He introduced himself as “Seb,” then teasingly hinted that he should like me to sit with him. Which I did, of course. We talked for a few minutes, nothing worthwhile, just meaningless rabble to try and get him to relax, to let down his guard. Even better, when I went up to the bar and ordered us drinks, I made sure that his had an extremely heavy dose of alcohol. As I walked back to the table with the glasses in hand, I saw his eyes flick up at me in a panic. A cellular phone was pressed to his ear. Seeing me approach, he dropped it hurriedly into his lap. I made no mention of it when I sat down. And then, making sure to time it perfectly, I glanced down at my watch and then scanned the bar, making it look as though I was searching for a late date. It was then, with my back to him, that Moran slipped a few droplets of a possibly lethal substance into my glass.
Sitting here now, I look for a way to rid myself of the drink, or even swap it with his. But he seems intent on not letting me out of his sight. He stares at me with hard green eyes and he waits. Apart from flicking a stray piece of hair back behind his ear, he does not move. Words of frustration tickle my brain, but I do not allow them to pass through my lips. Instead, I pick up my glass and get to my feet. I lean over and give the man a quick peck on the cheek, then turn to walk away. “Where are you going?” He asks, but he is flirting no longer. This is the tone of a man who is not to be trifled with, a man who is holding all of the cards. I pause, contemplating whether to go or stay. I gaze over at the bar, trying to catch a glimpse of John.
“Looking for Doctor Watson?”
My entire body goes numb with fear. I search frantically for him, for my friend, but he’s gone. Oh please, no, where is he?
“Sit with me, Mister Holmes.”
I turn to face Moran, my lips curling into a smile. I am afraid, but I do not obey him. I need to know more before I make any decisions.
“Sherlock. Sit down.”
His voice is like ice, cruelty dripping from his every word. I take a deep breath. He is tough, but I am tougher. “No,” I growl, trying to hide my anxiety.
“Oh, Mister Holmes,” he sighs, mockingly shaking his head. “You’ve really gotten me quite bothered.” Seb leans across the table, pushing a small tablet in my direction. “And let me tell you, Mister Holmes, ‘bothered’ is one thing you do not want me to be.” He leans back, eyes gleaming with secrets he yearns to tell.
No. No, Sherlock. Steady. Don’t let him get to you.
I take a hesitant step towards him, lifting my chin to try and steady myself, but I cannot keep my lips from wavering. “What is that?” I ask quietly. Sebastian runs his tongue over his lips, a once seductive gesture that now holds more than a little confidence in its grip. He taps the tablet, punches in a four-numbered code, then swivels it back towards me.
But I cannot look. “Please,” I whisper, not caring if Moran hears. “No, please, please, don’t let it be him.” My breathing quickens and I grit my teeth, trying to keep the tears from forming.
And Sebastian just sits there, smiling. “Sit,” he says, “and drink,” and this time I cannot ignore his command. I place my glass back on the table and return to my seat. I look at Moran and he taps the tablet’s screen, zooming in so that I can better see what transpires.
I turn my face and draw a hand to my mouth to stifle the cry that slips through my lips. I knew it, I knew that this is what Moran wanted me to see, but I just, I just didn’t want to believe it. I force myself to look once more. I must observe his situation in order to better determine how I will aid in his escape.
He is in a large room, with white walls that are cloaked in dirt and grime and multiple red stains. I know what the latter ones are, of course I do, but I will not accept it. His arms are stretched high above his head, his wrists bound in a chain that is hooked on a pipe that crawls across the ceiling. His feet barely touch the floor, and already blood from his chafed wrists slides down his arms and over his naked chest.
And I can see the pain and the fear and I only grow angrier with myself for leaving him alone. A masked figure stands alongside, a metal rod scraping against the base of John’s chin in order to keep his head from dropping to his chest.
I look up. “Empty your glass, Sherlock,” Sebastian’s lips curl into an even bigger smile. His cockiness is infuriating. All I wanted was get in, solve the case, get out. And yet I just had to involve John. My love for him clouded my judgement, and who is to blame for that?
In one swift motion, I lunge across the table, hands reaching for Moran’s throat. But he leans back even faster, and the metallic click of a gun against my knee is enough to make me withdraw. Moran shakes his head, scolding me like one would a child. he presses a finger to his ear and says quietly, “Start it out slow.”
And then the man on the tablet swings the metal rod towards John’s chest.
I practically scream as it slams against his body, watching as a muted cry ripples from the doctor’s lips. “No no no no,” I start, then look straight up at Sebastian. “Please. Please stop him.” A smile tugs at the colonel’s face, but he does nothing. The masked man hits John with the rod over and over and over again. Blood oozes from various wounds all across his chest. “Sebastian!” I plead, my voice cracking. “Stop him! Leave John alone!” Moran stares at me for a few moments longer, then touches his ear once more. “Pause.”
The beating stops. I suck in a breath of air, and I can see that Watson is doing the same. His body shakes, aching with pain and fear. I clench my fists and press them against my forehead. Think think think. Don’t be an idiot, Sherlock. Make the right choice. But what in the bloody hell is the right choice? If I drink from the glass, whatever is in it will kill me, won’t it? Or maybe it’s for sleep, or to create hallucinations, but no matter what it is, it will in no way be something good. But if I don’t obey Moran...
“Drink, Sherlock,” he hisses. “Finish that glass, or Watson dies.”