Sherlock Holmes and the case of the Kernville Gem (For BensuAlbayrak's contest)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
Holmes was never one to oppose religion; though he was highly sceptical about the issues that had to do with the supernatural. Myths, Legends and Tales- all were viewed as sources of amusement to this man of logic. He had admitted more than once that the case of the hound of the Baskervilles had a lasting effect on him (A hound with features of a creature out of hell was enough to break a man; no matter how brave); but solving the case had proved to him that his beliefs on the supernatural were enough for him to stand on.
But after the case the Kernville Gem, I wondered if Holmes thought differently.

Submitted: June 13, 2011

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Submitted: June 13, 2011

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Holmes was never one to oppose religion; though he was highly sceptical about the issues that had to do with the supernatural. Myths, Legends and Tales- all were viewed as sources of amusement to this man of logic. He had admitted more than once that the case of the hound of the Baskervilles had a lasting effect on him (A hound with features of a creature out of hell was enough to break a man; no matter how brave); but solving the case had proved to him that his beliefs on the supernatural were enough for him to stand on.
But after the case the Kernville Gem, I wondered if Holmes thought differently.
 
It was a perfect weather that evening. I had just come back from the house of a patient and I happened to passed by Baker Street. The light from my good friend’s window and his moving silhouette made me remember the good old days when we were roommates. From the way he was pacing it was evident he had another case on his hands.
The days had dragged on rather slow for me, so I decided to stop by and see if I could be of assistance to him. There was never a dull moment with Holmes- whether we were on the move, or we were just sitting by the fire.
Even before I knocked his door I smelt his tobacco- He smoked heavily when he was working on something very complex and mind-boggling- he may not want any form of intrusion.
But that didn’t stop me from knocking.
“Come in Watson” Holmes’ calm, collected voice called from the other side of the door. I shook my heard in bewilderment as I stepped inside.
The room was thick with tobacco smoke. My earlier presumptions were definitely right.
“Hello Watson. I’m so glad you’re here” Holmes said, not looking up from his chair where he sat, smoking his pipe.
“Likewise Holmes” I said, taking a seat opposite him.
“I take it you want to know how I knew it was you that knocked”
“You never cease to amaze me, my friend”
Holmes chuckled a bit before answering.
“You knock with a distinct pattern” Holmes stated flatly. “Everyone does”
“I’ve never thought of that before”
“There are a lot of simple facts that elude you my dear Watson”
As he spoke, my eyes caught a colourful stone on Holmes’ coffee table. At first glance it looked quite ordinary, but up close it could be observed that it contained tiny fragments of different precious stones and minerals- Quartz, Turquoise, Amethyst, Jade, Opal and many others. It was unlike anything I’ve seen before.
“What is that?” I asked, gesturing to the strange stone.
Holmes sighed and looked at me dead in the eye.
“That is the cause of all my worries”
 
I stared at Holmes, almost flinching at the seriousness in his voice. Did he really mean what he said?
Noting the confused look on his face, Holmes proceeded to explain himself without hesitation.
 
“I was called last week to solve a very strange case.it was not as frightening as the case with the hellhound, but it was twice as depressing”
I gasped unconsciously, making Holmes frown.
“I’m sure you’ve heard of Samuel Kernville?”
“Yes I have. I’m sure you mean the one that owns the Kernville farms”
“Affirmative. Mr Kernville passed on yesterday”
I almost jumped up from my seat.
“What happened? There was nothing about it in the papers!”
Holmes stared at me and chuckled, despite himself.  
“I meant his father”
I calmed down on hearing this.
“Until things are cleared up within the family, the public will not be notified”
Holmes sat up, fixing his eyes on the remarkable gem as he started to tell me the strange story revolving around it.
 
“This story I’m about to tell you took place last week, just after assisting a famous Lawyer in solving a puzzling mystery. I was thinking of taking some time off for myself- maybe work on my latest experiments that I was yet to perfect. That very evening I received a phone call from the Kernville household, requesting that I should take the cab waiting for me outside to their mansion. I explained curtly that I was not engaging myself with any case, but all I got was an offer to pay triple of the usual price I demanded for when on a case. Money is a necessity for me, but never a priority. My dear friend, my acceptance of the offer was not the desire to expand my bank account, but the strain in the voice of the lady that made the call”
I nodded in agreement to his statement. Holmes would involve himself in case for sheer amusement than for money. But helping others had always been his greatest drive.
“The mansion was a rather short drive from the apartment. As I stepped out of the cab I thought about the nature of the case. The Kernville family were very discreet- you rarely see things about them in the papers so the nature of their problem could not be deduced immediately. Was it financial or political problem? I wasn’t sure until I saw the family. Immediately I knew that the problem was something within the family”
“Holmes!!!”
“Watson, a man’s reaction to problems comes with its own distinct expression and gesture. But I will not go into that analysis now- maybe later” he said with the wave of a hand.
I sat back in silence, trying my beat not to interrupt as he went on with the story.
“Nothing was explained to me at first. In silence I was ushered to the master bedroom, where Samuel Kernville the first lay. He was old and in critical condition- obviously in a lot of pain. It was confusing at first- I was no doctor; but I was brought in to see a sick man.
Just then Samuel Kernville jnr. moved to his father’s sick bed and pulled the covers”
Holmes paused, twisting his face in what I could only conclude as disgust.
“It was a sore- a festering sore on the right side of his stomach. It seemed to be eating at his flesh. It wasn’t big but it was one of the most revolting sights that ever existed; even for scientific eyes”
For the first time, I was almost glad I wasn’t available for that case. And I was the medical practitioner between the both of us.
“This was unlike anything I had come across before. For a man who is rarely moved by strange sights and happenings, I was taken aback by the look of that sore.
I was eager to know the nature of the case I was called for; and its relation to this sore.
 
“Apparently there was this family legend that revolved around the stone. It was believed that the stone cures the sore, which afflicts the firstborn son of the Kernville family every half century. All firstborns are required to keep it in their possession to prevent this sore but the old man claimed he defied that rule because he initially thought it was mere superstition. I asked them what I was brought here for, because all this talk about superstition was beginning to irritate me. To my surprise they told me I was called to help them devise a logical plan to save the next Kernville!”
“But I thought the next victim would be in the next 50 years”
“That was the first question I asked, Watson. They told me that if the gem doesn’t save the victim from death, the sore afflicts the firstborn male of the victim’s offspring.”
I stared at Holmes as he paused for a minute to take a drink. This was the craziest thing I’ve heard in my entire life.
“The legend says that the victim’s offspring was to drink some water in which the gem had been soaked in for about an hour. But as soon as he drinks the water, the victim dies”
I gripped my seat, my mouth wide open.
“Calm down Watson. I experienced the same shock as you did, though I expressed it in a completely different manner”
I took in a deep breath as I asked Holmes to continue.
“They needed a logical solution from an outsider and anything suggested had been regarded as biased since they were all members of the family”
“So what did you tell them?” I asked.
“You have always known me as a man to speak my mind. I simply told them that depending on ridiculous myths cannot solve any problem”
“Did they react negatively?”
“Watson, their reaction was the last thing I cared about. They listened to my logic and actually saw reason in it. I told them to let the young man drink the water, and one would see that the old man would not suffer death as assumed. They agreed to it, and believe me, nothing happened to the old man, much to their relief.”
“So the myth was a hundred 100% rubbish” I concluded, smiling to myself.
“I wish I could agree to that my dear friend.” Holmes said gloomily.
“What do you mean?” I asked puzzled.
“I told you Samuel Kernville died yesterday.”
“He probably died because of the ailment” I said slowly.
Holmes nodded in agreement, but said nothing.
“I had left before he had passed so I couldn’t make any last minute observation- not that I thought it was relevant. I had a lot of things planned before they requested my aid”
“But Holmes I thought-”
“Watson have you ever known me to be idle. Me taking a break does not mean being unoccupied”
I could not oppose to that.
On the day of his death I received a letter on the night of Kernville’s death. It had the signature Kernville seal on it, and I opened it to reveal a short letter written in a very hurried manner.
 
Dear Holmes,
We followed your advice, and my dear father-in- law did not die immediately as expected. But as I’m writing this the old man is dead.
True, his affliction was an ailment, and not a curse as earlier thought; but I have one question to ask you as a man of wisdom and logic.
If it was just a pointless myth, then why did a sore appear out of nowhere at my husband’s side as soon as his father breathed his last?
There was nothing there until the old man died- my paranoid husband checked every single hour of every day.
Mr Holmes I demand a logical answer; since you seem to believe that nothing could defy logic.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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