I feel like I’ve been walking forever down this cobblestone street. My watch stopped at 9:20, and my cell isn’t working. It’s blank. I really want to text my friend, Lisa. I’ve been concerned about her for a few days. She hasn’t texted me or called. Something’s not right. Anyway, tonight I planned on walking only a half mile to Houlihan’s Restaurant and Bar, but I’ve definitely walked farther than a half mile. What’s more, there are no cobblestone streets anywhere in town, and for some reason that I can’t remember, I turned left off N 45th and on to W Somerset. Why would I do that? I’ve never even heard of this street. Where on earth AM I? I stop, sit on a shop stoop and take off my heels. They’re killing me, I’m exhausted. I close my eyes and count to ten. Calm down, Ruthie. Great, now I’m talking to myself. I open my eyes, hoping that I’m dreaming, and I’ll wake up in my own bed with my boyfriend, Mark beside me. But when I open my eyes, I’m still on this deserted street, and I remember that Mark and I broke up last weekend. He was cheating on me with his ex-wife, Bunnie. That’s why I’m walking to a bar by myself. I’m not planning on hooking up with anyone, but why stay home and be alone on a Saturday night? Well, I have my two kitties, Nancy and Nadine, and I love them, but at thirty nine, I’m too young to be an old cat lady. Even though I’ve sort of secretly always thought there’s nothing wrong with being an old cat lady. And not only am I not at home in bed but I’m still out in the damp dark.. and now there’s a strange lavender fog coming from the north and starting to envelop the street. I’m going to head back home. Back down this strange street until I’m back on N 45th. My shoes will hurt badly if I put them back on that I’ll walk back in bare feet. I’ll be safely home in no time. I only have to retrace my steps. So I pick up my shoes and adjust my fur wrap. That’s fake fur. I have a rule against the real stuff. I never break rules, especially the ones I make myself for myself. And seriously, this misty fog is doing awful things to my hair. Probably a good thing I decided against going to Rosemary’s. It must be dead anyway. It’s certainly quiet out here. Creepily quiet for a Saturday night. Like one of those life after people movies. Maybe a ghost will pop out at me any second. The thought gives me shivers. Or is it the early October Oregon weather?
So I walk for what I think is about another half hour. I should have found 45th fifteen minutes ago. The fog is getting worse, my feet are crazy sore, and now I just want to cry. All of a sudden a door opens to my right. An eerie light full of shadows spills on to the sidewalk. It’s a man, and I try to run, but my legs won’t move. The man is smoking an odd smelling pipe, wearing a funky hat, and looking me up and down in a disapproving way. He doesn’t like my clothes. My legs still won’t move. Then I notice there’s a Beagle sitting patiently on his right. And then the light dawns in my mind. I recognize this dog, and he recognizes me and wags his tail. It’s Watson.. my friend Lisa’s dog. The same Lisa I’ve been worried about. .. So this man looks into my eyes and says.. your name is Ruth, correct? Come in Ruth. We’ve been waiting for you. There’s someone here who is from your time. I need assistance from both of you on a case I’m working on. It involves a missing painting. She took a different route than you did, but as long as you’re both here… Then I hear a deep, piercing howl from a distance away. And then another. .. And he says.. that’s the Hound calling. You should come in. I have a change of clothes for you also… You’ll be safe inside… Oh, you needn’t worry about Nancy and Nadine. They’re already here… Then I get the friendliest smile from Mr. Holmes… And I know that this isn’t Somerset Street, but Baker Street.
By M. Raynes