Calliah Mullen is the sister to Irene Adler and has always been called the ugly sibling. After hearing it for so long, Calliah believes it and cuts her self to relieve the pain. When see meets Sherlock and John, her views on the world, herself, and her sister change. Will it be for the better or worse?


16. Chapter 16

Thank you Ariane DeVere aka Callie Sullivan on livejournal for the transcripts. They help so much.

Here is the Great Game.

I own nothing, except Calliah

I wake up in the morning and walk out to the living room. The boys where sitting in their armchairs watching the news on the TV. Sherlock has the pink phone on the left arm of his chair. The windows are still broken and boarded up and the traffic is loud outside. On the TV, the picture shows a high-rise block of flats and the headline at the bottom of the screen reads, “12 dead in gas explosion”. The picture moves to a close-up, showing a corner of the building many floors up which has been torn open and exposed to the air.

“The explosion, which ripped through several floors, killing twelve people ...” the news reader says

John briefly glances over at Sherlock. “Old block of flats.

“…is said to have been caused by a faulty gas main. A spokesman from the utilities company ...” The new reader continues.

“He certainly gets about.” John says.

“Well, obviously I lost that round – although technically I did solve the case.”  Sherlock says and I frown. What had happened? He picks up the remote and mutes the volume. Lowering his hands again, he looks thoughtfully into the distance. “He killed the old lady because she started to describe him.” I gasp and the boys look at me. Sherlock motions me to come over. I walk over and sit on the floor in front of his chair. He plays with my hair as I bring my knees to my chest. “Just once, he put himself in the firing line.”

“What d’you mean?” John asks, looking at me worried.

“Well, usually, he must stay above it all. He organizes these things but no-one ever has direct contact.” Sherlock explains.

“What ... like the Connie Prince murder – he-he arranged that? So people come to him wanting their crimes fixed up, like booking a holiday?” John asks.

“Novel.” I hear Sherlock say softly.

John looks at him in disbelief then turns and looks at the TV screen again, which moved onto a new story. “Hun.” He jerks a finger towards the screen and Sherlock looks up to see Raoul de Santos being bundled out of Kenny’s house by police officers. The press are there and are shoving each other as they struggle to get close to Raoul and take photographs while interviewers shout questions. The headline on the screen reads: “Connie Prince: man arrested”. Raoul is shoved into the back of a police car. John looks round at Sherlock.

“Taking his time this time.” Sherlock says.

John looks away, clearing his throat uncomfortably. On the TV, the camera is focusing on Kenny who is standing at the window of his house, holding Sekhmet in his arms and watching the chaos outside. “Anything on the Carl Powers case?” John asks.

“Nothing. All the living classmates check out spotless. No connection.” Sherlock says.

“Maybe the killer was older than Carl?” John asks.

“The thought had occurred.” Sherlock says.

“So why’s he doing this, then – playing this game with you? D’you think he wants to be caught?” John asks. I look up at Sherlock.

Sherlock takes his hand away from my hair and presses his fingertips together in front of his mouth and smiles slightly. “I think he wants to be distracted.”

John laughs humourlessly, gets out of his chair and heads towards the kitchen. I get up and take John’s chair. “I hope you’ll be very happy together.”

“Sorry, what?” Sherlock asks.

A second later I feel John lean his hands on the back of his chair. “There are lives at stake, Sherlock – actual human lives… Just - just so I know, do you care about that at all?” He asks furious.

“Will caring about them save them?” Sherlock asks irritably.

“Nope.” John says.

“Then I’ll continue not to make that mistake.” Sherlock says. I frown. Mycroft wasn’t the only brother who thought caring was a disadvantage. I made a promise to myself to help both brothers see that is wrong.

“And you find that easy, do you?” John asks.

“Yes, very. Is that news to you?” Sherlock asks.

“No.” I look up to see John smile bitterly. “No.”

“I’ve disappointed you and Calliah.” Sherlock says.

“Not me.” I say softly.

John points to Sherlock sarcastically. “That’s good – that’s a good deduction, yeah.”

“Don’t make people into heroes, John. Heroes don’t exist, and if they did, I wouldn’t be one of them.” Sherlock says. I look back and forth as they stare at each other. The pink phone sounds a message alert. “Excellent!” He picks up the phone and activates it. The phone sounds one short pip and the long tone. “View of the Thames. South Bank – somewhere between Southwark Bridge and Waterloo.” I smile at him. It amazed me that he and Mycroft could do that. He gets out his phone. “You check the papers; I’ll look online…” We looks up and sees that John is standing with his hands braced on the back of his chair and his head lowered. “Oh, you’re angry with me, so you won’t help.” John raises his head and shrugs. “Not much cop, this caring lark.”

John stares at him for a moment, then straightens up as he perhaps begins to realise that his friend is never going to change. Sherlock continues his online search. After a while John sniffs, then walks across the room towards the sofa. I smiles softly at him. John sits down on the sofa and starts going through the pile of newspaper on the coffee table. I get out my phone and send a text to Mycroft.

Anything happening around the on the South Bank between Waterloo Bridge and Southwark Bridge?CM

“Ah. Men found on the train line – Andrew West.” I hear John say.

Sherlock looks exasperated. “Nothing.” Sherlock says and hits a button on his phone. “It’s me. Have you found anything on the South Bank between Waterloo Bridge and Southwark Bridge?”

We go to the scene of the crime, Sherlock pulls on a pair of latex gloves. Greg is waiting beside the body. “D’you reckon that is connected, then? The bomber?” Greg ask.

“Must be. Odd, though…” Sherlock says and holds up the pink phone. “…he hasn’t been in tough.”

“But we must assume some poor bugger’s primed to explode, yeah?” Greg asks.

“Yes.” Sherlock says and steps back and takes a long look at the man’s body which is now lying on its back on a plastic sheet.

“Any ideas?” Greg asks.

“Seven… so far.” Sherlock says.

“Seven?!” Greg exclaims

Sherlock walks closer to the body and squats down to examine the man’s face closely with his magnifier. He then looks at the ripped pocket on the shirt before working his way downwards until he reaches the man’s feet. He pulls off one of the socks and examines the sole of the foot with his magnifier. Standing up and closing the magnifier, he looks across to John and jerks his head down towards the body in a mute order to examine it. John looks enquiringly at Lestrade for permission; the inspector holds his hand out in a ‘be my guest’ gesture. John squats down beside the body and reaches out to take hold of the man’s wrist as Sherlock walks a few paces away and gets his phone out. I just stand there and frowns. I still hadn’t figured out why Sherlock kept bringing me to the cases. I tried to stay home a couple times and he wouldn’t hear of it.

“He’s dead about twenty-four hours – maybe a bit longer.” John explains and looks at Greg. “Did he drown??”

“Apparently not. Not enough of the Thames in his lungs. Asphyxiated.” Greg explains.

“Yes, I’d agree.” John says. “There’s quite a bit of bruising around the nose and mouth. More bruises her and here.”

“Fingertips.” Sherlock says thoughtfully.

John stands up. “In his late thirties, I’d day. Not in the best condition.”

“He’s been in the river a long while. The water’s destroyed most of the data.” Sherlock says and quirks a grin. “But I’ll tell you one thing: that lost Vermeer painting’s a fake.”

“What?” Greg asks.

“We need to identify the corpse. Find out about his friends and associates ...” Sherlock says.

“Wait-wait-wait-wait-wait. What painting? What are you – what are you on about?” Greg ask.

“It’s all over the place. Haven’t you seen the posters? Dutch Old Master, supposed to have been destroyed centuries ago; now it’s turned up. Worth thirty million pounds.” Sherlock explains.

“Okay. So what has that got to do with the stiff?” Greg asks.

Sherlock grins briefly. “Everything. Have you ever heard of the Golem?”

“Golem?” Greg asks.

“It’s a horror story, isn’t it? What are you saying?” I ask.

“Jewish folk story. A gigantic man made of clay. It’s also the name of an assassin – real name Oskar Dzundza – one of the deadliest assassins in the world.” He points down to the body. “That is his trademark style.”

“So this is a hit?” Greg asks.

“Definitely. The Golem squeezes the life out of his victims with his bare hands.” Sherlock says.

“But what has this gotta do with that painting? I don’t see ...” Greg says.

“You do see – you just don’t observe.” Sherlock says exasperated.

“All right, all right, girls, calm down.” John says. I laugh softly. “Sherlock? D’you wanna take us through it?”

Sherlock takes a moment before responding. He eventually steps back and points to the body. “What do we know about this corpse? The killer’s not left us with much – just the shirt and the trousers. They’re pretty formal – maybe he was going out for the night, but the trousers are heavy-duty, polyester, nasty, and same as the shirt – cheap. They’re both too big for him, so some kind of standard-issue uniform. Dressed for work, then. What kind of work? There’s a hook on his belt for a walkie-talkie.”

“Tube driver?” Greg asks.

Sherlock throws him a look that blatantly says ‘idiot’.

“Security guard?” John asks.

“More likely. That’ll be borne out by his backside.” Sherlock says.

“Backside?!” Greg asks.

“Flabby. You’d think that he’d led a sedentary life, yet the soles of his feet and the nascent varicose veins in his legs show otherwise. So, a lot of walking and a lot of sitting around. Security guard’s looking good. And the watch helps, too. The alarm shows he did regular night shifts.” Sherlock explains.

“Why regular? Maybe he just set his alarm like that the night before he died.” Greg says.

“No-no-no, the buttons are stiff, hardly touched. He set his alarm like that a long time ago. His routine never varied. But there’s something else. The killer must have been interrupted, otherwise he would have stripped the corpse completely. There was some kind of badge or insignia on the shirt front that he tore off, suggesting the dead man worked somewhere recognizable, and some kind of institution.” Sherlock says and takes something from his pocket. “Found this inside his trouser pockets.” He is holding a small scrunched-up ball of paper. “Sodden by the river but still recognisably ...”

John peers at the ball of paper. “Tickets?”

“Ticket stubs. He worked in a museum or gallery. Did a quick check – the Hickman Gallery has reported one of its attendants as missing.” He points down to the body. “Alex Woodbridge. Tonight they unveil the re-discovered masterpiece. Now why would anyone want to pay the Golem to suffocate a perfectly ordinary gallery attendant? Inference: the dead man knew something about it – something that would stop the owner getting paid thirty million pounds. The picture’s a fake.”

“Fantastic.” John says admiringly

Sherlock shrugs and I can tell that that he is still peeved. “Meretricious.” I go over to him and takes his hand. He looks at me and smiles briefly.

“And a Happy New Year!” Greg says. I throw him a ‘seriously?!’ look. Greg grins sheepishly and I shake my head.

“Poor sod.” John says. I look over and see he is looking at the body.

“I’d better get my feelers out for this Golem character.” Greg says.

“Pointless. You’ll never find him. But I know a man who can.” Sherlock says.

“Who?” Greg asks.

“Me.” Sherlock say grinning. He turns and walks away, pulling me with.

We get into a taxi and Sherlock looks at the pink phone. “Why hasn’t he phoned? He’s broken his pattern. Why?” He leans forward to the taxi driver. “Waterloo Bridge.”

“Where now? The Gallery?” John asks.

“In a bit.” Sherlock says.

“The Hickman’s contemporary art, isn’t it? Why have they got hold of an Old Master?” John asks.

“Dunno. Dangerous to jump to conclusions. Need data.” Sherlock says and takes his notebook from his pocket and writes something on a page before tearing it out and folding a bank note inside it. He puts the paper into his pocket, then a few seconds later calls out to the driver. “Stop!” The cab pulls over to the side of the road. “You two wait here. I won’t be a moment.” He gets out, goes to the railings at the edge of the pavement and easily vaults over them. John gets out of the cab and I sigh. After a minute, the boys get back into the cab. “Now we go to the Gallery.”

We get to the Gallery and Sherlock gets out. He helps me out and stops John as he was getting out. “No. I need you to find out all you can about the gallery attendant. Lestrade will give you the address.” Sherlock says.

“Okay.” John says. Sherlock and I go into the gallery.

“Okay we need to get into some security guard’s outfits.” Sherlock explains as we go into an office. I nod and look around. “Here we are.” I hear Sherlock say. I turn around and see that he had found a men and women’s outfit. I nod and grab the women’s one. I put it on and tied my hair back into a low bun. I look over and see Sherlock staring at me.

“What?” I ask.

“Nothing.” He says and looks away. I roll my eyes and leave the room. Sherlock rushes past me and goes into a room. I follow and look around. It was a large white-painted room which is displaying the Vermeer painting. There is no other artwork or furniture of any kind in the room, but free-standing posts are roped together to form a path to the picture. We move to the photo. I hear a pair of high heels behind up. “Don’t you two have something to do?” I hear an Eastern European accent behind us.

“Just admiring the view. Well one of them.” Sherlock says and winks at me. I frown and look at him. What the hell?

“Yes. Lovely. Now get back to work. We open tonight.” The woman says.

Sherlock looks over his shoulder and then turns and walks towards her. I follow behind. “Doesn’t it bother you?”

“What?” The woman asks.

“That the painting’s a fake.” Sherlock says.

“What?” The woman says angrily.

“It’s a fake. It has to be. It’s the only possible explanation.” Sherlock says. He gets closer to the woman and looks at her I.D. badge. “You’re in charge, aren’t you, Miss Wenceslas?”

“Who are you two?” Miss Wenceslas asks.

Sherlock gets into her face and stares into his eyes. “Alex Woodbridge knew that the painting was a fake, so somebody sent the Golem to take care of him. Was it you?”

“Golem? What the hell are you talking about?” Miss Wenceslas asks.

“Or are you working for someone else? Did you fake it for them?” Sherlock asks.

“It’s not a fake.” Miss Wenceslas says.

“It is a fake. Don’t know why, but there’s something wrong with it. There has to be.” Sherlock says.

“What the hell are you on about? You know, I could have you two sacked on the spot.” Miss Wenceslas tells us. I smirk.

“Not a problem.” I say.

“No?” Miss Wenceslas asks.

“No. We don’t work here, you see. Just pooped in to give you a bit of friendly advice.” Sherlock tells her.

“How did you get in?” Miss Wenceslas asks.

“Please.” Sherlock says scornfully.

“I want to know.” Miss Wenceslas says.

“The art of disguise is knowing how to hide in plain sight.” Sherlock explains. We turn and begin to walk away, taking off our caps.

“Who are you two?” Miss Wenceslas asks.

“Sherlock Holmes.” He says

“Calliah Mullen.” I say. We drop our caps onto of the railings posts and continue onwards.

“Am I supposed to be impressed?” Miss Wenceslas asks.

“You should be.” Sherlock says. We take off our jackets and look round at her. We drop them on the ground and reach the door. He flamboyantly shoves one open. “Have a nice day!” He says as we leave. I laugh as we go back to the office. Sherlock looks at me and smiles. “Have fun?”

“That was a blast!” I say and change.

“Yeah, it was fun.” He says and leans against the wall. “You should keep on the skirt and heels. Make your legs longer.” He tells me. I look at him and see that he is looking at me. “What?”

“Why do you care?” I ask.

“I don’t.” He says and I roll my eyes.

“Whatever. Let’s go.” I grab the pants I was wearing and walk out of the office.

We go back home and Sherlock sits in his chair and I sit in mine. I cross my legs and close my eyes. “What are we doing now?”

“We wait.” Sherlock says.

“Wait for what?” I ask.

“John.” He says and smiles.

I feel my phone go off and I get it out.

I was in a meeting when you texted. Still need the information? MH

I laugh and move sideways in the chair so my legs were resting on the arm of the chair. I feel Sherlock looking at me but I ignore him.

No we found it. Thanks though. CM

“Who is that?” Sherlock asks.

“Croft.” I say softly. I hear him scoff. “What?” I look over.

“’Croft’. God! Do you know how you sound? Like his little call girl.” He says.

“Call girl!?” I yell.

“Yeah.” He says. I get up and move over to him. He look up at me unimpressed. “What?”

“I am no one’s call girl. Got that William!?” I yell in his face.

He looks at me shocked. “W-William?” He asks.

I stand up and straighten my skirt. “Mummy Holmes told me.” I say and sit back down.

“M-Mummy?” Sherlock asks. I roll my eyes and ignore him. I feel my phone buzz.

Tell brother dearest that after this is over, he will be hearing from me. MH

I smile and look at Sherlock. “Croft isn’t happy with you.”

Sherlock gets up and looks outside.

Thanks Croft. CM

I get a reply a second later.

Anytime. MH

Sherlock gets his coat on. “Come on.” He tells me. I get up and put on my coat. We walk out to the street and see John getting out of the taxi.

“Alex Woodbridge didn’t know anything special about art.” John tells us.

“And?” Sherlock asks.

“And…” John says. Sherlock looks towards Speedy’s. I look over and see a homeless girl standing by the railings, shaking a paper cup at people as they pass. Sherlock starts walking towards her.

“Is that is? No habits, hobbies, personality?” Sherlock asks.

“No, give us a chance! He was an amateur astronomer.” John says.

Sherlock stops dead, turns and points towards the taxi. “Hold that cab.” He tells John. I go to John and get in the taxi.

“I’ll just wait in here.” I tell John. John waits outside the taxi and after a minute, Sherlock and John get in.

We go to Vauxhall. We get out and are walking along, Sherlock buttons his coat as he gazes up at the sky.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Sherlock asks.

John and I look up at the stars. “I thought you didn’t care about things like that.” John asks.

“Doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it.” Sherlock says and, unknowing to me, looks over at me.

We walk into the Arches. “Listen: Alex Woodbridge had a message on the answer phone at his flat – a Professor Cairns?” John says.

“This way.” Sherlock says.

“Nice! Nice part of town. Er, any time you want to explain.” John says.

“Homeless network – really is indispensable.” Sherlock explains.

John gets a small flashlight from his pocket and switches it on. “Homeless network?”

“My eyes and ears all over the city.” Sherlock explains.

“Oh, that’s cleave. So you scratch their backs and …” John says.

“Yes, then I disinfect myself.” Sherlock says and brings out a flashlight. He shines it around as they continue into the darkness of the Arches. We see homeless people all around us. I frown and wrap my arms around myself. This have been easily me. Suddenly, in the distance, the shadow of a man shows up on a wall as he begins to stand up.

“Sherlock!” John yells.

“Come on!” Sherlock yells and we duck to the side of the wall as the man continues straightening up until he is over seven feet tall.

“What’s he doing sleeping rough?” John asks in a whispers.

Sherlock peers around the corner. “Well, he has a very distinctive look. He has to hide somewhere where tongues won’t wag – much.” Sherlock says.

John looks down as he realizes that he doesn’t have anything for protection. “Oh shi…”

Sherlock takes a pistol from his coat pocket and winks at me. I roll my eyes and look at the sky. “What?” Sherlock asks John.

“I wish I’d…” John starts to say.

Sherlock hands John the gun. “Don’t mention it.”

The man breaks into a run and hurries away down another tunnel. We chase across towards where he was and reach the tunnel just in time to see him climbing into a waiting car which immediately speeds off. Sherlock punches the air in frustration.

“No, no, no, no! It’ll take us weeks to find him again.” Sherlock says.

“Or not. I have an idea where he might be going.” John says.

“What?” Sherlock asks.

“I told you: someone left Alex Woodbridge a message. There can’t be that many Professor Cairns in the book. Come on.” John explains.

We go to the Planetarium and races into it. John aims his pistol at the attacker and Sherlock yells “Golem!”

“…many are actually long-dead, exploded into supernovas.” The narrator says.

The Golem looks up, grunts in surprise, then snaps Cairns’ neck and drops her to the floor. Her fingers drag along the mixing desk and the footage goes into fast-forward again, plunging the theatre into darkness. The Golem ducks down out of sight.

“John!” Sherlock yells.

“I can’t see him. I’ll go round. I’ll go!” John says. As the footage continues spooling and then stopping and playing before spooling again, light comes and goes in the room. Sherlock stares around as John hurries off.

“Who are you working for this time, Dzundza?” Sherlock yells loudly.

I feel a hand clamp onto my mouth and nose while gripping my neck with the other. I grab at the hand on my face and struggle to pull it feel. John races over and stops in front of us, his pistol held in both hands. “Golem!” He yells. He cocks the gun and points it at the Golem’s face, his hands and voice steady. “Let her go, or I will kill you.” I whimper in my efforts to pull the man’s hand from my face. The Golem swings him around to the left and lashes out with his long right leg during a moment of darkness, kicking the pistol from John’s hands. Golem lets me go, he surges forward and wrestles with John. Sherlock joins in and helps. Golem pushes them towards me and they tumble to the floor. Sherlock scrambles up again and takes up a boxing stance in front of him, holding his fists up. He swings a punch at the man but he grabs his hand and swings his other arm down heavily onto Sherlock’s shoulder, dropping him to the floor yet again. The Golem follows him down and clamps both hands onto his face, leaning his weight onto them. Behind him, John throws himself onto his back. The Golem roars, releasing Sherlock as he claws at the hobbit on his back. He stands up with John still clinging to his back and spins around several times before finally managing to shake him off onto the floor. As John groggily tries to get up, the Golem turns, picks up Sherlock and skims him across the floor towards John. As Sherlock slides across the floor he grabs at the pistol and manages to pick it up. The Golem runs for the doors. Sherlock rolls over onto his back and fires twice towards him but the Golem makes it to the doors and disappears through them.

“…long dead, exploded into supernovas.” As the image of a supernova dramatically explodes on the screen behind him, Sherlock angrily slams his hand down on the floor in front of him.

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