Twas a bleak evening on February 18th, the cold air seeped into every crevice of our residence at 221B Baker Street, and I found myself huddled against the floorboards, searching for warmth under several coats and blankets. I searched for kindling to chuck into the fireplace, but Holmes had used the only logs we had for a disguise he declared he needed for a case that I wasn’t a part of.
From what I understand, he had stitched himself a suit of logs, twigs, and spiders to spy in the forest on ne’er-do-wells, but I suspected it was spying on some loose “free” women who were out in the woods working on a modicum of self-discovery, or Sherlock made it for some unnatural convention that I was also not invited to.
In my own futile desperation, I found no other solution than to take several of Holmes’s precious humidors and toss them into the ashes to start a fire. He claimed they were precious, though Holmes collected many things that he said were important to his work in some way or another and I often struggled to find the meaning he had attributed to them. So into the fire they went, and fire they did become.
Just as the flames hit their highest blaze, and I was able to feel parts of my face once again, Holmes burst through the front door.
I admit I was somewhat afraid that this was because he knew I was burning his things. Holmes has an eye for details, to put it lightly. But it was not the fire that caught his eye, rather it was an altogether different type of destruction.
As he struggled to find his air, he said, “Watson, I just-I just saw a horse run over by a carriage.”
I was aghast at this news, and removed several layers of coats and blankets to comfort my friend. Unfortunately, those layers of coats and blankets fell right into the fireplace and snuffed out the fire, and I was cold again almost immediately.
I asked if it was a runaway carriage, and Holmes said no.
As he told it, it was purposeful, the horse was in the middle of the road and the carriage driver said, “Look at this.” Sherlock Holmes was part of a great crowd that watched this horrific act. He described it as one of the most brutal things he’d seen, and said that the neighs would never leave him.
Holmes slumped into the closest armchair and asked for some tea, rather that I’d make him some tea, as Mrs. Hudson was at her night classes. I shivered my way into the kitchen and put a pot on the stove, along with my hands.
Just then, a well-dressed man with a top hat on his head and a riding crop in his hand walked through the door that Holmes had left open. He whipped the crop through the air and pointed it at Holmes.
Paying absolutely no attention to me, he told Sherlock that a cow had wandered out into the road if he wanted to come watch what happened next.
Shaking with anger, Holmes leapt up from the armchair and announced for all to hear (but really it was for my benefit) that this man was the monster who had his horse and carriage run over a perfectly good horse.
The giggling, evil carriage man giggled evilly. Then, after his evil giggles faded, he fake apologized about his form of entertainment not matching with Sherlock’s. I took it upon myself to enter the fray here, and Holmes and I threatened the carriage man that we would run him over with a cart or carriage, and see how he’d like that. He didn’t seem to be too concerned, as he was always in his carriage, he claimed.
As I write these words down, I realize that statement of his was true. The carriage man didn’t come through the door with his top hat and riding crop as his only accoutrements, he was also surrounded by his carriage, which was somehow portable and could go up and down a few stairs. Where he stored the horse that was driving said carriage, I’ll never know. It’s amazing how these little details can start to slip your mind after a time.
It was then that Sherlock muttered something about how there was a case to solve. That was quite shocking to hear, as I was once again not invited to these case workings. Surely, if we were on the scent of another case, I would know about it before I was knee-deep in it, but Sherlock Holmes was never the type to stop and consider other people’s feelings– I mean, other people’s knowledge.
One would think that by now we would have had the sense to close the front door, as that was where most of the cold air was pouring in from, but we hadn’t thought of that. And because we hadn’t closed the front door, another visitor had found his way into our foyer.
Lucky for us, he was far less evil and much more friendly. It was Mr. Fred the Postman, whom I’m quite sure I’ve written about on other occasions. If not, allow me to cast some light on our local post-mate.
Mr. Fred the Postman was quite possibly the nicest man one could meet, always popping in with a smile and a few letters, he wore sweaters as warm as his demeanor, and was often found on his off hours performing puppetry shows for children. He greatly admired Holmes’s intelligence and often came to us for some help in names and addresses when a missive was…missing things.
He greeted both of us, and thankfully had the mind to close the door before icicles formed on the tip of my nose. Mr. Fred’s latest puzzle was a letter addressed to a Prince, but a strange symbol was also on the envelope.
I sensed from his grumbling that Holmes wasn’t too interested in the postman’s games, and without even a glance at the envelope, Sherlock suggested he try the nearest castle. But when Mr. Fred said that he’d tried all local castles with no success, Holmes’s interest was piqued.
While Holmes was thoroughly invested in discussing the whereabouts of this prince, I took it upon myself to sweep out any evidence of thee humidors from the fireplace, and warmed myself from the smoldering ashes. When I rejoined the conversation, Holmes had described the neighboring village of Minnesota where this prince might live, going so far as to say that a small sect of it, some mini-polis, or Minneapolis would be the key. But Mr. Fred seemed to not care about that specific of the location. I dare say that he was hoping to solve a little of it himself.
Watson continues to transcribe his notes here, but as he has very shoddy handwriting and even worse eyesight, it takes a good long while.