The Adventure of Art in the Blood by pptfiles

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									The Adventure of Art in the Blood                                          by JeanMarie Zubia

It is with great humility and honor that I take to my keyboard to chronicle my first case with Mr.
Sherlock Holmes. After all, to follow in the footsteps of his esteemed companion and biographer, Dr.
Watson, is an overwhelming feat, even for a forensic chemist in a city crime lab.

It had been year since my dear Paul was dead and buried. So I was very surprised to get a letter
addressed to Mr. Paul Bellinger. The return address was stamped “Baker Street Irregulars, New York
City.” I remembered them. Paul had taken me to their annual dinner before the accident at the particle
accelerator had claimed his life and wrecked my dreams of wedded bliss. We were to have been married
within a fortnight of that fated day.

Apparently this group had escaped my mailing list when the funeral notices went out. Painful memories
blotted out the morning sunlight that dappled the correspondence at my breakfast alcove, where I’d
been admiring the autumn New Haven foliage over my tea. “I’m stronger than this,” I say to myself.
Wiping off the tears that had strayed down my cheeks, I resolve to at least attend the cocktail reception
at the annual dinner. After all, I had that box, stashed away in the corner of the hall closet, packed with
the belongings of some of his friends of the BSI. Since I did not know this set of Paul’s friends personally,
I had not known how to contact them. This resolved the issue nicely.

“You are Paul’s fiancée, are you not?” A friendly man approaches me at the reception. He is flaxen
haired and about Paul’s age. His blue eyes highlight his square jawed, intelligent face. Immediately
assessing my disadvantage, he continues, “I’m sure you don’t remember me. I’m Edward.”

“I am Genevieve, but I go by Vivi,” I respond, shaking his hand. He glances around the room and begins
to ask me the inevitable question, which I stave off by handing him a printed card, commemorating my
deceased beloved.

Edward is in shock at the news and grabs two glasses of wine off the tray of a strolling server. Taking me
by the elbow, he hastens me over to a quiet corner of the room. “How did it happen?”

I explain about Paul’s negligence in overlooking the stringent safety protocols before firing up the
machine. “He was always a bit cavalier about it.” Edward shakes his head sadly, his eyes distant, as if
remembering their other reckless adventures together. Then he resolutely raises his glass.

“A toast, to my irascible friend Bellinger, and your beloved Paul. He will be missed.”

I take a draught and suddenly realize I must search for a tissue. As my vision mists over, I sense a change
in the air around us, like the held breath of the heavens before a tornado touches ground. Looking up I
find two sinister, watery, green eyes slithering over my gloved fingers as I dab my grief away and
attempt a shaky smile. Well over 70, the possessor of this unsettling gaze sports a trimmed goatee. He
stands with a straight back and is crowned by a full head of white, slicked-back hair. With a voice as oily
as his look, the man says, “Edward, do introduce me to your charming guest. It seems I have arrived in
time to offer her solace.”


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When Edward hesitates, the man takes my hand and bows,” Professor Phillip Worthington at your
service my dear.

“Genevieve Vernet.” I stutter a little and pull my hand hastily from his clutching grasp.

Edward explains about Paul while I recover my composure.

Professor Worthington regards me with a jade stare and pats my shoulder sympathetically. “Such a sad
time. I’m sure your former fiancé would have appreciated you attending this dinner in his place.”

“Oh no, I’m not attending the dinner.” I tell him. Then I let Edward know that the hotel concierge has
the box of items, personal things that Paul had meant to return to BSI members. I excuse myself from
the Professor and walk with Edward to the front desk.

Edward is sweet and even offers to ask “Wiggens” if they might make an exception for me, but I beg out
of it. After the concierge gives us the box, Edward scans its contents and fishes out a shiny, silver coin.
He places it in my hand reverently, says something about it that I’m too rushed to hear. Relieved to be
alone in the street, I hail for a cab. Instead of a taxi, a black limousine slides up in response to my
upraised arm. The window rolls down and Professor Worthington’s goatee juts out. He offers me a ride
and doesn’t mind that I live in New Haven. The only excuse I can offer, in retrospect, for such a poor
choice is that I was filled with resurfaced grief and my gut instincts had been dulled.

On the ride Professor Worthington explains the significance of the silver coin in my hand. It was the BSI
Irregular shilling that had been given to Paul upon his induction into the club. Professor Worthington
asks me if the driver can make a stop at his home, which also is in Connecticut. He is delighted when I
acquiesce, telling me that I am not in any shape to be alone. His driver rolls up a yew alley and I spot the
two brick and timber gables jutting over a grove of trees which indicate the professor’s home. The
expansive manor has rooms laid out in themes from various ethnic traditions. I catch only glimpses of
these as I pass rooms with doors ajar. Hookahs, rich velvet curtains, bamboo-framed illustrations of
Asian vistas and exotic incense wink at me alluringly. But he stops at none of this, as he leads me into his
study. The room is lined with mahogany bookshelves that rise like ancient Greek columns from the floor
to the lofty beams. Upon the dark red carpet squats a massive oak desk, illuminated by a brass desk
lamp that shines its green filtered light upon a letter opener, a silver ink stand, sealing wax, an academic
seal, pens and quills. The credenza is graced by the latest IBM laptop and printer. He offers me a glass of
port and conducts me to an adjoining room. Within this room is arrayed his extensive collection of
Holmes memorabilia, which amounts to an invaluable mini-museum devoted to the famous detective.
The existence of this enviable collection, well known by the BSI, is a closely guarded secret. Worthington
allows the members to enjoy it under the strict provision that it never be publicized.

Professor Worthington allows me to hold in turn, the Persian slipper which held Holmes’ favorite
tobacco, the coal scuttle, much blackened, and the neat morocco case with the hypodermic syringe that
the great detective used to inject himself with cocaine when stretches of inactivity wearied his
overactive mind. I am holding the jack knife that Sherlock Holmes used to transfix his correspondence to
the mantelpiece when Professor Worthington excuses himself to take a call.

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Walking back to the study with the knife in my palm, I examine it more carefully. The point of the blade
is blunt, wielded by a black bone handle with the name “Jack” carved crudely into it. The name is
colored in with darkish ruddy liquid that to my forensic training screamed of old blood.

Fascinated, I draw closer to the floor lamp set underneath a rather blurred portrait of a General, using
the light to get better look at the knife handle. Something buried in the recesses between two
bookshelves glints in my peripheral vision. But Professor Worthington strolls into the room before I can
investigate.

“Let’s fill that glass for you my dear. Ah, I see that you have been mesmerized by the knife, as so many
women were. The owner prior to Sherlock Holmes certainly made his own unique mark in history.”

Professor Worthington proceeds to entertain me with stories of crime and crime solving in Victorian
England. He seems to have a vast store of minute knowledge of that period. In turn, I answer his
penetrating questions about the methods of DNA fingerprinting in our crime lab.

“You have done so much for one so young.” Professor Worthington remarks as he fills my glass. We had
gone though three quarters of the bottle by now and I was buzzing like a trapped fly against a shuttered
windowpane.

“Oh I’m not that young. Now that I’m thirty, I feel like an old woman. “At this utterance, he oozes over
to sit beside me on the button tufted, Chesterfield couch. He is so close now that his fetid breath wafts
up my nostrils disgustingly. “Thirty years is a perfect age for me,” He murmurs silkily.

The change in the room is so abrupt that my skin crawls my mouth goes dry and my hair stands on end.
It is as if I had been strolling in a spring time meadow and had suddenly stumbled into the Minotaur’s
labyrinth. Feeling claustrophobic, I hasten out of his study with a murmured excuse, and race down the
yew alley as if that mythological bull-headed monster is in hot pursuit, while I furiously punch numbers
on my cell for a taxi.

I wait impatiently in the darkness at the edge of the Professor’s estate while the fog gathers and the chill
air wraps around my shoulders like a frozen feather boa. Perhaps it is my over active imagination but I
think I hear the roar of a wild cat on the prowl and I glimpse what seems to be a hideous and distorted
child darting out of the trees and throwing its writhing limbs upon the grass. My nerves are raw by the
time the cab arrives. The loud crunch of tires on the gravel path makes me jump. From somewhere in
the forest beyond the manor, a long, low moan, indescribably sad, sweeps over us.

“My god did you hear that?” I ask the driver.

He responds, “Have you never heard a bittern booming?”

“Drive us out of here now. Hurry!” I urge him. The driver guns the motor. From the window I spot a
creature that rushes quickly over the lawn and into the darkness. I sink back into the cab seat, vastly
relieved to be rid of my nightmarish evening.



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The next morning I realize that I had thoughtlessly left Paul’s BSI shilling in Professor Worthington’s
study after he’d examined it with me. I was loath to call, but this had been one of Paul’s most precious
mementoes. I could not be so disrespectful to his memory as to forget about it.

A week later, Edward and I stand at Professor Worthington’s porticoed front door. When I had called
him for the shilling, he was all old world gentlemanly charm and so befuddled about my sudden
departure that I chalked it up to irrational thoughts on my part and accepted his dinner invitation, with
the precautionary measure that I be allowed to bring a guest.

“Musgrave!” The professor shakes Edward’s hand. “How is your father these days? “

Apparently Edward and his family know Worthington well, which puts me at greater ease too. While the
two Sherlockians swap detective lore after dinner, I inspect the source of the inscrutable glint that had
arrested my attention the other night. I scan the space between the shelves until I see, imbedded deep
within the crack of the two bookshelves, a dusty blown glass chemist’s vial. Prying it loose, I hold it up to
the light. The liquid contents had congealed, but there was no mistaking it. This was a vial of blood! The
voices of the two men in the corridor compel me to stash the vial into my purse. I tell myself I’m not
stealing, I’m collecting evidence.

I ask Edward to drop me off in the lab. I prepare the blood through various processes that allow me to
extract DNA from the nucleated components of the serum. I read the results the next morning and I run
them against the usual collection of criminals on file. I find a match. To my surprise, the DNA fingerprint
has the highest frequency match with the control sample- that of my own blood!

Naturally I run other tests to confirm this incredible coincidence. While I wait for the thermocycler to
warm up, I aliquot more of the blood from the purloined vial. By now I am tired and get clumsy with the
pipette bulb, not fitting it snugly enough over the glass pipette. The bulb slips and a squirt of blood hits
my eye. While I blindly hunt for a Kimwipe on the bench top, I earnestly hope that the donor doesn’t
have any serious blood borne pathogens. At that point, the glassware and ceiling swirls together, my
face snogs the floor and all goes black.
__________________________*___________________________________

I awake to find myself at the foot of an armchair, in a room filled with the fumes of acrid brown tobacco
smoke. I gasp ”My god,” and collapse to the floor. A lanky figure holding a pipe uncurls from the chair.
With his wiry strong arm, he assists me to a chair by the fireplace. The towering man pours some
brandy, and offers it to me with a fatherly glance his from his piercing grey eyes. A shot of the strong
drink helps me regain my bearings and I say, “Thank you.” The kindly man has a strong clean-shaven
chin, and an air of confidence about his aquiline features. In a crisp, and collected tone, which belies my
rather outré entrance, he says “Good evening miss, and welcome to Baker Street.”




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                                                 Chapter 2

In a chemical laboratory situated within the confines of a comfortable, Sussex Downs cottage, Mr.
Sherlock Holmes holds up a flask and examines the purplish elixir in the light. His long, spare frame
hunches over a marble topped table, cluttered with retorts and test tubes holding liquids of various
colours and odours. Holmes adds a drop of liquid to the flask and the contents clarifies. With an air of
anticipation, he turns off the lamp. An eerie glow from the flask illuminates Holmes’ face as it changes
from focused expectation to pure delight. “At last!” Turning on the lamp again, his thin nervous fingers
leaf eagerly through a dog-eared volume written in Latin. Pictures in the book show various men
operating steamer ships that appear to be riding contorted waves of stars.

The hands that pick up the flask again are delicate enough to play a violin, but marred by mottled
discolorations from dyes and acids. Holmes hesitates and says to himself, “We can but try.” In one
resolute gesture, he drinks the liquid entirely. The walls of his country bungalow illuminate the effect: A
tall silhouette standing expectantly one moment, then crumbling to the ground the next. Glass shards
explode from the flask that shatters on the wooden floor.

___________*____________

In the morning, a doctor’s hansom arrives at the cottage and Mrs. Victoria English, Holmes’
housekeeper, scurries out to greet the venerable Dr. Watson. He has obviously been retired for some
time, but carries his worn medical bag. Deep concern lines the good doctor’s face as he hastens to
follow Mrs. English. The country woman was quite beside herself as she expostulates,”

I haint ‘erd ‘im all mornin docter. ‘E’s locked up in ‘is laboratory. Won’t answer a’tall.”

Watson taps on the heavy oak door with hi s walking stick. There’s no answer.

He bellows out, “Holmes? It’s me, your old mate. It’s Watson.” Both the doctor and Mrs. English bend
their ears quite close to the door. But not a whisper is heard from the other side

 “Where is the window to this room?” Mrs. English hastens out the door and around the cottage.

 As much as his slower gait will allow Dr. Watson follows. He finds a stone to leverage him up a
shuttered window and hacks off the latch with a few firm strikes with another stone. With some effort,
the doctor heaves up on to the ledge and drops into the shadows of the laboratory. He shouts out the
window at Mrs. English.

“Go around to the door and I’ll let you in.”As Mrs. English scurries away obediently, Watson in the
darkness, Watson stumbles on a body spread on the floor.

“Good lord, my dear Holmes!” the doctor exclaims as he crouches by the supine detective and notes the
glass fragments radiating beyond his friend’s splayed hand.

Watson opens the door to the horrified Mrs. English, and utters “Bring some brandy, quickly!”


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While Dr. Watson has his back turned, Holmes’ body glimmers, then evaporates.

Watson turns back, sees that Holmes has vanished, and exclaims “What the devil…?”

He hears Mrs. English’s step in the hallway. Forestalling her entrance, he meets her before she reaches
the laboratory. Watson takes the brandy and returns to the room, shutting the door behind him. He
looks about the room greatly perplexed by the mystery. From a room adjoining the laboratory, Holmes
strolls in behind him, looking fit as a fiddle. “Ah Watson, that’s just the thing to refresh my spirits after
such a taxing transition.”

“Holmes!” Watson almost drops the brandy but Holmes saves it, pours some of the brown stuff into
glasses and places the decanter on a tantalus at the sideboard.

“Tut Watson, how fortunate for us that I haven’t lost my reflexes.”

“But how…?” Watson manages to say. Holmes proffers him a glass and raises his own.

“I must admit Watson, I did not believe it myself. You are looking at the second man I am aware of, who
has achieved time travel.” The detective takes another sip, and observes his companion’s struggle, while
the corners of his lips twitch slightly.

“Holmes, I beg your pardon but you must either be jesting or have gone mad,” Watson finally blurts out.

“Not at all Watson. The time travel I performed was not so dramatic as that which you might find
described in one of these popular scientific romances. I simply moved from the point in time that you
saw me on the floor, in a sorry state, to the next room. The time travel I conducted took place in a
matter of hours, not years.”

Watson takes another drink and gulps strongly. “If I didn’t know you and your methods better, I’d say
you were engaged in sorcery.”

Holmes favors his old friend with a chuckle. “Grey hairs have not influenced my dedication to pure logic
and deductive reasoning. No supernatural forces are engaged in this endeavour, I can assure you.

“However, there exists a most diabolical criminal who uses the blood of his victims to achieve his leaps
into the future. I have been cognizant of him since I was a student, and I have been documenting his
crimes all my professional life. Before your time, one of his victims had come to me for help. As you may
surmise, I was unable to prevent her murder, but I am devoting my retirement to researches that will
allow me to finally bring this fiend to justice.”

An incredulous Dr. Watson listens as his friend expounds on how his current experiment will help him
find the time-traveler. He tells him that this “‘devil’ preys on woman by impersonating a kindly fatherly
figure. When they finally completely trust him, he robs these women of their life force, little by little. He
feeds them an unusual chemical. His victims start feeling fatigued over a period of days, over weeks.
When he determines that the concentration of chemical is high enough in their blood stream, he
strangles them and drinks their blood. Not like a vampire, you understand, but poured out in a glass,

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usually mixed with claret. Once the pilfered blood flows in his system, the ‘devil’ is able to jettison
himself the amount of years equal to the woman’s age, into the future as well as (and here’s the crux of
it Watson), the man also becomes that same number of years younger. In the vile act of murder, his
blood chemistry changes in such a way that he can absorb the age of his victim. Thus, he enjoys his own
private fountain of youth, at the expense of many an innocent lady. Professor Worthington was born in
1809 and should be on his deathbed by now, but he has achieved a false immortality as a result of this
ghastly vehicle.”

At this point, Watson interjects – “By god Holmes, where did you obtain the blood for this experiment?”

“I simply used my own Watson, which is why I only traveled a few hours into the future. However this
was to test that the particular unique compound I isolated was indeed the one used by the murderer.
Thanks to a medical student at Charing Cross, when Professor Worthington submitted himself to a
physician’s examination, I obtained several milliliters of his blood. I compared that with the blood of his
victim and found that they both emanated the same unique property. I have kept these samples stored
in a preparation I devised, until I had time to conduct my experiments .

Holmes draws the window curtains shut and holds up two test tubes of blood. “This one contains the
murderer’s blood and this one, that of the poor girl he killed.”

Watson is enthralled. “They both glow in the dark.”

“Precisely,” says Holmes. “Rather than attributing the rascal with demonic powers, as the papers of the
day were wont to speculate over his sudden disappearance, I have just proven that his escape from the
law has a logical, scientific explanation.”

“Incredible Holmes! What will you do now?” Watson asks.

“I will travel to the future, and bring the murderer back to this time period, to face justice for all the lives
he stole to attain his unnatural life.”

Watson ponders over this then says, “How will you bring the man to the proper authorities here in our
time, if he exists several centuries removed?”

“Ah that was the primary purpose of this experiment Watson, to treat my blood with this chemical of
his, travel to the future and inject him with it.” Holmes pauses to hold up a vial of reddish liquid. “The
chemical in his bloodstream will recognize its compliment and the reaction will form a sort of covalent
handcuff that will biochemically compel him to return back with me.”

“But if you don’t murder him and drink his blood, how do you propose to return?”

“Watson, you are scintillating today! My researches have shown that this phenomenon can grant the
imbiber leaps forward into the future. However an injection of the same gives the bearer a trip to the
past. If the time traveler has had the foresight to situate at least 10 milliliters of this his own blood in his



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present time, the chemically-laced blood will serve as a beacon to return him to his rightful time
period.”

“In just the same way, I have deduced that the professor’s blood (Holmes removes a vial from a safe and
holds it up) will guide me like a compass needle that aligns with its true north, pinpointing me to
Professor Phillip Worthington’s current location.”

“Watson’s brow furrows in concentration. “I see. And after you inject him with your own blood, laced
with this, uh, special chemical, you will, in response to this vial of your own blood that you’ve left
behind, return to this laboratory.” Watson points to a test tube sitting in a wooden rack on the bench.

“Not quite. Oh yes, the blood injection will jettison us back to my own vial of treated blood, but to the
one hidden in our former Baker Street rooms. I did this before retirement, some years ago, in
preparation for this event.”

Holmes takes the tube from the rack and locks it in the safe. “This will shield the ‘beacon’ thus allowing
me to redirect to Baker Street.”

Watson puzzles over this. “You are saying that the vial of blood in our former rooms contains the same
chemical that the murderer used for his jumps into the future?”

“That is correct Watson. I prepared it with an extract from the professor’s blood, added a preservative
and concealed it. You see, even then I knew that the key to solving the mystery of his disappearance lay
in the murderer’s blood.”

“But why do you want to travel back so many years into your past? “ Watson inquires.

“It is my hope that those ten years will give back the lives of his victims subsequent to the murder of my
client. Unfortunately I am unable to prevent her demise, but the blood he donated came after her
death.”

“It is marvelous and incredible. This is an adventure worth crowning your already illustrious career
Holmes.” Watson says with deep admiration.

“My blushes Watson,” responds Holmes, filling his pipe with shag and lighting it. “I will attempt the
arrest this evening if you care to watch my departure.”

“I would not miss it for the world.” Watson responds earnestly. “Plus, given what I have already
witnessed, you would be wise to have your personal doctor at hand.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the evening, Watson observes Holmes pack a syringe, pocket a vial of Professor Worthington’s blood
in his vest and place two vials of his own chemically-laced blood into a tin foil-lined carrying pouch. “To
keep the focus on the jump forward,” he explains. “Without this precaution, I may not translate into the
future,” he tells Watson.

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Once ready, the detective gives Watson a reassuring smile. “You will not meet me here upon my return,
as I plan to arrive ten years earlier from now, when we shared those rooms on Baker Street.”

“My mind is still attempting to conceive of the consequences,” responds Watson somewhat skeptically.
“I say Holmes, if you do arrive ten years earlier than the present, and I witness and discuss your journey,
should I not remember this now?”

“Wonderful Watson, wonderful! I may have chosen not to share that unusual history, as apparently, I
arrived there without capturing the criminal.”

“You will succeed this time.” Watson encourages him, with heartfelt warmth. They shake hands. Holmes
swallows the elixir mixed with Professor Worthington’s blood.

Through the famous detective’s eyes, the cottage laboratory spirals around. As the solution interacts
with his blood, aligning Holmes’ body with that of his target, the specially combined constituents in the
criminal’s blood seek out their counterpart within the helical twists of DNA and time, and the radioactive
derivative forms a conduit through which the translocating British detective must pass. The last thing
Holmes sees before the time bending reaction activates is the kindly face of his old comrade, Watson,
and then, blackness. Finally the austere face of a time traveler from Victorian England lands none too
softly on the plush red carpet in Professor Phillip Worthington’s study.

Holmes jumps up, silent and spry as a cat, and locates a hiding place behind the armchair. Professor
Worthington enters the room, apparently unaware that the subject of his museum collection huddles in
a corner, watching him intently.

In the manner of a man completely relaxed at home, Worthington sits down at the computer on the
credenza. While the professor browses his electronic files, Holmes assesses the situation and quietly
takes a poker from the fireplace near him, apparently deciding to first knock out the professor from
behind, before attempting the injection. The detective’s hiding place is beside two bookshelves, and
with the cunning of a master chess player who thinks ten moves ahead, he wedges one of his vials
deeply into a nook recessed between the thick mahogany slabs.

As Holmes approaches the professor’s back, an alarm suddenly blares, the klaxon startling him. With a
snarl, the professor turns and wrestles the poker out of Holmes’ grasp. The athletic detective applies a
judo move and the professor eats carpet, while Holmes disappears out a window.

_________________________*___________________________________

“How did you get back from the future after you left his house?” I ask him as he pauses in his narrative
to relight his pipe.

It’s been a few hours since my arrival and I’ve been seated at a cheery fire, recovered enough from my
chronological dislocation to be enjoying a cup of broth while Mr. Holmes tells me his story.




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“As you recall, I had brought with me vials of my own chemically treated blood. After waiting twelve
hours for the professor’s blood to cycle out of my system, I simply injected myself with my own. And
that of course, brought me here, sans the criminal.” He finishes.

Holmes indicates a small case on a side table. “I kept the professor’s vial in there. It awaits the next
excursion forward.”

“Wow. What an incredible discovery you’ve made.”

Holmes shrugs, feigning modest indifference, I can tell.

“But you were in my century! What did you do all that time?” I ask him.

“I became acquainted with the oddities and fascinations of the period.” Holmes becomes pensive for a
moment.

“Aside from observing that you are American, you work as a chemist and have been going through a
terrible loss, I cannot deduct the method by which you transported yourself here. I am hoping you can
illuminate this for me Miss…?”

“Vernet. My name is Genevieve Vernet.” I tell him and watch his face register perplexity. “Eh? But you
are not French.” Holmes says.

I explain. “Actually my great grandparents were French. And my grandparents emigrated to New York.”

He examines me minutely. “I carry the name Vernet in my lineage. But from your slight figure and dusky
complexion, I cannot see much of resemblance.”

“Oh, well, I’m Iroquois Indian too.”

Holmes knocks the tobacco out of his pipe thoughtfully, “Hmm, the mélange of savage and artist can be
a strange brew indeed.”

I laugh lightly. “I suppose you might think so because I didn’t get your tall genes and pale skin.”

Holmes’ ears perk up. “Jean’s? I did hear that word in association with the blue pantaloons women of
your day seem to favor.” He indicates my own pair of faded LeRoy’s. “ I assumed a seamstress named
Jean was their dressmaker.”

“No. I mean G-E-N-E-S. Um, isn’t Gregor Mendel a contemporary of yours?”

Holmes holds up his hand turns to the mantelpiece, and chooses a red-lined volume from among a line
of reference books beside it.

“Here he is. Gregor Mendel , monk, teacher of physics at the Augustinian Abbey of St Thomas in Brno.
Born in Austria as Johann. Hmm! Authored a study of discontinuous inheritance in pea plants. Aaha!”



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“Yes. That’s the one. He is considered the ‘Father of Modern Genetics’ in my time. He grew pea plants at
his monastery and made all kinds of ground-breaking discoveries by cross pollinating them. He identified
how inheritance works. He discovered genes,” I tell him.

Holmes lights his pipe and leans back in his chair. I wait patiently until he comes out of his brief reverie
and addresses me.

“I am apparently not just your consultant then, but also a very distant relative.”

“My consultant? Why do you say that?” I ask him, averting my face from the coils of smoke that now
snake around the room.

“My dear young lady, have you not realized from my accounting of the facts that if you have been
drinking with Professor Worthington, you are in grave danger?”

I gulp the rest of my broth as I listen to him, wide-eyed at the dawning realization. I quickly explain my
arrival to him and he nods as he listens, his eyes half-lidded but not completely hiding a gleam of
fascination.

“Hmm. Apparently the blood squirted into your eyes accessed your blood stream almost as readily as an
injection would have allowed it.”

“And you must still have your vial of chemically treated blood recessed here in your rooms, for me to
home in on it.”

Holmes holds up a vial taken from its hiding place to show me, and then quickly replaces it.

“Quite!” He seems slightly impressed with my analysis, which gives me a warm glow of pride.

“However we waste time. Given the vagaries of time travel, I am certain that the vial of your own blood
left at the laboratory bench will induce your return in twelve hours.”

“Why twelve hours?”

“It is the length of time that it takes for the chemical in the tainted port that the professor gave you, to
completely distribute itself in your blood stream. At that point, your body will behave as if you had
swallowed your own chemically-laced blood. It seems the logical course of events that it will act as a
conduit to pull you forward to your time.”

“What should I do until then?”

“When you return you will be in the monster’s clutches once more. We must act with speed to prevent
your murder.”

“But I know about him now, so I’ll just avoid him,” I retort.




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“Worthington will not rest until he has taken your life. You don’t think he would allow his precious time-
traveling elixir to be wasted do you?” Holmes waves an admonishing finger at me. “It is never advisable
to underestimate an evil genius, whether it be Moriarty or Worthingon.”

Just then, the sound of horse hooves clatter outside, the bell rings and a portly mustached man enters
the room. He looks askance at me, takes in my labcoat and 21st century attire (jeans and sneaks) and
with an attitude that suggests he is well acquainted with his fellow lodger’s magnet for the bizarre, he
simply states, “I’m sorry, I intrude,” and makes to withdraw from the sitting room.

Holmes responds, “Watson, you are just in time to assist us. Allow me to introduce my distant niece,
Miss Genevieve Vernet.”

“ A pleasure.” Watson bows over my hand. He notices my forearm tattoo with a raised eyebrow, but
being a gentleman, makes no comment.

“Now both of you, there is not a moment to lose. Here is a coat for you Miss Vernet, the average
Britisher might take issue with your unusual attire or mistake you for a long-haired sailor. No, keep on
your hat Watson. We are off to St. Bart’s.”

Watson asks, “The hospital? Are you feeling ill?”

“Patience Watson, patience, you know my methods.” And our merry trio is off in a cab that rattles down
the London cobblestone, towards St. Bartholomew’s.

__________________________*_____________________________

Much later, inside a hospital patient’s room, Dr. Watson hands my uncle several vials of blood. “Will this
be enough for your purpose?” Holmes nods from the bed, a bit weak from having donated so much
blood. Dr. Watson leaves to derivitize the serum with the radioactive extract that Holmes gives him,
taken from Professor Worthington’s blood. I recover too in a bed beside uncle, peel an orange and hand
him slices of the fruit while we talk about the plan.

“I will give you two vials of my blood. One is to inject the Professor and send him back to me so I can
finally bring him to justice. The other one you may keep for research. It is unfortunate you won’t be able
to return to tell me what your future science identifies as the component of interest in this mixture.”

“We know at least that it is radioactive,” I tell him. Earlier I had told him about radiation and was
pleased to learn he had been corresponding with the Curies on their work with Plutonium, so the
concept had been previously seeded. “I actually plan to write a monograph on my discovery of this
radioactive element, once this case has come to an end. At that point, I’m sure that the Curies will be
enthusiastic collaborators,” he had said. My uncle has such wide-ranging talents!

“You are in the enviable position of using devices that Verne might describe in one of his fantastiques.”
Holmes bemoans. “I could contribute so much more to the annuals of crime if I had your laboratory at
my disposal.”


12
“Why can’t you return with me, as you did before?” I ask.

“It’s a pity I cannot. In a later time than this, Watson found me close to death’s door after my last
transit. He doesn’t understand time travel, but his medical examination after my arrival was worrisome
enough for him to warn me that another attempt would be fatal.”

“But I can travel with no problem?” I say.

“You have been traveling into the past, not the future. Perhaps that doesn’t place as much strain on the
body.” He responds.

“Yes. That seems logical.” A thought that excites me begins to form, but he has dozed off.

In the Victorian hospital room, I mentally prepare myself for the jump into the future, and hope to land
somewhere in the vicinity of my radioactively-charged blood. That sits on my lab bench top in a screw-
capped centrifuge tube and had served as a control specimen. I contemplate the assortment of
coloured, corked glass bottles along the shelf beside me. My skin crawls when I spot one stout-
bottomed flask that appears to contain iodine-soaked leeches. I hope to God I‘m here after Joseph Lister
spread the gospel of antiseptics!

Watson returns with the prepared blood. Holmes opens his eyes alertly and takes the vials that Watson
gives him. He tosses aside the bed covers, revealing that he’s fully dressed.

“Shall we go?” he asks me.

_______________________*____________________________

Watson is called away to tend a patient. My uncle and I wait in the Baker street sitting room for my
inevitable disappearance. At the twelve hour point, Holmes examines my condition. I am pale and feel ill
and increasingly bodiless, but I don’t actually translocate to the future.

“Hmmm.” He exclaims. “Perhaps the concentration is too low.” He then turns to the sideboard and
combines a vial of the derivitized blood that Watson had prepared with my blood sample with some
wine. He hands me the glass of ruddy liquid.

“To encourage the process.” He says. I swallow the fear-factor cocktail, trying not to think about the
connection of radioactivity and cancer. Then the room blurs. I tightly grasp the tin-lined pouch that
contains the syringe and the vials as I swirl back into my lab in the 21st century.

                                                 Chapter 3

It’s a hard landing and I peel myself off the laboratory floor, lit dimly by the grey dawn. Before the first
technician arrives, I preserve the blood I brought in my pouch with a few shots of buffer and head for
home. I sleep until the evening, then prepare to visit Professor Worthington, whom I had arranged to
meet on some pretext.

We take our coffee in the study and the conversation leads naturally into DNA, forensics and rats.

13
“You’ve handled rats too?” I ask him after he nods knowingly at my description of lab rat experiments.

“Ah yes, I had to kill many of them in my younger days living in London near the wharves on Upper
Swandam lane. He sighs and helps himself to a scone.

“Really? (Sickening!) How did you kill them?” I ask, stirring my tea with the tiny silver spoon that he’d
placed in the saucer for me.

“Beheading them with a small guillotine, and then gutting them for their digestive juices.”

I recoil internally, glad to know that this would be our last interview. You’re gonna get your just due soon
you creep, I think to myself.

“I see. For what purpose did you collect their juices?” I ask, feigning a scientific interest.

“A client of mine, a very special client named Abernetty, required the digestive juices for, uh, medical
reasons.” He responds with a friendly wink while he gets up to turn on his computer.

I feel vaguely uneasy by this conversation so I probe. “Why would anyone need rat guts for medical
reasons?”

“Simple - He needed the gut enzymes for his mode of transport. He was from the 22nd century you see.
They don’t have rat guts with the same enzymes in the future.”

“I am surprised they even have rats in the future.” I muse.

“Oh Vivi dearest,” he tells me in an insidious whisper, “There will always be rats in the future.”

“What happened to him?” I ask. The silver spoon clatters noisily as I replace it on the saucer with a
shaking hand.

Professor Worthington snickers. “He met an untimely death and bequeathed me his penchant for time
travel.” He is back to take my arm, and leads me to the credenza.

“One of my hobbies is making home videos off my surveillance cameras” He purrs alarmingly.

Suddenly I’m watching a video on his computer screen. It’s Sherlock Holmes’ failed attack on Professor
Worthington.

“What a striking film,” I stutter in false admiration. “Did you hire Robert Downey,Jr. for the role?”

His answer is a smug smile and he clicks another button. I watch dumbfounded as my own little
escapade, that of finding and hiding the vial from the bookshelf hidey-hole, plays out on the screen. I try
to step back but his hand tightens like a vice on my forearm.

“What I’m wondering my dear, is what that object was that you chose to steal from me that evening. I
hope you are enjoying the use of it, as you so cavalierly abandoned Holmes’ organizational tool on the
floor.”

14
The jack knife in question is suddenly flashing in his hand. I kick his knees and use his momentary shock
to lunge for the door. But it slams shut before I can reach it. Turning around I see Professor Worthington
pointing a remote control at the door and grinning wickedly at my distress.

“Don’t leave so soon. Jack the knife wishes to make a more intimate connection.” He laughs maniacally
and aims the knife at me like it’s a dart.

I fumble in the pouch for a vial of Holmes’ blood. The knife whizzes past my hair and I dodge, barely
avoiding it. I crouch underneath the desk scanning the room for an escape. The door to the Sherlockian
museum commands my view and I make a run for it. Before I can get my fingers on the knob, it locks
shut, thanks to the Professor’s remote again. He runs towards me, the knife poised to strike.
Desperately I grab books off the shelves and hurl them at his face, at his feet and at that deadly hand
grasping the knife! Then, one book resists my pull. I turn to see that it is a lever that’s opened the wall to
reveal a walk-in vault. No time to assess more than the immediate promise of refuge. I shove the bogus
book back and spring towards the closing gap of the vault, hurtling myself to through as the sham wall
slams behind me, shutting the professor out for a few precious seconds.

Inside the dimly lit chamber, I spot a canister labeled with the universal warning “RADIOACTIVE
MATERIAL.” Grabbing it I just have time to inject Holmes’ blood into my arm before Professor
Worthington rushes into the room. His wailed “No….!” chases me into the void after I taunt him by
waving the canister of radioactive chemical under his nose while I glimmer into the past, and out of his
range, leaving him to stab viciously at the empty air.

_________________________*___________________________

I appear in the Baker street sitting room in front of an astonished Dr. Watson.

“Good heavens!” Watson utters, the pipe hanging forgotten off his lower lip. Holmes turns languidly
towards me, apparently in the midst of a cocaine haze. His eyes clear and he gets up to attend me as I
my knees invariably buckle and I hit the floor. There really should be some sort of stabilizer worked into
this time travel stuff. While I recover I give my uncle Holmes the details of my adventure.

“Hidden surveillance camera eyes you say?”

“Yes. He probably has them all over the house. We’ll never get to inject him.” I lament.

“Dear girl, dear girl, there, there.” My uncle says, patting my hand. “Your journey was successful in that
you acquired a crucial piece for us. What is this element called?”

“Ununtiam” I tell him. An entire room of his is devoted to storing this material. There were ‘Radioactive’
warning signs all over and a big Periodic Table on the wall. He had circled element number 113.”

“Is this radioactive element one that the Curies discover?” My uncle asks with interest.

“No! It hasn’t even been found by my century. It’s from one hundred years in my future.”


15
Watson’s eyes are glowing with excitement. “Oh when I publish this adventure, you may even gain fans
from the Royal Academy.”

“You must focus on the solution to the crime Watson, not to trappings of fame.” Holmes chastises him
automatically. Watson gives me a wry grin.

I think about the last conversation I held with Professor Worthington and I clap my hand to my
forehead.

“Oh my god, the rats!”

“Where?” Watson stands up and looks about himself nervously. I address my uncle Holmes.

“Can you take me to the docks?” “

Of course, that’s it!” He agrees. Watson looks from one to the other of us completely nonplussed.

“What in god’s name do you both intend to accomplish at the docks?”

“I need to collect some rat guts for analysis” I respond.

Soon I have a box bristling with bead-eyed mud-coloured rats, which I handled with clean rags, as I know
too much about the bubonic plague. Holmes and Watson escort me back to the hospital laboratory
where I dissect and extract the digestive juices. By morning, after collaborating with my genius of an
uncle, and with Watson eagerly playing lab tech for us, we have it! We have created a fresh batch of
radiolabeled blood that is chemically identical to that of the extract that was derived from professor
Worthington’s blood.

The secret was the rat gut enzyme. “So the combination of element 113 and this rat enzyme engages in
a complex cascade of reactions with the blood to effect time travel.” I explain to Watson.

“Marvelous! “ Watson says, “I suppose one of you can tell me how Professor Worthington, a man from
our century, has acquired a chemical from the future?”

“It is elementary Watson,” Holmes explains. “Professor Worthington was supplying the extract from the
rat juices to Abernetty. You will remember, Watson, how the dreadful business of the Abernetty family
was first brought to my notice by the depth which the parsley had sunk into the butter upon a hot day.
Abernetty hails from that ghoulish clan and is originally from this time. In any case, he ran out of his rat
extracts, could not find a suitable replacement in his environs and found it necessary to return for our
very own London-bred vermin.”

I chime in, “It has to do with the microflora. You know, the same animalcules inside the rats’ digestive
tract now don’t exist in rats from 2109.”

“Quite so.” Holmes gives me a nod. “And during one of Abernetty’s visits, Worthington executed him,
thus appropriating his time-traveling secret and acquiring the means for eternal youth.”


16
“It is an unnatural process Holmes.” Watson exclaims. “But I congratulate your skills as chemists. You
are both most undeniably of the same blood.”

I grin. ”That’s true. It’s how I ended up in uncle’s rooms to begin with, as our biochemical similarities
guided my body here after I squirted his blood into my eye.”

I fall slightly behind the two men as we walk into the fog chilled night to find a cab. I overhear Watson
say, “She seems to be a young lady who is very well able to take care of herself. I am happy to see you
have softened your views on the fair sex enough to work alongside her on this case.”

Holmes responds, “She is a sensible girl. But naturally to be expected, as we share a genetic heritage.”

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Back in Baker Street Holmes has curled up in his armchair and lit a pipe. It appears to be a three-pipe
problem. Watson and I take a walk to a pub near the Museum while my uncle muses on an alternate
solution to capturing Professor Worthington.

A few hours later we return and he regards us through the tobacco haze and says, “I have solved it. It
reminds me of an earlier case when I observed a man who tried to rise above nature. Invariably such a
man is liable to fall below it. The highest type of man may revert to the animal, if he leaves the straight
road of destiny.”

“I think it’s almost time uncle.” I inform him.

He explains the procedure I must follow, upon my return, and I drink my own Unu*-charged blood again.
__________________________*_____________________________

I devote the entire night in my lab synthesizing the mixture that Uncle Holmes had suggested. I carefully
add the primers and nucleotides to the polymerization cocktail and allow the reaction to proceed all
day.

The next evening, I watch as Edward, my co-conspirator, discusses Holmesian anecdotes with Professor
Worthington in his study. As was his instruction, Edward claims that the room is too stuffy, and
unlatches the window near the topiary, where I remain hidden, a small phial stashed in my pocket.
While Professor Worthington shows Edward the video of Sherlock Holmes, I throw a rock in through the
opened window and smash the precious gasgogene that was displayed on a marble pedestal near the
books. With an enraged roar, Professor Worthington charges at the window. My arm shoots out from
the bush and I splash the blood from the phial into his eyes.

Professor Worthington claps his two hands to his face and rushes around the room, beating his head
horribly against the walls. He falls upon the carpet while scream after scream resounds through the
house.

Edward opens his satchel, and removes a small animal cage while the Ununtiam-charged rat’s blood
does its work.

17
“Water, for God’s sake, water!” Worthington cries, before the cries are choked off as his esophagus
shrinks.

His body is reduced to the size of my hand, it sprouts fur, a snout and a skinny tail as the transformation
to a rodent is complete. Edward grabs the rascal, locks him in the cage and hands him to me. I thank
Edward with a warm hug and then, a much-humbled Professor and I return back to Baker Street, where I
am greeted by the proud smiles of both Holmes and Watson.

Later, after Holmes has meted out justice to the evil and ratty Professor Worthington, (He deposits him
in the vicinity of a band of roaming dock cats), we enjoy a cold and elegant supper of woodcock, pâté foi
gras and the contents of an ancient and cobwebby bottle. Holmes only makes one more reference to
our completed case what was to wit: “I am certain given the Professor’s natural gifts for survival, he will
escape, not without some well deserved discomfort however.”

“I just hope there isn’t a stray vial of his own blood stashed somewhere that might pull him forward and
reverse the process.” I tell Holmes, while spreading some pâté on a slice of bread.

“I must say it is a saving grace for us Holmes, that you are too respectable a figure to be suspected of
witchcraft. For all the concoctions you two have prepared in the laboratory, it is still very much like
wizardry to me.” Watson exclaims, pouring himself a glass.

“Nonsense Watson. My design of the new DNA primer was based on pure logic, as were my deductions
on what extent the time-traveling compound could induce the process of de-evolution, in this case, from
man to rat.” Holmes proceeds to cut the meat for our repast.

“Perhaps Uncle, you would be happy to have me look in on you now and then, and see if I can apply my
laboratory forensic tools to solve some of your cases?” I ask him hopefully.

“My dear niece that is a handsome offer. However, I cannot help but feel it would be a great imposition
on your health, am I not right Watson?” Watson nods in assent.

Just then, Mrs. Hudson, enters the room, more flustered than was usual for her stolid manner. She
announces, “A Mr. Marley here to see you sir.” Behind her reverberates a hoarse male voice and the
clattering of what seems to be heavy chains being dragged on the ground.

“Show him in,” Holmes tells her, rubbing his hands together in anticipation, a bloodhound already on
the scent.

He turns to me and says, “Perhaps you might want to leave for home now, before I am too enmeshed in
my case?”

I smile and say sweetly, “Not now uncle! After all, the game is afoot.”

I could swear his eyes sparkled in gratitude at my decision, while we waited for the entrance of our next
client.
        -------------------------------------------------The End.-------------------------------------------------------------


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