Previously on Sherlock Herms: The Making of a Master Detective…
Fergus stared at me with wide eyes. “Hello? Did you just wee on my master’s chair?”
My ears burned hot pink with embarrassment. “I-I did.”
“I would have excused you to the loo, if you had only asked,” the dog told me, his tone filled with shock and… perhaps a hint of amusement.
“You were fighting with Mosey. I didn’t know how to stop you from hurting each other.”
Fergus’s bushy white brows rose. “So you shook your tail onto the Jean Avisse signed hand-carved Bergère French armchair?” He rolled onto his back, barking out loud with laughter. “I’m liking you more and more, Herman.”
I felt relieved that Fergus wasn’t angry, but I also felt numb with worry. Mosey had freaked after being attacked by the dog and hightailed it out of the house…and out of this century, leaving me stranded in 1894.
What was I going to do? Was I doomed to remain in the past? What would Mom say when she found out I was missing? Would she think I’d run away? I felt my lower lip quiver as hot tears blurred my vision. I would never see my Mom again! Unable to stop them, tears rolled down my whiskers. I covered my eyes and sobbed into my paws. I didn’t care what Fergus thought of me. I was scared.
“Why did you fight with Mosey?”
I felt his paw awkwardly pat my back. “It’s a dog thing. You wouldn’t understand. There, there. You can live here with me. You can even share my bed by the fire.”
His niceness made me sob all the harder. “I miss my meowmy!”
Fergus led me back to his bed where he barked an order to Mrs. Gray to place more logs on the fire. Seeing I was upset, the housekeeper brought me a bowl of cream. Nice gesture but…
“I can’t drink milk. I’m lactose intolerable.”
Fergus and Mrs. Gray both crooked their heads to one side. “What is…lactose?” they asked in unison.
“Milk products,” I explained. “They make me frow up.”
Mrs. Gray quickly removed the bowl of cream. She already had the hand-carved Bergère French armchair to clean. Instead she fed me tiny morsels of a poultry product I didn’t recognize, but Fergus said was guinea fowl.
“Is it free-range? Organic?” I asked Mrs. Gray, who looked at Fergus with concern.
“Your guest has strange food requirements for a cat.”
“What is strange?” I asked them.
“Cats typically eat vermin,” she said. “Mice. Rats. Magpies. Squirrels. Pigeons. Doves. Rabbits.”
“Is Vermin a high-quality pet food company like Blue or Hills? Does Magpie come in both pate and kibble?”
Mrs. Gray abruptly left the room, muttering under her breath, “Little toff is turning into a bloody rakefire.”
“Don’t mind her,” Fergus said. “If she had her way, I would be chained to the barn and hunt for my dinner.” He lay beside me while I finished my Vermin brand guinea fowl. As I licked my paw to wash my whiskers, he said, “You seem like a regular cat, but you speak strange words. Are they American words? Will my master know about lactose and Blue Hills when he returns from his travels?”
“No. I guess they won’t be invented for quite a few years yet. But they’re popular in my time.”
Fergus abruptly sat up. “Your time?”
“I’m from the year 2017.”Is Vermin a high-quality pet food company like Blue or Hills? Does Magpie come in both pate and kibble? Click To Tweet
Fergus reared back, his expression stunned. “You’re a time traveler? My master will have a severe case of the blue devils upon hearing he missed meeting you.”
As Fergus’s master was responsible for killing my hero, I wasn’t sure I’d care to meet him, though I didn’t say as much.
“Is time travel like spiritualism?” Fergus asked. I shrugged, not sure what that was. “My master is quite certain there is life after death. He’s become obsessed with things otherworldly. Ghosts. Angels. Winged sprites capering in the garden. In fact, I see them too!”
“I’ve never met a winged sprite,” I told him. “But I’ve met ghosts and Charlie is my guardian angel.”
Fergus wanted to hear all about Charlie and the ghosts. But first… “Where would I find your litter box room? I need to widdle.”
“Sadly, we do not have a…litter box, is it? You may freshen yourself in the flower bed outside the front door.”
I passed Mrs. Gray in the hall busy scrubbing the Bergère armchair and let myself out the front door. I didn’t really have to widdle. A thought had flashed through my brain and I needed a private moment to consider it.
I sat on the front step cloaked in shadows and moonlight. The air smelled fresh without the taint of pollution. In fact, I hadn’t sneezed once since I’d arrived in 1894. But while living in the past would do wonders for my allergies, I couldn’t eat magpies and squirrels for the remainder of my days, especially if I had to hunt for them. I preferred my noms to be served on my special plate in front of the kitchen sink while Mom prepares dinner.
Feeling choked up at the thought of never seeing her again, I shook off my sadness to consider what had brought me outside to begin with. Charlie. My guardian angel. I knew without a doubt that my past cases had not been a dream, even though Dori and my fur sibs had gone to a lot of trouble to make it seem like I’d dozed off and dreamed of my career as a purranormal investigator starting with the Case of the Dancing Ghosts. So, if all that had been real, then Charlie Feeble was still real.
I’d met Charlie during the Case of Mrs. Shallowford’s Ghost. Charlie was the ghost. We took a liking to each other and he helped me try to understand the detective business since in life Charlie had been a world-renown detective called Max Shallowford. Charlie was kinda shy in life, so he hid behind an actor who did all the public front work while Charlie stayed behind the scenes and solved cases. In the end it cost him his life, but that turned out to be good for me as Charlie was promoted to become my Guardian Angel.
“Charlie?” I whispurrred into the moonlight. “It’s me, Herman!!! Can you hear me? I’m stranded in 1894. Mosey got scared and zoomed back home. I need help.” I waited to hear his familiar voice, but then Fergus poked his snout out the door.
“You having problems?”
“No. Well. Yes. I was just trying to call Charlie to come rescue me, but he’s not answering.”
“Maybe he can’t hear you.”
“He’s an angel. He should be able to hear everything.” Dragging my floofy tail, I returned with Fergus to his bed in front of the fire. Fergus wanted to hear all about living in the future, and what it felt like to travel through time. I was happy to oblige, but my answers only added to his questions. Soon my froat became scratchy and dry, and the roaring fire made me sleepy.
“I am so tired,” I told my new furend. “I need to nap now.”
“Of course! Of course. Tomorrow you can tell me all about the dogs of the future. And…”
“I am happy to answer your questions, Fergus. But I traveled here to learn about being a Master Detective from Sherlock Holmes, and you said you’d share your secrets with me.”
“With your time machine gone, we have all the time in the world.”
“I don’t think so. I’m worried, but not fweaked out. I think Mosey will return for me.”
“Is fweaked out similar to being balmy on the crumpet? You Time Travelers have strange words for everything! Do they still use the heliograph in your time? Has miasma been eliminated? Tell me they still make roly-poly in the future! I do so love roly-poly.”
Closing my eyes, I placed my chin on top of my paws. Charlie! Please hear me. I need you to rescue me. I don’t want to be stuck in1894. I can’t eat their noms. I have a delicate tummy. And I don’t want to widdle in the flower bed, or learn a whole new language!”
As sleep threaded its way through my body, Fergus’s voice faded and the shade on the inside of my eyelids went from firey-orange to torpor-black.
I found myself in a dark place with no light…cuz it was dark. I felt a soft rug under my paws, and the space wasn’t hot or cold…just right. At first I didn’t smell anything, but then something familiar found its way into my nose and I breathed in deep.
“Charlie?” I whispurred. “Is that you?”
If you like what you’re reading, here are more stories by Kimberley Koz and Herman, her mews: