Every sentence seemed to echo

9/10/2022

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When Fruits Commit Crimes in England
(The latest issue of the Detective Agency) was released, there was a new mystery novel on the covers by James Moriarty. The cover featured a young man with long black hair and piercing eyes. His features were handsome; but one thing was different about his face: it wasn’t human.
There were no photos from the book or any other published work for that matter. The author did not want to be associated with his creation. However, when he had been approached at the publishers’ office and asked if they could publish the book, it seemed as though the man had agreed and wanted to make the announcement. As far as Moriarty knew, no one knew he was even alive until after the publication. That is why he found himself on the streets of London, walking through a crowd.
It was late at night when Moriarty stepped out into the street, taking note of the many people around him. There weren’t as many as before, which he attributed to their need to rest. A young man wearing a hat pushed past him as he walked down the sidewalk. Moriarty noticed that it was raining slightly. He watched as the raindrops hit the hat. It didn’t look like they were hurting the man as much as they would have done if they actually went through him. Then again, this man didn’ have flesh, meaning water couldn’t get in anywhere near him anyway.
Moriarty took notice of the dark circles under the man’s eyes. His hair was messy, sticking up every which way. This man looked exhausted. In fact, the entire scene seemed familiar to him somehow. Perhaps it was just because he’d seen it somewhere else.
A sudden movement caught his attention and he looked down to see that the man had dropped something onto the street in front of him. It was an envelope. When Moriarty bent down to pick it up he saw that it bore the initials “M.”
It was a letter addressed to him.
Moriarty stood up straight as the rain became heavier. As he began making his way away from the address he wondered what the letter had contained. Had a letter from Sherlock Holmes written to him? Or was it someone who was going to kill him soon?
He decided to stop and ask. The last time he’d talked to Sherlock Holmes there had been an ambush waiting for him along the Thames. Moriarty had killed them all without so much as a thought.
As Moriarty stopped walking he noticed that another man had followed him. The man who was standing right next to him was dressed in a suit similar to his own. But it wasn’t the same type. Instead of having two buttons sewn to the shirtfront, there were eight. On each button was the name of the man that Moriarty would eventually meet on the battlefield: John Watson. The man in the suit had a slight limp, probably caused by some kind of injury, judging by his movements. At least that explained why Moriarty hadn’t heard anything about the man.
“Hello, sir,” said the stranger in a polite tone.
“How do you know my name?” asked Moriarty suspiciously.
“Oh, I’ve read your books. And I’ve met Mr. Holmes on more than one occasion. I think you may have a bit of an obsession with him.”
“Yes, well… He knows where to find me now if he ever needs me,” answered Moriarty, his voice betraying the unease that he was feeling.
“I don’t doubt it.” The man paused for a moment. “But if he’s looking for you he won’t be able to help you.”
Moriarty frowned. “Why not? We have unfinished business.”
“Not with Sherlock. Not anymore.” The man smiled sadly.
“What are you talking about? What happened?” demanded Moriarty impatiently.
“If you’re wondering whether I’m trying to tell you what you need to hear. Well, I am. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to go back in time.”
Moriarty sighed. There really wasn’t much point in asking these questions; he already knew the answer. He didn’t even know how to begin the conversation.
“You can try if you must,” continued the man in the suit. “Just know that whatever you say will happen regardless of what you do here tonight.”
Moriarty nodded silently and resumed walking away. After several blocks of silence he finally spoke.
“Who are you, exactly?”
He received only a short laugh in return.
Chapter 2
Sherlock was sitting alone in his hotel room staring intently at the ceiling. He didn’t move for a few minutes, too focused to pay attention to anything that was outside of his own mind. Finally he sat up, stretched his arms over his head and rubbed his tired eyes. It felt like he hadn’t closed them since he got back from China three weeks ago.
The detective looked around. His flat wasn’t very clean, nor was it particularly tidy, but he couldn’t bring himself to care about those things. All he cared about was the letter that the man had left behind. For some reason, the sight of it made Sherlock feel nervous. He ran his fingers across the words, as if he might still be able to decipher his brother’s writing.
“Dear Sherlock,
After reading your blog, I came to the conclusion that I owe you an apology.”
That’s where it had started. After reading Sherlock’s first blog post. Before Sherlock’s blog. After they’d both fallen off their bikes on the Thames. After he’d died.
His brother wrote a lengthy, heartfelt letter. An explanation. A goodbye. A plea. An attempt at peace. A confession. It sounded like more of a letter of resignation rather than an apology, but Sherlock supposed that was what he deserved for not listening sooner. He should never have tried to change the past.
It hurt like hell to remember. Every word of the letter burned his brain. Every sentence seemed to echo in his ears while it was being spoken aloud. No matter how many times Sherlock tried to block it all out, it refused to leave. It was like a part of him had died, along with Greg Lestrade.
Sherlock knew that it wasn’t entirely Greg’s fault. He was trying to save him. That much was clear. Yet the fact remained that Sherlock was angry at him for doing everything possible without consulting Sherlock first. He was angry at Gregory for letting him die and blaming himself for it afterwards.
Of course, he wasn’t mad that his brother was dead. It hurt, sure.

2 replies to “Every sentence seemed to echo

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