John tried not to think about Sherlock’s condition as he rode in the cab to the station. He couldn’t help but notice that his friend was different. Sherlock was surprised to see him in the hospital and he never did answer who this Sam person was. It was almost like he was staring at a stranger. Sherlock gave the same look to Mycroft
Sherlock was also acting strangely. It was as if they were driving around a tourist from another country with the way he was staring at everything. He was being a bit more polite than usual and he was eager to eat. His table manners were less than stellar.
“He had a head injury,” John reminded himself. That was all that mattered and after a few days Sherlock will be his usual intellectual, eccentric and egotistical self, hopefully.
His mobile went off a few blocks away from the station and the call came from Mycroft. John knew that the older Holmes knew something had happened to his younger brother.
“Hello, Mycroft,” John greeted. He knew why Mycroft had called. “Your brother is back at the flat recuperating.”
“That man is not my brother,” Mycroft said slowly.
“You mean he is not the Sherlock you know,” John said as he tried to come up with some excuse. “He was in an explosion and was unconscious for several hours.”
“I realize that, but he was completely different person.”
“I’m afraid he might be suffering from retrograde amnesia,” John said. He waited for Mycroft to answer but he heard nothing. “Mycroft?”
“I’m sorry. Is it temporary?”
“I hope for his sake that it is. He still is the most brilliant mind in the country.”
“Of course he is,” Mycroft said. “I hate the idea if this afflicting him, but it is the only logical explanation. Please stay close to him, monitor everything he does and tell me when there is an improvement.”
“I promise,” John said before he said goodbye and hung up. He had finished his call just in time. The cab came to a stop and he paid the driver and stepped out.
A few of the officers nodded at John as he entered the building. A few of them frowned at him at first until they noticed he was alone.
“Morning, John,” Sally Donovan greeted as he neared Lestrade’s office. “Where is he?”
“Home recuperating,” John answered.
“Glad he is all right,” Sally said before she sat back down at her desk.
“You actually mean that?”
“Of course I do.” She frowned. “I am a human being as much I think he is a danger to all those around him I don’t want him seriously hurt or worse.”
“Thank you for the appreciation,” John answered before he knocked on Lestrade’s office.
“Come in,” Lestrade answered.
“Have we a confession?” John asked as soon as he had entered.
“No,” Lestrade answered. He was surrounded by stacks of paper work. The only place not occupied by paper forms was a large mug of coffee. “How is Sherlock?”
“Resting at home.” He prayed that was all that Sherlock was doing.
“Surprised he isn’t here,” Lestrade said and took a sip from his coffee. “I thought he would be dying to find out how she did it.”
“I thought it would be better if he stayed at the flat.”
“And he listened to you?” Lestrade looked up at him. “That’s a bit unusual for him.”
“Exactly,” John said as he held out his hands. “He is not acting like himself. He didn’t recognize me or his brother. He wanted to know where our car was. He devoured the breakfast that Mrs. Hudson made for us.”
“You don’t think he has amnesia?” Lestrade asked.
“That is what I’m worried about.”
“Didn’t you say he was thrown backwards from an explosion?”
“I keep trying to tell myself that but it still doesn’t seem like that is all there is to it.” John paused to take a breath. “You should of seen the way he was staring at his food and the way he ate it.”
“When was the last time he ate?”
“Over twenty four hours ago,” John answered. “But that is not the point.”
“You don’t think the witch is real and hexed him, do you.”
“No.” John shook his head and closed his eyes. “I just don’t know any more.” He rubbed his forehead and sighed. “That explosion did something to him. I just know it.”
“You want to speak with Ridgewood?” Lestrade asked as he stood up. “I know I do. I have been signing papers for last two hours and my wrist needs a break.”
“Take me to her.”
Catherine Ridgewood was the same as she was when John had last seen her. She was still seemed scared of everything and had her knees drawn to her chest and her arms wrapped around her legs.
“Catherine Ridgewood,” Lestrade greeted her. “Are you ready to confess?”
“I didn’t do it,” Catherine answered. “My hands are not clean of blood but I did not murder them. I didn’t murder anyone.”
“What about the explosion?” John asked.
“I don’t know how to explain that one,” Catherine answered as she raised her head
“But you know how to explain the murderers?” Lestrade asked.
“Alyssa did it. She is the one. You have to stop her. She’s gone mad with power.”
“Alyssa?” John asked. That was not a name they had come across in the investigation.
“She’s my cousin in Kentucky; In the city of Hopkinsville.”
“Your cousin from America came here?” John asked.
“She killed them from over there. Her magic is that strong.” Her eyes were brimming with tears. “I tried to protect them. I hid the bags so no harm would come, but her powers are stronger than mine. She had altered the bags somehow. She turned them from items of protection to items of malice.”
Lestrade nodded at her before he gave a look to John and John had to agree this woman had gone mad, or at least John thought she has gone mad. He glanced back at the DI out of the corner of his eyes and noticed how intrigued Lestrade and there was a bit of worry in his eyes.
“You have to stop her,” Catherine said. “I should have never have showed her how to perform the spells. I should have never told her how they had upset me.” She rose to her feet. “I wish I never found that book. It has caused nothing but trouble.”
“Who had upset you?” John asked. “And why should of you never told her?”
“Neighbors,” Catherine said softly as she looked away. “People I knew and customers. Those who are now dead thanks to her.” She closed her eyes. “We talk a lot over the phone and through email and I have a blog that she reads. That was how she knew. I wish I never said anything.” Tears trickled out of the corners of her eyes.
“She killed those people because they upset you?” John asked. “You and your cousin were that close?”
“Always visited each other during the summer and holidays,” Cathrine answered. She blinked away her tears and stared back at them. “Alyssa Montgomery has to be stopped. She wants to be a demon. She told me about this spell. She needed the sacrifices. Please you have to stop her.”
“I think we heard enough,” Lestrade said before he turned away. He was trying to feign disbelief but John had noticed the way he bristled at the word, demon.
“You have to stop her,” Catherine said as she threw herself against the bars. “Stop her before she takes another victim, stop her before she becomes a true being of pure evil.”
“Maybe we should look it up,” John said as walked alongside the DI only looking over his shoulder to see the pleading look in Catherine’s eyes.
“We might as well have a look,” Lestrade agreed.
“Donovan, tell me if there are any recent murders in Hopkinsville Kentucky,” Lestrade ordered as soon as they returned.
“Why?” Sally asked. She had begun typing into the computer.
“Just do it,” Lestrade answered as they watched Sally work. “I hope nothing turns up.”
“Or if it does and her cousin is innocent,” John added.
“Or made up.”
“Sir,” Sally said and waved her hand to get their attention. “There had been two murders in the past two days and both are quite unusual. A man drowned in a washing machine and a woman had her organs cooked from the inside.” She shuddered.
“I’ll give their local authorities a call,” Lestrade said. “I’ll let them know to look for an Alyssa Montgomery and tell them her cousin had informed us that she is the culprit.”
“Will that be all?” Lestrade asked as he glanced at the screen of the Hopkinsville sheriff’s office for the number.
“Let me know if this actually leads to something,” John said. He can now focus on his flatmate. “I’m going back home.”
John wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when he returned to the flat, then again he never did, not with living with someone like Sherlock. The man could be shooting at walls, or decorating the ceiling with pencils or playing violin in the nude. There was a time when he was sitting upside down on his chair, eyes closed and moving his hands around in an odd manner. Sherlock had said he was in his mind palace. There was another time when it looked like he was making a small fort out of every book in the flat.
Sherlock was sitting at the desk dressed in his pajamas and bathrobe and he had a towel wrapped around his head. He was staring intently at the screen of the computer and it was John’s laptop and not Sherlock’s. He hadn’t even noticed John had returned. That didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary. If fact Sherlock seemed to be back to normal.
“Anything interesting?” John asked, breaking the silence
“Didn’t even know you were here,” Sherlock said without even looking at him. That was normal, maybe he did just need to rest a bit.
“We got something out of Catherine Ridgewood,” John said as he glanced over his shoulder. To his surprise Sherlock was reading his blog. “You are reading my blog?”
“I was bored and it was there.”
“You must have been very bored.”
“Don’t sell yourself short, my friend,” Sherlock answered and closed the browser. “Did she confess?”
“Yes and no,” John answered. “She said she was upset with the victims and she put those bags with the bones-“
“Hex bags,” Sherlock said.
“Hex bags, but she said she was trying to protect them.”
“Protect them from who or what?”
“She said she had a cousin in Kentucky who is more powerful than her and she…” He trailed off when he saw that Sherlock’s eyes had widened and he rose to his feet. “Is something wrong?”
“Where in Kentucky?” Sherlock asked.
“No, do not even think about it,” John warned.
“Just tell me where.”
“Hopkinsville,” John answered.
“What else did she say?” Sherlock asked. His voice had an urgent tone. “Tell me everything.”
“She said it was her cousin and that her cousin was trying to become even more powerful with a few sacrifices and she was right about the deaths.”
“Don’t give me that look you are not hopping on the next flight to Hopkinsville.”
“How did they die.”
“Drowning and organs were cooked internally,” John answered and he could have sworn Sherlock muttered an “son of a bitch,” under his breath.
“The name of the cousin, John. I need the name.”
“Alyssa Montgomery,” Sherlock said and he pulled out his phone. He typed out a text.
“Who are you sending that to?”
“Someone I have worked with in the states. He had mentioned he was working on a similar case to ours and I just gave him the right information.”
“Why haven’t you mentioned that before?” John asked.
Sherlock shrugged. “Didn’t seem to be relevant until now.”
“Of course,” John answered. That was a very Sherlock like thing to say. “I feel like a cup of tea.”
“I’ll have one,” Sherlock said and sank back to the couch with the phone in his hands.
John put on a pot with enough water for two cups. He had selected his favorite tea cup along with the one his friend used before and set them down on the only clear space on the counter. He was going to have to talk with Sherlock about putting things away.
John froze when he heard the telly being turned on but shrugged it off. Sherlock did watch the screen on every now and then. He listened as Sherlock kept changing the channel and pausing when he had found something.
“A little television might be what we need,” John said as he returned to the living room with two cups. He set his down on the coffee table and handed the other to Sherlock.
“Thank you,” Sherlock said and stared at the cup to examine it before he took a slow sip as if he was trying something new even though they had been drinking this brand for the past few days. His eyes widened as he stared at the cup. “Just perfect.” He took a bigger sip.
“Did your friend text you back?”
“Just to thank me.”
John nodded and sat down. He was curious to see what his friend had decided to view.
“Seriously?” An American woman on the show asked. She was dressed as a doctor.
“I’m sorry,” another doctor said, also American. “But the surgery is not necessary. Your sister only wants it because she is vein about her dress size.”
“She needs it.”
“I refuse to perform it.” His answer was met with a slap in the face.
“What is this?” John asked. “Seems like one of those American hospital shows.”
“It’s called Dr. Sexy M.D,” Sherlock answered. “They are having a marathon.”
“I never knew you had an interest,” John said before he took a sip from his cup.
John chuckled Sherlock did have a few guilty pleasures when it came to the telly. He continued to watch with his friend, having to bite his lip to keep from yelling at the screen when the show did something wrong.
Sherlock’s phone rang after the episode had ended.
“Hello?” Sherlock had blinked. “Molly?”
“Tell her you can’t go to the morgue,” John told him.
“The chest is clawed at?” Sherlock asked as he stood up. “Like an attack by a wild animal?”
“You still need to recover.”
“We’ll be right there,” Sherlock said and hung up.
“What did I just say?”
“Guess what John? I’m recovered and we have to go.”-Enter your cut contents here.