Halloa, halloa! 'Fraid I still can't update Mortality yet, so here's a consolation prize for you all. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to use a prompts table (one of KCS's) for a sentence challenge. Being in the Moriarty/Reichenbach/Hiatus/EMPT mood, I chose to use the Deliver Us from Evil universe as the theme for these. I whipped the whole thing out in just a couple of days, but decided to wait 'til Mortality was a bit further along before posting.
This is posted in full, not in parts like some do—merely because I don't know that I'd have time to upload this in parts. However, every 10 sentences has, more or less, a theme, hence the break lines. Enjoy!
© 2011 by Aleine Skyfire.
All rights reserved.
==Deliver Us from Evil==
In One Hundred Sentences
Watson drew back his hand to strike with his Adams—he would not lose Holmes again so soon to Moran's ferocious strength.
Snarling, Holmes tackled the shikari: three years of loneliness, guilt, and grief flooded and fueled him.
He hadn't slept since leaving France, some fifty hours ago, and he was quite content to cast himself onto the Doctor's sofa—no evil would touch him while Watson stood guard.
After the shock, it was not joy that Lestrade felt over Sherlock Holmes's return, though he knew he should be thrilled—it was abandonment.
As he hung back in the crowd outside the courthouse, it was not common sense that held him back from hurrying over to Watson's side—it was the sight of his Boswell walking arm-in-arm with Lestrade.
"The Adventure of the Empty House" never mentioned the Indian dagger Moran bore, never mentioned the blade burying itself between Holmes's ribs, never mentioned the way the blood seeped out between his fingers as he all but taunted his would-be murderer, never mentioned the frantic vigils of that first week back at 221B as a resurrected detective's weary body battled the fever of an infected knife.
The Baker Street Irregulars, never truly disbanded, knew that 221B Baker Street was haunted for three years—little did they know that the haunting continued beyond those years, through memories of a dead wife and son and a Swiss waterfall.
Wiggins, like Watson, had always berated himself for leaving Holmes at Reichenbach, but never did he berate himself more than when he walked in on his mentor curled up on the settee and heard the man whimper his dearest friend's name.
Watson did not object when Holmes requested that the gas be left on that second night, understanding that it was not so much fear of darkness as it was pure loathing.
Despite the passing of the fever, Holmes still was not sleeping well, so Watson gave him a sleeping draught—and never did so again, after witnessing his friend writhing and moaning in his sleep and unable to jerk awake from his nightmares.
It was not fear for his own skin that kept him silent to Watson's cries at Reichenbach—it was fear for the life of the "best and wisest man" he'd ever known.
Mary had been sent to Mrs. Forrester's to avoid catching John's influenza—with two children miscarried and a third stillborn, the Watsons were taking no chances with this new pregnancy.
On an intellectual level, he held a deep professional respect for the Professor, but, on a deeper level, he held the profoundest revulsion for one who was less than human.
On the night of May 4th, 1891, it was less the threat of Moran and more the threat of freezing to death among the Alps that kept Holmes running.
The inhuman fire in those cruel grey eyes unnerved him more than a little, giving his opponent a needed advantage in the battle above the Falls.
He had lived two years now more or less without Watson… but the uncertain future terrified him with a vision of continuing on that path to the end of his days.
Sherlock Holmes was not to know for three more years that Moran did not actually witness Moriarty's death and did not arrive at the Falls until after Watson's departure—but after his Great Hiatus, he was forever thankful to the young man who kept Britain's greatest tiger-hunter at bay.
The newspaper clipping announcing the birth of Arthur Sherlock Watson left him happier than he'd been since he could not remember when, and, for the first time in a long time, he went to sleep with an untroubled conscience, knowing that his ruse was keeping a baby boy safe, thousands of miles away.
As they ran after Colonel Moriarty's men, they were hampered—one by a twisted left foot, one by a Jezail-ridden right thigh, and both by the memory of a man who would have been running with them, had he not been lying at the bottom of the Reichenbach Falls.
The Tibetan priests were unsurprised when their eccentric Norwegian guest disappeared—the young man would find his healing where his heart lay.
He could not fool himself into hoping this time—the chests of his wife and son remained still and lifeless.
Patterson stared, but Gregson only shook his head at the sight of Lestrade, Watson, and Wiggins showing up his office, looking half-drowned and reeking of the Thames.
Lestrade sometimes questioned the sanity of the Professor's brother, but Watson did not doubt that the retired Colonel John Moriarty was marginally unbalanced when he beheld the look of utter hatred in the older man standing before Sherlock Holmes's tombstone.
The younger man could understand his colleague's feelings, but Dr. Doyle fervently hoped that Dr. Watson would not let his own emotions eat him alive.
It was no uncommon thing any longer for John Watson to work himself to utter exhaustion, and Lestrade and Gregson could only stare at each other helplessly over the unconscious doctor.
Mycroft had decided that this ruse had at last gone too far, but he was more concerned than angered at Sherlock's silence—his brother must not be receiving his messages and thus must be in great danger.
He had been running for over two years now, and he was very nearly ready to give in and let Moran find him.
Watson had become adept in concealing his emotions, and it was true that Lestrade was not the most observant of men—but the inspector could not fail to recognize the haunted gleam in the eyes, for he bore it himself.
The man mused that true, deep slumber must be a rarity and a luxury to everyone in this game: himself, his brother, his brother's biographer, his brother's protégé, the dubiously-privileged Yarders… even their enemies.
The constables gaped as the normally mild-mannered Doctor pinned the ruffian to the wall by the throat—and gaped even further when Inspectors Gregson and Lestrade did nothing to stop Dr. Watson.
It was neither game nor duel, but a dance—a dance the two men performed to dart away from each other's grip.
For the first time, he truly appreciated the beauty of it: his young, astoundingly intelligent opponent standing wearied in body but unconquerable in spirit, pronouncing his doom in a heartbeat: "Absolutely."
Watson had nearly lost Holmes once—had, in fact, mourned him briefly—and he vowed that Moriarty would not take Holmes from him again.
He had sobbed a tempest's worth of tears the first time he thought his friend dead; this time, however, he could scarcely shed a tear, so profound was emptiness in his heart—so the Falls wept for him.
"Holmes," Watson calls, as the detective hops to the highest boulder in their Alpine path and grins down at the doctor, "stop playing games!"
Moriarty's voice shadowed him from the Falls to Rosenlaui, across Europe and India, in Tibet, back through Asia to Khartoum, from thence across the Mediterranean to Greece, and back through Europe to Montpellier, from Montpellier to London, and then… then, the Professor's voice was silenced at last, aboard a steamer called Friesland in a storm on the North Sea.
The Tibetan guide could understand neither Norwegian nor English, but, when he saw Mr. Sigerson hugging the mountainside on the narrow trails, he well understood that the poor man feared heights.
Their struggle in the shadows came to the light of day in, of all things, a court battle: one decrying the libel of his dead brother, the other decrying the libel of a friend closer than a brother.
Logic was, perhaps, more perfect; but love was more powerful—love kept him away even as he yearned to return.
"You have been far too excellent an opponent, my dear Holmes," the man says in a quiet tone far more biting than a shriek.
Coal-tar derivatives had their place, but, oh! give him back his old chemical investigations into the world of crime!
India was hot and humid, but he shivered whenever he saw a blond, tanned British soldier—he invariably saw Watson.
The shikari literally stumbled upon him in the dark, and then it was a ferocious battle to escape Moriarty's tiger with his very life.
Mr. Sigerson was known paradoxically for his fleetness of foot and for his clumsiness—only a very few perceived that that awkwardness was not inherent but born of memories so powerful that they overwhelmed their owner at times.
He'd played for high stakes before, but, with a baby boy at stake as well as the child's parents… he just could not lose.
Despite James Moriarty's death, John Watson did not regard Reichenbach as a victory or even a draw—little did he know that Sherlock Holmes agreed with him.
He had experienced moments of complete breathlessness before, but his heart had never before ceased to beat for so long as when he stood before the shared grave of a sister… and a nephew he had never known.
Thanks to Watson, he'd had some experience with Indian cuisine, but nothing could have prepared him for full array of spices in a genuine Indian meal.
Moran was on the hunt once more, but, this time, innocents were being shot and stabbed to death, just to bring him out into the open.
To stay there, facedown, in the snow would be fatal, so he reached out one hand to pull himself forward, and then the other, and he kept below the merciless wind that way.
The skin on his thin, formerly white wrists had long since been rubbed thinner and red—and brown, from scar tissue and dried blood.
The dungeon alone he might have escaped, but there was no escaping from the stronger jail of his own mind when the door was slammed shut.
The passageway was dark and deserted, so no one would be around to witness a usually-merciful doctor forcefully interrogate one of the men who'd kidnapped Sherlock Holmes.
Each session was painful and frightening, but none so inherently terrifying as when the noose was lowered round his slender neck and pulled tight, then loosened, then tightened, then loosened, then tightened…
Shooting himself up with cocaine and morphine had never hurt as much as this needle did.
Watson held up a hypodermic before the wretch's wide eyes and made certain the man knew in excruciating detail what would happen to him if he was injected.
Toby was a tracker, but he turned out to be an excellent guard-dog at 221B in the Christmas season of 1890.
He had not ridden regularly since leaving home for university, but he had no second thoughts about taking Moran's horse and galloping off to a better part of town where he could liberate his mount and hail a cab to New Scotland Yard.
The Doctor found it interesting that the two most dangerous men in London each personified the two most dangerous creatures of India: one, the tiger, and the other, the cobra.
He might have reveled in the luxury of his own mattress, feather pillows, and warm bedclothes… if he had been lucid enough to do so.
Moran smiled cruelly at the marks on the white wrists beneath the cuffs—the burn scars had not disappeared completely after three and a half years.
The shikari's horror killings could have taught the Ripper a thing or two: he used vitriol before using the knife.
He never once questioned the sanity or reality of the Great Detective standing silhouetted in his own window, too thrilled that the slippery wretch had at last slipped up and provided him with a golden opportunity.
Their eyes met across the blazing meadow, blue and grey equally fierce and even feral, the tiger and the fox.
Entering a source of water threw bloodhounds off the scent—pity the Danube could not do the same for tigers.
He stared at the man—more wicked spirit, perhaps, than man—and could hear only the roar of Reichenbach even as Holmes spoke.
That debris should have killed the man, and Moran had seldom felt greater fury than when Holmes landed on the blasted path, torn and bleeding but unmistakably alive.
The grey eyes of his fellow retired officer reminded him of the Professor's, but the similarities ended there, and Moran would not bow to John Moriarty as the fractured syndicate's new head.
Moran doubtless thought Holmes city-soft and thus a fool for entering Germany's Black Forest, but the detective's childhood had been spent more out-of-doors than inside them—he knew what he was doing.
Lestrade and Watson knew, of course, about the air-gun, but Moran was unconcerned—only Sherlock Holmes could ensnare him, and that was precisely what he was banking on when he shot Ronald Adair.
The colonel scarcely had time to be surprised by the assault from the Swiss lad who'd delivered the note to the Doctor—he merely grappled for the knife with the lad and struggled to avoid the poison on the blade.
Not even the venom flowing through the boy's veins could bring him to a point where he would scream anything more than the names of his brother and his biographer.
The knowledge of Moran's sniper-accuracy with his special air-gun haunted Watson as he followed Holmes across Europe.
The Tankerville Club—Major John H. Watson knew it well, for he and Colonel Hayter had been instrumental in Moran's expulsion from the soldiers' haven.
The Professor twisted round, lashed out with his long fingernails, felt a vicious satisfaction in hearing the detective cry out, less from aggravated scars and more from remembered pain.
76. Late Nights
He could scarcely recall what a good night's sleep felt like—he had been working on no more than five hours' sleep for months now.
Scotland Yard had good reason to curse the late, terrific snowfall in April 1891, but Patterson knew that the blizzard was really a blessing in disguise—Moriarty was as hampered by the foul weather as the Yard was.
The first thunderstorm upon his return to London in May gave him nightmares not of blood-soaked deserts and Jezail rifles but of a titanic Swiss waterfall that buried the body of the best and wisest man he'd ever known.
79. House Fire
The damage wasn't extensive, thank the Lord—Watson did not think he could have borne it had Holmes's beloved Stradivarius been destroyed in Moriarty's desperate attempt at arson.
The constables wrote off the falling brick on Vere Street as a repairs mishap, but Patterson, of course, knew better.
What effectively kept Moriarty off his tail for the rest of the winter was the not-inconceivable news circulating through the European underworld that a French crime lord held the detective captive somewhere on the Continent.
The detective hurried further down the path, and he had to concede the practicality of the movement: the point where they had met was really too narrow.
He had no satisfaction in hearing that Holmes had come away with a few bruises and scrapes—the fool was supposed to have killed already half-dead detective.
84. Dark Alley
One of the Great Detective's greatest assets remained invisible to the Professor, despite their appearances in the Doctor's two stories—the Baker Street Irregulars kept to the shadows and dim passageways with all the skill of professional assassins.
Mycroft was well aware that his little brother had scarcely recovered in France, and feared greatly for Sherlock's health now that he and the Doctor had fled England.
Such fortitude in the face of the Grim Reaper had to be admired, even if it meant bringing on the outcome that the Professor had desired to avoid.
Moriarty could scarcely explain his own obsession with destroying Sherlock Holmes to himself, much less to a concerned Moran.
He was just waiting for the boy to drop of sheer exhaustion—the already-weakened Great Detective could keep going only for so long—and he was severely disappointed when Holmes's strength continued to hold out across Europe.
It was a time of deadly seriousness, but Watson could not help but chuckle as Holmes sought to avoid the attention of admiring maidens on their flight from country to country.
He felt no compunction in shooting one of the men—one of Moran's creatures—tracking him, and his Yarder look-alike agreed completely.
91. Defense of Another
Watson had expected the Moriarty trial to be a fight all the way—what he had not expected was to have to uphold his deceased friend's good name.
92. Illness—Contracted by Patient
One of the hazards of the medical profession was that a doctor was liable to catch the diseases he treated; John was determined, however, that Mary and their unborn baby should face none of the risk—a call upon Mrs. Forrester's hospitality was in order.
93. Illness—Contracted during a Case
Despite the solemnity of the situation, Mycroft had to be amused at his brother's petulance at the cold he was enduring in France.
In the dark, Wiggins swung a mighty left hook into the stomach of his assailant—then spent the next week apologizing to his employer for the blow.
Holmes suffered from a significant amount of pain that winter, but at least it sometimes served a purpose—the bullet he'd taken in Watson's stead two years ago served as a barometer.
96. Author's Choice—Captive
Their first meeting was not at Baker Street but somewhere in the East End, not in a sitting room, but in a dungeon.
97. Author's Choice—Free
On their second meeting, they met as equals, one gentleman to another; but no Holmesian brains would have needed apply to feel the tension stretched thin between them.
98. Author's Choice—Miracle
Watson smiled sadly as Holmes outpaced him on their trek through the Alps, recalling a time mere months ago when the detective had feared an inability to use his legs ever again—Watson had never been so glad to see his friend proven wrong.
99. Author's Choice—Memory
The years that fans would later call the "Great Hiatus" was, of course, an unforgettable time… but equally memorable were the late autumn and early winter of 1890.
100. Author's Choice—Friendship
The problem of how their relationship would go on haunted them merely for a matter of days after Holmes's return, for they were swiftly swept back into the unfinished war—and in the process, a fresh and stronger bond was forged between them, a new understanding, and it continued to the end of their days.
So, what'd you think? Some of this is very experimental (there were more than a few story-bits that were created as I was writing the sentences), but most of these lines should see some kind of appearance in the upcoming series.
Cookies to those who recognized the following: Watson and Lestrade walking together, Mrs. Forrester, the Friesland, Vere Street, Colonel Hayter, and the Tankerville Club. Oh, and Holmes hopping atop a boulder is a nod to the lovely Jeremy Brett: specifically a behind-the-scenes photo of the Granada crew on-location in Switzerland, with Jeremy doing his King of the Rock impression. ^_^ For that matter, other little details such as Watson and Lestrade walking together and Holmes fighting furiously with Moran are nods to Granada. (When you really think about it, Jeremy!Holmes's anger at Moran isn't so far-fetched after all.)
Plus, I know I once bestowed the Christian name Jeremiah upon Colonel Moriarty in Tales from the Great Hiatus—and I've been meaning and forgetting to fix it ever since. No way in Reichenbach were both Moriarty brothers named James… so I decided to give Colonel Moriarty the name John. Not only is it to contrast one soldier with another (Col. Moriarty with Major Watson), but it's also a Biblical allusion on the part of the Moriarty parents: James and John. Which, in and of itself, is yet another contrast—this James and John could not be further from Jesus' disciples!