Phantom Touch

Sherlock Holmes lay on the sofa, and scrolled through his texts.

Will you help or not?

Sherlock, I just need an answer.

If you do decide to help I'll be in my office all day.

A text would be enough.

He snorted. "Well, it's painfully obvious that the secretary is the killer. She was the only person with access to the office suite. And Lestrade will find, when he looks into her background, that she isn't actually disabled at all. She's been faking that paralysis for about seven months. The fact that she is skilled in several martial arts—obvious from the way she holds her pen—makes her peculiarly suited to kill a man who thinks she is helpless. I am not absolutely certain of her motivation yet, but she is his half-sister, and he had no idea she existed. It could be money, revenge for imagined slight, or one of any number of boring motivations, but that's not my area."

After seven minutes of silence, Sherlock texted:

Look into secretary's medical history –SH

Sherlock laid the phone on his chest and closed his eyes for four minutes, and then sat up with a weary sigh.

"I want tea."

There were very few things as dull as waiting for water to boil, but he turned the kettle on anyway.

He peered in to the refrigerator and freezer. They were well stocked with experiments—only just enough room for the milk. But he shut the door quickly.

His violin was in the living room. He scraped the bow across the strings. And missed the sound of the kettle clicking. He swore under his breath—the violin really was too loud. But he decided he didn't want to boil water again. Instead he opened his laptop.

No new emails since the last time he checked. And no more activity on the websites he had been monitoring. Not even anything to mock.

He caught sight of the mail Mrs. Hudson had put on the coffee table last night, along with a stream of inane chatter.

Four pieces of mail:

A political flyer. He walked over to the gas fireplace and dropped it in. If any more proof of general idiocy was necessary, it was the fact that flyers like that were printed at all.

Next, a bill. He tossed it onto a pile of similar envelopes. Maybe tomorrow.

A request to look for a lost dog? The over-privileged six year old could get another one. He dropped it into the fire.

And finally an envelope with a pre-printed card inside. An invitation, no doubt.

He slid the card from the envelope and studied it. Sender clearly recently married. They never would have chosen that card design otherwise. There was a personal message handwritten inside—untidy but strong.

Sherlock looked at the envelope once more. Sat on the kitchen table overnight before being posted. They must have eaten Beef Wellington the night before—slightly overcooked. Kensington postmark.

"Rubbish!" He said to the room at large.

He put the card back into the envelope, and fixed it to the mantle with his Leatherman.


A/N: Phantom Touch is continued experience of sensations and presence of a missing limb often occurring after amputation; it is frequently referred to as a phantom limb. (Scholarpedia)