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Watson Vs ‘The Children’…

From the Diary of Doctor Watson

Monday
I’m happy to report that my host appeared to have returned to normal this morning, though his irritating habit of talking in rhyme was unaffected by his recent clock-bound ordeal. Zellaby munched toast while regaling me with the details of a telephonical message he took whilst I was still at my toilette.

“Lestrade, a message he did send
And called to say he can’t attend
So you will have to take the reigns
In things concerning child-er-ens.”

I have to admit my annoyance showed itself a little more than I intended when I replied thus:

“If you don’t stop this rhyming stock
I’ll shove you back inside that clock!”

Zellaby’s mouth took a downward turn. “Sorry.” He went on to explain (without poetic license) how Inspector Lestrade has been called away on a matter of some urgency – apparently Scotland Yard are having a bit of bother with the Krazy Twins and Lestrade is the only one the mad pair will negotiate with.

This was a bit of a blow, as I was banking on Lestrade’s help. However, needs must and I soon came up with a plan to lure the children to the schoolhouse on the pretext of seeing a moving picture. I could then lock them up until we can come up with a long-term solution.

Zellaby, however, shook his head. “I am afraid, Dr Watson, that will not be possible. You see, the Children won’t trust you. They will know what you’re thinking before you’ve got anywhere near them. Look what happened to Mr Holmes.”

“Then I shall resort to my trusty revolver and shoot the lot of them.” I helped myself to another slice of toast and a large dollop of quince jam.

My companion shook his head. “Again, they will see your plan and make you turn your feeble weapon on yourself.”

“Then what on earth are we to do?”

Zellaby left the room for a moment and returned a few minutes later carrying what looked like a small nuclear bomb.

“My God,” I gasped. “What on earth is that?”

“It’s a small nuclear bomb,” explained the old man. “Oh, don’t worry, it’s not terribly nuclear – only enough to blow the schoolhouse to smithereens.”

I threw my napkin on the table with as much disdain as I could muster. “Then I don’t see..”

Zellaby interrupted and explained that he had invented the bomb for just such an occasion and that since his recent brain operation (which included inserting a large metal tea plate in his head) his thoughts cannot be so easily picked up by the Children. “Therefore,” he continued, “I am the obvious choice to lure the demonic creatures to their fate.”

“But how will you escape?” I cried.

He shrugged. “I won’t.”

Tuesday
As I sit here in this very ordinary railway carriage, I cannot believe the events of the last 24 hours. Poor Zellaby did indeed lure the Children to the schoolhouse on the pretext of watching a moving picture called ‘The Last Temptation of Christopher Biggins’ and he also managed to detonate the bomb, killing everyone within a five mile radius.

Fortunately, I had managed to get Holmes out of the Asylum and into a small hotel in the next village before the balloon went up, and while it is a terrible shame that several hundred innocent people died, we are at least rid of those pesky kids.

Holmes is sleeping now, wrapped up in a blanket and snoring loudly. It’ll be nice to get back to Baker Street again.

Watson

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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Sherlock Vs ‘The Children’…

From the Diary of Doctor Watson

Sunday
It has taken me some little time to come to terms with the bizarre episode I faced yesterday afternoon and I am only now able to put pen to paper and collect my thoughts in a cohesive manner.

My companion’s reaction to my visit yesterday gave me quite a start. His quip “Excuse me, do I know you?” was (thought I, in my stupidity) just another Holmsian joke, but no – it was in fact, merely the tip of the iceberg.

Holmes turned his head slightly as if talking to someone else. He went on to speak rapidly, recounting numerous antics and anecdotes. The fact that I stood there in the conservatory quite alone, did not seem to deter him and though I waved a hand at the empty space he continued to address, there was no change in his demeanour. I watched, dumbstruck, as his head swivelled between my own face and the void next to me, Holmes​ nodding occasionally and giving that sly wink in answer to (presumably) whatever communication he thought was emanating from our imaginary companion.

I studied him carefully over the next few minutes. He appeared to have succumbed to some strange trick of the mind, which convinced him that our old pal RLS was in the room with us and clearly holding a most interesting conversation. After some minutes, I retired to Matron’s office in the hope that what I was witnessing was not some feature of my own troubled imagination.

“Och Doctor Watson,” gushed the large lady, giving me a playful dig in the ribs. “We’ve heard soooo much about you from dear Mister Holmes. But you’re much smaller in real life.” She guffawed loudly and I detected a quick glance in the direction of my nether regions. Then her face changed as she recounted the dreadful incident when my companion was brought into the asylum (yes, dear reader, I too was shocked to learn that the building we were presently occupying was not the village hospital but the local Insane Asylum!!!) It seems that Holmes was having some sort of continual hallucination that also included whatever was going on in the real world (which explains why he could see me as well as Bobby Stevenson).

Matron leaned forward conspiratorially. “I believe those vile creatures have done something to your friend, Doctor, but how long it will last we cannot say.” She then went on to tell me how another villager had been forced by the Children to drive his car into the duck pond, and yet another appeared to believe he had turned into a mole and had spent a whole day digging holes all over the village green.

I left Holmes writing out a series of letters (to me, I believe) detailing his ideas on ‘the Problem of Thor Bridge and how the new Science of Mesmerism will sort things out…’ At least my companion could come to no further harm in the Asylum. As I left the building, I pondered on the problem ahead of me – if Zellaby was aware of these bizarre goings-on, he had neglected to mention them to me, but given his own clock-fixated behaviour, that’s hardly surprising.

I decided the only way to tackle the problem was to tackle the creatures themselves – The Children.

Last night I telephoned Inspector Lestrade. Since it seemed I have no option but to take over the case myself, I decided I had better get some help.

(to be continued).
Watson.​

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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Village of the Doomed…

From the Diary of Doctor Watson

Friday
It has been almost a week now since I sent off my reply to my companion’s last letter. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t worry too much at his silence, since it is a trait of his that I’ve learned to live with. However, given the very real possibility of danger in his current location, I have determined to journey back to the Village tonight. Mrs Watson is not happy, but there you go.

Saturday
The Village was in darkness when I arrived last night, and as the station was deserted, I was forced to walk to Zellaby’s with only an eerie moon to light my way. Zellaby’s home is on the outskirts of the Village and I had hoped that, even given the late hour, I might find a welcoming light. Yet, the house too, was in darkness and it was with not a little trepidation that I tried the handle of the front door.

I stood for a long moment on the hall carpet, listening for something, anything, that might tell me I was not alone, but the only sound was the echoing tick of the old grandfather clock along the passageway. As I gazed around me, it occurred to me that something was very wrong. It took me only a few seconds to realise what it was: tick, tick, kerr-tick, kerr-tick…

With a single, Holmesian bound, I leapt towards the clock and threw open the door to its mechanism. There in the darkness, mewling like a wounded cat, was Zellaby, staring up at me with what I can only describe as utter relief.

After making up fire in the front parlour, I poured another cup of Horlicks for Zellaby, who’s general demeanour had not altered much since I dragged him from inside the clock. Nevertheless, he has been able to tell me something of the last few days…

“Mr Holmes was certain he could negotiate, with the Children (though they were in a state). By the time your letter he did see, he’d made up his mind how to proceed…”

He went on in this fashion for some time and I was beginning to weary of his poetic ramblings when he finally got to the point:

“So Holmes went out to start the car, but Children came they from afar, and soon surround him too they did, til Mr Holmes near flipped his lid…”

It transpired that Holmes had endeavoured to drive Zellaby’s old pony and trap to the police station with the aim of discussing tactics with the sergeant. The Children, who had been gathering outside the house, crowded around and as Holmes pulled away, he inadvertently ran  the cart over several of the Children’s feet. Holmes immediately hauled on the reins but as he tried to speak to them, the Creatures surrounded the vehicle and exerted a strange force over him: Holmes climbed back into the cart and drove it straight towards a large oak tree at the end of the lane. (The pony appears to have aided the children by veering away at the last minute, forcing the trap onto its side, throwing my companion into the ditch).

By mid-morning I was at the Village hospital, having detoured through the fields beyond Zellaby’s house in order to avoid contact with the Children. I found Holmes in the conservatory, sitting quite comfortably in an old bath chair reading The Times.

“Thank God, Holmes,” said I, rushing up to him.

He turned his piercing eye on me and simply blinked. “Excuse me, do I know you?”

(To be continued)
Watson

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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Breakfast at Jellaby’s…

From Sherlock Holmes Esq to Doctor Watson:

Watson
How inconsiderate of Mrs Watson to relapse in to one of her ever-more-frequent Episodes, just when our latest Investigation had begun, thus requiring your Departure in order to be at her bedside, apropos her hysterical demands for your Presence…never mind the fact that this entails my being left with the insufferable nincompoop Jellaby. I swear that I may commit Murder myself, as his interminable outbursts in rhyming couplet form are driving me to distraction. How much more can one man take?

Earlier this morning, we had just sat down to a rather presentable spread of Kedgeree, Summer Fruit Compote and a nice piece of Toast with Home-made Marmalade and Quince Jelly, when two of The Children happened to walk by the window. Without missing a beat of his Jelly-spreading technique, our host carolled out, in that infuriating sing-song manner – “There they go, do come and see! –  a pair go by, past you and me!”

I tell you, man, it was all I could do to restrain myself from strangling him with his own dressing-gown cord…silk tassels and all…I would almost have put up with Mrs Watson convalescing at 221B as an alternative Hell on Earth, in order to have the ground open up and swallow the blighter whole. I avoided 20 years of Hard Labour by excusing myself from the table and taking myself on a brisk walk to further acquaint myself with The Situation.

Yours, fervently hoping for Mrs Watson’s Recovery – or at least enough of it to ensure your Speedy Return.

SH.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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The Children…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

(From the Diary of Dr John Watson)

I have to admit to being rather ticked off with Holmes at his lack of response, leaving me to make the journey to Midwich alone. However, as it turned out, my journey was delayed due to Mrs Watson’s ‘trouble’ playing up as I was about to leave the house. My dear wife had to be rushed into hospital with running-away-at-the-mouth syndrome, which has unfortunately plagued her on and off for several years. It’s a rather debilitating condition that seems only to affect the female of our species and manifests itself in a curious manner: the sufferer finds it impossible to limit herself to only three or four words in conversation, and instead employs three or four thousand (the condition has been well documented by the Yorkshire Chanson Jake Thackray).

It was therefore with a mixture of frustration and sympathy that I sat by my wife’s bedside throughout the night until her symptoms abated the following morning (though she was clearly touched that I’d decided to forgo my trip on her behalf). When she began to feel better, I finally trudged my weary way homewards, by which time my companion’s note had arrived, enabling me to meet him at the appointed hour. Nevertheless, Holmes seemed to imagine that I’d simply dropped everything to fit in with his plans, and all attempts to communicate the reality of the situation washed over his silken locks like a dose of cheap shampoo.

Our first evening in Midwich was a relatively quiet one – on arrival at the tiny station, Zellaby met us with open arms and a degree of relief that we had finally arrived. He greeted Holmes like a long lost brother:

“My dear Mr Holmes, how glad I am, mad I am, sad when you’re gone, I’ve been sitting here waiting since twenty to one.”

Apparently old Gordon fancies himself as a poet, but this small fact was lost on Holmes, who simply grasped the fellow’s hand and shook it firmly. Zellaby took us to his own house on the edge of the village and as the pony and trap trundled along, we noticed how passersby turned to look, their eyes filled with tears (although Holmes pointed out that these were not tears but simply water, due to the fact that it was pissing down with rain at the time).

As we approached Zellaby’s house, he cautioned us to take care:

“The children are closing, do not meet their eyes – I have seen some folk crumble (some twice your size!)”

Holmes did not (as I would have imagined) guffaw loudly at this, but instead cast his curious gaze towards two of the blonde creatures as we pulled into Zellaby’s driveway.

“Indeed, they are an interesting brood,” said he. “Mark you, Watson, take the utmost care with these seemingly innocent, child-like beings.”

We passed the rest of the evening in the living room, drinking large quantities of tea and enjoying one of our host’s rather delightful date and toffee sponge cakes (I must get the recipe for Mrs Watson). The only interruption was the occasional shout from Zellaby that another of ‘the children’ was walking past the house, gazing in at us. Each time this happened, we’d jump up and stare out at them (taking care not to make eye contact). I could not help but wonder what was going on in their heads, and if they are as curious about us as we are about them.

(to be continued)

Watson.

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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Waiting for Watson…

From Sherlock Holmes Esq to Doctor Watson:

Watson
Why you will insist on gullibly taking Mrs Hudson’s bait every time, I will never know. Did you seriously believe I would be involved in such a vacuous, pointless pastime as that ridiculous Colonial import? – I sometimes wonder about your mental processes, Watson, especially when you fall for an obvious one like That. Anyway, that is beside the point.

If you Had engaged your Thinking Gears, you would have realised that I have been out and about, setting the wheels in motion and gathering the resources pertaining to this Case of Zellaby’s. I seem to remember several other similar incidences from my Metaphysical Studies with our old friend, Father Brown…I believe he himself was involved in something similar years ago…needless to say, he managed to get to the root of the Problem, drafting in, along the way, his associates, Endeavour and Sunday…Those were The Days…but I digress…

I shall be round to pick you up at 7  –  Please have your Goodbyes seen to long before then…I still blanch at the memory of catching yourself and Mrs Watson in that Very Passionate Send-Off in the middle of your Front Hall..I have tried, but unfortunately failed, to erase the mental picture of That Clinch many times since then; the Involuntary Retching Spasms impede my Cogitations somewhat…As to the Garlic and Sharpened sticks…..I believe the man has been reading far too much lurid Pulp Fiction…or associating too much with those well-known Absinthe Addicts Lee and Cushing.

Till my Arrival, your friend,

SH.

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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Gone Cuckoo Huntin’…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

Dear Holmes
Since you’re clearly far too busy with your latest hobby (yes, Holmes, Mrs Hudson told me everything about your association with the Chelsea Line-Dancing Club), I’m leaving you this note re my previous missive. Should you get this in the next day or so, I’d appreciate your joining me at the home of Gordon Zellaby as planned.

I’m catching the 6:42 to Midwich this evening, having spent some time collecting the various objects Zellaby advised during our telephone conversation two nights ago. I’m not entirely sure why he thinks wooden stakes and garlic will be appropriate tools in our intended ‘intervention’ but I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.

I shall of course send you updates as soon as I am able.

Yours

Somewhat pissed off,
Watson

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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