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When the Minutes Drag

Title: When the Minutes Drag
Author: Morgan Stuart
Fandom: Sherlock
Disclaimer: This universe does not belong to me; I'm just an appreciative visitor. I make no profit from this fan work.
Description: All Sherlock has is time.
Author's Note: This is a variation on a favourite theme, written because I thought the "Fall Back into Sherlock Fest" at sherlockmas needed a bit more horror for the season. This is a 221b ficlet: 221 words, with the last word beginning with a "b."
Warnings (Highlight to Read): Implied violence/torture, possible character death



Sherlock was engrossed in his experiment when John said goodbye and left to join Lestrade for a pint.

In retrospect, Sherlock couldn't be certain if he'd offered even a nod in reply.

Once the chemicals in his test tubes had surrendered their mysteries, Sherlock began to feel the drag of each empty second.

With autumn's arrival, the nights were growing longer, John liked to say. This one became interminable.

By 3:07 a.m., twenty-three texts to John and twenty-one to Lestrade had gone unanswered.

At 5:19 a.m., Sherlock received a URL texted by an unknown sender. The webpage contained an embedded video.

At 5:22 a.m., a second text: "What did I do to your DI?"

The silent film ran for one hour and seventeen minutes. Not once did it show Lestrade.

Instead, the camera focused on John, bound and struggling hard, absorbed by events off-screen.

Sherlock observed every detail of John's haggard features. Twisted in rage. Blank in horror. Stony in anguish, tears tracing the curves and hollows of stubbled cheeks.

He read the words from John's lips. The furious, "No!" The desperate, "He'll die if you don't stop now." The broken, "No more. Please."

Finally, the unblinkingly certain, "You're a dead man. If I don't kill you, Sherlock will."

At 6:40 a.m., the film and Sherlock's world both faded to black.


THE END

Vital Stats: Originally written in September 2011.

Originally written for the prompt "The nights are getting longer." at the "Fall Back into Sherlock" Fest at sherlockmas.

Comments

( 41 comments — Leave a comment )
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bk7brokemybrain
Sep. 29th, 2011 07:50 pm (UTC)
Oh no! And YES! I love seeing John this time, leaving the torture ob scena.
Great drabble! *shivers*
morganstuart
Sep. 30th, 2011 05:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad this worked for you! Thank so much.
red_chapel
Sep. 29th, 2011 08:12 pm (UTC)
Ouch. And {shivers}.
morganstuart
Sep. 30th, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad it gave you shivers! Sorry for the ouch, though. Thanks so much for reading.
litlover12
Sep. 29th, 2011 08:32 pm (UTC)
Yipe! Very Halloweeny!
morganstuart
Sep. 30th, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad you think so! Thank you for this.
uwsannajane
Sep. 29th, 2011 08:36 pm (UTC)
*Shudder*

And SO well done - another 221B that tells a full story.

*More shuddering*
morganstuart
Sep. 30th, 2011 05:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad you found this to be shudder-inducing! Thank you so much for your kind words. I hoped it would feel like a full story, despite its brevity. I really appreciate your reading and commenting, as always!
spacemutineer
Sep. 29th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, good heavens, this is fantastic. Devastating and exciting, horrible and incredible. So, SO good.
morganstuart
Sep. 30th, 2011 05:53 pm (UTC)
Oh wow! I'm thrilled you think so. You've made my day. Thank you for your lovely feedback.
maggie_conagher
Sep. 29th, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC)
the only way i know how to thank you for this is to say that it was so real to me that i almost vomited. My stomach hurts and I am going to get under my duvet for awhile, not for naughties but to recover in my safe place with petting kitties and rubbing my cheek against flannel.
morganstuart
Sep. 30th, 2011 05:54 pm (UTC)
Oh, bless you! *hugs you and fetches you virtual tea* I'm sorry for the trauma. But thank you for letting me know that you found it to be moving/effective. I do appreciate it so much.
(Deleted comment)
morganstuart
Sep. 30th, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
*hugs you and offers you virtual tea* Thank you so much, my friend! I'm so glad you liked this.
brighteyed_jill
Sep. 29th, 2011 10:00 pm (UTC)
WHY! Why do you do this to me! I am at work! I am not getting all misty-eyed and blubbery at work! What makes this especially gutting is you forcing us (and Sherlock) to imagine what's being done to Lestrade that could cause such reactions in John. So much worse than if you described it. Nooooo!
morganstuart
Sep. 30th, 2011 06:03 pm (UTC)
Awwwww! :( I'm sorry. Um, virtual tea? *offers you a steaming cup*

Selfishly, I'm glad to know that you found this to be effective.

What makes this especially gutting is you forcing us (and Sherlock) to imagine what's being done to Lestrade that could cause such reactions in John. So much worse than if you described it.

Thank you for this! It's great to hear that this worked. I can't imagine being in Sherlock's position, extrapolating from John's reactions what had happened off-camera. I was afraid if I didn't limit myself to the 221b format, I'd get very self-indulgent very quickly in describing John and his reactions. I hoped, by reining myself in, this could be one of those "less is more" situations.

I'm so grateful for your feedback. Thank you!
archea2
Sep. 29th, 2011 11:21 pm (UTC)
Ah, I always love it when you write horror. So clever - what is not shown is much more terrifying.

(I should really man up and fill your Poe prompt, but the only thing that came to my mind was rather cracky. I'll try my best - or worst - in the week-end, RL has been a time-consuming pest.)
morganstuart
Sep. 30th, 2011 06:07 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I'm so glad that leaving it up to the imagination worked.

I should really man up and fill your Poe prompt

Oh my. OH MY. You and Poe? *flails* I feel like Sherlock, trying (not very hard) to restrain myself from jumping up and down in absolute delight. This would rock my socks. Thank you, thank you, for even considering this... *tries not to salivate on the keyboard*

Edited at 2011-09-30 06:07 pm (UTC)
basaltgrrl
Sep. 30th, 2011 01:02 am (UTC)
Lord was that bleak! Amazing, in a very bleak-y sort of way! Augh, there's no hope there, is there!
morganstuart
Sep. 30th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)
Augh, sorry for the bleakness! *offers you virtual tea* But I'm glad you found it to be effective. I wouldn't hold out too much hope... but then again, maybe it's all a dream. ;) Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.
cookiefleck
Sep. 30th, 2011 01:12 am (UTC)
Wow... this is chilling. And I wonder what happened to John, ahhhhghhhh. *thinks unrealistic happy thoughts*

For me, the most heart-wrenching part was not Sherlock and the reader experiencing the torture through John's eyes and emotions, but, instead "...twenty-three texts to John and twenty-one to Lestrade..."
morganstuart
Sep. 30th, 2011 06:30 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you found this to be chilling! Yes, I don't think this bodes well for poor John. Clearly he didn't know he was being filmed. If he had, maybe he could've given Sherlock some clues about where they were/who had them...

I'm really, really glad to know the part about the unanswered texts seemed wrenching to you. This little scenario really made me feel for Sherlock. Forty-four texts in just a few hours is a lot of thumb-work! And a lot of worry, too. :(

Thanks a million for reading and commenting, my friend.
hardboiledbaby
Sep. 30th, 2011 02:48 am (UTC)
Oh, man.

It's not just what you say, it's what you leave unsaid. And how you leave it unsaid. Awesome.
morganstuart
Sep. 30th, 2011 06:34 pm (UTC)
Oh wow - you've made my day. I'm so glad this worked for you! I figured this was one of those "less is more" situations, and I'm delighted to know that the unsaid portions of the story came through. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
prettybirdy979
Sep. 30th, 2011 05:20 am (UTC)
I love how you say so much without actually describing it. I love how you showed the strength of their friendship.

And the last line... so sad..

Thank you for sharing this.
morganstuart
Sep. 30th, 2011 06:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I'm so glad the friendship came through, and that the lack of description worked as I'd hoped. It's good to hear the last line packed the proper punch, as well.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I really appreciate your kind words.
methylviolet10b
Sep. 30th, 2011 07:58 pm (UTC)
As always, I squeed with delight when I realized you had another fic posted. And that squee remains, even though you went and did this.

Ow ow ow ow ow ow... You need a special Lestrade icon, one that says "Yup, I killed him again. Horribly. (With ketchup.)"

Seriously, though, this was extremely effective. Sparse, full of dread, with all the horrible details left to the imagination, where everything is scariest. Well done, you.

...now could you please write some happy (or at least not immediately hurt and/or dying) Lestrade, John, and Sherlock? Maybe kicking back in the Thousand Faces, with pints and kittens? I need some fluff therapy after that trip through the amazing morganstuart wringer... ;-)
morganstuart
Oct. 2nd, 2011 01:01 pm (UTC)
You need a special Lestrade icon, one that says "Yup, I killed him again. Horribly. (With ketchup.)"

*collapses in hysterics* Well, I did say it was a variation on a familiar theme... *blushes like mad*

I'm so glad you found it to be effective. I was hoping that leaving the actual events to Sherlock's - and the readers' - imagination would work. I really appreciate your feedback on that, my friend. I felt like the "Fall Back into Sherlock" fest needed a bit more darkness...

Thank you so much for reading and commenting, despite the tone of this piece. You're awesome. *sends virtual tea and playful puppies your way*
ascendant_angel
Oct. 1st, 2011 05:30 pm (UTC)
That was amazing, but I'm supposed to going to party soon, and I'm not feeling in the party mood now, more the cry into my pillow mood. Now I must have fluff.
morganstuart
Oct. 2nd, 2011 01:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad you found it to be moving/effective, but I'm sorry for the poor timing! *hugs you and sends virtual tea and puppies your way* I hope the party was fun!
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( 41 comments — Leave a comment )