from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:
From the Diary of Dr John Watson.
To say that I was a little irritated by my companion’s disappearance is only scraping the surface of that particular Holmesian iceberg, but to then be forced to spend two whole days trying to solve the difficulty of these flocking birds by myself, has had me at my wits end.
This morning, finding I was (yet again) left to my own devices, I made my way to the local library where I spent a rather fruitless morning going through back issues of ‘Mad Cornish Birds’ in search of clues to our feathery mystery. Unfortunately, it turned out that the phenomenon had not vanished with the night. On leaving the building at the side of a rather pretty young librarian (who had been assisting my search), a flock of seagulls swooped at us from out of nowhere, forcing me to push my new friend to the ground and leap on top of her in an effort to protect her womanly virtues.
I did offer to take her out to lunch as some meagre form of recompense, but the girl simply gave me a funny look and turned away. As I watched her walk off, I realised my flies were undone, which may explain her reaction. Then, gazing around me, I became engrossed in examining one of the dead seagulls which had attacked us – the dreadful creature was definitely deceased, but gazing into its lifeless eyes, I couldn’t help but think I’d seen its face somewhere before.
I had been back at the hotel only a few minutes, when I took delivery of another note from Holmes, this time conveyed by carrier pigeon. This in itself was rather curious – the bird did not arrive at my room in the usual manner, but appeared to have made its journey on foot. The strange creature rapped its beak on the door, untied the knot that held the message to its leg and held out the note in its beak, all the while staring at me with, again, a strangely familiar face.
Unfortunately (again), I fear Holmes has gone off on one of his ‘episodes’ and I may still be faced with solving this mystery on my own…
Whatever feelings of Irritation and Annoyance you are harbouring towards me, be assured that I possess them tenfold…you cannot imagine the turbulent maelstrom which is my Being at this moment in time – the giant waves of virulent reprehension which are crashing on the rocky shores of my person threaten with each pounding volley to drown me in the boiling Seas of Despair and Despond…I cannot believe that I succumbed once again to the Siren Call of The Waters of Oblivion, to the seductive charms of Lethe, to seeking out the darker Roads to Freedom…but of course, all too soon they shape-shift in to our Gaolers and Tormentors, trapping us in the dingy, sordid cells of our very own Newgate – our Minds, which keep us captive, delighting in inflicting the most ingenious means of Punishment their twisted, bitter thoughts can concoct.
I shall start at the beginning…little did I realise the Horror which would ensue…It began with a chance encounter in Theosophilus Screech’s Tobacco Emporium. I was musing on the points of comparison between Black Harrington Twist and Worsted Old Shag, when I gradually became aware of a voice, penetrating my cogitations – “Why! – if it isn’t old Stinker Holmes himself!” (my habit of conducting chemical experiments even then left its often noxious impression on my clothes and hair earning me the unwelcome appellation). I turned, to see Shufflebottom Minor’s familiar bluff features beaming with simple pleasure – “Just the man I would wish to accompany us on our Expedition!” It turned out he was about to become joined in Holy Matrimony with the only daughter of one of our country’s Minor Nobility, and had planned a Last Blow-out with some of his Cronies, one of whom happened to be our friend RLS…need I say more.
I shall send you details of the ensuing Fracas once I have had a soothing and restorative Brew.
To Be Continued.