B is for the Boy who was Afraid of the Dark

-A Sherlock Holmes fiction-

The events taking place after ‘the kind lie.’

 You … you told me once … that you weren’t a hero. Umm… There were times when I didn’t even think you were human, but let me tell you this. You were the best man, the most human … human being that I’ve ever known and no one will ever convince me that you told me a lie, and so … there. I was so alone … and I owe you so much. But please, there’s just one more thing, one more thing, one more miracle, Sherlock, for me, don’t be … dead. Would you do that just for me? Just stop it. Stop this…

And with that, Doctor John Watson gave one last look at the grave in front of him. His sweaty hands fidgeting uncontrollable. His bottom lip quivering and the droplets of water at the corners of his eyes finally gave way – streaming down his pale, grief stricken face.

Moments after the great Fall. When Sherlock Holmes disappeared off the face of the planet and the minds of the people around him. 

There was a thud. A great head shattering thud. The unconscious man screamed in pain as he felt the burning pain at the base of his skull. But he could do nothing to stop it – his limbs were immobile, slacking uselessly at his sides. He thrashed and yelled in sheer agony but only silence greeted his cries for help.

Then, all of sudden, he saw darkness. The eyes that he didn’t realize were open until they were closed, sealed shut. His breath hitched. His chest heaved after every tiring pant. Darkness, everywhere. And this time, he didn’t hold back the sobs that were held back in his dry throat.

His past had been glum and grey and monotonous and sad.
Grey being the key word.
It was so, that every time he pictured himself as a little boy, an image of an ill treated child came into view. Covered from head to toe in a layer of grey somethings. In fact, the atmosphere was always painted in grey almost as if all the colours of the world had been drained out of it.

Like a depressing silent picture show from a world of black and white.
And sometimes it pained him. So when his mind wandered too deep into the murky waters of his dreary past, he would reel it back in, like a scared fisherman afraid to face his own prey.

But no matter how many times he tried, he always slipped and drowned.
His fathers words echoing in his head like a whip striking blow after blow against his tortured back.

When do you talk… the man’s voice boomed.
I talk when I’m told. The little boy’s voice wavered.

When do you go…
I go when I’m old.

Everyday. Over and over again like a haunting reminder.

And when I  sing a sad song…
I must always sing along. 

Said the adolescent, his face plastered in a permanent scowl. A child who had to grow up too fast.

And when I frown…
I know you are down. 

And when I grin
I know you are grim.

The young man replied as if he were reciting the  alphabet. His dark, sunken eyes, fixed on a particular spot. 10 years have driven a hole in his adult mind. 10 years of madness and sadness. 10 years of being afraid. Afraid of himself, afraid of his father, afraid of solitude… But the one thing that remained in his head until the day his life flashed before him was the  darkness.

For when one was afraid of the dark, the subconscious would gradually conjure up the impossible. And in time, his father’s voice was slowly replaced to one that was so haunting that it never failed to make his bones shake violently.

For when I show my teeth
I know who you want to eat. 

It was that day that the darkness consumed him. And the monster that was  lurking in the shadows of his home at night was himself.

When do you see the monsters?
Not under my bed
When do you see the monsters….?

Their all…

“…. IN MY HEAD!!!” Jim Moriarty screamed as his eyes shot open. He got to his feet, breathing hard. No, NO. The criminal mastermind calmed himself. You can never think when you’re consumed with too much emotion. Too much emotion is bad, was one of the more sane things he had learnt during his lifetime.

His feet wobbled slightly, but he was too busy breathing in the musty smell of his surroundings.

First breath – slow, shallow, blood loss, pounding, massive concussion. 

Second breath- internal hemorrhage, possible,… but less likely, impact was muffled.  

He closed his eyes and opened them slowly. Vision intact – if not a slight tear on the outermost conjunctiva.

Swallow. Taste- gunpowder. Shrug. Understandable.

Third breath- lungs, dry – prone to longterm effects. Sigh.

Wait. Hearing. Pause. Hearing. 

The seconds ticked but he couldn’t hear them. Then he realized, he couldn’t actually hear himself. He bit his lip and concentrated.

Ear drums – damaged. Blast. Literally.

He cleared his hoarse throat and let out a dry mirthless chuckle. Oh, how strange the way the odds work.

Because if he remembered correctly, he had just died. But there was one thing that differentiated him from his beloved Sherlock. It was that he was the darkness. He lived in it long enough to know how it worked, inside out. His pale hand touched the bulge of his pocket.

A gun.

He looked at it for awhile and began to laugh – a sad mischevious, mirthless laugh. It had been sooooo convincing…… So, so that he, for one split second, as it happened, almost surprised himself. The thought made his eyes wander to the blood stains on his favorite suit – soaked in his sweat, the blood of his own and that of others.

“A shame, really,”he pouted. “But of course, a trip to the laundry will fix that.” Nothing else. And as he examined his surroundings, he noticed that he was in a chamber. He moved his unused legs and realized that it hurt to walk. He growled in frustration. Control, however, was something he had found hard to learn, which of course, made his initial reaction to the movement of the door creaking open was to shoot the first person who entered. And shoot, he did.

The body slouched and dropped onto the wooden floorboards. The second man entered and Jim’s dark eyes widened in relief.

“Boss.” Sebastian Moran said briefly as he stood his ground, completely unarmed.

Moriarty smiled – his smug, sadistic crooked smile. My favorite sniper. Alive and well. How tragic….

In one swift movement, Moriarty’s fist connected with his employee’s jaw. An agonizing crack sent the sniper caught off guard. He let out a cry of pain as he cradled his jaw. A droplet of crimson blood oozed out from the corner of his lip.

“You idiot!” Jim yelled. His face a stark comparison to the serene expression he wore earlier.

“But sir-” Moran found it hard to speak with his dislocated jaw.

“NO,No,no! Moran,” he chuckled hoarsely, leaning against a nearby wall for support.”My dear, most pitiful, Moran..” His eyes turned an unpleasant color of charcoal black. “Why the hell didn’t you blast his psychotic head off….!” Clearly implying the fact that Sherlock Holmes had managed to escape from death by a hair’s  breadth.

‘Because you blasted yours,’Moran wanted to say, glumly.

Just then, Moriarty’s rant came to end. He closed his eyes and exhaled slowly as if reading Moran’s very thoughts. He pronounced his words excruciatingly slowly, excentuating his syllables as if he was talking to a two-year old.

“It had to be done.”

‘He’s talking to himself again.Past tense,’ Moran noted silently. ‘That was Jim for you, always one step ahead. Always…’

And just as the consulting criminal’s right hand man was about to form his next sane word, he watched his boss touch his pocket – a calculating smile formed on his chapped lips.

Sebastian Moran died before he could only begin to comprehend.

Moriarty simply rolled his eyes as he tucked away his precious weapon. His face, the image of a child engulfed in utter boredom.

“Devils are so hard to come by,” the Irishman’s voice echoed a high pitched sing song tune as he stomped out of the room, absentmindedly flipping the coin, he had conveniently found his pocket. How ironic.

“Maybe you’re right? I was afraid. I was afraid because for once in my life, I didn’t think it through. It doesn’t matter anymore. I knew you would understand. You’re Sherlock Holmes. You’re me. It wasn’t easy dying. I’ll tell you that. A great deal of sacrifices had to made but no matter. Because in those little moments before chaos erupted, I noticed a silent beat within you – a steady rhythm. Catchy, I must say. At first it was foreign to me, then it dawned. Maybe there is something different about us, Holmes, that your chest isn’t so hollow after all. How couldn’t I have realized it sooner? Weak. Ordinary.

So in order to restore what was once, and how it always will be. I will burn it, Sherlock Holmes. I will burn the heart out of you.”

-*-*-

In the corner of an unknown street, stood a man. If he had remembered correctly, he had just fallen off the fourth floor of a morgue, fractured his ribs, right arm, both of his legs and not to mention the fact that there was a crack in his skull and that there was already a funeral prepared for him the moment he landed. But he knew one thing that differentiated him from Jim Moriarty. It was the darkness. He had a fair amount of it and a fair amount not of it. He mastered it.

Because less than an hour ago, he was inches away from him – staring into his other half’s black eyes, seeing past his harsh facade.

Every fairy tale needs a good old fashioned villain. You need me or you’re nothing — because we’re just alike, you and I. Except you’re boring. You’re on the side of the “angels.”

Sherlock smirked at his nemesis’s words. Little did Jim know,that he used to be too.

When he was a child, he wanted to erase all the black in the world. And now, when he thought about it, he was the only black spot left to erase.

So he grabbed his eraser and erased without a second thought in his dark mind. And his life drifted away like a little eraser dust – just another one of the same in this big bad world.

And when Sherlock Holmes stared down at the remains of his arch enemy. A silent thought nagged him in the corner of his mind but he shook it off.

He was always the dark. I was never the light.
He was always afraid. Yet, I was never too brave.

Maybe we are the same, in a sick twisted way.
It is true that your  words had awakened me.

Penny in the air, penny drops . But which side will win if both are the same?

But alas, as the coin landed we both knew … in these little moments,when breath was still abundant within you, that the dark contempt that was the fine line that separated the halves that both of us lie upon, stirred more than usual. There was a flicker in your eyes. Silent and unnoticed to the human eye. But as we both knew, we were not human. You wanted me to see it. It was sad. But no one pays sympathy to the darkness as it was the darkness who killed the light.

There was never another way. No other possible factor could deny that. Because the light never kills, it merely outshines. And yet, when you were there, inches away from me, the only being that made me feel like I was looking into my own dark eyes, you abruptly took it away. You killed your own darkness and left merely a dead shadow in its tracks.

My mind was shellshocked. But it took seconds to recover and realize that to you were just to consumed with the anger and greed and pride. That your life meant nothing compared to me. And even for that, I do not feel flattered.

So Sherlock walked out of his sanctuary and prepared himself to blend with the hustle and bustle of the passing crowd, but before he had the chance to put another foot in front of him, a sharp sound alerted his ears. A sound so soft and precise that it took even a high functioning sociopath like him a few milliseconds to register it. He turned slowly and saw it. Spinning like a perfectly released top.

A coin. A brand new penny perfectly worn due to excessive rubbing by obsessive compulsive fingers. It spun on the cobblestone road. Sherlock didn’t walk to it, he simply stared, mesmerized by its constant, almost unimaginable uniform spinning – completely unaffected by the uneven and non conducive environment around it – breaking every single law set in physics.

Then something struck him, like the impact his violin strings receive when he plucks one of them- a clear sound that lingers and resounds even when its already reached complete silence. Because when the streetlights were finally lit, a name was found scrawled on the hard black wall in from of him.

PENNY IN THE AIR….

This time he walked towards it, tracing his sensitive finger pads against the harsh strokes – memorizing the cursive indentations. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes for a moment – for once, not believing his own two, careful eyes.

The sharp sound that had cut his ears abruptly stopped – waking his eyes from their momentary slumber.

PENNY DROPS.

HELLO, SHERLOCK.

Reality suddenly hit him in the face. The contrast of the scraped wall and the blackness that surrounded it made the detective take a step back. He could almost hear the Irish voice pounding in his eardrums.

Moriarty, Moriarty….

It seems to be the only word left in your vocabulary nowadays. I for one, am touched. But please, do call me Jim. 

“Hello, Jim.” he said as he touched the worn surface of the coin – of which both sides were erased off completely, leaving only a blur where the heads and the tails used to be.

And as much as he hated to admit it, Sherlock failed to suppress the involuntary shiver that ran down his spine. Oh, how he had been mistaken. So very, very wrong. This was a game. It was always a game. A game that lived even after the reaches of death. For all along, he had thought it was the other way around and yet the tables have turned again and Sherlock Holmes felt like a little lost boy that was left in the dark. Completely oblivious and unknowing to the world around him.  And he hated it.

No, No.

He was afraid of it.

-*-*-

“People have died.” Sherlock Holmes said as he aimed his gun at his enemy.

Moriarty’s devilish smirk vanished. His eyes flickered in annoyance.

“That’s what people DO!”

“I will stop you.”

“No, no you won’t.”

Sherlock, BBC.

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