“Well you see, it was quite simple...”
Watson followed Holmes as he walked around the room. They were in a huge cavern, with bare walls and a damp feel. On the roughly hewn floor there were tables with phials, tubs, tubes and burners everywhere. Beakers sat, their contents bubbling, strange liquids gleamed in their glasses, and a frog lay half dissected on a counter, next to the sink. The place looked like a lab had fallen into a cave, although this was one of Holmes’ clients so it probably had, thought Watson.
“The wearer is male simply from the fact that you can see three links have been broken off. That scuff there,” he pointed to a small scratch on the band, “is where he has tried to hide his identity, obviously fooling you.” Watson smiled thinly, “and you can see how the sides of the band are marked, slightly bent back by a thick hand, leading to the assumption that he is rather large. The mussels? Well, you can smell it!”
Watson cursed. He had not thought to smell the watch, but now he noticed the pungent aroma of cheese mingle with the damp rock.
“ A strand of his dark hair is caught within the links also. Notice the worn down light switch where the wearer has had to stare at the watch for a while to tell the time, and the worn crown where he has had to frequently adjust the time as he enters different time zones, and by the design of the hands, it seems it was bought at a Casio store. There is one in Heathrow, where he flew last week, judging from the wear. The bezel is slightly damaged, corroded even from...” Holmes walked up to a large vial, where a red liquid stood, “this one, phosphorus pentoxide, I would assume, from the Chemod Laboratory Badge.”
“I was not aware you possessed the power of pure magic.”
Holmes roared with laughter, stumbling backwards and leaning against the table.
“What about the colour of his trousers, what that just a guess?” said Watson, angered at his failures.
“Oh no, Watson, “said Holmes, oblivious to his anger, “did you not wonder why I passed the watch to you as we went past the store with the monocles? They illuminated the brown fading on the clasp.”
There was a clap from the far end of the cavern, where two men had appeared, presumably out of an entrance concealed in the dark.
“Holmes, I meet you again! Congratulations!”
The man was the image of Holmes’ inferences: large, with short, dark hair and a greasy apron over a white jacket. Watson could almost smell the fish from here. Holmes was right. Again.
The pair whirled around. Holmes gasped.
“Professor Mericanti! None of my inferences told me this!”
They shook hands strongly.
“Ah, but I am being rude,” he turned to Watson, “I am Professor Mericanti, scientist at Chemod…but I suppose you know this already! This,” he gestured to his side, where a balding, rat-like man stood nervously, pushing his glasses up his hooked nose apprehensively, “is Thrugg.”
Thrugg smiled quickly, darting his head around like a frightened mouse.
“You are wondering why I have brought you here, Holmes?” He said with a tilt of his head.
“I assume you are to enlighten us about the murders in Manchester?”
“Yes. Holmes, do you know of the Sharks of Kerrigor?”
“The…the Sharks… No!” he stuttered.
Watson looked at him, worried. He had never seen Holmes so nervous.
“Who are these sharks, Mericanti?”
“Ah,” his eyes gleamed, “you do not know? The Sharks formed a long time ago. They were a band of the worst, most dastardly criminals around Europe. They met only once, at Kerrigor, the Isle off the coast here. Holmes and I were there. We…met them. We were lucky to survive. The murders in Manchester could only have been caused by the Sharks. No other group are so skilled,” he said, almost in awe, “No other group could have massacred the whole of Cowley estate.”
Holmes was shaking, so Watson drew him aside.
“Are you O.K?”
“Yes, yes…it’s just…The Sharks, if they are truly returning, then…I don’t know what to do!”
Watson gasped. Holmes, who was usually so calm, so confident, was truly scared. And Watson was too.
“So you trust him?” he whispered.
“Oh you should! He’s right!”
The voice was not Mericanti’s. At once a thousand vials exploded, shattering into the dark cavern, screaming violently. Watson turned, ducking against the noise, and saw Mericanti. He was stood, head lolling to one side: blood running down his chest. A dagger protruded out, the hilt being held by a man, fiery and omnipotent, surrounded by a halo of glass. His voice was dark, deep and rumbling, like the fires of hell igniting.
“Yes, he’s right! The Sharks are circling once more! And the sea is rising. Soon we will take the land. Soon we will take you!”
All around them glass was exploding, and the screams of the Sharks echoed through the waters.