Goodstone looked at London through the window from the upper floor of the two story on Baker Street. He knew this was not real, but a comfortable distraction while he waited. Sparks was content taking scans of the room and various objects, the violin on the mantle, the worn handle on the medicine bag.
“So you aren’t an Angel. Or a God. Or someone or something of magical talents. And I doubt that this is illusion of technological means. I’d be able to figure that out in five minutes.” Goodstone announced to the room, he felt the curtains and the cloth. “I can’t continue my investigation, as you keep changing the parameters beyond our laws and reasoning. I have two sets of memories now, one with those extra people being citizens of King City, and the other set. Even your means of spreading them across the world didn’t escape my notice.”
There was a presence in the chair, in crisp black and white, as if removed from television. Basil Rathbone sat, smoking pipe in housecoat, a book in his lap.
“A form you are comfortable with.” The crisp voice spoke. “And a location that you have seen before. Forgive me if this is dramatic.”
“No apology needed, this is your place and your custom.” Goodstone picked up the violin and studied it. Plucking one of the strings, he visualized the formula of the sound, the wavelength. “I am intrigued that you would hold audience with me.”
“Hold is an opportune word Goodstone. I am surprised you followed the Hartlan’s instructions with the salt. I would have granted you an audience the first day you saw my work, had you asked.” The black and white figure closed the book and crossed his legs. “But you wouldn’t.”
“And that is why I respect you Goodstone, a small part of me is pleased that you found this. That there was someone keen enough, someone with large enough perspective. But what has been hampering my efforts has been your persistent memory. I’ve been debating what to do about that.” The figure of Basil Rathbone as Sherlock tapped the stem of the pipe to his pursed lips. “It is something that your bloodline possess. Gathering tools from the gods and others. Being able to hold that what mortal should not.”
“Prometheus strain.” Goodstone returned the violin gently to the mantle. “Runs in the family.”
“And others, like Newton.”
Goodstone sent the figure a curious stare. “What do you mean?”
“Another one of my, shall we call them, siblings was noticed by Newton. The scientist. You know him? The effects and insights that he had changed his soul, his spirit. Unfortunately, there was a part of that memory that burned away at his sanity.” The man in the chair stood up, and crossed the room. “I don’t know if that will happen to you.”
“Fifty three people. Added to this world. First the city, twelve dead in the accident with the train. And then the remaining forty altered so they were not from King City. Then those forty killed in accidents or natural deaths across the planet.” Goodstone crossed the room and sat in the large chair that the Rathbone/Holmes figure was just in. He was not surprised that it wasn’t warm. “I don’t know how. I don’t think I want to know how you did it. I want to know why? Fifty three lives, and compared to the other people in Kings City, not even interesting. But these were lives. People. Given life, then snuffed out. It is a large announcement, and making your work known to me.”
“How very human.” The Rathbone/Holmes smiled a little too large. “I could justify my work to you, but that would not be the best outcome for our visit. Your memories are yours, I shall not alter them, or any record you have made of this event. As for why? Even mine is not to question it. I am just a cog in all of this. You could give me a name like Librarian if you wish, but it isn’t accurate.”
“So what are you then?”
“A better analogy would be one of chess. Something that you pursue at one time or another. I’m not a pawn, or the chessboard, or the timer, or even the free thoughts of the players that control the outcome. I am just one of the rules for the game.” The Rathbone/Holmes wore the longcoat and the hunting cap, holding the magnifying glass. “And there is so much here that needs balance.”
A shiver ran down Goodstones back, and even Sparks took one step back away from the entity.
“Think about this Goodstone, a miniscule amount of data was delivered today. Your balance has been shifted in your favor. Proof that your own Moriarty has plans. Possibly from beyond the grave. You could have stopped and scratched that itch for justice. But you chose to pursue me. Why?” The Rathbone stated as he pulled out a revolver from the one pocket and observed it.
“It is who I am now. I’m not a firefighter as my cousins. I’m not an inventor as my father or his father, or his fathers father. I chose the justice system as Burner needed to be stopped. Lives need to be protected from those who cannot protect themselves.” Goodstone took out the raygun from his holster and laid it in his lap. The Rathbone/Holmes looked astonished to the weapon. “Even when I’m not wearing a badge.”
“Interesting. I’m finding this feedback quite pleasant.” The Rathbone/Holmes form altered back to the less formal housecoat. “I cannot be brought to any system of justice, only replaced with another, shall we say, revision. Even if one of these world shattering events were to wipe out all life in the galaxy…I will still be. In some form or another.
“Those fifty two people were created, but they lived, laughed, loved, cried, bled and all those things that make them human. Was it necessary for them to die? Yes.”
“That is for you to find out Goodstone, if you wish.”
Goodstone sighed, and tapped the raygun on his leg. “This place is constructed from my memories. And since you have tried to change even those and failed, this place is of my making. And the things in it.”
“Clever, you have been paying attention. No need for violence, or icy strongarm techniques. I’ll give you three hints, but anything more would drastically change the outcome of what this work is.” The Rathbone/Holmes leaned on the mantle and light the pipe. “Five years from now, a young boy in Oregon will find a piece of the truck that was not collected from the crash site. From observing its form, he will become an engineer that will help make a very important tool that will help determine many peoples lives.”
Goodstone nodded, “The second?”
“One who witnessed one of the accidents, will become a nurse. She in turn will help a very important young lady from Kings City at a future date. I cannot get into more details, but you are beginning to see why these events must take place.”
“And the third?”
“This conversation shall change your own perspective. Your own place in this world needs this information. That my kind exist. What you do with it, is up to you.”
Goodstone stood up, “I’ve got another question for you-”
“I know.” The Rathbone/Holmes spoke as he walked over to the door and held it open.
Goodstone stood at the threshold of the room, then studied the entity, “You were human, once. Weren’t you?”
He fell through, and in an instant was inside a small cramped office. The paper overflowed the desk and a tarnished brass plaque read, Head Librarian. A small bald headed man opened the door behind him, and Goodstone almost jumped.
“I’m Arnold Halifax, head librarian here. You had some questions?”
Goodstone paused for a moment, “You do know there are twice as many exits as entrances here in the library, correct?”
“Why yes, it’s a safety issue. In case of fire or emergency, all people exit through the two doors, an emergency workers can come in the entrance. Is this an inspection from the city?” The small man smiled.
“More like a pop quiz, I heard rumor that the inspector would be coming around. I noticed your extinguishers are really dusty, so it maybe time for your staff to be trained, or run some drills.” Goodstone nodded to the Head Librarian who wrote some notes.
“Good thinking and thank you Detective. Its a good thing these systems are put into place. Who knows what could happen. Especially in King City. Is there anything else I could help you with?”
“Lets just call it a favor at a later date. It’ll all bal-” Goodstone stopped himself. “It’ll work out.”
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Tales of King City : Balance by Pearce Kilgour is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at pearcekilgour.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://pearcekilgour.wordpress.com. But you should really ask him first… send someone to rub his neck, feed him a gin and tonic, that would be the best… in fact he thinks the world would be a better place if everyone got neckrubs.