Monday, 21 July 2008

bees (6)

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The nurse is young and pretty but irritatingly patronising. She seems slightly in awe of me, in the way that seems to prohibit my being able to accomplish anything on my own. She assures me at one point that she has read every one of the stories and even asks me to sign my autograph. She asks me what it was like working with the great detective. Holmes' true nature has never been public knowledge and is now protected under the Official Secrets Act. I mumble a little, about him being a good friend and comrade. In the afternoon I manage to get up and find Lestrade's room. The walls are the same thickly painted green, the bed metal framed with a generous enough mattress, but he also has flowers by the side of his bed, and grapes, no doubt a gift from his wife and children. I feel a small stab of memory at the loss of my own wife but shuffle over without betraying myself apart from to lean slightly more heavily on the cane. "Watson!" He says. His eyes have the unfocused stare of someone on morphine. "How are you?" "Sore, and bruised, but I got off lightly. I hear you will live too." He nods. "I won't be playing any tennis this summer, but I was luckier than poor Wilson. He was a good man." A sadness crosses his face. His head tilts with the memory of regret before he looks straight at me. "They say they'll let me out in a few days." "That's good." "Then we can get down to the business of hunting these bastards, whereever they are." "I take it that you have no further news?" "No. Been asked a lot of questions by some young oik from the ministry and got a little in return. They got clean away." There is a sudden, efficient rap at the door. I turn with a wince at the stocky, middle-aged man standing at the doorway in an uncomfortable-looking suit. "Major Lestrade. Dr Watson, sir. A pleasure to meet you again." I nod my head, although I cannot immediately recall his name. Something I choose to put down to stress and the medication I am on, rather than old age. He looks something of a bruiser, one of the quiet, hard men that His Majesty's Service uses as its dark backbone. "My orders are to collect you, sir." He says, looking at me. "Mycroft wishes to talk with you."

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