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Empty House – Page 6

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SHERLOCK Puts his hand out and motions John to be silent. We hear a sound like the scraping of a key in a lock. They stand up and move to the edge of the room, and then we hear it. A door opening. Next there are furtive footsteps and the door to the room opens.

The two are absolutely silent. John’s eyes are wide as the man walks past them. Looks out of the window opening it silently, and then he begins to set up his gun.

Sherlock and John are hidden only by the darkness of the room. Street light floods into the room through the window. In a moment, the killer’s eyes may adjust and he will turn to see them behind the door.

He looks through his sites, lining up on the image of Sherlock, and then he opens a lunch box in which he has a number of odd looking bullets. He places one in the gun. Holds his breath and shoots. The shot goes right through the window.

Then Sherlock leaps out of the shadows onto the man and pushes him down on the floor. MORAN rises and starts to strangle SHERLOCK. JOHN rushes in and hits MORAN on the head with the back of his revolver. Knocking him out. Then he points the gun down at the body.

JOHN

Here I am, saving your life again. How many times does that make now?

Sherlock pulls out his phone and pushes a number.

SHERLOCK

We got him. We’re in Camden House. Come at once.

JOHN

Who is that?

SHERLOCK

Inspector Lestrade, who else?

JOHN

Did he know you were alive too. The weasel, he never let on.

SHERLOCK

No, I just talked to him yesterday before I came to see you. He was also quite surprised to see me, though not as surprised as you were I must say.

Sounds of feet on the stairs. Lestrade and several policemen rush into the room.

LESTRADE

Sherlock.

SHERLOCK

Here he is, Inspector, Here is your man. We caught him in the act.

LESTRADE

Good Job Sherlock, but what shall we charge him for. Attempted murder?

SHERLOCK

No indeed, for murder.

LESTRADE

But you’re still alive.

SHERLOCK

Not me. For the Murder of Roger Adair.

LESTRADE

How is that?

SHERLOCK

Isn’t it obvious?

LESTRADE
 (sighing)

Please explain it to me. How is he responsible for the murder of Roger Adair?

Together again.

SHERLOCK

Roger Adair was found in a locked room dead with a hole in his head, but no forced entry and no bullet. The only clue, an open window that no one could have climbed into.

The ground was damp. Any one who had stood in the grass would have left a mark, and yet there were no marks, no ladder, no footsteps.

The roof of the townhouse also had no grapple marks or evidence that anyone had been there in months.

Across the street, however, is a stairwell with a vantage point that looks into Adair’s study. If you examine the area carefully, you can see marks on the floor from a tripod and evidence of the window being recently opened. But the most damning evidence is in that lunch box.

SHERLOCK opens the box to pull out the odd bullet.

SHERLOCK

These bullets are made of ice containing cornstarch and coated with a biodegradable plastic. They fire like regular bullets. but after they hit, they melt away into nothing but a remnant of white powder. That was a strange detail found in the autopsy reports of the mysterious shootings last year, as well as the that of General Shan.

LESTRADE

Ice bullets. Would that work?

SHERLOCK

Normally no, they tend to shatter. That’s where the cornstarch comes in. Cornstarch in water is a non-Newtonian fluid. When under shock it is hard, but at other times it is a liquid, so when shot out of a gun, or impacting a skull it is hard enough to do the job, and then it melts away with only a trace.

The sharpshooter was awake now held between two officers.

MORAN

You cunning, cunning, fiend.

SHERLOCK

There was one point in which you surprised me. That you would pick this very room to shoot from. I believed that you would be somewhere along the street where the police were waiting to catch you. With the exception of that, everything has gone as I expected.

MORAN

Am I arrested or not? There’s no reason I should have to listen to this man any more.

LESTRADE

So Sherlock,anything else you need before we go.

SHERLOCK (holding the gun)

An admirable and unique weapon. Original and of tremendous power. Please look after it Lestrade and the bullets that go with it.

LESTRADE ( taking the gun from Sherlock)

You can leave that to us.

The police leave. The sound of sirens in the street grows as Lestrade and the officers lead Moran away.

28. INT – 221 BAKER STREET – MORNING

John and Sherlock at breakfast. An array of newspapers are laid out on the table with titles such as. ADAIR MURDERER IN CUSTODY, This has a picture of detective inspector Lestrade on it. and SHERLOCK HOLMES VINDICATED. John closes the newspaper and has a sip of juice.

John grabs the back of his neck and rubs.

SHERLOCK

Is something bothering you?

JOHN

My neck. It’s hurting for some reason.

SHERLOCK

Oh you must have slept on it wrong. New bed. Old bed really.

JOHN

There is one thing about the Adair case that I didn’t understand.

SHERLOCK

Oh, just one?

JOHN

Why did Moran kill Adair?

SHERLOCK

Adair and Moran were members of the same club. One day last month they won a large sum of money playing cards together. Now most of this is conjecture, but I think that it is likely that Adair found out that Moran had cheated. Being an honest sort of fellow he warned Moran that he would reveal his deceit and have him removed from the club. Adair then went home to count out the money he had won in order to return it to the rightful owners.

Now Moran had worked hard on his cover, and he was unwilling to have himself thrown into suspicion of any sort, so he decided to eliminate Adair before he said anything. That is where his temper got the better of him, for I was waiting for him to show himself, and when I read the news on my way back to London. I knew that it had to be him.

JOHN

I see. It sounds plausible.

SHERLOCK

Oh, I am sure that it will all come out in the trial.

JOHN

Are we going?

SHERLOCK

To the trial? Definitely. I’ve got to make sure that the jurors are safe this time.

JOHN

That’s sure to be a media circus.

You aren’t testifying are you?

SHERLOCK (acknowledgement)

Hmmm, no.

JOHN

That’s a relief.

You know Sherlock, I’ve been thinking about getting a cat.

SHERLOCK

What!

John smiles.

29. EXT – Bailey – DAY

Sherlock Holmes and John Watson come out of the building to be mobbed by photographers.

JOHN

No comment. Absolutely no comment.

They pass through the crowd and go down the steps. The photographers begin to mob the lawyers.

JOHN

So that’s satisfying. Moran won’t be bothering anyone for a long, long time.

SHERLOCK

After Moriarty, Moran was the second most dangerous man in Britain, but there are still plenty of other criminals out there left to expose.

We have done no more than cut off the tip of his organization.

A man in a brown coat walks up to Sherlock Holmes. The assassin is the sinister man shown in the police station in the Reichenbach fall.

ASSASSIN

Moran sends a gift, Mr Holmes.

The assassin shoots Sherlock in the gut at point blank range. He falls. The assassin runs away, but a policeman tackles him and others come to his aid so he is soon in custody.

John is shocked. He catches Sherlock as he falls and lowers him to the ground. He puts his hands on the wound and finds that they are soon covered in blood. Then he opens Sherlock’s coat to reveal a gaping hole.

JOHN

Oh my God!

John takes off Sherlock’s scarf and places it in the wound. It soaks up blood and soon looks red.

Photographers drawn by the drama gather around.

JOHN

Get back! get back!

Others come to help. Sirens go off.

JOHN

Sherlock. Sherlock do you hear me? Sherlock

No reply. Fade to black

END ACT 1

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