The short story submissions have been judged and the winner of the October extension story contest is Chandler Hamby. Here is her wonderful story based on the new Sherlock Holmes series.
When Night Turns to Dreams
It’s pouring rain outside on a night so black it seems that Night came to pay a visit. I’m sitting in this pub alone, waiting for him. I wonder why I even come here. I watch the couples dance. I imagine yet another dinner date that’s left me on the pretense of getting some air or going to the lou.
It is good to escape from the lab. The work is tedious some days and I haven’t seen the man of my dreams for weeks.
I’m sitting alone and it’s cold here by the door. My drink tastes like dirt mixed with the rain water pounding on the roof.
The flickering candles cast a dim light and shadows. The crackle of the fire is barely heard above the music. I shiver in my cream-colored silk dress that barely reaches my knees and I wonder if he will come.
John says that Sherlock never goes out on dates. When he leaves his
house at night, it is to investigate murders.
Again I wonder why I chose this evening to come to the pub. It’s wet, it’s a miserable, and my bare arms have goose-flesh, and I’m tired.
The locals are fine, ordinary people. No one stands out. I search the room for an original face. It seems pointless and a bit sad.
I get up to leave. The mug on the table is half empty and the ale glows amber in the candle light.
A voice behind me stops me. I turn to face a stranger with kind eyes.
“You going to finish that?”
His voice is soft as velvet to my ears.
I stare into his piercing blue-green eyes that seem to take in all of me, leaving me giddy. He’s looking amused and he reaches from my glass.
“You’re welcome to finish it,” I say, finding my voice.
He smiles and time slows, the rain falls more slowly, and my brain seems to fail.
He watches the dancing couples, but then he looks at me differently. He seems to drink me and he asks my name.
“Molly Hooper,” I respond weakly. I can’t take my eyes off his face.
He asks, “Would you like to try some of mine?”
A gentleman would offer that, but there is a difference here. He is not an ordinary gentleman. Slowly, I sit and watch the firelight that shines in front of us flicker across his face. I forget the drink as I study the ruddy glow on his face, the way the shadows move on the straightness of his nose. Inside I’m begging him to speak to me again.
“Chatty one, aren’t you?” He takes a sip from his glass. He looks at me, his eyes are smiling and I feel my mouth curving up.
I say something in response but hardly know what I’m saying. He puts his glass down and leans forward with his arms on the table. I see a tarnished copper key. I lean forward also, drinking in his words as time slows. I realize that I'm drinking something warm and spicy as I listen to his voice. It is like the pairing of wine and chocolate to wine or music and dance. There was nothing in this place that interested me until he appeared. I didn’t expect this. I don't deserve this gift of an evening with a man like this.
It seems that time is passing in a slow new rhythm. I could say many things, but chose to match my words to his, as perfectly as partners dancing. And now he reads my mind.
“Would you like to dance?”
He stands, pushing back his chair and offers me his hand. I take it and he walks me slowly up a flight of steps. He opens the door with that cooper key. It opens softly and slowly. He is not in a rush.
It’s still raining, but less noisily. He leads to an inner room and gestures to the bed; for the faintest moment my heart skips a beat. I realize it is my stage, my special dance floor. I laugh and pull off my shoes. I stretch my toes luxuriously and then I walk on the very tips so as not to shatter the dream.
He is waiting for me. He stands on the bed and holds out his hand to help me up, and then his arm goes around my waist and his palm rests on the small of my back. My hand slips into his so gently and he holds it tenderly, as if it were a robin’s egg. He is humming something soft and sweet. It is The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Then he changes to an old Beatles’ song. His feet are moving. He leans his forehead down against mine, half watching our feet move together in a rhythm that I do not yet know but I already understand.
Back and forth we go, the bed spread is wrinkled but compliant, our feet sink into it gently as we sway and move together. He hums in a deep, rich voice and I close my eyes, even joining in sometimes when I know the tune, and this seems to make him happy. At one point when my eyes are closed he dips downwards and his lips touch mine gently…it startles me for a split second but then I let it go. I asked for an evening, for a new beginning. My eyes close as he dips his lips down to touch mine. I am startled, but I kiss him back. The night seems much brighter. It has turned into a bright dream.