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The Adventure of the Gentlemen Travelers
by Angela Caperton © 2008
Pittsburgh March 5, 1894
Dearest Cousin Beatrice,
I hope my letter finds you well and that spring is as beautiful in Yorkshire as summer was when I last visited you there. The weather here in Pittsburgh is still dreary but we have had a few blue skies.
Thank you so much for sending the December issue of The Strand, though you must have known how much pain it would cause me. The hours we spent last June when you shared your treasures with me are some of the most precious of my life and I fear I had fallen quite in love with Mr. Holmes! And now to learn that he is dead and that there are to be no more of the splendid tales of his astonishing mind and resolute purpose, well, it has driven me quite to the point of madness!
It is strange to feel as close to someone as I feel to you, dear cousin, given the miles that separate us and the fact that we have been blessed with meeting so very few times, but I believe I can share anything with you. I have told father that all I wish for my 18th birthday is either to visit you again in Sheffield or to have you come to stay the summer with us. The thoughts of seeing you again make me dizzy.
I am sure you remember our pleasant discovery of your brother Edward’s “private” library last summer and the excitement that reading aloud from his little books gave us. In hopes of amusing you, I am attaching a story I have written. Once my naughty mind conceived of it, it was insistent as a suitor and would not let me rest until I had penned it. Of course, I would share it with no one but you and you absolutely must not let anyone else read it, except perhaps Edward, if you make him promise to give me his special kiss when I see him next.
Here is the tale. I hope it gives you at least a little of the pleasure that writing it gave me.
* * *
While visiting my aunt in Newport, Rhode Island in the summer of 1894, ill fortune befell my father and my mother. My aunt rushed to join them and never returned, leaving me alone and near penniless in a city where I knew no one. In desperation I sought work and found employment at a rooming house that catered to the many wealthy travelers who came to Newport to talk business with the lords of the mansions up on Beacon Hill. In the summer months, it is said that most of the wealth of America collects in this old city, and I can well believe it.
The owner of the rooming house was a man named Humberto Lama. Mr. Lama and his wife Leonora took pity on my desperate situation and allowed me to work in exchange for a room, meals, and a pittance. I became an assistant to Leonora, doing everything from laundry to delivering telegrams, the countless chores in a house with many guests, most of them demanding, and not a few only too eager to teach a young girl the coarsest of life’s facts.
I had hardly been there a fortnight when my morning was shattered into shards of horror by my discovery of Mr. Lama dead in the kitchen, lying on the floor by the chair where he was accustomed to take a late night cup of tea. His face was a ghastly shade of purple, almost black, and his body contorted so that even I, a simple girl, could see that he must have died in terrible agony.
My screams woke Leonora and George, the handyman, and soon the police were summoned and took charge of the premises, where they quickly concluded that Mr. Lama had been poisoned. Their suspicion first fastened on a pair of gentlemen who had recently come to the rooming house, English by their accent and their manner, who were the only guests at that time.
The taller of the two gentlemen took the chief inspector aside and spoke quietly with him and I saw the officer’s manner change markedly. From that time on, the two gentlemen were treated with the utmost deference and the police even seemed to seek the taller man’s counsel in the further investigation. The other gentleman, whose name was Dr. Adler, remained quietly in the background and rarely spoke though he looked on with keen interest.
As the only servant in the house, I had the privilege of coming and going among the men and I soon realized that the tall man, whose name was Professor Cryptos, had taken charge of the investigation. In the afternoon, as I served the assembled officers and the professor tea, I heard him arguing forcefully with the policemen. I lingered long enough to gather that the police had concluded that Leonora had poisoned her husband and prepared to arrest her, but that Professor Cryptos believed that Mr. Lama had done away with himself!
As I listened, he offered a cornucopia of evidence, based on a knowledge of the poison that had been used (a tanner’s compound that Mr. Hugo used in his hobby of taxidermy), anecdotes of the dead man’s behavior (a resentment of Leonora’s increasing independence and an overheard vow that she would be sorrier than she knew when he died), and the care with which the cup had been replaced on the table, painted a convincing picture that Mr. Lama had, in fact, taken the poison deliberately to make the police believe that Leonora was a murderess!
Swayed by the astonishing display of deduction and logic presented by Professor Cryptos, the officers departed with sympathetic words to Leonora, saying that there would be an inquest but almost certainly no charges against her or anyone else. By the time the sun set, the rooming house had fallen into a mournful quietude, Leonora attended to by George, who was fond of her, and the two gentlemen adjourned to their chambers.
Now it is time for me to confess all that was in my thoughts and the surprising thing I did next!
I have long been a follower of the adventures of Mr. Sherlock Holmes and his faithful chronicler James Watson and it was with the utmost sorrow that I read of Mr. Holmes death at the Reichenbach Falls in battle with the terrible Professor Moriarty. As I had watched Professor Cryptos demonstrate with rapier-like logic and astonishing insight the true facts of Mr. Lama’s demise, a certainty had come upon me.
To prove the fact of my suspicion, I took advantage of an architectural quirk of the house that George had once shown me (shortly before he tried to put his hand up my skirt). The closets of the adjoining rooms in the house were separated by a thin panel that could be lifted out of a wooden frame, so that one might pass into a guest’s room and stay concealed within a closet unseen and unsuspected by the inhabitants. George further told me that such features are common in rooming houses and are often used by amorous hostel keepers to spy upon lady guests!
So it was that I found myself spying upon the two gentlemen to prove to myself the wild suspicion that had taken seed in my mind that these two learned fellows were in fact, Mr. Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street and his friend and companion Dr. John Watson, that Holmes had somehow survived his plunge over the falls and embarked on a new life under the meaningful name of Cryptos, which my smattering of Greek told me meant “hidden.
You can imagine my shock, when the first thing I saw on peeking from the closet was the taller gentleman unfasten his belt, lower his trousers and produce the longest and finest example of the male member I had ever seen (not that I had seen more than a few), before undressing to the skin. My heart trilled in my chest to see him so, bare as new life, thin, but well formed. His friend, who I presumed to be Dr. Watson, did likewise, casting off his pants, his waistcoat, and his socks, until both gentlemen stood quite nude, their impressive shafts crossed like duelist’s blades.
“My dear Holmes,” Dr. Adler said, proving my hypothesis, even as he took the tender sword in his strong, long-fingered hand and began to pump it slowly. “Do you really believe the woman innocent?
“No women are innocent, doctor. No more than men. But I do not think she killed her husband.
I watched, my heart racing as Holmes ran his hands down Adler’s arm, the gesture intimate, yet strangely possessive. I couldn’t turn away, although I knew I should. And so it was I watched, transfixed, as Adler’s lips twitched into a thin smile before he curled his fingers around Holme’s hip and pulled them together tightly.
“I would never have believed that a mingling of the coarse flesh could ever provide such pleasure.” Adler said against Holme’s throat. These were not the tender caresses of a faint lover, but harsh, his lips greedy, his teeth unrestrained as he bit into Holmes’ lean shoulder.
“Dear professor, it is not only the union of our flesh that delights, but the union of our minds, for only when intelligence, desire, and sensual delight are equal can a man find true ecstasy,” Holmes said in a tight voice as he pulled Adler’s head away from his shoulder, his lips finding Adler’s in a searing kiss that nearly made my heart stop.
Adler pulled away, laughing as his hand slid between them, his fingers enclosing Holme’s long, thin shaft, pumping. “Did you ever think for a moment that I might have a hand in this murder?
Holmes’ eyes closed, his head falling back to expose his Adam’s Apple, bobbing as his breath came in huffs of pleasure. “It is not your style, professor,” he answered as Adler’s fingers played with his balls. “You would have contrived something far more devious. No, this was the crime of a simpler man.
All movement stopped as Adler’s lips hovered a breath away from Holmes’. “Is it true that you called me the Napoleon of Crime?
Holmes opened his eyes and looked at Adler, his hand coming up to caress the other man’s throat and jaw. “I did, and it was the highest compliment. I knew from the first time we met that you were nearly my equal in intellect and that relations between us would be far more satisfying than ever I had with poor John. I vowed that I must take you away from your wicked pursuits, even at the cost of my own public life. From there it was a simple matter to make it appear as though we had both perished.
The only recognition from Adler was a mild twitch in his cheek. “And you had no doubt that I would agree to run away with you?
Holmes’ smile bloomed like daffodils in springtime. He kissed Adler, their mouths open, the breath between them like a shimmer over Arabian sand. Then I watched as Holmes’ hand settled on Adler’s shoulder, possessive, masterly, and forced the tall man down, down to his knees until the purple head of Holmes’ shaft loomed over Adler’s brow.
Adler only smiled, then parted his lips and flicked his tongue over the head of Holmes’ member.
I watched then as Adler moved in a rhythm born of time, tight lips pressing, a perfect seal along Holmes’ cock. I watched, amazed, feeling my own excitement as Holmes’ hand fell onto Adler’s head, pulling him to take more of him, controlling every pump of Adler’s mouth.
He howled, yes, howled, like a wolf crying to the moon. I watched Adler suck him, squeeze his balls, his lips shining with spittle and the gift of Holmes’ pleasure.
Holmes pulled the man who called himself Adler away from his shaft, then lifted him up, to wrap him in a sated embrace. He kissed Adler’s ear and said, “I have ever been an excellent judge of men, and I saw in your eyes as a mirror, the desire I felt for you. Intelligence is, after all, the grandest aphrodisiac, my dear professor.
It was then that I realized the enormity of my misunderstanding. The taller gentleman was indeed Sherlock Holmes, though his lover was not Dr. Watson but his nemesis, Professor James Moriarty! I watched shamelessly. Breathless, I watched from concealment as they continued their lovemaking, Moriarty taking a position behind Holmes, riding him like a devil rides a storm. I watched, and wet beneath my slip, I touched myself, and rode the storm with them.
In the hour past midnight, both gentlemen at last fell asleep and I slipped out of the closet, grateful that fortune had allowed me this glimpse into the intimate life of the most famous sleuth in the world, and into the truth that holds sway among men and women, whomsoever they choose to love.
True passion knows no morality and lust defies logic, even among legends.
* * *
So I leave you with my poor attempt at fiction, beloved cousin. Do let me know if you enjoy it and whether your pa and ma will have me for the summer again or allow you to come here. Give Edward a kiss and a squeeze for me.
Your own darling,
© 2008 Angela Caperton. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.
Bio: Born in Virginia and later raised on a sailboat, Angela Caperton has traveled extensively and has grown up to appreciate the world in all its forms. Her erotic fantasy, Woman of the Mountain, won the 2008 Eppie for Best Erotica, and she has two other stories available from eXtasy Books. Look for her erotic vampire short story "Understudy" in Black Lace's Lust at First Bite, and her story "Standing Stone" in Pen Flourish's soon to be released goddess anthology, Maiden, Mother, Crone. She is currently working on the sequel to Woman of the Mountain and has several other short story projects steaming up her computer screen.
Learn more about Angela at her web page www.angelacapteron.com or her blog, http://blog.angelacaperton.com.
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