Friday, 16 January 2015

THE TRAGEDY OF THE KEY


           
“Morstan and Sholto! You shall now embark on a secret mission to Andaman islands. If you succeed, you’ll live like kings” the commander exclaimed. Morstan and I used to be great friends until he started robbing me of things I value the most- my rank in the military and the person I love, Mary. While exploring the woods, I heard Morstan’s agonized voice that led me to a debilitated Morstan with a snake bite on his right leg, lying on the ground; powerless. A strange pleasure took over my soul, watching his slow death. “Treasure worth more than anything, give Mary, the key is..” he cried. I searched for the treasure and found a walnut chest under his bed not to give it to Mary but to keep it for myself and never let his soul rest in peace.
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                               -Sholto (1804 )


As I lay invested in my errands, Sherlock sat comfortably seated in his velvet chair, gazing at the wall. This is utterly absurd, says he, pointing to a copy of The Daily Telegraph. “No new cases that can entice your intellect?” I asked sarcastically, for heaven’s sake, I would rather you focus on the relevance of a case rather than its myst.. I was suddenly interrupted by a telephone call. We had been called by Thaddeus Sholto to investigate on his brother’s sudden and unnatural death. Bartholomew Sholto, an indisposed man in his 50’s was seated diabolically in his armchair with a stiff and contorted body. “Watson, what do you reckon?” Holmes asked. “An epileptic seizure due to something insanely graphic resulting in convulsions and apnea. It is a rare case of SUDEP”. Here, Watson; “This is a recherché 14th century walnut chest with Hindi inscriptions. The intricate gold engravings at the bottom are of Mughal origin and the snake wood is of the hardest nature. Its contents must have triggered his seizure”- he exclaimed while examining the majestic coffer closely. As he moved the chest for further analysis, scraps of yellow paper fell onto the ground. He assembled the pieces together and formed a note which was incoherent and handwritten derangedly. The only detail that was comprehensible was the ‘sign of infinity’ at the end of the note. Albeit, the note made no explicit mention of suicide, it was clear that, in fact, it was a suicide note which according to Holmes; revealed a tortured mind and a man deeply disturbed by his own actions.


 I asked Thaddeus Sholto what he knew about the treasure and he hesitantly revealed that his father left the treasure before he died of lung cancer 20 years ago. “Having seen the effect of that treasure to my father, I took no interest in it. However, my brother became obsessed with it and spent his entire life in making the right key.” said teary Thaddeus.


 Across the cedar escritoire, a broken photo pendant was placed in a chaotic fashion. Sherlock gently placed the necklace on the desk and probed it methodically. ‘ The pearls are of superior quality and Indian origin, just like the treasure chest but the photo is not as old as the pendant. Watson, if only we could find the key.’ We searched high and low, inspected every nook and cranny but of no avail. After extensive investigation and futile efforts, I suggested to quit when suddenly; - ‘Oh dear! Is it not who I think it is?’ exclaimed Holmes. He stormed out of the room with the intensity of a gazelle. I followed Sherlock to his Baker street residence where I saw Mrs. Hudson bursting into tears. “And that’s how he abandoned me for his presumably younger woman!” cried Mrs. Hudson. ‘But where did you find this picture?’ She asked whilst still sobbing. In an instant, I gathered that the young lady in the picture was no one else but Mrs. Hudson. She opened up about her failed relationship with her fiancée, Mr. Morstan. Major Sholto had informed her about Morstan’s affair and how he never intended to meet her again. She added that she married again to forget Mr. Morstan and that she could never truly love anyone again resulting in a failed second marriage with Mr. Hudson.


 While she narrated the story, I noticed a tattoo on Mrs. Hudson’s left wrist- the sign of infinity. Holmes saw the expression on my face and looked at her wrist, “Maybe the key is with her.” exclaimed Sherlock. Mrs. Hudson recalled Mr. Morstan giving her a key the day they parted. Wrapped in a beautiful knitted handkerchief, laid a key in her old drawer. We hurried to the Pondicherry Lodge. I sat in silence in the cab on our way, imagining what the treasure would be like, gold coins, cash, jewels. Surely, Sherlock and I will be shared some of it, I thought to myself. Thaddeus was still there, talking to the police when we arrived. Mrs. Hudson tried to use the key and it fit in. Our eyes were all glued to the box. I could hear everyone’s heavy breathing as Mrs. Hudson opened the treasure chest. To our surprise, she took out a letter from the treasure chest. It said


Dear Mary,
 How are you? Forgive me for I haven’t written you in a long time, there are a lot of things that happened here. Tomorrow, I will embark for a mission and when I get back, I’ll marry you; and never will I have to leave you again.
 To inifinity and beyond, I love you 
Yours,
 Morstan ∞ 

I stood there feeling guilty of the thoughts I had about the treasure. Still confused why Bartholomew had to take his life, I asked Sherlock and he said “Elementary, Watson. Is there any sign of infinity embedded on the chest? No. Bartholomew must have found a way to open the chest only to find out a letter. After working hard for a thing that would turned out absurd and of no value could trigger depression and ultimately, suicide. “But why didn’t Morstan send the letter before embarking for the mission” , I pondered to myself. And then I remembered mail collection in camps was different decades ago.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Sherlock Holmes: A fan fiction

Background information


This fan fiction is set in London during the Victorian era, at the exact same night as Sherlock Holmes, Watson and Miss Morstan are heading for the Lyceum Theatre to solve the mystery of ‘The Sign of Four’. However, in this story, we follow two young boys, working with the Metropolitan Police to try and find the people behind the recent robbery cases where drugs have been stolen from pharmaceutical companies.


The Other Side of the Theatre


It was just before seven o’clock a September evening. The city was covered with haze, and a sad feeling filled the dense air. The entrances of the Lyceum Theatre were already crowded with people. Four-wheelers and hansoms were jamming the street, discharging dapper men and dazzling women covered in diamonds and gleam. These people, living in luxury, bathing in money, wouldn’t ever look twice at street boys like me. I walked away, further down the street, into a dark alley, where I found what I was looking for. I grinned. He was holding her hand while they slowly walked closer to the place where I chose to hide; turning their heads around now and then to check if they were alone. The dim light from the street lamps made it possible for me to see them from where I was. I had never seen him like this, his face lit up with emotions, with happiness.


“Veronica, come with me. Let’s start a new life together, get out of London, away from the city and from the people who might harm you. I cannot leave you behind. I am deeply, madly, crazy in love you,” he said.  
“Michael, I would want to, but…” Veronica hugged him. Michael caressed her cheek and kissed her forehead.
I almost rolled my eyes. Poor Michael had no idea what was going on. However, this was the only way to catch the culprits. I looked at my watch. It was time.
“When I saw you the first time, with Smith, I knew that you were special.” Veronica went on.
Michael seemed to be out of words. He just stared at Veronica. Closer and closer their faces went, like magnets attracting one another. He looked at her like she was the most precious being in this world. A look that could melt the most frozen hearts and attract the most elusive animals. Their love was a perfect case of bad timing. For an instant, I saw their lips touch. I looked away.
I heard footsteps and saw Wiggins with more boys behind him, walking towards us from the end of the street. They were approaching fast. I backed away a little, trying not to make a sound. I looked back at the Theatre; searching from left to right. There, at the third pillar of the theatre entrance, I caught her attention and gave her a sign.
“Well, well, well. What do we have here?” Wiggins asked.
“Wiggins, what are you doing here?” Michael said in a low voice.
“I have been informed of mischief, Michael.”
“Mischief? I think you are mistaken. Michael stepped forward protecting Veronica.
Michael seemed confused. Veronica stepped away from him and walked towards Wiggins.
“Veronica?” Michael reached for her, but members of Wiggins’ gang held him back.
Wiggins kissed Veronica on her cheek. “Great job Veronica, you caught the little detective’s assistant. If we are lucky tonight, we will be able to kill two birds in one stone.”
“I don’t understand. Veronica, what does he mean by; caught the assistant?”  Tears were beginning to fill Michael’s eyes.
“I am so sorry.” Veronica said, also crying.
“George, take her to the warehouse.” Wiggins ordered.
“Your family is waiting for you.” He added in a whisper, nibbling her ear.
She slapped him. George grabbed her arm. He escorted her away.
I went out from my hiding place.
“I thought you would act a little smarter than this Wiggins”
“Smith. I knew you would come. ” Wiggins grinned.
“Smith? What are you doing in here? What is going on?” Michael seemed to be even more confused, if that was even possible.
I just stared.
“Let’s just do this the easy way Wiggins. You already have me, let him go. He is no longer of use to you.”
“What is going on?” Michael repeated.
“Well, why don’t we let this detective friend of yours tell you about it?” Wiggins said in a mocking voice, not taking his eyes off me.
“Wiggins and the rest of ‘The Baker Street Irregulars’ are behind most of the robberies in London pharmacies that’s been in the news lately. He’s been making a business out of it. Veronica’s father, Inspector Jones from the Metropolitan Police, found out about his dirty game and tried to investigate the case, however Wiggins caught him before he could find evidence for the crimes.”
“Yeah, the bastard was lurking around our headquarters. I could not risk a policeman finding out about our businesses. Wiggins sounded triumphant.


“My gang and I have been stealing to deal all kinds of drugs from the pharmacies, selling them to the upper class Londoners for a very good price. I had no choice but to leave old Jones in the cellar of our headquarters, so he would not spill our secret. However, I wasn’t thinking that he had a daughter who was going to go on investigating the case. She went to you Smith and I know how what you have been up to lately; playing detective and solving cases for the cops. Suits you better than being on the street, you who could never steal a thing. You were useless as a street boy.” He spat at me. Shivers went down my spine thinking about my days in the streets.
Wiggins went on. ‘So, I threatened the poor daughter that I would kill her father if she didn’t cooperate with me. Being the loving daughter that she is, she really did do her job well, and here we are. I trapped you both and now it is over.”
I looked at Michael from where I was standing from. His face looked like his insides were going to come out. Michael was a great assistance at times, but he just could never keep his emotions controlled. “Over for you Wiggins.” I said.
“Don’t move, Metropolitan Police!” Inspector Jane shouted. Several policemen appeared with weapons pointed at Wiggins and the gang. “Get them. They are the primary suspects of the robbery cases. They have confessed everything.”
“You can’t do this to me! You have no evidence!” Wiggins face had gone from triumphant to dumb-founded in an instant.
“Smith, good job, we will handle things from here. Meanwhile, I have job to do.”  Inspector Jones said to me. I nod her goodbye.


When we got home I sat down with Michael and a good cup of hot tea.
“How come you didn’t tell me about it? I thought the two of us were suppose to solve cases together and help the police. You used me as a trap! As a bait! You used me Smith!” He said, almost in tears.
“You trapped yourself Michael. I have always told you to never allow your judgment to be biased by personal qualities. You lost all logic over your love towards her.”
Michael looked at me in disbelief.
“She didn’t love me…” His head dropped and I could feel his heart shattering into fine pieces.
“I am not too sure about that. Even if she did use you to free her father from Wiggins, it doesn’t mean she didn’t love you, but Wiggins’ had her weakness. She had no choice but to obey him.” There was a moment of silence.
“How did you know about Wiggins’ plan?”
I took a deep sigh. “Elementary my friend. After Veronica came to our office the other day, something was just not right about the way she was acting. She was too nervous when she walked in. I followed her after, and saw her talking to a man. I knew that something was wrong. She further went to nr. 314 in Baker Street and that’s when I connected it all to Wiggins. I’ve had my eye on him for a while now about the robberies.
“I was completely blind. I’ve failed again as your assistant Smith..’

“Michael, without you I wouldn’t have solved this case. You aren’t completely useless”. I told him with a smile.

Written by: Danielle Larizze Gallardo and Mai Masuda Gylseth

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Sherlock Holmes 
Fan-fiction: 
Something about Her
Written and Voiced by:
Ellen Chen, Orakanjana (Eve) Ariyapinyopas, Iris Ho, and Koung Xalavinai

Audio Video Link: Please Click HERE

(Ellen Chen’s part)
Sherlock Holmes again took his syringe from his morocco case, adjusted his left shirt sleeve, and inserted the needle into his arm. Innumerable times this month I witnessed Sherlock Holmes doing this. Yet, what was more appalling wasn’t his use of drug but rather his puzzled face as he was injecting the deadly cocaine. Holmes’ face twisted into a scowl. He frowned and then got back to his papers. What can possibly be wrong, I thought to myself. The investigation was done. Although the treasure is lost, Holmes had succeeded in capturing Jonathan Smalls. So what is the true matter? That night we did not talk. It was around 6 in the morning when I woke up. And Sherlock Holmes sat exactly where I had left him.


“You had a deep sleep, Watson. I was afraid to wake you up.”
“Sherlock Holmes...Can I do anything for you? You look fatigued. What’s the matter upon you?”
“May we have a talk, Watson?”
“Of course”

“This is a very obscure scene, but as you know, I have very good observational skills. Every time I see your beloved one, Miss Morstan, I either see her under an umbrella and sunglasses. Indeed, it makes much sense that a woman would use an umbrella when the sun is too bright in order to try to protect her fragile skin. But how would you explain this when it is on a sunless and murky day. This is not very usual, isn’t it, Watson? And one day, a good friend of her visited me. Her name is Ellen. Ellen also told me about her abnormal actions. She mentioned that Miss Morstan is always very reluctant is expose to sunlight or any form of light. At first I wasn’t 100% convinced by Ellen. So I decided to ask Miss Morstan out for a coffee one noon. That day I called Miss Morstan and told her I will be waiting for her at a coffee shop on Baker Street. She came fashionably late by a carriage. She got off and immediately and rushed into the coffee shop. And when I asked her if she would like to sit outside, she demurred at the idea immediately. What a queer woman. I’m not so sure if it’s a good decision to marry her, Watson…”
(End of Ellen Chen’s part)

(Start of Orakanjana A.’s part)
I was astounded by Holmes’s deduction. Miss Morstan and I already made up our minds to become one another’s romantic companion, but to reconsider something so immensely sensitive? Miss Morstan, although always so calm and composed, even about this she might doubt my love for her.
“But…. That may be just her sense of style and a way to protect her fair skin from the sunlight. I acknowledge your expertise for the minutiae, nonetheless I don’t think that shall be a matter of suspicion.” I replied to Holmes’s after a long pause I made. I am afraid that I would tamper Miss Morstan’s trust upon I.
“Quite so, Watson. But remember, we don’t know her history beneath her innocent charms. I will keep a lookout for you,” said Sherlock Holmes. “You too, Dr. Watson, should not dissect only human physique but also the actions of your close ones,” he added with a concerned voice.
I had an urge to yell back at him for his indirect vehemence, saying that I am not so observational. But Holmes is the detective, he is probably the only one that is able to say such.
So all I did was a nod in reply.

The next day came fast. It was a bright sunny day perfect for us lovebirds to go outside. Miss Morstan and I decided to take a walk around the London streets. As usual, beside me, Miss Morstan held her pitched black umbrella overhead her magnificence and worn her sunglasses. Sherlock Holmes’s confrontation yesterday emerged in my train of thoughts, but I chased it away. The thoughts might lead to irregular interactions.  

We continued walking and talking normally, then stopped at a public park filled with vast nature. The blaze of sunlight never seemed to lessen, as well as my dear’s tight grip on the pitched black umbrella. We then chose to take a break on walking and sat under the big ol’ tree away from the sunlight. After sitting down, Miss Morstan laid out her nicely prepared meal for this afternoon.
“Oh! These look tremendously delicious! Can I give it a try?” I exclaimed corresponding to my growling stomach. “Yes, dear. I hope it suits your liking,” she kindly responded.
The moment went by peacefully.  
When our time at the park was coming to an end, we both prepared to walk back.
Miss Morstan pulled out her sunglasses that was tucked in between her chest and eyed for the pitched black umbrella.
“Miss Morstan, may I offer you a helping hand? I can hold your umbrella. You may be tired,” I promptly asked as she reached for its handle. She startled, maybe because I never mentioned anything about her umbrella before.
“No, it’s alright Dr. Watson. I appreciate your offer, but I am still not tired as you may think.”
I couldn’t help but start to wonder about her avoidance of sunlight, but once again, I brushed those doubtful thoughts away. She is my future maiden.

During the way back to Miss Morstan’s apartment, we stopped by the bread shop. She leaned her umbrella against the corner near the entrance, then went to choose the breads. After she purchased it, we headed towards the door, I quickly grabbed for the umbrella seeing her hand-filled. “Dr. Watson!” Miss Morstan yelled, rushed towards me, and accidentally dropped her wallet. Pictures spilled out, they looked quite timeworn and blurry. I helped picked those pictures up, and quickly grabbed one into my pocket, as she took care of the pitched black umbrella.
I handed back her wallet and she retrieved it with silence. What could possibly be wrong? I told myself to listen to my heart, but enthusiastic to go back and take a look at the picture from Miss Morstan’s wallet.

“Thank you for sending me, as always, Dr. Watson. It has been a delightful day,” she declared as we parted ways in front of her doorstep.
“My pleasure, dear. Have a nice rest.”
Then I hurried back home before she realized if anything was missing.
Once I got home I slowly took the photograph out of the pocket of my suit. Oh, it is just her and some other people. Oh, my dear Miss Morstan, she still looked exactly just like how she was today. I smiled just by the thought of how lucky I am to marry such rich, elegant, fair, and kind woman. I then carefully placed the photograph on my table and dismissed such peculiar thoughts I never wished I had about her.

“Watson, may I come in? Our landlady said there is someone here for you.” Sherlock Holmes asked outside my door. “I will be out in just a moment.” I replied.
When I opened the door, a young lady I have never known was standing there with a concerned look all over her face. “May I help you, young lady?” I asked.

“Actually, I just have something to tell you. First, my name is Eve and I saw you and a woman at the park today. The woman you were with….I remember seeing her when I was very young and she looked exactly the same.” she started to explain.
To my surprise, I was curious to learn more and invited her inside. Later, Eve told me that when she was young, the woman that looked exactly like Miss Morstan always came to her house. She always known her as a friend of her mother.
As we were conversing, Eve looked over to my table and took a glance at the photograph.
“Dr. Watson! This is my beloved mother when she was younger!” screamed the young lady.
“Dr. Watson, the woman you were with today is right beside my mother in this photograph. Right now my mother is starting to age, filled with traces of elderly wrinkles and white hair. Why is the woman whom you were with today still look exactly the same as before?” I felt a rush of shiver as the strands of my hair stood up.

“Eve, thank you for informing me about this matter. But it is late now, a young lady like you should go home before it is dangerous out,” I turned and spoke to her as my head was filled with anxiety. “Alright, Dr. Watson, I hope I am of help of some sort. See you around the area.” Then she left with the same worried expression she had earlier.
I relapsed and sat on my chair silently.

“Watson… I heard her telling about your fiancée.” I startled as Sherlock Holmes appeared beside me. I was so deep in thought and had no sense of his presence penetrating into the room.
“The young lady might have mistaken… how can any human appearance stay the same for decades?” I asked to myself aloud. I showed Sherlock Holmes the photograph I've secretly taken from Miss Morstan’s wallet today.
“Preserve it wisely, then, Watson.” Then he continued,
“This is a sign. It may become of great use of evidence to you.”
I gulped.
(Orakanjana (Eve) Ariyapinyopas writing part ends) 

(Start of Iris Ho’s part)
After a sleepless night with the disturbing conversations that I had with Eve and Holmes circling in my mind, I cannot stop but start suspecting that there is something even greater and more unspeakable of than the secrets behind the treasure of my fiancée. However, I still managed to come up with excuses for her that made me at ease.
This morning my fiancée and I had to meet up with the wedding planner for trying on the one and only precious white gown, which my future wife is going wear on our wedding day. She looked gorgeous and her beauty had driven my doubts of marrying her away. “Why would I risk the chance of marrying this beautiful lady who loves me just as much as I love her for the silly worries of Holmes?” I thought to myself.
However, after I returned to our fitting room from the restroom, I discovered something strange. Where are the mirrors in this room? I remember seeing mirrors in the other rooms on my way back.
“Where are the mirrors? How else shall my fiancée know how beautiful she is in the wedding dress?” I asked Iris, Morstan’s dress stylist, who was standing beside a smaller room where Morstan was changing.
“Oh, Dr. Watson, you may not know, but Ms. Morstan does not like mirrors. In fact, she ordered me to remove any mirrors in this room for today’s meeting.” She replied.
“Why would she dislike mirrors when she has such a beautiful appearance?”
“I know nothing Dr. Watson. I am just a servant.”



After a few minutes of silence Iris spoke up again. “Dr. Watson, however, I do have some observations of my master about this matter. There are times when my master and I walk by the shops that have mirrors. Whenever I noticed myself in the mirror, I never see Ms. Morstan near me, even if she stands right next to me.”
Iris paused for a little while to check if Morstan is done changing, and she continued in a whisper. “I am a stylist and I am used to working with mirrors but Ms. Morstan just trusted on others’ opinions, particularly mine. This is extraordinarily strange.”


(End of Iris Ho’s part)

(Start of Koung’s part)
Suddenly, someone knocked on the door. It opened gradually as I looked excitedly at my love Miss Morstan in the beautiful wedding dress that I never ever see before. It was a white tutu with many chiffon layer and a flat bateau, in hand with small light pink nosegay, head piece with long veil, her face, as always flowery, but today it was more magnificent. I was outraged with my desire of kissing her, but she stopped me with her nosegay hedging my face away.

“What are you doing here Watson?! This is the fitting room, a groom has to wait a bride outside. Get out!" She said. I did not even have time to say any word. She pushed me out of the room, then close the door immediately. I rushed back into the chapel rapidly.


I forgot everything, every sign that disturbed me for the past days suspicious of Miss Morstan. Sherlock was standing only five steps away.
I turn to him and said, “You will know how human Miss Morstan is”.
He did not answer me, but smiled with something in his sight. I gazed at him a few seconds then turn back to wait for my gorgeous bride again. The piano songs started playing, this was the sign that my lady was coming. As soon as the door was opened with the appearance of Miss Morstan, everyone in the church was stunned and yelled with gladness, she walk up to me and grab her hand my face showed every sign of happiness. During the time to give promise, we exchanged words that promise to love each other, then before the pastor indicating Miss Morstan and I to be one’s, there was a guy name Koung who carried something from the door through the passageway up in front to Miss Morstan and me,. It was covered by a blue silk and have quadrilateral with one hundred fifty centimeter seem like a big photograph in a luxurious picture frame.

“This is a wedding present from me.” Holmes said.
Miss Morstan smiled and said “Thank you, Mr. Sherlock Holmes. I am glad to be acknowledged by you. "She intended to hug him but stuck with my body instead.

“Thank you Holmes. Finally you are accepting my love towards Miss Morstan. Thank you." I said to him. We hugged. Then, he said,
“What were two of you waiting for? Open it!"

Miss Morstan and I meet sight together. She pulled the blue silk on the gift with me standing next to her. Because it was a silk so just Miss Morstan pull it lightly then it slippery away from the thing that it was covered. Suddenly it manifest to everyone it was a mirror. Everyone being confusing with Home’s presents and by few minute my eyes enlarge and the frightened yell of everyone. Miss Morstan did not appear in that mirror.

“This woman is not human! She has been dead for a long time!” Holmes stated.
“Watson look at me! Do not care other’s eyes, I am your lover! I am your beautiful bride! We will walk away from here, together! Hold my hand Watson, I love you! believe me” Miss Morstan told me with a lot of tear in her face, she walk up to me but I stepped back with shocked. My head was overwhelmed with the every sign that warned me. Then, I fall on the ground.

My hands were whisked to the pillar with the candles on the top of it. The pillar fell to the floor and one of three candles bounced to the blue silk and there were flare and lit up Miss Morstan's tutu. It caught on fire easily because of the chiffon on her wedding dress. She scream loudly and everyone ran out from the hall. The church was on fire.

I fell into terror. I tried to stand up but I could not, Holmes helped me up and walk pass Miss Morstan who tried to approach me but could not. Finally Holmes laid me out in front of the church, only Miss Morstan was left burned inside, I cried, yelled and tried to get in to help her but Sherlock Holmes stopped me.

I toss away Holmes then I ran into the burning church, it was hell in the hall. I shouted to find Miss Morstan. At last I found her crying in front of the mirror I embrace her and said:

“How foolish were I to leave my beloved bride alone, forgive me Morstan. I promise to love you forever no matter what you are”

THE END


The New New Sign of Four

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