The tale is an exceptional one, and certainly one of the most intriguing ever to be recorded in these annuls.
I was at Starbucks, enjoying a morning coffee, along with the newspaper, noting with satisfaction that the Westerfield case had yielded a guilty verdict, when suddenly I heard a familiar voice.
"Setsuled, my old friend, how very good it is to see you," said Sherlock Holmes from where he stood at the opposite end of the table, "I see that there's still an ant problem at your grandmother’s house,"
I sat up straight in astonishment, "By Jove, Holmes!" then I smiled and gestured at the empty seat, "Please, join me. Tell me how you've been. And tell me how the devil you knew about my ant problem!"
Holmes's thin lips smiled as his lean body settled into the seat, "I've been well enough. I've found the criminal element in San Diego to be most stimulating, in its meagre way. What it lacks in genius, it more than makes up for in quantity and garishness. And I knew about the ants because of the two that just crawled out of your shirt and onto you neck,"
I furiously slapped at my neck, yet at the same time smiling at my friend's methods that came off as so brilliant at first, only to seem absurdly simple when explained.
"And what brings you to Starbucks this morning?" I asked him.
"You do. There is a matter regarding your welfare that is quite urgent," his tone was serious, and his intense, sparkling eyes bore into me.
"My welfare?" I asked, astounded.
He nodded and stood, indicating that I should do so as well, "Have you noticed that your friend Trisa has been avoiding you lately?"
"Well, yes," said I, standing to follow him in an almost bumbling manner out the door, "I had been wondering about it in fact,"
Outside, Holmes hailed a hansom which pulled up before us. As we hastily climbed in, Holmes said to the driver, "1723 Cuiren Street!"
A snap of the whip and I had begun a journey into the unknown. It was an exciting, yet somehow ominous sensation--made more so by what Holmes said next.
"Setsuled. I'm very sorry to have to tell this to you, but I'm afraid that your friend Trisa may be the most dangerous criminal in all of San Diego,"
The hansom stopped in a secluded and dirty alley.
“From here we must walk,” said Holmes after paying the driver. So we strode side by side beneath the shadows of tightly spaced buildings, and I could hear the sounds of the horses’ hooves against the cobblestone grow further away. Soon we were alone.
Holmes reached into his jacket pocket to check the ammunition in his revolver.
After a time, we came to the side of a filthy old abandoned warehouse. Holmes motioned that we need be as silent as possible, and he crept up to the window, staying ducked beneath its range of vision. After a moment, he cautiously raised his head above the sill.
I could see his entire body tense. He motioned for me to join him.
Taking up a similar crouching position on the other side of the window, I too peered into the warehouse.
What I saw filled me with a dreadful awe.
I beheld a vast web of conveyor belts, winding their way through the voluminous shadows of the interior like the ash coloured intestines of a titan. Being transported on this belt--from what source to what destination I could not tell--were thousands upon thousands of peculiar, two foot tall, blood red statues. The things were very crudely sculpted, being little more than a trapezoidal shape--the wider side being the shoulders--with a hideously grinning head mounted on the shoulders.
The room was not all conveyor belts though.
In the centre, lit by a dusty spotlight, sat Trisa. She was crossed-legged, and her small bare hands beat a simple, hypnotic rhythm on a crude drum--the sort used by island savages with poorly treated animal skin stretched across its top. Her delicate, strikingly elfin face stared into the darkness listlessly.
Without a word, Sherlock Holmes stood and opened a door I had not observed, and then ran quickly across the warehouse to stand before Trisa. He pointed the revolver at her head.
I followed as quickly as I could, and when I came to stand beside Holmes, he was saying, “Your game is over Trisa. Lay aside the drum,”
With a bitter glare at Holmes’s stalwart, chiselled face, Trisa did as he had commanded and ceased to beat the drum. She set it a few feet away from herself. Immediately, the conveyor belts stopped moving.
Trisa said nothing, and I searched her face in vain for any traces of the friend I loved. But all there was in that countenance was bitter hatred for the formidable mind that had unravelled her scheme. Bitter hatred for the mind of Sherlock Holmes.
Later, when we were alone, I congratulated Holmes on his triumph, although I felt somewhat out of sorts at seeing my dear friend Trisa taken into custody. Yet I was heartened somewhat that Holmes was taking her to Baker Street to be personally attended to by Dr. Watson.
“What was the puzzle this time?” I asked Holmes, “And how did you solve it?”
I was taken aback when Holmes smiled rather sadly, “It was quite simple. Blood golems were turning up on the black market, and I knew of few magic-users powerful enough, or desires diabolical enough to be creating them. My first suspect was The Miss Cheshire Kitty. Then it was only a matter of discovering her true identity, and following her to her hideout,”
Before leaving with his charge, he gave me one look of sympathy, and said, “At first I thought that she was simply avoiding you out of a cultivated disinclination for your company. The reality turned out to be that she had simply found something more interesting than you,”