Molly Hooper was standing at the body of Sherlock Holmes.
They had brought him here straight from the scene. He still had his black coat on. His scarf was in a mess – apparently some optimist had tried to resuscitate him.
On the desk there was a death certificate issued by a doctor who had been on duty in the reception room when this had happened.
Molly looked at his face, covered with gore and so terribly dead… His bright eyes were staring at the ceiling, motionless.
A sob caught her by a throat, but she stifled it – after all she was entrusted with a mission and she would be the wickedest of men, if she let Sherlock down.
She produced a small silver jewellery box and opened it, her hands shaking. Inside, wrapped in a soft lining, lay a duck's egg. Molly carefully put the box on Sherlock's chest and broke the egg-shell with a scalpel.
Suddenly, a terrific wind arose in a closed room. Molly covered her face with a sleeve, because she couldn't breathe.
After a while everything went silent. Molly heard somebody cough. She opened her eyes. Sherlock was sitting on the table and coughing as if his respiratory system, unused for several hours, revolted against the necessity to start working again.
'We're all square now, Carabas' he whispered and choked with coughing again.
For a moment Molly thought that there was somebody else in the room – a black man in strange clothes who echoed "we're all square". But she instantly forgot about it, as soon as Sherlock fixed his eyes on her.
'Thank you, Molly Hooper' he said in a hoarse voice and cautiously got off the table. He bent down at a sink and washed the blood off his face.
In silence, Molly watched him clean his coat and scarf, and then bend down and pick up the silver jewellery box that must have fallen on the floor the moment he rose.
It wasn't until he put his hand on a door-knob that she spoke.
'You can't leave now. Everybody's going to see you!'
He just gave her a gentle smile. Like always, when he knew something that his interlocutor had not a slightest suspicion of.
'It's been already handled. Nobody is going to see me. Even you shall forget what happened. Nobody must know that I am alive. Someday I will come back and tell everyone how I faked my own death. I've already got eight ideas what I might tell them.'
'I shall forget? That's impossible' protested Molly.
Sherlock gave her a look as if she was a silly little girl.
'More impossible than bringing somebody back to life with a help of a duck's egg?'
Molly opened her mouth, and then closed it.
'Precisely. See you later, Molly Hooper' he smiled and disappeared behind the door.
Molly blinked as if she had just been woken up from a deep sleep. She realized she was holding a scalpel in her hand. She put it down and looked around the room. There were papers scattered all around the desk, as if a small whirlwind had come through. Molly picked them all up and put back where they belonged. On the top she noticed a death certificate of Sherlock Holmes. She closed her eyes, feeling there were more and more tears underneath her eyelids. She could remember quite clearly people from an undertaker's establishment who had come and collected his body.
She turned away from the desk, took several deep breaths and opened her eyes. And then something unusual caught her eye. There was a broken duck's egg on the floor.
Molly looked at it, puzzled. She had a feeling that she had missed something. But she couldn't recall… Had it been in any way connected with Sherlock?
But what did it matter now? It won't change anything anyway… She sighed and started to clean up the broken egg from the floor. She tried to ignore the insubordinate tears that were obstinately dripping down her cheeks.
Marquis de Carabas watched Molly fighting with her memory for a while, and then he left, unnoticed.
If Sherlock Holmes was to spend some time in London Below, some people had to be informed.