You See, But You Do Not Observe
by John H. Watson
From the personal diary of John Hamish Watson, MD.
Those who knew me (I use the term knew due to the fact that I shall be long dead
before this document is revealed to anyone) also knew that I was the personal
biographer of a Mr. Sherlock Holmes, a very honorable gentleman with a genius
intellect and a master of the art of deductive reasoning. And those who knew
Holmes himself knew him as a consulting detective, and basically an assistant to
Scotland Yard whenever a crime seemed so perplex that they themselves could not
even come to any real conclusion. But in the first week of the winter of 1887,
the proposition that a group of scientists presented before him has anguished my
recollection more than Merridew of a separate abominable memory and the inquest
of the Ripper ever have.
Like the giant rat of Sumatra that
Holmes and I encountered on the ship the Matilda Briggs and the revolting
adventure of the Red Leech, Holmes felt that the world would never completely be
prepared for the result of the revelations of either. But Holmes specifically
commanded me to never chronicle the investigation of the metallic sphere that
rested in a mire outside of London and what chaos would follow for Holmes,
myself, and a group of scientists within a building resting on the outskirts of
London would be a true nightmare for both Holmes and I.
I remember how the Norwegian man came
to our lodgings at 221b Baker Street, how he asked if Holmes would like to be
present at the confidential unraveling of an extraterrestrial species, how
Holmes, although not a man who dabbled in the possibility of a species alien to
ours, and how he agreed to go with them to the crash site.
I had fallen slightly ill with
stomach flu, and therefore I did not go with Holmes to the excavation site, but
I eagerly awaited his return to tell me of what he had seen there. When he
re-arrived at our lodgings, his face was that of true agony, scratched and
bloodied, his body tense and drenched in sweat. His eyes had to have seen
something terrifyingly dreadful, as they darted back and forth, seeing nothing
in the room, yet sensing great danger coming from something.
“Holmes!” I cried. “Whatever is the
matter? What happened to you?”
He took one look at me and bolted for
the gas lamp that rested on the desk beside the daybed. He raised the lamp as if
he was prepared to launch it towards me.
“HAS ANYBODY BEEN IN THIS ROOM BEFORE
I ARRIVED!?” he shouted.
“Holmes, what has happened!? You look
like you have just seen Satan himself!” I retaliated.
“It seems I have come close,” he
walked closer to me, raising the lamp even higher in the air. He nodded his head
towards my medical bag that rested on the daybed. “Open the medical bag and
remove one of the surgical scalpels,” he threatened.
I was horrified. Was Holmes so
insane, that he would threaten to ignite me? Still, I walked towards the bag and
did as he commanded, removing one of the scalpels. He then nodded towards the
dinning table, to the empty bowl that rested on the base.”
“Now pick the bowl up from the
dinning table. Do as I say, or I shall turn your flesh and blood to smoke and
I did as he said. But before picking up the bowl, I hesitated. “Why Holmes,” I
begged, “why are you doing this? Has the cocaine finally destroyed your psyche?
Have you put aside the years of friendship, loyalty, trust---“
“Trust is something I no longer have
for anybody. I cannot trust anyone anymore.” He raised the lamp. “Now pick up
the bowl, damn you! And hold out the scalpel!”
I raised the plate for him to see,
still frightened terribly.
“Now prick your thumb with the
scalpel. Let the blood drip into the bowl.”
I thought him to be completely
insane. But I still did so. I flinched as I pressed the blade against my thumb
and made a slit. I felt the warm blood trickle from the gash as I allowed it to
pour into the bowl. The wound was still bleeding as I held the bowl out to him.
“Now toss the blood into the
“What are you trying to prove,
Holmes? Why this madness?” I asked, with a tear in my eye.
“Your humanity, Watson. Now throw it
into the flames.”
My HUMANITY? Does he think I am some
sort of creature, a monster like something out of a penny dreadful?
I walked to the fireplace, nearly
knocking over the coal scuttle that contained Holmes’ cigars, and threw the
basin of gore into the flames. A loud sizzling sound emerged from the flames.
When I turned from the flames, I saw that Holmes has placed down the lamp. He
was now sitting down in the armchair that sat beside the fireplace, and he was
now doing something more shocking than any action he had just done.
He was crying.
Hours passed, every one Holmes spent
smoking his pipe, until he finally spoke. My face was red with vexation. “I am
sorry, my friend,” he said, the trail of tears still visible on his cheeks. “But
I had to know.” I sat in the armchair opposite of Holmes. “You had to know WHAT,
YOU RAVING BASTARD,” I screamed, “IF BLOOD COULD BOIL!? IF HUMAN FLESH COULD BE
SOMEHOW COOKED!? WHY! WHY WOULD YOU TRY TO KILL ME!?”
Holmes sighed. “What the scientists
found in that crash site on the outskirts of London was definitely an alien
species. But we had no idea what it was fully capable of.”
I finally came to calmness, yet still remained in confusion. “What do you mean?
What happened to the other scientists? For the sake of God, what happened to
you?” I asked.
“What we found,” Holmes began, “was
analyzed in a laboratory owned by a Dr. Lars Dahlberg, who specialized in the
study of extraterrestrial beings. He left the creature, which was presumed dead
by the rest of the men, including me, alone in the laboratory with a canine.
When we came back to the room mere hours later, we found the dog being digested
by this… thing. The entire laboratory resembled an ocean of blood, the dog
whining and begging for help. We watched as tentacles and mire engulfed the poor
creature, and the creature finally swallowed it whole. I saw a lit lamp sitting
on a wooden table, and I picked it up and launched it at the monstrosity. It
screamed and trotted on the table until it finally became still under the
engulfing flames. Two men ran over to it with filled basins of water and snuffed
out the flames. As the other men mopped up the bile spewed across the room, Dr.
Dahlberg examined the expired creature. He found the dog’s corpse floating in
it’s stomach. I assisted in transferring the mangled dog to a separate
examination table. He took a sample of blood from it’s neck and placed it under
a microscope. He must have seen something that seemed brilliant to him, seeing
that he slowly backed away from the microscope. He allowed me to look into the
microscope, and what I saw was cell assimilation. Both the doctor and I
concluded, along with telling everyone else of our thesis, the thing we had
found at the crash site was trying to assimilate the dog. One of the men was
ignorant to this, so we informed him that it meant he was trying to kill the dog
then become an imitation of that same dog. I, being a man of deductive reasoning
and logic, was flabbergasted. I thought to myself, can logic really exist when
eliminating the impossible is no longer an option? It was then and there that a
tentacle shot out of the dog’s back and killed Dr. Dahlberg. I was almost killed
myself before I burned using another lamp. So when I revealed what had happened,
the possibility that seeing as how it could easily imitate a dog, it could
easily imitate a human being struck me.”
“So that is the reason you tried to
burn me? You thought I could have been one of those things?” I asked.
“Unfortunately, yes. As for the
throwing of blood into the fireplace, we were convinced that we had to
administer some sort of test, seeing as how most of us were alone in different
areas of Dahlberg’s exceptionally large house. It was only when a one of the
men, a man by the name of MacRogers can bolting through the door of the lounge
where we were staying and said that another scientist, Dr. Jonathan Carping, who
was helping MacRogers clean up the leftovers of the dog, was being swallowed by
the dog. Carrying a canister of kerosene, we made our way to the laboratory and
discovered one of the windows was broken. We bolted outside and found Carping
kneeling on the ground. His hands resembled sea anemone, only covered in blood.
We poured the kerosene around him as he screamed a piercing, monstrous scream
that shook me to the core. Norring, one of the scientists, threw a lit
handkerchief into the circle of kerosene, igniting the flames that engulfed the
Carping imitation. His head fell off of his smoldering body, grew legs and tried
to escape. Masterson, a man with excellent marksmanship, blasted it away with a
shotgun as it tried to get away. He picked it up by the leg and tossed it into
the fire. I came to the conclusion that if it’s head was a separate organism,
every part of it was a whole. When a man bleeds, it’s only tissue. But blood
from a thing, if say, put up to a flame, would try to survive. We tested this on
all of us by slashing our thumbs and pouring the blood into separate basins. We
then placed them over a bonfire we created with the corpses of the original
thing. Almost everyone passed, including I. Masterson’s blood screamed and
lathered as it burned in the fire. It was then that his face split open, the
tendons and cartilage forming dagger-like teeth. He leapt over the bonfire and
landed directly in front of MacRogers and picked him up with gory hands, and
that was when a tentacle slithered out of his open face and went straight down
MacRogers’ throat. We had to push the both of them into the fire while it tried
to assimilate MacRogers. From a distance, we lobbed a stick of dynamite into the
fire, blowing the corpses to smithereens.”
I continued to listen to Holmes, but
in my mind, I was still confronting myself with the question how. How could
something, so evil, so ungodly, so insane exist in this world? But then again, I
already knew that the thing Holmes had encountered was from a separate world.
Perhaps even a separate universe. For all we know, perhaps even a separate
“We all went back inside and found
that the dog had disappeared. We searched everywhere for it, until we finally
found it hunched into a ceiling corner in the library. It leapt down from the
ceiling and killed everybody. I took the time of the massacre to ignite a large
stick of dynamite we had saved from the bonfire to lob at the creature. I bolted
out of the door and locked it behind me. When I stopped running, I saw that the
rest of the manor had gone up in flames, presumably from the blast. I was
slightly convinced that I had killed it. But even as I talk to you, I am still
not completely convinced.”
Holmes looked up from the floor that
he had been staring at throughout the entire horrific tale. I had been in
Afghanistan, and even I was shocked to know what Satan had created in Hell to
unleash upon the Earth.
“No, it has to be dead,” Holmes said.
“It’s simple logic.”
I could bear it no longer. I pulled
my revolver, the same one I had been tempted to use against him earlier, and
raised it in his direction. Holmes looked startled, yet not completely
surprised. He pulled a pocket knife from his coat and slashed his own thumb. The
blood dripped fro seconds, then he flicked his hand towards the fire. The sizzle
came. I placed my revolver back into my pocket.
“I do not bear animosity towards you
for pulling your revolver on me. Seeing as how I am the only one who made out of
that hellish house, you must have suspected that I could have been infected and
kept that out of my story. But of course, if I had kept the possibility of it
out, it might have even made you more suspicious, the way I was suspicious of
you earlier. I would have done the same.” He stood up from the chair and walked
over to the window overlooking the street. “I have told you my experience with
the shape-shifting extraterrestrial. Doing so means that I can trust that you
will never chronicle, nor write down anything I have said to you in the past
hours. Like the rat, it is a story the world is not prepared for, but unlike the
rat, the can never be allowed to know.”
“But what were its intentions,
Holmes? Why would it ever come here in the first place?” I asked.
Holmes didn’t turn from the window.
“Invasion,” he said morosely.
I left the rooms saying nothing to
Holmes. All I know is that whenever I encounter him in the future, my trust in
my friend’s intellect and actions are great, but my trust in the man himself
will be little.
I walked along Baker Street everyday
for two weeks. I had been staying alone in the Northumberland Hotel, much to the
dismay of my wife. Everyday I would pass by our lodgings. I only saw Holmes
standing in the window once. I waved to him, but he did not notice me.
He seemed to be looking intently
across the rooftops, as if searching for some elusive truth. And standing there
watching him I knew that his eyes, glittering dark and sorrowful, saw nothing of
Holmes will never know this document even exists. When I am finished with it, I
will confine it to the deposit box at Cox and Co. Bank at Charing Cross.
It will never see the light of day.
John H. Watson, December 28th, 1888