Sherlock pulled out his mobile to check the time. Nine o'clock. He'd been waiting over fifteen minutes now, and still no sign of the individual who claimed to know something about Moriarty's next scheme. Maybe John had been right and someone was having him on, but there was no way he couldn't follow up.
He stuffed the phone back into his pocket and pulled his coat collar up against the biting wind. John had refused to come along, insisting that he wasn't going to freeze his arse off when the whole meet was "so obviously a prank."
The rumble of an approaching motor pulled him out of his reverie. He turned toward the sound, and saw a black limousine rolling slowly in his direction. It looked as out of place on this waterfront side street as a Prada original in a thrift shop.
Maybe there was something to this tip after all.
Sherlock stepped closer to the curb and waited until the limo reached him. It stopped, motor idling, and a tinted window rolled down.
"Sherlock Holmes?" a voice inquired from the shadowy interior.
"Yes." Sherlock bent forward cautiously, trying to see the passengers through the gloom. He gasped when a strong hand seized his upper arm and something sharp pressed against his ribs.
"Get in the car," a deep voice growled inches from his ear.
Sherlock froze. Oh shit. He looked over his shoulder and saw a heavyset man wearing dark glasses and a bulky winter coat. The assailant jabbed him warningly: a knife.
"Get in the car, Holmes. Don't make me hurt you."
Trying to stay calm enough to assess his situation and formulate an escape plan, Sherlock opened the rear passenger door. Rough hands shoved him onto the seat before the assailant climbed in after him, closed the door, and pressed a gleaming blade to his throat. At the same time, another pair of hands slapped a piece of duct tape over his mouth, blindfolded him, and secured his wrists with plastic ties.
"All right, mate, you just stay put and I won't use this," the man with the knife said as the limo moved back into the street and continued on its journey. "But if you lift one finger or give any trouble, and I swear I'll carve you a second mouth."
Sherlock, despite his resolution to stay calm, felt cold terror sink in. Was this it? His final mistake? Morbid images flooded his mind: Lestrade finding his mangled remains in an alley and calling Mycroft or John –John- to formally identify them. Molly unzipping the thick canvas body bag at the morgue and finding pieces of him inside. He began to shake and his breath came out in rapid gasps.
"Come on, relax. Who knows, you might even enjoy what's been planned for you."
Enjoy an event that started out this way? Not likely. Sherlock closed his eyes, leaned his head back, and willed himself to calm down, but could not control his trembling.