“Got here sooner than expected,” John said, “Traffic cleared and…” he trailed off. It appeared as though a strikingly lovely young woman was sucking Sherlock’s thumb and he was pretty sure that all she had on was his coat. “Am I interrupting something?”
The woman grinned around Sherlock’s finger, eyeing John. “Don’t be foolish,” Sherlock said. “This is the body.”
“What a body it is,” John said quietly. She was a tiny thing, couldn’t have been over five foot without shoes, but she wasn’t frail. Words like full-figured, lush, and ripe went through John’s mind and various extremities. The fact that he could tell her shape at all under Sherlock’s huge coat said something.
“Oh, I ‘ik ‘em,” she garbled as Sherlock probed her bottom lip, “oh’s ‘e?”
“Stop trying to talk,” Sherlock said. “John, dead woman, dead woman, Doctor John Watson.”
She waved to John, the sleeve of Sherlock’s coat flapping over her wrist. “Hello,” John said. “No, wait, dead woman?”
“Yes,” Sherlock replied, “do keep up.”
“She doesn’t look very dead,” John said.
“Her core temperature can’t be over 70 degrees and she’s had a full autopsy and toxicology. I saw her dead and now she refuses to stay that way. If you don’t believe me come here and feel of her.”
The woman wagged her eyebrows suggestively at John as Sherlock tilted her head to inspect her ears.
John looked between Sherlock and the woman. “Is this some kind of joke?” he asked.
“It has to be. I keep expecting the other shoe to drop but that has yet to happen.”
“Alright, I’m game,” John said as he walked forward towards them. “May I,” he asked the woman politely, motioning to her wrist.
She grinned, still staying quiet as Sherlock asked, and held out her hand. John touched her wrist and jerked back in surprise. “My God,” he said, “you’re freezing! Sherlock, why haven’t you gotten this poor woman any clothes?”
“She is freezing because she is dead,” Sherlock said calmly.
“Don’t be morbid, Sherlock, she’s just chilled. I’m sorry, miss, let’s try this again.” John grasped her wrist again. It looked very small in his hands. “Her pulse is steady if a little weak. If she has a pulse then she’s alive.”
“Appearances can be deceiving,” Sherlock said. He ran his fingers through her hair, close to the scalp. He tugged gently to check her follicle tension and she swayed towards him moaning rather inappropriately. “Oh, quit that,” Sherlock said. He stepped back and crossed his arms over his chest.
“Tell me what you see, John,” he said.
“I hate it when you do this to me,” John said, still holding the woman’s wrist. He could say that he was just trying to keep her warm but that would probably be a lie. “You always ask my opinion after you’ve already figured out what’s happened just to make yourself feel smarter.”
“Normally, yes,” Sherlock said, “but this time I actually need a second opinion.”
John sighed and faced the woman. “What’s your name?” he asked.
Her bemused smile broadened. “Vara,” she said. She had a lovely voice though her accent didn’t suit her. It sounded more likely to come out of an old sailor than a sweet looking woman.
“Vara,” John said. “That’s nice. I’m John Watson.” She only smiled up at him. “Well, Sherlock, I see a good looking woman. Maybe Mediterranean? Late twenties. She appears in decent health, just very cold.”
“That’s all?” Sherlock asked. “Look closer. Look at her eyes.”
John humored him and looked more closely. The color drained from his face as the light seemed to become captured in her irises and fracture into tiny rainbows. “Those are impressive contact lenses,” he said weakly.
“They aren’t lenses, are they Vara?” Sherlock asked.
“No, they’re not,” she replied patiently.
“And you’re not in your twenties are you?”
“How old are you?”
She took a deep breath and some of the color came back to John’s cheeks. “You really don’t want to know,” she said.
“Oh, but I do. Would you like me to tell you what I see, John?” Sherlock’s eyes narrowed as he looked at Vara. “I see a woman far older than she appears. Judging from her accent I would say she hails from East Anglia specifically Ipswich though that nose and overall bone structure point to her obviously being Greek, you were right there, John. Her grammar is abysmal but a little put on as though she doesn’t want me to know how intelligent she is. Her body is flawless. Don’t smile, it’s not a compliment just an observation. She’s either had extensive plastic surgery or her ‘miracle’ skin prevents her from scarring or having blemishes, not even a freckle. I want to say that she’s the product of some hitherto unknown drug but she’s not. Once you eliminate the impossible what remains, however improbable, must be the truth. She wasn’t lying when she told me she wasn’t human. That I’ve come to that conclusion means I must have finally gone insane.”
John blinked in astonishment. “Sherlock, if you’re saying that this woman isn’t human then I’m afraid I’m going to have to agree with you. You sound mad.”
“He isn’t mad,” Vara said. “He’s close to right on quite a few things. Time passes though, gentlemen.” Vara faced Sherlock squarely. “If you want to know,” she said, “really know what’s going on you need to come with me because I have got to leave. Now.”