The Head And The Heart- A collection of Sherlock Holmes stories

A collection of stories about Sherlock Holmes, the well-known and well-loved detective, and his trusted friend and biographer Dr. Watson. "Reichenbach Feels" is set immediately after the unfortunate events of 'The Final Problem'. We follow the landlady of 221B, young Rebecca Hudson, on a quest to fill the void left behind by the untimely death of a lodger. In "A Case of Identity" a nightmare that has haunted our heroes becomes true: Professor Moriarty has finally outwitted them. And so we witness them planning a spectacular flight... "Both or None" depicts the best friendship in literature: Holmes and Watson have often saved each other's life- but what if nothing is safe, and no one is saved? Can one live without the other? Features two bonus stories: "Better Words Than These" describes what an impending war in the early 1900s might mean for a certain retired army surgeon, and his friend... In "The Fourth Wall" our heroes face the problem of an author vexed by his creations...


18. 6. The Plan

As soon as we were alone in our cell, Holmes sat down on the floor and produced a pencil which he had got from- I don't know where. With this he scribbled something on the floor. The gleaming electric light illuminating the cell exaggerated his brooding features. My curiousness evoked not only by his drawing but also by low remarks and murmurs of his, I walked over to him and peered over his shoulder.

So this was how he endeavoured to overcome the difficulty of laying our hands on a ground plan: He obviously had started to draw one on his own. Of course, this one was but a rough sketch. Upon his noticing me, he turned his head and remarked: "We are still missing information." Then he continued to work in silence, until I gave a sigh that he obviously misinterpreted as impatience.

"We must complete the plan, Watson. But the delay caused also gives us time to make out the rest of our plan. We will have to manage on our own as soon as we have left this cell. And we must be quick in finding our way out, so this plan is absolutely necessary."-
"But first we'll need a key- the cell door naturally is always locked.", I added.

The room fell silent, then Holmes suddenly asked: "The only persons having a key...?"-
"Are Professor Moriarty and his henchmen.", I answered, "But I doubt we'll manage to steal one from them." Holmes gave something between a laugh and a cough. "Unless they'd be fainting just before our eyes in a lonely corridor or something.", I continued sarcastically, "Which is as likely as..."

Holmes interrupted with an exclamation of victory that showed he had an idea and abruptly sprang to his feet. "My dear friend", he said, slapping me on the shoulder, "you just made me come up with the most wonderful idea!"
 I was both flattered and surprised. "Did I?"
 He now was figuratively beaming with exultation. "That's it, Watson!"

I smiled. He sometimes seemed almost childlike in his eagerness upon a new idea.
 "If you're done with your cheering, you could just tell me what splendid thing you came up with?", I suggested. He stopped, and at once turned serious. "Of course. Well, I thought that your 'lonely corridor' we might turn into 'our cell'... and 'fainting' into 'bound and gagged'."
 "My dear fellow!", I exclaimed at the drastic image.
 "Don't be so shocked, Watson. Desperate situations call for desperate measures, or so they say."

He was right. After all, we were in the hands of the enemies, and I suppose they were not exactly friendly to us as well. Yet I had an objection. "But- how should we accomplish that? No one enters our cell but around lunch time." Holmes was again sitting on his bed, and said: "We need them to be 'hors de combat'."

I nodded, and he kept on murmuring: "We lure them into the cell... But how? Maybe... No, too dangerous. Too easy. Too hard..."
 I did not say a word. He needed silence more like anything else to think. Finally he addressed me: "Watson? I think I know what to do."

Feeling curious, I approached him. "We shall pretend I have some sort of disease; an attack, a fit- something of that kind. It would not be the first time I do such a thing."-
"And usually you're quite successful in it. Just remember the Reigate case... The stage has lost a fine actor." He gave a comical bow as an answer, and continued: "When we have the warden secured, we shall take the key and lock our prisoner up, making everything look like we're still in the cell. With the help of the plan we'll make our way out, and then..."

He paused. I continued his sentence:
 "Then we're on our own. But everything will be alright, I'm sure."

I wonder how Holmes always manages to restore my hope...

 "Well, then this is final.", he said with a grave face. I nodded with the security that this was our one and only chance.

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