Is there a mystical 15th floor at Bart's Hospital? A Sherlock fanfiction
| Fifteenth Floor-Down the Rabbit Hole
I have to deliver blood samples every Wednesday to the lab on the fourteenth floor of Barts Hospital. The lab closes at five, and I make it my business to be there about four.
Most of the time one of my nurses performs this task, she's on honeymoon, and I decide to change up my schedule and take a walk over.
Entering the building, I step to the elevator, get in, press the number fourteen. No one else enters the lift.
Door opens, I blink and blink again. Startled by what I see in front of me, I automatically shuffle backward, bumping hard into the back wall.
A swirling billowy blue mist.
No hall, no lab. No floor.
Rubbing my eyes, blinking, rubbing, blinking many times. Something must be wrong with my eyesight.
In this haze of rippling blue, stands a man.
Tall, slender, curly-haired.
Hard to see more of his features in the ever-moving murkiness.
One distinction is clear!
He's in mid-air! Nothing under him!
As if that wasn't mystifying enough, he's playing the violin. The music, one I recognize, is 'Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.' My mother played that on the piano all the time.
Shaking my head, saying to myself, 'you've eaten something that's giving you hallucinations.'
I crane my head up, locate the elevator number board overhead. All are dark except one. Fifteenth floor!
That's impossible! Barts has no fifteenth floor!
Pressing the fourteenth-floor elevator button, I'm shut in, and I land onto the right floor. And all is back to normal.
I take a deep breath, a delusion, something in my head.
I deliver the specimens and leave, thinking nothing of it anymore that night or the days that follow.
Riding up in the elevator the next Wednesday, I reach the lab floor, with three men and a woman all getting off and walking into the lab.
I greet Melissa, the technician and sign the needed paperwork before leaving.
In the hall, I press the button to go down, and that's when I remember that silly incident of the Wednesday before.
The door slides close; I look up to see the fourteenth-floor lit. And, this time, no fifteenth floor.
Damn, shit, John.
Better lay off the spicy stuff!
I'm rushing to get to Barts and the lab. Can't wait until my nurse comes back from her honeymoon. No one else seems the least interested in taking the time to do this job.
Making a mental note to buy tea on the way home, forgetting to stop to buy some last night.
Jabbing at the elevator button a few times in my anxiety, I step in, doors close.
The elevator moves, the door opens, the murky blue mist envelops me.
No, can't be!
Tapping the button for the lab floor the doors clatter but don't close.
And there is the same man, violin tucked under his chin. The sound is emanating from it so sweetly. So compelling.
The 'Music of the Night' from The Phantom of the Opera.
I remain still, in place, dumbstruck.
The song ends, and the elevator suddenly closes. I'm transported back to reality and down at the lab floor, delivering my vials of blood.
I thought I had been listening to the man and his music for at least ten minutes.
Looking at my watch I understand, no that's not true.
Time had stopped while I stood, transfixed, listening to a violin being played by a non-existent man, in an elevator on a non-existent fifteenth floor.
John Watson, there's something going on in your head.
Sleep eludes me all night, and in the morning I have to go back to Barts.
I'm on the elevator, no one else but me, but--no extra floor. No fifteenth light.
I try the same idea on differing days, and nothing happens.
Is it something I'm smelling or tasting from the clinic?
Questioning my assistant and some of the nurses discreetly nothing pops up that's any different from the usual.
No detergents, chemicals or perfumes.
It's with a fluttering in my stomach that I approach the Wednesday chore.
Now trying a different tactic, I climb the steps to the third floor and press the up button.
I step in, doors close and it's an empty compartment.
The door slides open, and swallowing hard, breathing fast, it opens--to the blue, blue mist!
No walls, or floor! The color, the swirling, and the man.
Seated at a piano! A grand piano!
Not a baby grand but this black beauty.
I can almost make out a dark blue armchair facing me with a violin lying lightly across it, the bow standing against the back.
My head leans against the cool brown plastic side of the compartment, listening.
'My Heart Will Go On' the Titanic love song.
My eyes tear up; my breath comes quickly.
I can make out more of his features.
Carved out cheekbones, eyes a light color, but what exactly is hard with the flowing mist.
He's beautiful! Swaying his body along with the rhythm.
The song ends, and suddenly the doors glide close, bringing me back to--the fourteenth floor and the real world
I can't find rest that night. Images waver in front of me.
The none-existant level called the fifteenth floor.
The blue, eddying mist.
Most importantly, and the vision that haunts me is the solid looking, and I admit, good-looking, man.
He is well-built, narrow face with indented cheeks. Always in a black suit, white shirt with no tie.
My breath hitches just imagining him under--no, no, John. Men are not your thing!
Stop this nonsense! Who knows whether he's an apparition just like the additional floor on Barts.
An illusion, brought on by--what?
Okay, smart ass! Then why do you imagine him stripped of clothes? Why lying next to you?
What is going on? What is wrong with you?
I formulate a plan to stop this idiocy, this insanity.
I cannot, will not, be enslaved by this any longer.
My longtime friend Mike works at Barts, and on the next Wednesday, I ask his assistance, no questions, as strange as it may sound to him.
A confused look at me asking him to board one elevator and to dismount on the fourteenth floor.
I, meantime, ascend in another one, people coming in and out and we meet on the lab level, standing in the hallway.
Down to the ground level, we repeat the action.
This time I have no one in the elevator and the sky blue color appears, the tall figure, his violin, playing 'Mozart Piano Sonata 11'.
Dazed, mesmerized I lean back to listen.
The sonata is done with, the door closes, and I'm on the ground floor before I can shake myself out of my stupor.
Mike is waiting for me.
No, no one entered his elevator.
He went to the fourteenth floor, the door closed and back down to where he's standing now.
We switch elevators and try again.
Trying it multiple times, I always have someone in the when we reach the fourteenth floor, but Mike, most of the time is alone. No fifteenth floor for him. And unfortunately, none for me.
Over and over again Mike drills me.
What is this about?
Why are we doing this?
Shaking my head, I ask him to trust me
Let's go for a few drinks, he says. You look like you are losing your mind and need to get bonkers. I refuse, he leaves without me.
Where to go next? What do I do next?
I'm living in a fantasy world. Something out of a comic book or a bad movie.
Where will it end? Do I want it to end?
Because now, that's all I think about, all I dream of.
Will I see him again? Can he see me? Who is he? How can I contact him? Do I want any contact?
I want to, but don't want to, go near Barts.
Now on my free early evenings I walk by, hesitate, walk on. Turn around and pursue the same course. If a cop ever noticed me, he'd inevitably accost me and question what the shit I'm doing. Have no idea what I'd say.
Again it's Wednesday!
My nurse is back working at the clinic.
I give her the excuse that I need the walking.
Knowing I'm on my feet almost all day she shrugs and goes along with it. It's good for me! Healthy! Right?
I approach the elevator with a sense of expectation, fright, and arousal.
Opening, I hurry in, my package held close to me.
Hugging it as if to protect me.
To my alarm, a woman steps on at the fifth floor, she pushes the ten button.
I breathe relief.
Alone again on the tenth floor, the door swinging shut, and there's no surprise when the door opens with that strange fog enveloping me.
There he is, sitting in the blue armchair now, wearing a black suit, and purple shirt.
Legs crossed he, for the first time, stares directly at me, into my eyes.
I cannot tell his eye color, intelligence radiates from them.
A book sits in his lap
Picking it up I see by the cover's letters it's Alice in Wonderland. I hear his deep sonorous baritone voice.
A cultivated British accent.
The door remains open.
I can't budge from my place against the side of the compartment.
The wonder of him, listening and absorbing his features. I'm transfixed. Hypnotized.
A shaking of the compartment reminds me of where I am, the doors closing.
No, No, I want more! Banging on the door, pressing the fourteenth button with force, finger jabbing over and over.
But here I am! The hall and the lab in front of me.
The fourteenth floor.
I step out, and back in, press the same button again and again, the doors alternately opening and shutting, rattling and clattering.
A technician from the lab steps out to ask if the elevator is not working.
No, I tell him, stopping my frantic hysteria.
My shoulders slump. I descend to the first floor and start for home.
Now my Wednesdays are consumed with the fifteenth floor, a blue mist and the human being sitting in a chair, reading Alice in Wonderland. Each time he's reads out loud, each time a continuing chapter or two.
It's that book which now finds me at the local bookstore, buying a hard copy written by Lewis Carroll.
I'm going to read each chapter in the evening after meeting with 'him,' the blue mist man, I now call him.
I know I'm down that rabbit hole.
That hole that I will call love.
John Hamish Watson, you are now officially insane!
How can I fall for a mystical, probably non-existent shadow?
No, not a shadow, because his form is solid.
The chair, the violin, the piano, the book. All around is the shadow, the blue, ever-flowing mist.
But, if that's the case how is he suspended and all of that suspended in space?
I've not ventured out of the confinement of the box that is the elevator.
Never even gave it a thought.
Curiouser and curiouser!
At home each night, after my visit with the blue mist man, I nibble on dinner, take a cup of tea on my side table. I light the table lamp and read to where he's closed the book, laid it to rest on his lap.
Hearing in my mind, his resonant delivery of the words.
Begin at the beginning, and go on till you come to the end: then stop.
My fear, my deep dread. What happens after the book is finished? Does he disappear?
Looking in the mirror the next Wednesday, I ask
I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.
I can't explain myself; I'm afraid because I am not myself, you see.
Watching his lips, those lips I want to touch with mine, tongue darting out occasionally, I daydream. He stands, places the book carefully on the seat, moves towards me, arms out. I enter-- but it's a fairy tale.
Walking briskly up and down the street, around the corners, shoulders slumped, obsession follows me.
I used to read fairy tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one!
That's all it is John, one hell of a fairy tale.
Each day now is a drag. Counting days, hours, minutes.
How long is forever? Sometimes, just one second.
It could be a micro-second, but if I could stay with him forever I would.
We're on the last chapter of the Wonderland book. I've dressed carefully for this Wednesday. Instead of my old jumper and khaki trousers, I'm in a dark blue suit, light blue shirt with a white tie.
Do I think this is the end? I'm not sure. But whatever the case, after he finishes reading I intend to walk into that mist. Whatever comes of it I'm ready.
My breath quickens when the door opens, and I hear his voice, see his body. His legs are not crossed but stretched out lazily.
He reads, pauses, turns the page, glances up, eye to eye contact, the mist lighter than ever.
The book snaps shut, my breath hitching, ready to move.
Eyes never leave him, I hesitate, not able to step out of the elevator.
He stands, his lean body stretching to a height I only imagined. And--he glides towards me.
Suddenly, my breath stops, lets out in a huff, vaguely knowing a floor and a room surround us, the blue mist dissipating.
So close to him I can hear his breathing. Can smell his body cologne. Touch him.
Stuttering, stammering, "I think--I think--I love you," eyes wide, staring up at him, the first words I've ever spoken out loud to him.
"Ah, but that's the point! If you don't think, you shouldn't talk!"
"I can't-can't talk."
"John Watson," a hand reaching up to chase a curl away from my forehead. I jump, scarcely able to stand.
"Yes, I'm not imagined, John Watson. As solid a human as you are," a very slight smirk shows up and, he moves his hand, a finger trailing down my cheek.
"I can't--I can't--."
Bending down nearer to me, his face almost touching mine, the sense of him overpowers.
My legs give way, his arm slides round to my back, holding me up.
His lips brush my lips, so soft, so alive. I respond, tentatively, then with an urgency I've never felt before.
The elevator doors clank, bringing the reality back.
He lets go of me, steps back and I follow forward, wordlessly.
"I love you, John Watson. Have from the first moment."
"And you are?" Gaping at him, every breath of mine rapid, as if my heart would tear out of my chest.
"How-why? What is the meaning-"
Oh, 'tis love, 'tis love, that makes the world go round!