Diary of Mary Watson (Mrs)
Hearing the door of the cell next to mine creak open, I listened keenly as Moran’s voice echoed from the passageway outside. I heard Sherlock reply but couldn’t make out the words. A rattle of keys in my own door prompted me to step backwards. As the door swung open, one of the thugs stepped inside and grabbed my wrist.
‘Come on, you,’ he said, dragging me into the corridor.
Holmes, Lestrade and my own dear husband were waiting there, guarded by another thug with a gun. Johnny tried to embrace me, but Moran held him back. ‘You’ll get your chance to say goodbye, Doctor, but not just yet.’
Pushing us into a line, we were herded along the passage, up two flights of stairs and into what appeared to be a workshop. So far, I’d seen no windows and had no idea of our location. The room we now found ourselves in had stone walls like the cells, and a set of high wooden doors at one end, wide enough to admit a horse and trap. The edges of the doors didn’t quite meet in the middle, allowing a shaft of daylight to flicker across the floor. Workbenches were fixed around the remaining walls, but our attention centred on a shape in the middle of the room. Covered with a grubby white sheet, I estimated it to be about the size of a large dining table.
‘Now,’ said Moran, ‘I think as Mrs Watson has already injured two of my associates, I shall give her the pleasure of being the first to try out my latest device.’
Johnny glanced at me. ‘Injured two of them? Good for you, old girl.’
I gave him my best winning smile, but already my hands trembled in uneasy anticipation.
One of the thugs drew back the sheet covering the table, revealing a wide metal bench with a slightly raised section in the middle and several leather straps hanging from the sides. At first sight, there seemed to be nothing particularly threatening about it, then Moran walked to a set of wheels and levers attached to the wall and I saw they were linked to a contraption higher up by a series of belts and ropes. As Moran twisted the wheels and operated each of the levers in order, a grinding noise began to vibrate all through the room, causing my stomach to jiggle and my legs to shake, so much so that I thought I might wet myself. Looking up, I observed a complicated contrivance juddering down from the rafters. As it came into view, it reminded me of an iron-maiden—one of those horrendous coffin-shaped devices embellished with short spikes. The only difference with this one lay in the central spike, which stuck out at an acute angle in what I estimated to be the location of the victim’s private parts.
As the contraception came to a halt a few feet above the table, Moran moved to another lever.
‘Now, ladies and gentlemen, I’m sure you can see the possibilities of this machine. The smaller spikes, of course, are intended to pierce the victim’s skin as the top of the machine descends upon them, however, my particular delight with this one is the central spike, which as you will see…’
He pushed the lever, and the central spike began to extend downwards at an angle.
‘The victim is strapped into place, face down, with the hindquarters uppermost over the raised area of the table, and with legs apart. Thus, allowing the Buggering Tool, as I like to call it, to do its job. Though of course the smaller spikes will cause some damage, it is the Buggering Tool that will force its way into the victim’s body and continue up through the bowels, slicing through various internal organs until the victim is no longer alive.’ He scratched his beard thoughtfully. ‘Of course, I haven’t seen it at work on an actual victim, yet, so can’t comment on exactly how long the process will take, but I should imagine it will be exceptionally painful. As our old friend Moriarty would say—Mwah, hah, hah.’
At this, my legs gave way. Falling to the ground, something in my churning stomach began to work its way up to my throat, emerging as an animalistic howl.
‘Come, come, Mrs Watson,’ said Moran, waving a hand at his henchmen. ‘A little more decorum, if you please.’
Two of the thugs helped me to my feet, but Johnny pushed them aside. To their credit, they let him support me and I clung to him, hiding my face from Moran.
‘My darling,’ murmured Johnny. ‘My poor, poor darling.’
Though my churning guts were real enough, I had no intention of having my bottom pierced. Looking up into my husband’s eyes, I whispered, ‘Don’t worry, I’ve got a plan.’
He smiled at me in a rather pitying way, as if nothing I could do would make the slightest difference to our fates.
I stepped forwards. ‘Come on, then. Do your worst.’
‘That’s more like it,’ said Moran. ‘So, if you’d like to strip naked, please.’
Clutching the silver teaspoon in one hand, I took off my jacket and began to undo the buttons on my blouse. Holmes, Lestrade and Johnny stood by, their eyes firmly fixed on the floor. As I slid the blouse off my shoulders revealing my pert breasts, Holmes looked up.
‘You can stop now, Mary. I think this has gone far enough.’
I hesitated and looked at him, as did everyone else in the room.
‘Oh, Holmesy,’ said Moran. ‘Don’t be a spoilsport, we’re just getting to the interesting part.’
‘Indeed,’ said Holmes, ‘but first of all, I should be obliged if you would remove that silly beard.’
Moran gave him an odd look. ‘Granted, this may not be the most stylish set of whiskers, but I can assure you, it is real.’
Holmes laughed sardonically. ‘Yes, about as real as those ridiculous stories of derring-do and swordsmanship we’ve been hearing about for the last fifteen years.’
Moran’s grin had disappeared and for the first time he seemed unsure of himself. ‘Those stories are all true. In fact,’ he pointed to Johnny, ‘your own bloody biographer wrote about them.’
Holmes nodded to Johnny. ‘He did. However, Watson does have a habit of exaggerating certain aspects of his tales—a remnant from his soldiering days in Afghanistan, you know.’
‘You cannot put me off, Holmes. I mean to kill you all and I want it to really hurt!’
Holmes waved a hand around the room, indicating Moran’s men. ‘They know, do they? Who you really are?’
‘Don’t play games, Holmes, or you shall go first.’
‘I must say I’d never have twigged if it hadn’t been for your manicured fingernails and that Wedgewood tea set. It’s obvious you created the character of Sebastian Moran to infiltrate Moriarty’s gang, which I have to say you did exceedingly well. So well, in fact that I suspect you allowed your double identities to go on for several more years than you had originally intended. But that tea set especially let you down. A man like Moran, as you created him, would never use such fine china. If he really had been educated at Eton and Oxford as you would have us believe, he would naturally have the social graces to go with that education. But you made the mistake of forgetting that Moran is supposed to be a solider, used to rough soldierly ways and manners. Watson here was a soldier too, but he is also a doctor, and even he prefers drinking from a mug rather than a fine bone china teacup. When you created Moran, you mixed up his background with your own and a love of the finer things in life.’ He glanced at the thugs, who had suddenly become interested in what he had to say.
‘This is rubbish,’ Moran blustered, waving his hands. ‘You two, take off Mrs Watson’s clothes and strap her onto the machine.’
But the thugs didn’t move.
‘I suspect they are as interested as we are to see what is underneath that disguise of yours. Now, take off the beard, Lord Henry Blackwood.’