The last time I posted fiction on this blog was 5 months ago and I still can’t believe it! Writing fiction just for the blog took a backseat during NaNoWriMo but I vowed to continue it, so here I am again with a short story. This qualifies as fanfiction, but I really couldn’t get this out of my head after New Year’s day. I’m talking about (brownie points for getting it right) Sherlock, of course.
The first episode came out on Monday and since then I haven’t stopped thinking about it, or about what the next episodes will showcase. A short story titled Appointment in Samarra is narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch in this episode, with the backdrop of the London Aquarium and sharks reinforcing the nature of the tale. During the episode, however, Mycroft (played by Mark Gatiss) remembers that Sherlock had written his own version of the story as a child for he did not like the original. It seemed like a good challenge to try writing that version of the story, so here is my interpretation of what the young Sherlock might have written (and then some more of my imagination).
Appointment in Sumatra
There was once a merchant, in the famous market at Baghdad. One day he saw a stranger looking at him in surprise, and he knew that the stranger was Death. Pale and trembling, the merchant fled the marketplace and made his way many, many miles, to the city of Sumatra. For there, he was sure, Death could not find him.
When at last he came to Sumatra, night had already fallen. He made his way to a small inn, looking to stay the night. When he approached the innkeeper, the man’s eyes widened in shock.
“Why do you look surprised to see me?” asked the merchant.
“Someone has been asking around these parts for a man fitting your description,” answered the innkeeper.
“Who?” Just then, the merchant felt a tap on his shoulder. He whirled around and studied the stranger, who wore a black cloak with a black hood, his face hidden in shadow.
“Why can’t it be a ‘her’?” said a voice over his shoulder.
“Because it’s his lost brother, and he doesn’t have any sisters. Stop reading over my shoulder, Mycroft.”
“Brother? I thought it was Death.”
Sherlock inhaled sharply. “The point of the story is that he doesn’t meet Death.”
Mycroft made a noise like a snort.
“I wish you’d get lost,” the younger added in an undertone and poised his pen on the paper to continue.
“Who are you and why are you looking for me?” The merchant felt a shiver run down his spine.
“I had hoped you’d recognise me, brother mine,” said the figure, raising his hood.
The merchant smiled, but did not narrow the distance between them, even though it had been almost ten years since he’d last clapped his eyes on his brother. “How did you know I was coming?”
“I had a strange dream last night. Another figure, dressed as I am, appeared in it and warned me. ‘Something’s coming’, it said.”
“A premonition?” The derision in Mycroft’s voice was poorly disguised.
“I told you to stop reading over my shoulder. Should I call Mummy?” Sherlock threatened.
“It pushed back its hood and I recognised your face. I began to make enquiries as soon as it was light. You’re far from home, brother. Why would that be?”
The merchant narrated his meeting with Death. His brother suggested he stay with him that night and the merchant agreed. However, he tossed and turned in the unfamiliar bed he had been given, dreaming of strange figures in black cloaks.
When dawn broke, the merchant could not take it any more. ‘I know,’ he thought. ‘I will find passage on a ship, where Death cannot follow me.’
“That’s ridiculous!” cried Mycroft.
He informed his brother of his plans and bid him farewell. The brother did not seem surprised or sad to see him go. The merchant made his way to the docks, looking for a suitable ship. Most of the men he talked to laughed at his story and he was refused passage in all the merchant ships.
At last, a man with a black patch over one of his eyes agreed to grant his request. He led him to a ship that had docked farther away from the rest, which, at first glance, looked like an ordinary merchant ship. However, a few days into their voyage, the flag they flew was switched to a black one with a skull and crossed swords on it. The merchant’s eyes shone with excitement. He became a pirate and he lived happily ever after.
“Oh, this is a disaster.” Mycroft passed a hand over his forehead, sighing.
“It’s perfect now,” smiled Sherlock happily.
The older boy rolled his eyes. “This is the stupidest story I’ve ever read.”
“Stupid? The merchant was being smart,” Sherlock protested.
Mycroft laughed. “You don’t even see it, do you? What did I tell you before? Don’t be smart, Sherlock. I’m the smart one.” With that, he whirled around and marched out without a backward glance. If he had spared one, he would have seen his little brother snatch the paper off the table and slowly, but methodically, tear it to shreds.
I know that quite a few of my regular readers also watch Sherlock, so I’m waiting for your thoughts on this little story. Others might not get the references littered throughout, but I hope you were entertained regardless. Tell me your opinions in the comments section below. Have a happy weekend, everyone! 🙂