Image: Adriano Cecioni entitled: Interior with a figure.
Episode #11: who goes there in Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge series. (I toyed with different endings.)
Boarder in Room Six
I did not like the boarder in room 6.
Oh, always so nice and polite, holding doors, offering to share cover of umbrella to omnibus stop, providing post-dinner sweetmeats for the boarders.
The house consensus: an all-round pleasant, well-mannered, well-educated gentleman worthy of the title Doctor. He travelled a lot, so only a few rooms was his wont when in the city. Like all men, he had his club, and his friends, and was hardly a steady presence to worry over.
Miss Hudson, the landlady, reassured me it was the remains of my brain-fever still tugging at my sanity. After all, would my parents place me in a boarding house that was less than safe.
I had been very ill. Even my hair was cut to relieve the pressure. Short-haired, I looked like a boy in skirts, or so my mirror said. Step three to becoming me again – out in the world – a soft, safe world with Miss. Hudson and her trustworthy boarders, including Dr. 6.
But I kept my door bolted; my ears and eyes open. The boarder in room 6 hadn’t fooled me.
I must have fallen asleep, as I didn’t hear the footsteps, only a soft knock, and slither of a calling -card slide under my door. I slid off the bed, barely breathing.
Hours later, I crept over and in the half-light of early evening I read:
Miss – you are in grave danger. My friend and associate, Dr. John Watson, has been keeping careful watch up on you, as has Miss Hudson. Should you feel the least bit afraid, knock on Dr. Watson’s door, or should he be out – send for me:Your servant, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, 21 1/2 B Baker Street, . . . . . .