Down he fell; falling, free-wheeling, flying, down, out of control; through an impenetrable darkness that seemed to go on for eternity, until, at last, his body made contact with a hard, cold, stone surface. The air whooshed from Sherlock's thin body as he lay, winded, a sprawl of limbs, coat, scarf and curls. Sherlock was never one to do things by half, so when he fell, he fell hard, his mind palace rebelling against him to engulf him in here, a place he had been to only once before: the oubliette. A prison of his own making.
Slowly, painfully, his eyes opened, blinking. He soon realized that it made little difference whether his eyes were open, or shut; the darkness was just as suffocating. He could feel the weight of it pressing down on him, restricting his chest. His breathing became erratic, the feeling of claustrophobia causing the panic his body was feeling to override his rational mind. He struggled, thrashing about, but his limbs didn't want to obey. His arms felt weighted down with blistering rocks from the fiery pits of hell - as heavy as lead, scorching like a furnace, tenuous as spiders silk. The heat radiated up his arms, a fire sizzling in his veins.
Sherlock screamed, a heart wrenching shriek, filled with emotions.
His face distorted with pain, his normal handsome features turned ugly. Total heartbreak brings out the worst in a man.
The echo of Sherlock's screech reverberated around the stone walls. Quieter and quieter, fading into nonexistence, until all that could be heard was his laboured breathing, harsh in the silence that surrounded him.
He lay on the floor, the biting cold penetrating his thin shirt, battling the fire heating his body, until the flames were dampened down to embers, warming rather than burning. All the angry energy leaked out onto the flagstones, running in rivulets down the cracks in the floor. Sherlock was left weak, filled with an empty sadness. He trembled -
Gradually, he got his breathing under control. Deep breath in...and out...in...and out. A trick he had learned as a child to calm himself.
Sherlock did not relax, not for one moment. It was impossible. But his pain was mitigated further the longer he just lay inert in the deathly quiet.
Time passed, that he knew, but as his prison let in no light, he did not know how much. In the stifling darkness, the unrelenting darkness, time was warped, the malignant presence in the corner of his mind - playing with him, toying with him. What felt like days might only be a matter of minutes. His body still functioned on a subconscious level, just enough to survive. Basic needs like food, water, getting rid of waste and more sleep than his body had seen for years. But he wasn't aware of any of this, only the black walls that seemed to enclose him, crushing him like the worthless pile of skin and bones he felt like right now.
He had failed.
Mycroft. That disappointed glare laying him bare, making him feel small and helpless, like a child again.
Molly. Her mousy features looking up at him with admiration and infatuation sparkling in her eyes. Now that gaze held disgust and heartbreak.
Lestrade. His grief would be for Sherlock, a friend, not just the consulting detective, a colleague. He wouldn't notice the clues; sentiment once again clouding the mind of a professional.
Mrs Hudson. Their lovely landlady, 'not-your-housekeeper', friend. She would be distraught. How could she understand? How could she know it wasn't real?
And John. Oh John. His faithful blogger, closest friend. He was absolutely crushed, and Sherlock could not stand being the cause of such pain.