Character(s): Holmes, (Watson is salient, but not present)
Summary: Sherlock is late.
Author's Notes: BBC Sherlock-verse. Entry for Watson's Woes July writing prompts; fill for July 8 prompt: click link for picture.
Word Count: 326
Sherlock was uneasy. Even in bad weather John was usually willing to wait a good twenty minutes for him before stalking off back home to wait for him there. (John usually spent least half an hour of the intervening time between a missed meeting and Sherlock’s return preparing a set of remarks on promptitude and consideration. No less time could explain the variety of his vocabulary and the fluency with which he would deliver the reaming out, and any more time would have reduced the frequency of the occasional splutters.) Tonight, he was barely fifteen minutes late, and the snow had stopped ten minutes ago. John should be there.
Sherlock paced restlessly. Perhaps it was John who was late tonight. He started composing his own diatribe about tardiness and inconvenience, but stopped suddenly, cursing his elephantine tread. He carefully put down his umbrella on an undisturbed patch of ground and began to look about him more carefully.
The bench was covered by a smooth coat of even thickness: no one had sat there since the snow began. Even under his own prints, another mess of steps in front of the left arm of the bench was visible. They had churned up the snow almost into slush: there had been a tussle among at least four men. A light dusting covered the footprints: the struggle had happened before the snow ended. Three sets of prints led away from the bench, also at least ten minutes old. Two of them might belong to the pair embracing farther down the sidewalk, but they were too tall to have left such short strides. The strides were remarkably short, in fact, but the foot size was too small for children. No adult would take such short steps—unless he was carrying something heavy.
Halfway down the sidewalk a fourth set of footprints touched the ground briefly between two of the tracks, and disappeared again. Leaving his umbrella, Sherlock began to run.