was how I perceived his eye contact. Clearly, this client was someone of secrecy.
"I shall take my leave," I bowed at the gentlemen and then closed the door after me.
I stood up in silence behind the doorway, wondering in heaven's name what made me leave the room. Holmes definitely was communicating something and it would appear to me, if my readings were correct, that he wanted me out of the room. Leave the room I did, but why so? Usually he would engage me in his cases, asking me for support and advice, clearly something caused him to did so- or did he read that the gentleman with him in the room prefer to be mysterious?
I was not able to get my answer properly for that moment I heard a resounding shot of a gun, and it came from the room that I have just left. With my adrenaline on action I immediately went to the door and pushed it open. The next scene was too difficult for me to describe.
There was the big gentleman by the window and one look at him I knew what he was about to do, but I did not dare stop him whatsoever. It was because between us was the body of Sherlock Holmes swimming in his own blood. I felt my feet rushed beside him and in that instance my medical side had won over. In the heap I called for help to the landlady who ran in the room upon hearing the gunshot. She screamed at what she saw next but I made sure that my instruction to her was clear before allowing her to go down the first landing. I checked Holmes' pulse and it alarmed me that it was weak. He was shot near the chest and I worried for the worst as I ripped his clothes away. While trying to prevent the lost of too much blood, I looked up only to see that the gentleman in the hood was gone by the window, leaving no trace of who he was whatsoever. But on the pressing matter, I had the wounded Sherlock Holmes on my arms, and nothing could have occupied my thoughts more.
It took an hour and a half for the operation to end, and all the while I was waiting with both my hands clasped together in the waiting area. Holmes had been taken to the Royal Hospital where he was immediately treated by the doctors whom I am familiar with. They did not allow me to enter the operation room be it for the reason that the patient was my close friend, even close as a brother.
I waited painfully for the hours to end and for someone to tell me that my friend was going to survive. I had phone my wife of the occurrence and told her not to worry. She said she would try to come as soon as she can and I thanked her for nothing would suit me better than a warm person such as her to comfort me.
While I was waiting I wondered a lot if my friend had a close relative living by. I know about his brother but how to reach him eluded me. Only Holmes would know that himself. I wondered then about how my day had ended that way, and thought deeply what could have happened if I did not leave my companion alone with the armed person. Then it occurred to me that Holmes intended for me to leave. Knowing him, he must have known what was to happen and immediately pushed me out of harm's way. This trail of thought made me feel nothing but guilt. I should have observed more of what he was trying to do. It was so frustrating now that I understood it.
I closed my eyes and sighed. I pray nothing but for him to be alright.
And the next day he was and my greeting to him was not nice.
"You shouldn't have made me leave the room." I said with a tone of accusation to the man who had done nothing but save my life.
He was lying on the bed with his body looking exhausted and weary, but his eyes were of the same fiery and energetic sort.
"If I didn't he would have shot you the moment he was done with me," he answered in the same truthful tone he would use when stating a fact, "I was merely trying to avoid more casualties."
"You say it as if you suggest it was your responsibility to do so."
"Oh, but it is! Don't you see, Watson, if I allowed you to be shot it would take weeks for my mind to recover from it. Dear friend, I would not allow you to be hurt, not when you are…well, let's say, attach to me more than my pillow."
I laughed out loud at that.
"I shall not thank you, though." I said firmly as I gaze at him with serious eyes. "For like you, I desire nothing but to save a friend closer to me than my own pillow, as you describe it."
"You are clearly unhappy," Holmes observed, "Do not worry. I know what I was dealing with when I tackled him on my own. He aimed for my head but I was able to block it down-"
"To your chest which is as much as a vital point as your head." I muttered coldly.
"Now, Watson, worry not, I would certainly not let myself die from such a small wound. Cheer up, this shall not be the end of me."
"And you do not know how glad I am to find that out!" I told him straight that made him look at me for a long moment. Having realized what I just said, I sighed and shook my head.
"There shall be no more next time for this." I remarked.
"Impossible." Holmes answered, "But indeed there shall be none. Now please call Inspector Lestrade's attention. I am yet to report to him the identity of my assaulter."
"You recognize him?"
"His gestures and smell technically did so." Holmes answered in a grim voice. "And I am not the kind to let him off after this."
I grinned at how my friend sounded grim and admired him more for his quick wit. I was about to turn around when his voice called to me.
I looked at him for a long time, and then realized what he meant.
"You too, old friend, you too."
Thanks for reading! ^_^