by Martha Roylott Slaney (Nutty4077 at aol.com)

Sherlock Holmes sat brooding. It was New Year’s Eve, a holiday with which he was reasonably familiar. However, this New Year’s Eve was different from any other he had celebrated. This time, the stroke of midnight would usher in the year 2104. It had certainly been a strange seven months.

Holmes sighed and picked up his old calabash pipe. Out of habit, he reached up to where the Persian slipper hung, but remembering that tobacco had been outlawed, he allowed his hand to fall back down again. Not wishing to search for the twenty-second century alternative, Holmes simply placed his empty pipe between his lips. Glancing at his pocket watch, Holmes noted that it was seven-thirty. Lestrade should be arriving in about half an hour and then she, Watson, and Holmes would celebrate the holiday.

This evening provided the first chance he had to simply sit down and think since being reanimated in May. His mind drifted back through the centuries as he gazed into the blazing fire. He remembered New Year’s Day, 1881. That was the day he had first met John Watson. A smile came to Holmes’ lips as he recalled his first meeting with his best and dearest friend. He remembered Watson’s joy at his marriage and his subsequent distress over her ill health. Holmes recalled how Watson faithfully accompanied him on so many adventures, chronicling them and helping to spread Holmes’ popularity, and, of course, how Watson had always kept a careful eye on Holmes’ health, something that Holmes often tended to neglect.

As the years rolled by Holmes was faced with something that no one, not even Watson, could help him with. Holmes sadly recalled how, in 1903 he was forced to retire from his profession due to the onset of rheumatism. Though he devoted himself to the writing of The Whole Art of Detection and the tending of bees, Holmes missed his previous occupation, and was glad when the Great War offered him another chance to make a short return to detection and work with his old friend Watson. Sadly, it was to be their last case together. Six years went by, and the old friends kept in touch as best they could. By piecing together his memories Holmes concluded that he had died in 1920. Research told him that Watson had survived him by nine years. Small tears rolled down Holmes’ cheek as he remembered his dear, departed friend.

Holmes glanced back at his watch. Quarter to eight, he thought. Feeling sure that he would hear Lestrade enter, he fixed his gaze once more upon the fire and turned his mind again to thoughts of the past. Other events and people came to memory. He recalled opponents such as Irene Adler who had managed to outwit him, John Clay, and Dr. Grimesby Roylott, to name a few. There were also much more deadly adversaries like Culverton Smith, Colonel Sebastian Moran, and the original Professor James Moriarty. There were also friends, if he could be so bold as to use that term. Inspectors Gregson, Hopkins, Jones, and, of course, Lestrade, the ancestor of the current New Scotland Yard Inspector of that name. Holmes remembered them all warmly, as he did his brother, Mycroft.

They were all gone now, as was the world which he had known so well. No longer did hansom cabs clatter through the streets and the fog was no longer illuminated by gas-lamps. Now flying automobiles called "hovercraft" flew in the air above the streets and electricity was in widespread use. Holmes was even finding some of his methods outdated. In the twenty-second century it was nearly impossible to deduce a person’s occupation by inspecting their clothes, for clothes no longer showed any sign of wear. For that matter, deducing a person’s affluence could also no longer be deduced by an inspection of clothing, for all clothing was virtually the same.

Holmes’ brown study was interrupted by the opening of a door and the sound of a female voice intoning, "Happy New Year, Holmes."

Holmes noted that Lestrade had arrived. He turned around to face her and said, "The same to you, Inspector."

‘Watson’ had come down as well, and the three of them settled down into chairs close to the fire. The conversation consisted mostly of the events of the past year. Holmes noticed that the current scene was much like ones that he remembered from over two centuries ago. Time seemed to fly, and soon it was nearly midnight.

Lestrade rose and poured three glasses of champagne. Each of them picked one up and held the glasses high in a toast.

"To the year 2104," said Lestrade, "and all that it has to offer." Lestrade, Holmes, and ‘Watson’ raised their glasses, though, of course, only Lestrade and Holmes actually imbibed the liquor. While Lestrade and ‘Watson’ talked excitedly about the upcoming year, Holmes’ thoughts turned once more to his distant past. He recalled a similar New Year’s celebration, one that had included another Lestrade, Watson, and him. Though he would not voice the desire, he longed for the old days.

"Tomorrow," he thought, "or in a few days I shall tell Lestrade that, when I die this time I wish to be buried in Old London Cemetery, where I should have been in the first place." With that resolution, Holmes turned to his new friends and joined in the merriment of the festivities.


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