A STRANGER AT THE DOOR- CHAPTER 1- WHAT THE STORM BROUGHT
A young woman is thrown on Sherlock Holmes' doorstep during a storm. She does not know who she is or how she got there. Is she just another mystery for the consulting detective or is there more?
Rain pelted the windows of 221B Baker Street, sounding like heaven had let loose an artillery barrage. Sherlock Holmes stood looking out the window, as if anything would be visible in the driving rainstorm.
He turned to Dr. Watson and said, "This is a deluge like I have never seen before."
"Yes, I expect Noah's Ark to float by any minute. I pity the poor soul who is out in this," Watson responded."It should make one thankful for..."
He was interrupted by what sounded like a very loud thump against the front door and Mrs. Hudson's cry, "Mr. Holmes, Dr. Watson, please come down here at once!"
The two men ran down the stairs. There stood their landlady, the front door open and a woman laying half inside and half outside. Holmes and Watson pulled the woman inside. She was unconscious and soaked to the skin, her hair and clothes sticking to her.
Dr. Watson knelt closely to examine her. She was barely breathing. He felt her forehead and pulled his hand back quickly as if burnt. The woman had a raging fever. "She is alive, just barely though."
Holmes and Watson carried her upstairs to the spare room where the detective stored all sorts of curiosities from past cases.
Quickly assuming his role as a physician, Watson ordered."Holmes, move some of these things so we can place her on the bed. Mrs. Hudson, find a towel and some dry clothes. We must get her dry and warm as quickly as possible. I am afraid she might develop pneumonia."
Holmes busied himself clearing off the small bed. Mrs. Hudson quickly returned with towels, pillow, a blanket and one of her own nightgowns. She shooed the men out the room. Holmes did not have to be told twice. He fled the room. Watson protested, "Mrs. Hudson, I am a doctor!"
"Never the less Doctor, just leave so I can take care of this young woman. You may return when I have finished. Now go!"
He reluctantly left the room and joined Holmes in the sitting room.
Holmes had lit a pipe and was deep in thought when Watson sat across from him. He asked his friend, "Where did this woman come from and why was she thrown at our doorstep?"
Holmes remained silent and puffed on his pipe. It was a full minute before he simply said, "I don't know, but I intend to find out."
Mrs. Hudson called down to them, "You may come back up. I have the young lady tucked up in bed now."
Watson ran up the stairs with Holmes lagging behind. For Holmes, the presence of any woman in his home besides Mrs. Hudson made him extremely uncomfortable.
The young woman's breathing was labored and she thrashed about and moaned. For Dr. Watson, it was a heart wrenching sight. She might die this very night with strangers surrounding her. He sat down in the chair beside her bed and gently said, "Hello my dear, you are safe now. Just rest." He patted her hand. She grabbed his hand and would not let go. She sighed and relaxed.
He had spent many anxious nights sitting with sick patients and knew tonight would be no different. He told Holmes and Mrs. Hudson, "Go now. I will sit with her tonight. I will call if there is any change."
As Holmes and Mrs. Hudson descended the stairs he asked her, "Was there anything on the on the woman's person to indicate her identity?"
She pulled something out of her pocket and showed it to him. "The young lady was wearing this locket."
The small locket was on a delicate gold chain. The initial "V" was engraved on it. Holmes opened the locket. It was empty, containing. no picture. He handed it back to his landlady. "Thank you, Mrs. Hudson. Return it to her in the morning."
He returned to the sitting room and his pipe. "Good night Mrs. Hudson," he said as he waved her out of the room.
Like his friend, , Holmes would not sleep this night.
And so it begins, my first Sherlock Holmes story. I do appreciated reviews and feedback. More to come, soon!