At first Sherlock didn't understand Ms. Tyler's insistence that they get a room as she so eloquently put it. His mind was too busy to sleep as he tried to work out how a young man could die of old age in mere seconds and Ms. Tyler didn't seem fatigued in the slightest. Now, as they looked through newspapers that cover the last week, he understood.
She fabricated a believable story about both of them visiting London to watch her sister perform in the theater and asked if the front desk clerk had kept any newspapers from the last week as she couldn't recall what day the announcement went out. She explained that she wanted to take the clipping back to her mother who was in failing health and so hadn't been able to accompany them. The front desk clerk had given her a sympathetic smile and a not so wholesome glance at her…Sherlock shifted a bit angrily at the memory and then grew irritated that even the memory bothered him. What the hell is wrong with me?
Either way she'd gained the newspapers for the last week and for the past hour they'd been going over the articles looking for similarities to the victim in the alley.
"Found it," Ms. Tyler said, walking over to sit next to him on the sofa that was stationed against the wall directly across from the large brass bed that dominated the room.
He sat the newspaper he'd been glancing over aside as he took the paper from her. She indicated the article. Beatrice Lotter, 17, had been shopping with her mother. They were on their way home when her mother realized her pocketbook was missing. She asked her daughter to wait while she went back to the shop to retrieve it, recalling she sat it down while chatting with the shopkeeper. When Mrs. Lotter returned to the alley minutes later she found an old woman, dying, wearing the same clothes as her daughter. When she bent down to help the old woman she realized that the woman was in fact her daughter.
"They're attributing it to a mysterious illness," he read and then scoffed.
An illness couldn't cause sudden aging, not like that.
"Without the advancements of medical science they don't have a lot to go on," she replied. "Any ideas?"
"A chemical…possibly," although that sounded farfetched, but for the first time he was rather stumped. If there had been more of a time delay between when the victims were last seen and the aged bodies being found there would've been dozens of possibilities, but not in that short of a time.
"Could do," she said, surprising him. He glanced at her. "Not something we'd know about. It'd definitely be from your future. 24th century or so. But why them then?"
"Sorry?" he asked, still processing what she said.
A future chemical. Something developed to kill by aging.
"Well, if it was a future chemical that would mean that someone brought it here to kill these people, they were targets. So, why them? And also, why kill them like this. I mean, if the point was to just kill them a bullet would be easier."
"It's personal," he deduced. The murderer wanted to make sure they suffered, but why? If the killer was from the future, hundreds of years in fact, what stake would he have in their lives? What could these people have done?
"Could be like the werewolf," she said, drawing his immediate attention.
"The what now?" he asked.
Werewolf? Did she actually say werewolf?
"He wasn't an actual werewolf, well, he was, looked the part and all, but he wasn't from Earth."
"An alien werewolf?"
"Yeah, crashed here…well, a different here, but according to the Doctor some particles of him survived and found a home inside a sick child and from there he was transferred from one body to the next as the old one wore out."
"And this werewolf aged people?"
"No, but, I mean, what's this remind you of?" she asked, indicating the article. He had absolutely no idea where her train of thought led. "Something that drains the life out of its victims."
"You think it's a vampire?" he asked in stunned disbelief.
Vampires…well, now…he glanced at the article…that would be interesting.
"There were no puncture marks, no indication of blood loss."
"The werewolf I encountered wasn't exactly like movie werewolves, maybe the vampire's like that too. Instead of feeding on blood it feeds-"
"On the victim's life force, which, in turn, ages the victim to the point of death."
"Exactly," she replied, giving him the smile that told him she thought he was brilliant and he couldn't stop himself from smiling in return. "Now, we've just got to figure out where he's going to strike and stop him."
"And I know where we can start looking."
"If he is like a vampire then he has to feed and if this girl was his first victim that means he must have arrived that night or shortly before. If the victims are random he would've taken the earliest opportunity. By searching the area where her body was found we may find clues that can tell us where he's hiding."
"Well, then what're we waiting for?" she asked, standing up and taking his hand.
He allowed her invasion as he returned the smile she was giving him. They were about to hunt a serial killer, a vampire serial killer. Definitely not the type of case he ever expected and definitely not ordinary.
Thank you to all my brilliant readers!
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