I had just returned from a fortnight away, my annual holiday, when I decided to call on him. I had not seen him in several months, so was wholeheartedly curious, and filled with some trepidation, to discover the current state of both his mental and physical faculties.
Baker Street was as bustling as ever as I called at that oh-so-familiar 221. Mrs. Hudson kindly greeted me at the door and directed me up, knowing full well I didn’t want nor need to be announced nor directed to the upstairs flat.
I found him pacing, as he often did when he was on a case, with his gaze fixed downward, no doubt studying the minute movements of some as yet unseen arachnid or similar creature. The scent of pungent incense hung in the air, certainly designed to conceal from Mrs. Hudson some far fouler stench.
“Good evening, Holmes.”
“My apologies if I am disturbing you, but I have just returned from…”
“Shhhh!!”, he muttered.
“Er… holidays… er… .sorry”, I stammered.
He paused in his pacing, looked up, and studied me but for a moment. “How was Greece?” he asked.
.”Now how the devil did you surmise I’d been to Greece? Wait, is it the slight smell of some Athenian spice, emanating from my clothes? The particular tanning of my complexion, indicative of Aegean latitudes? Or some other subtle tell?”
A hint of a smile appeared on Holmes’ gaunt chiseled face. “No, no, no, my dear doctor. Nothing quite so cerebral.”
He suddenly presented a card, which he must have subtly palmed off the table as he’d paced by. “Mary sent me a postcard from the two of you, from Athens.”
We both chuckled at this.
“Watson, I… we… have a case.” He began. “I was visited this afternoon by Reverend Edward Cussler, Vicar of Saint Sepulchres, in Snow Hill. It seems his daughter, Abigail, has disappeared and he is quite concerned for her well-being.”
It had been too long since we’d last worked together, so a part of me was quite eager to assist in his efforts, while another part of me was conscious that I had a wife waiting for me at home. “Where shall we start?” I heard myself say. “What additional information were you able to glean from the Vicar?”
Holmes’ smile broadened, “The game’s afoot, Watson. We’ll start by visiting The Holbrook hotel, on Holborn Viaduct, I should think”.
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