Fear of failure, fear of the future

A new year means a clean slate, a new start. Another chance to try again to improve ourselves by trying to get fit, get healthy or try something new. A time of looking to the future and all of the things we hope to achieve this year and all of the things we have to look forward to.

But what if we aren’t looking forward to anything? And what if the things we want to achieve this year DON’T happen?

There’s always that fear, isn’t there? That, even though we’ll rush into this year, giving it everything we’ve got, fighting hard for whatever it is we’re aiming for… by April everything will have stopped. We’ll have given up, been knocked back or maybe realised that what we wanted to achieve just isn’t possible.

My aim for this year is the same as last year and the year before that!- to get a job. And last year I worked so hard- applying for everything that came my way only to be knocked back every single time. And by June I was done. Fed up. Absolutely scundered! (I did a blog about it here It’s been one of those days ).

This year I intend to do the same. Fight hard, work hard and push myself to get opportunities and to get a chance.

But it’s always there, at the back of my mind, that Small voice whispering to me, “give up. There’s no point. You’ll never make it. You’re useless. Who would want you? You’re crazy for even trying!”

This voice that sets my anxiety on edge and makes me so fearful of trying. The voice of the world telling me that I’ve got no hope.

This voice that makes me fear the future and, mostly, fear failure. I just don’t want to let people down! I don’t want to let myself down!

No one likes to fail.

But really, is there anything wrong with failure?

Thomas Edison (a pure genius hi!) said “I have not failed, I’ve just found 1,000 ways it won’t work”.

Failure isn’t always a negative thing. It can highlight the areas you need to work on, it can teach you a lesson. You can grow from failure, learn from it and ultimately, improve yourself and your approach.

So how does this all fit together? (A heading more for me than you, dear reader.)

Fear of the future is ok. It’s not a bad thing. Loads of people are afraid of the future, because we don’t know what it brings. It’s not so much fear of the future but it’s fear of the unknown. Some people find it exciting which is great (I’m jealous). I think it depends on your outlook.

If you fear the future, try to pinpoint why. Is it because you’ve had a bad experience in the past when you got your hopes up only to be brought crashing back to reality? Is it because you’re dreading something? Or is it more complicated? Maybe you’re worn out, tired of fighting the same battle day after day, week after week, year after year. And you fear the continuation of this soul-destroying slog- whatever it may be! Maybe you fear failure. You fear that you’ll try your best this year to keep your resolutions or improve yourself, only to fail by March or April. Maybe you’ve set yourself up for a big opportunity, people are getting excited for you and cheering you on and suddenly you get cold feet.. you question whether or not this is what you really want… but you don’t want to let people down. You don’t want people to know you’ve failed, you don’t want to let yourself down…

These are all things that I struggle with. Fear of the future and fear of failure. Fear of the continuation of my job hunt and the fear that nothing will ever happen to me. Fear of letting people down and the fear that I’ve set my sights too high and that I’m doomed to failure right from the start…

But here’s an idea, why don’t we all try to face this year with an air of positivity?

This year COULD be my year. This COULD be my big chance.

Maybe I CAN do this and maybe good things WILL happen.

Instead of focusing on the negatives, try to focus on the good things. There is always something to look forward to; a catch up with a friend, a good film coming out, your birthday… Christmas!

And let’s try to make this year the year that we choose not to focus on what other people think. Social media can make it seem like everyone else is doing so well, their lives are so exciting and so full of new experiences and exciting adventures. And we can feel down because we constantly compare our lives to theirs. We can feel like people look at our lives on social media and think we aren’t exciting, that we don’t do anything, that we don’t have as many friends or don’t have as much fun.

But y’know what? WHO CARES! Live your life for YOU! Not for Instagram or snapchat! You don’t need to impress others. I’ll bet you’ve got a good enough bunch of friends who’ll support you no matter what, encourage you through every rough day and be with you through every battle- even when you think you’re being SUPER annoying!

And if you don’t think you do, then, hey, my names judith nice to meet ya!

Seriously, do not compare your bad days to someone else’s highlight reel on instagram! You’re doing just fine as you are. Keep going. One day at a time. The future will come and it will be amazing.

“When the whole world is screaming “GIVE UP!”, hope whispers, “one more try””.

Additional note:

I fear the future, but my faith tells me that God has a plan for me and that he will never leave me. I don’t need to fear failure because I know that I’m not perfect. I’ve been given so many- countless- second chances by Jesus because of his love shown for me at the cross.

As someone once said, “I don’t need to fear the future, because I know who holds tomorrow” and “do not worry about tomorrow, each day has enough worries of its own” (Matthew 6.34) and additionally “cast your cares upon him and he will sustain you” (psalm 55.22).

As Christians, we don’t need to fear the future, because God knows EVERYTHING and he will never give you anything you can’t handle. He has an AMAZING plan for you. We just have to trust him, even when he’s silent.

Advertisements

2017 as a poem

Another year’s over, the passage of time

So here are some thoughts in the form of a rhyme:

January can be bleak and sad,

But it helps when you know some people who are mad!

Family and friends all gathered together-

You know that they’ll come through whatever the weather.

January songs should be a thing,

Because the world seems brighter whenever you sing.

I started writing again to clear out my mind,

Stories and ideas- reminders to be kind.

“Go get a job” is the most heard sentence-

Like it’s easy to do with no chance of acceptance!

A year spent applying and begging for a go-

Only to be welcomed each time with a “no”.

Life would be dull without hopes and dreams-

Although sometimes you end up on different teams

It’s a fight, it’s a struggle and sometimes things fail,

But that’s perfectly fine, just keep wagging your tail.

Grief is a strange one and affects people differently,

Like our own private battle we must each take on separately.

It makes some people angry and some people sad,

Some people cry and some people get mad.

But at the end of the day there is one thing that’s certain,

It’s so hard to run when your whole heart is hurting.

From an old life that’s gone and at peace in the sky,

There comes new life in a stable or sty.

Little lambs so sweet and so Small,

All gathered together in each separate stall.

Friendships created through varying chances-

Chances of meeting, talking, quick glances

Friends that i treasure- both old and new-

You’ve helped me keep going- and I really love you

The weather is harsh and cold and wet,

But we all know that frank gives as good as it gets!

It started as a joke and now it’s increased,

So now Frank is a must before anyone can sleep.

Summer is hot and heavy and sticky-

Unless you’re in Ireland when everything’s icky!

We traveled afar in a massive aeroplane,

To go and see London, for the first time or again.

We saw the sights and the views and took in the news,

We walked and we talked and we wore out our shoes.

We went to the beeb to see Greg and Chris,

A bittersweet memory as my friends go amiss.

Harry Potter was fun as well as museums,

We got to see crowns but no coliseums!

(I had to invent that so that this verse would rhyme.

Anyway, onwards with the passage of time!)

Weddings are fun and exciting times,

With family and friends and everyone in ties.

Dresses and cakes and dancing all night,

Even though sometimes there might be a fight.

Stresses and strains for the perfect day,

People get angry and don’t want to stay.

But no matter what happens, no matter what’s done,

All that matters is that we all had fun.

My four favourite kids to look after all season,

Running and skipping and laughing for no reason.

They’re crazy, they’re silly and they all have their downsides!

But each time I see them their smiles melt my insides.

Then summer ends in a wave of frustration-

Dreams are ended in a mess of confusion.

“Go get a job” like it’s easy to do,

I wish and I wish but I’m not sure what to do.

Faith is tested and tried all year,

The loss of someone I once held so dear.

But onwards and upwards, Gods promises remain-

He’s helped me before and He’ll help me again.

And then comes a chance, something new to explore,

A dream I’ve been dreaming since the small age of four.

It’s a long shot, it’s hard and it’s highly unlikely-

But it’s a dream, there’s a hope thanks to our lord almighty.

It’s a yes! Here we go! Off to London once more,

To live out my dream – try to open some doors.

To get some experience, a job- just a chance!

Working with directors – none of whom can dance.

We returned to the podcast at radio 1,

Here’s hoping you liked it- we both had fun!

Greg and Chris, Ant and Grace-

Were lovely!- I’ve still got a smile on my face!

What a great bunch of people, friends in two days-

But sad times are coming at the parting of ways.

It’s goodbye for a while but not for too long,

We’ll see you all soon, just like in that song.

More anger and frustration at the world of employment-

Just give me some chances and let me have some enjoyment!

People complain about the work that they’ve got,

But they’re lucky that they’ve got some money to spot.

A year of fitness and working out hard,

To prove that we’re worthy, to prove we’re high powered.

Intense and long and tough and tiring-

A pity that our local gym wasn’t hiring!

There’s sadness in hearing of a close friends sadness-

He doesn’t know I exist, so this is utter madness!

But still my heart breaks for this man and his son,

My prayers and my thoughts pour out one by one.

I told you before that this wasn’t goodbye,

We traveled to Scotland for a tiny surprise.

A few days of banter and fun with some friends,

But once again sadly the fun must end.

But now another wedding, another do-

To say goodbye to brother number two!

A happy occasion of fun and banter,

And now we’re awaiting the arrival of Santa!

Christmas is over and new year is here,

Another opportunity to drink lots of beer!!

Family and friends together once more,

To countdown the seconds until fireworks galore!

As one year ends and a new one begins,

We’re excited to see what opportunities it brings.

‘17 was a year of many mountains and valleys,

Losses, frustrations and going do-lalley.

We’ve made it through though- mostly unscathed.

To see what a new year has got in its waves!

Together, United, surrounded by friends,

Goodbye 2017, this is the end.

Here’s to Meet ups and catch ups all over the place,

Friendships and banter bringing a smile to my face.

New things and old things, memories, a dream,

Let’s see what’s coming in 2018!

Dinner Man and Agent Time CHRISTMAS SPECIAL

The full story of these two heroes…

The Adventures of Dinner Man And Agent Time PART 1

And now for some festive magic…

Greg and Chris sat in the studio, finishing up another show before the Christmas break.

“… aaaaaand Merrrrrrrrry Christmas everybody!” Greg shouted as Shakin Stevens started up to end the show,

“Aaaaaaaaand a happy new year!” Chris finished as the lyrics kicked in.

Greg turned off the microphones and looked at Grace and producer Chris,

“Go team!” Offering a high five.

Grace brought out a bottle of champagne and some cheese,

“To celebrate another year gone by!” She offered them to Greg who smiled and accepted,

“Honestly I couldn’t think of a better team to work with!”

“Me neither” agreed everyone, in various tones, pitches and using slightly different words.

A while later, surrounded by cheese wrappers and and empty glasses, Chris’ phone beeped.

He picked it up and glanced at it before climbing to his feet,

“Gotta go folks. I’ll see you guys soon. Have a great Christmas! And a merry new year!”

Everyone was sad that chris was leaving, but individually decided to make their own way home as well.

And so, the dream team, the Podcastards in chief, left the studio and entered into the mild winter evening to make their way home to relax and start getting festive…

*later near Greg’s flat*

“I can’t get it in,” Chris said grumpily,

“Just squash it down a bit then!” Greg gasped in exasperation

“I can’t it’s too tight!” Chris countered

“Well then we’ll have to trim it down a little bit” Greg said calmly,

“TRIM IT DOWN?!” Chris gasped, “TRIM IT- we can’t just start cutting bits off it!!”

Greg sighed and then laughed, “it’s fine. We’ll turn it round so that the dodgy bits are at the back, no one’ll notice,”

“I’ll notice.” Chris grumbled, but didn’t argue any more.

There was much grunting and shuffling over the next few moments before Greg finally exclaimed,

“AH-HAH! Perfection!” He stepped backwards, brushing his hands and looking up at his handiwork. “Grab the light switch there Chris will ya?”

Suddenly the street lit up showing a marvellous Christmas tree, covered in tinsel, lights and decorations.

Chris glanced up at the tree warily, moving around very slightly, observing it from different angles,”it… it doesn’t look to bad actually…” he admitted finally, “you can barely tell that we had to take a good inch off it.” He looked at Greg, impressed,

Greg pretended to blush while shrugging and saying “not just a pretty face mate,”

“Yeah you have long arms too, we know.” Chris laughed

“And big hands,” doing a little jazz hands, “and you know what they say about big hands?” He raised an eyebrow at chris,

“Yeah” chris laughed, “big feet!”

Greg looked aghast but quickly joined in with chris’ laughter.

Suddenly the lights went out and there was an ominous BANG! Followed by a dodgy sounding CLATTER.

“What was that?” Greg and Chris said simultaneously.

Greg sprinted quickly to the corner and peered round before motioning for chris to join him,

“Q U I E T L Y! SHHHHHHH!” He mouthed flailing his arms and putting a finger to his lips as Chris stumbled over the cables for the Christmas lights in the dark.

Both men peered around the corner, BANG!

They jolted backwards, hiding around the corner again, breathing heavily.

Chris looked at Greg seriously. And raised an eyebrow. Greg returned an eyebrow raise and Chris countered again by furrowing his brow.

As this silent conversation was going on, a dark figure was approaching the corner that Greg and Chris were hiding behind.

The shadow stumbled and struggled, he- or she- seemed to be carrying something, dragging something.

As the figure approached the corner he lurched suddenly and staggered around as though hoping to surprise the men.

But there was no one there.

The shadowy figure stopped dead and dropped his load on ground by his feet and looked around, scratching his head.

“I suppose you’re looking for us-“

Boomed an impressive voice from somewhere high up,

“-and expecting us to come quietly”

Came another, rather impressive sounding voice from another direction, but still high up.

The man stood on the ground looking up in all directions wondering what was going on, he grabbed his sack again and attempted to look like he knew what was happening.

“Well we will NOT come quietly or without a fight!” Came the first voice again,

“And we will NOT allow you to sabotage Christmas!” Continued the second,

There was the sound of billowing material, a quiet “WEEEEEEEEEE!” Followed by a gentle patter of feet hitting the ground nearby- followed then by a louder sound and stumbling feet, “ouch” came the first voice.

“For we are-“ the second voice began again,

“Dinner Man and Agent Time-“

“-The Tempus!” The voices overlapped.

“I told you I’m “The Tempus” ok?” The second voice whined

“But “Agent Time” sounds so much cooler!” Countered the first voice again.

Someone sighed and someone huffed.

“Anyway that’s not important,” said Dinner Man- there was only a small sound of complaint from The Tempus- “what’s important is, who the hell are you and what have you done to our tree?”

“Yes and you must be the person who has been destroying trees all over London-“

“-and it needs to stop!”

“-you’re ruining Christmas you- you- you-“

“-SCROOGE!” Finished Dinner Man.

The shadowy figure shifted slightly before bending down once again, he fumbled with something on the ground while Dinner Man and Agent Time/ The Tempus waited with baited breathe, poised to attack- not that they were great fighters, but they could flail pretty well. And scream. Dinner Man had a KILLER scream.

“ARRRRGGHHH!!” The two men yelled as the lights suddenly came on again, brighter than ever, temporarily blinding them and surprising them. The Tempus flailed energetically while Dinner Man took a deep breath getting ready to scream.

“Santa?” The Tempus whispered quietly “Santa is that really you?”

Dinner man choked on his breath and scoffed, “Santa?! As in Father Christmas? Chris you’ve had too many mulled wines mate!” He laughed, “Father Christmas isn’t…. real” he finished in a whisper and stood, staring, open mouthed at the man who stood before them.

A rather large man, with white hair and a red coat. Rosy cheeks and one of the biggest smiles they had ever seen.

“Hello Greg and Chris- or should I say, Dinner Man and Agent Time?” He chuckled, “I’m terribly sorry about your tree, bit of a mix up on my part… you see, on Christmas Eve, all of these Christmas trees confuse my reindeer- they think there are houses nearby! So I have been going around and… I’m sorry to say- sabotaging some of the biggest trees.” He looked down sadly, “I’m terribly sorry lads. New reindeer you see, still in training. Easily distracted. I must say, they didn’t prepare me for this at The School…” he clasped and unclasped his hands awkwardly before looking up at Greg and Chris.

Both of whom were still standing open mouthed looking at… at Santa.

“I’m sorry?” Chris said softly, “what was that Santa?” He blinder a few times, coming to his senses, “er, I mean… “The School”? Really? What?”

“so you’ve got a cape?” Greg asked excitedly, “what is it? Making toys? Making animals fly?”

“-TIME! It’s gotta be time! Ah, a man after my own heart,” chris smiled

Santa laughed softly, “no no no!” He smiled, “my cape is… somewhat different… it’s… very specialised” he started to look uncomfortable again.

“It’s ok Santa. We won’t tell anyone- scouts honour” Greg said, making a salut

“You were never in the scouts greg!” Chris muttered angrily

“Shush”

“You can’t lie to Santa!”

“Ho ho ho, no no no! My cape is… Er…” he motioned for the men to come closer and whispered to them before stepping back and saying “and tell no one! Now I must be off! Lots to do you know! Keep an eye on the trees, make good choices, take care and be good! Ho ho ho!”

He began to rise up, clinging tightly to a rope that hung from the roof of a nearby building.

Greg and Chris stood and stared, waving, smiling, laughing. They couldn’t believe what had just happened.

“I can’t believe Santa farts popcorn” Greg laughed as Santa disappeared from view,

“Shush! It’s a secret!” Chris elbowed him.

“what’s he gonna do? Give me coal in my stocking?” Greg Chuckled.

From the distance a jolly voice laughed, “no no greg, I’ll get you plenty to drink on Christmas Eve… and an excitable niece on Christmas Day! Ho ho ho!”

Christmas time

Christmas time is a happy time for many people, a time of excitement, a time of joy and of time spent with family and friends.

But not for everyone.

For some families (or individuals) Christmas can be a lonely time. A time that highlights the empty chairs at the table, the loss of loved ones- the missing pieces. A time when there is a distinct lack of family members or friends.

A sad time.

A lonely time.

And, I think this year, I can sympathise- Or, at least, sympathise a little.

Earlier this year my granny passed away so this will be the first Christmas without a Christmas Day phone call from her (from my aunties house where she usually spent Christmas Day). I’ll miss it. I miss her.

Christmas is a time of togetherness and a time to celebrate the birth of our* (*christians) saviour.

Christmas is also a time of hope.

Jesus, God’s son, was sent into the world to give us hope.

Hope that, this isn’t the end.

Hope that, we can have life and forgiveness and love.

Hope that, one day, we can leave this world and go to live in paradise. A paradise of peace- no suffering, no illness, no death. Nothing but love, praise and glory.

Hope.

Hope that this is not “it”. This is not “the end”

Jesus came to save. To save all of us from sin- if we just trust him.

But Hope is hard.

When we lose someone we love, we can lose hope too.

We feel hopeless.

We can feel that life is pointless- because this person that we loved and cared for is gone. This person- who seemed to do everything right – is gone. For no good reason.

But life is not pointless. And life is not hopeless.

Christmas time reminds us of Gods great and unending love for us.

Imagine giving your most prized possession to someone you know has done wrong, someone that you know is unworthy of such a gift.

But you give them this prized possession, this amazing gift anyway, because you love them, because you care about them and because you want to help them.

That’s what God did for us.

We are sinners, we do wrong and we fail to live up to Gods standards.

And yet he has given us this perfect gift. A gift that saves us and that shows just how much he loves us.

It can be hard to keep the faith.

A man I admire, Simon Thomas (known for Blue Peter and Sky Sports) lost his wife to a rare form of leukaemia very recently. He was crushed, and asked anyone who prayed to pray for him and his 8year old son.

My heart has been broken for these brave and inspiring boys. Although I’ve never met them, they have been in my prayers for the last number of weeks.

Their faith has been tested and, for them, this Christmas will be a time of mourning and grief. But I pray that they will see the light in the darkness at this time. The light of hope from God.

Hope that this time of darkness will end.

Hope that they will know Peace, understanding and comfort.

Hope that, someday, the pain will ease.

She is at peace, in paradise. And you are loved, cared for and so, so blessed… and you are not alone.

And that goes for anyone at this time…

If you’re having a rough time this Christmas, please know that you are in my prayers – whether you’re a person of faith (any faith) or not. I feel that, for me, to offer my prayer is a personal gift, and I hope I don’t offend anyone for saying that.

But please know that, even amidst the darkness of grief, loss and mourning, Christmas is a time of hope and a time of love.

Hope for a better future.

Hope that things will get better.

Hope that it will be ok.

And the love of friends, family and our Lord.

God bless x

Additional note:

Today our minister talked about “Joy”

And how Christmas can be a stressful time of year because of the Pressure to make everything “perfect” like the Christmas cards and movies.

Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect. Nothing in life is perfect.

Jesus was perfect but he came to an imperfect world so that he could save us- rescue us.

He came down with angels singing “Joy to the world”…

even if this season is tough for you, try to focus on the joy that is in Christ Jesus – that doesn’t mean you have to sing and dance, but be thankful that we are saved, free and forgiven.

Jesus loves us for our imperfections. And each family is unique in its weirdness, foibles and oddities. Enjoy it.

God bless (again) x

Sherlock and Enola edit 1

She ran forwards, towards the men. She was not a tall girl by any means, but she was more powerful than she looked. She careered straight into the first man, knocking him to the ground with a well executed rugby tackle. She quickly knocked his temple against the cement and sprang up to face her second rival. He had his arms outstretched just about to close around her neck, she gave him a round-house kick in the ribs. As he stumbled she kicked his temple, leaving both men in a heap, unconscious in an alleyway in the centre of London.She walked away slowly, limping slightly, but trying not to show it. As she reached the end of the alley way she clicked her fingers and immediately, two ragged figures jumped out from beneath a pile of rubbish and began to tie the hands of the two beaten men. She turned slightly towards the figures and said, in a voice just above a whisper, “Mycroft, what have you been doing without me to clean up you messes?”

***

Sherlock was bored. It was a Tuesday, and oh God how he hated Tuesdays. If there was anything he hated more than Tuesdays he couldn’t think of it right now. He turned away from the window and continued composing a tune on his violin. Mrs Hudson had been here moments ago, he thought, but as he looked at the clock he realised than several hours had passed since he had last looked up for the landlady. Oh well, he thought, shrugging, she was never much help anyway, always nattering on about some politician or some TV personality. It really wasn’t very useful.

John entered downstairs. Sherlock knew it was John because he didn’t knock or ring, but used his key. He took several short strides across the hallway- “new shoes” Sherlock noted- And then shouted hello to Mrs Hudson. He had never quite mastered the art of subtlety…

“News for you Sherlock, from you brother”

Sherlock rolled his eyes and began to play a tune on his violin, “Really John you should close the door quicker as you enter, strays get in and you know how Mrs Hudson hates swine… Oh, talking of which, hello Mycroft”

Mycroft smiled from the doorway but said nothing.

“Sherlock, it seems interesting… and important”

“Oh please” he spat, dropping his arms to his sides, “if it were that important he would have come in person straight away instead of calling you”

“Well he did call you first but you didn’t answer”

“Exactly, why would I answer a phone call from him?”

“Why indeed” Mycroft crooned from the doorway, “I knew that you wouldn’t take this quite as seriously as John and I also knew that, owing to recent events…” he trailed off and studied the sword stabbed into the wall above the mantelpiece beside a garish bear-claw, “I thought I would ask John to tell you… However, having spoken to John I realised that he had not understood the matter nearly as well as I had hoped,”

John looked briefly taken aback, offended even, but then shrugged and sat down on the sofa and picked up a biscuit from the plate Mrs Hudson had left several hours ago. He was well used to the brothers talking down to him and chose to pay no attention to the slander.

The two brothers talked for a long time. Sherlock scoffing and rolling his eyes on occasion while Mycroft kept a level tone and continued his explanation. John had zoned out, reading the local newspaper, until he heard the word “sister”

He became suddenly alert and began to listen intently while still holding the newspaper, pretending to read.

“She’s not our sister” Sherlock said quietly through gritted teeth, “our sister is dead. She died 16 years ago”

“Sherlock… she-”

“She’s dead” Sherlock said, louder and more firmly.

Mycroft closed his eyes and bowed his head slightly, almost as though steeling himself to tell Sherlock some bad news.

“John?” He said

“Hm? What?” John said, pretending that Mycroft had disturbed him,

“John. When you’re eavesdropping on someone’s conversation while hiding behind a newspaper, it really helps to turn the pages periodically.”

John set the newspaper down and looked at the two men. He was confused, which was normal, but he was also slightly concerned about Sherlock. He had never seen him show this much emotion, apart from when he met The Woman, and that ended very badly…

Mycroft sat back in his chair, while Sherlock sat straight backed in his. Unlike his brother, Sherlock sat rigid, looking into the middle distance as though in shock.

“I have a visitor for you, brother mine” Mycroft said after a long silence.

He rose and walked out the door into the hallway. John looked towards the door, Sherlock remained staring at nothing.

A girl walked into the room. She was shorter than John by a few inches but had a sporty, lean build. Her hair was a dirty blond colour, golden highlights streaked through it. Her skin was lightly tanned and she wore loose fitted jeans, battered converse and a long jacket with flared lapels.

She walked towards Sherlock, anger burning in her eyes. John was concerned. Yes, she was a fairly small, innocent looking woman- wait, woman? Girl? She looked in her late teens but something about the way she carried herself led him to believe that she was older than she looked. Either way, she looked harmless but the malice in her eyes was very concerning to him as she walked closer to Sherlock.

“Enola, please” Mycroft said softly from the door, “He is, of course, family”

“Family my ar-”

“Sorry what? Who is?” John interrupted

“She is,” Mycroft nodded toward the girl-woman

“Yes, and SHE has a name, thank you” she said, turning back to Sherlock, “But of course, my dear brother, hasn’t told anyone about me at all has he? As far as anyone is concerned I never existed, or, as the rest of my family are aware I DIED!” she ended in a shout that made John flinch, “Dead! Is that what I am? What would that make me now? A ghost?”

“Can someone please explain to me what the hell is going on?” John shouted, interrupting the steely glare of the girl and jolting Sherlock out of a trance- like state as he stared at his, his sister?

“Brother mine, would you care to…? No? Perhaps then-” Mycroft was cut off by a demonic stare as the girl turned and hurled herself into a chair. “I see. Well, John, this is our… estranged sister,” he gestured towards the girl, who shrugged and raised a hand lazily in greeting, “her name is Enola… she is 28 if you’re wondering although clearly she looks much younger. The Australian climate I would expect…” he smiled knowingly

John stared at Mycroft for a few seconds, his mouth slightly opened, as he tended to do when he was processing a lot of information. Before switching his gaze to the 28 year old who was now rifling through her pockets for her smart phone. “I don’t understand. How was she “dead”?”

Mycroft stiffened slightly “it is a complex matter…”

“But your parents. They never mentioned a daughter. They-”

“-thought I was dead” the girl, Enola, interrupted. “They thought I died in a Middle Eastern bombing at the age of 12” she glared at Sherlock, “and why did they think that? WHY? BECAUSE MY BIG

BROTHER ABANDONNED ME IN THE MIDST OF A REBEL CAMP BECAUSE HE THOUGHT HE’D LOST ME AND WANTED TO SAVE HIS OWN NECK! HE DIDN’T EVEN LOOK FOR ME AND JUST ASSUMED I WAS DEAD!” she roared at the rigid figure of Sherlock Holmes, “AND WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO SAY FOR YOURSELF YOU… YOU… YOU-“her rampage was cut short as Mycroft grabbed the girl by the shoulders

“I think… our family has had quite enough death thank you” as he heaved her back into her chair,

she gave him a reproachful look before folding her arms and glaring at Sherlock.

“However, Sherlock, she has a point… what have you got to say for yourself?” Mycroft paused for a moment. Sherlock remained silent, “We all thought she had died, Sherlock. I didn’t believe her when she contacted me…” he trailed off, continuing to look at his brother.

Silence. Filled with nothing but the woman’s heaving breaths and the ticking of a clock. And the traffic passing by in the street below.

“I trusted you” Enola whispered, “You were my big brother, taking me on an adventure across the world and I trusted you to look after me… and I waited. I waited Sherlock, I thought you would come looking, I thought you would come back but you didn’t ” she sounded close to tears as she said these words, “YOU BLOODY DIDN’T AND I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU” she roared once again rearing up to hit him but was once again resrained by Mycroft.

John was under the impression that the girl could have fought off Mycroft’s grip with one hand had she wanted to, but perhaps she didn’t want to hurt her brother quite as much as she wanted him to believe.

Mycroft kept his hand on Enola’s arm in a comforting brotherly way. Something John had never seen before from Mycroft, a sign of affection. John was slightly caught off guard by this show of affection from Mycroft and he stared for a little bit too long at the girls shoulder. Mycroft cleared his throat, “Sherlock” it was not a question, but a demand for answers, spoken with the force of a politician but the gentleness of a brother, “Please. Help us to understand. For Enola’s sake.” He said quietly before speaking louder, almost in a shout, but worse than a shout, the voice a mother uses on her child when she has gone beyond anger and on to disappointment, “Sherlock tell us what the hell happened!”

Sherlock sat still for a moment, looking down. Contemplating, perhaps. Or maybe planning a lie. This is what Mycroft seemed to think as he eyed his brother with contempt, “the truth, Sherlock”.

Sherlock glanced up at his brother before shifting his gaze slowly to his sister. His hands, which had originally been placed fingers together in front of his face, now slowly fell to rest on the arms of the chair. He sighed softly, never moving his gaze away from Enola. He continued to look at the girl as she lifted her gaze to meet his. They studied each other for a few moments in utter silence, drinking in each other’s features, wordlessly speaking to one another about their years apart. A tender moment shared between two siblings, broken only by the ticking of the clock and the traffic going by outside.

Mycroft cleared his throat, “if you don’t mind, brother mine, I have got some urgent business to attend to, so… hurry up”

Sherlock’s gaze snapped up to give him a reproachful look before looking once again at Enola. Her gaze had become one of interest and acceptance. An open, almost eager look as she stared at Sherlock and waited to hear his side of the story.

Sherlock took a deep breath, threw himself to his feet and began to pace as he spoke…

***

16 years earlier…

It was dark, there were people shouting and screaming everywhere. Sherlock was running and Enola was by his side, running with him. He glanced down at her and she looked up at him, they shared a smile. He had known she would enjoy this, the danger, the thrill of the chase. And Enola was enjoying it. Spending time with her big brother, her best friend, her hero. Sherlock ran harder, pulling his sister along with him.

Enola was loving this trip, her parents hadn’t wanted her to go, but she has snuck off with Sherlock in the middle of the night and got a boat out to sea before smuggling themselves into a lorry with some refugees. She stumbled over something, a rock? A body? Everything was going so fast she couldn’t tell anymore, it hurt though, whatever she had kicked, but she took a breath as she thought about the pain in her leg, the pain in her lungs, pain would only slow her down, she didn’t need it. Sherlock had taught her to hide the things she didn’t need, pain, sadness, fear, things that would slow her down, to hide them in a special part of her brain, in a box, behind a door so that they wouldn’t bother her or cloud her judgement. As she ran she also committed each turn to memory so that she wouldn’t get lost if anything would happen, but Sherlock had promised that nothing bad would happen as long as she stuck by him, and she believed him with all of her heart.

Suddenly and completely out of nowhere the screaming and shouting intensified. Fire exploded into the sky in front of them as they ran. Buildings were on fire and bits of plaster were raining down on top of them as they sprinted towards a gap in the fire. Running as hard as they could, Enola began to fall behind but Sherlock kept a firm, almost painful grip on her hand as he kept running.

There was a shout from behind them as they ran. Suddenly, the whole world was on fire. Plaster was tumbling down from every direction. The earth gave a jolt and they were sent sprawling across the ground as the ground gave an almighty roar and everything in Sherlock’s world went dark.

***

Enola woke with a start. The world was pitch black and everything was quiet. She was lying on her face. She looked up and saw a dark silhouette stumbling around in the dark, Sherlock? Before she could open her mouth a hand was pressed over hers. She gasped and turned her head, Sherlock was there, a finger to his lips telling her to keep her mouth shut. She nodded slowly and he removed his hand and looked at the shadowy figure as it stumbled closer through the dust and smoke.

Suddenly he was on his feet, running towards the figure, he turned back and shouted “wait for me, I’ll be back, I promise” before colliding with the figure and pushing it backwards out of sight around the corner. Enola sat where she was, for a few moments listening to the sounds of the scuffling going on around the corner before she heard a hard punch being thrown, a groan and then silence. She got up slowly and moved quickly and quietly over to the corner, pressing herself against the wall as she peered round. There was a body, the body of a man. It wasn’t Sherlock, he had blond hair and an arrogant face. His nose was broken and he was unconscious. Enola looked up, Sherlock was nowhere to be seen. She sprinted towards the next corner and turned it, she looked down the alleyway and saw the unmistakeable silhouette of her brother running away.

“Sherlock wait for me!” she shouted, but he kept running. Enola struggled to keep up with him, even though the fire was gone, her lungs still burned from the smoke. She reached the next corner and looked around it, gasping for breath. Sherlock was gone. And he would never return.

***

He had put her in danger and it was all his fault. She was his sister and she was in danger because they were after him. Every second she spent with him, her life was at risk. He hadn’t thought they would follow him out this far, he thought they would be safe.

The JKcrew had been after him in England too, he had known that. That was the reason he had fled. He thought that maybe if he went abroad, they would give up their search. He had busted several of their drug houses as well as an illegal weapons ring. He thought they were just another London street gang but he was wrong, this went much deeper than the streets of London.

He looked around and saw that Enola had given up her chase. He had to leave her behind, he would try and send someone to fetch her and bring her home, but he had work to do. He shut his feelings in a box, behind a door in his head. His feelings for his sister, the love and worry he had for her, not knowing that this door would not be opened for another 16years.

***

Present Day…

Sherlock had no emotions. He wasn’t capable of crying, tears, to him, were a sign of weakness, crying a sign of brokenness and an inability to control oneself.

And yet, John Watson pondered, his eyes were glistening as he shared his tale. He barely looked at any of them as he spoke rapidly, as though hoping to save himself from these feelings by telling the story as quickly as possible. He kept pacing and looking either at the floor or the window. None of the trio left sitting down could take their eyes off him as he spoke.

John snuck a glance at Enola and saw that her eyes too, were glassy as she watched her brother tell his tale.

Sherlock had just reached the point where the two of them were separated, explaining that it was his fault- that he had put his sister in danger, that he had to get away so that she could stay safe,

“It’s my fault,” he whispered, “ITS MY FAULT!” he shouted this time, pulling at his hair as he spun from the window to look at his sister. There was no mistaking the tears in his eyes now as he glared at Enola, as though it was her fault for making him feel these things. His hands were shaking as he moved them down to his sides, taking a deep, shuddering breath before composing himself and sitting down once again in silence.

“You… You mean you didn’t just leave?” Enola queried quietly, timidly, in a shaking voice from her chair. Her eyes were wide as she looked at Sherlock unblinking in the light of the dreary afternoon.

Sherlock snapped his attention up towards her and simply stared at her, again, unblinking and perfectly still.

It was as though they were communicating without words or movement. Can they mind read? Ae they telepathic? He asked himself as he watched the interior monologue going on between the siblings.

The silence was broken by a stifled sniff from Mycroft as he looked at his sister and brother.

Everyone turned to look at him as he hastily wiped his nose and looked up.

“You were saying, Sherlock, that you had intended to send someone to pick up Enola… Did that happen?” He looked now to Enola who looked back and nodded before pausing, with a look of contemplation on her face. She turned slowly to face Sherlock once again,

“Yes… I mean… I think so…” she said slowly, “I mean, someone found me…” She continued to look at her brother, who continued to look back in a static silence.

“Tell us what happened to you, Enola, tell us who collected you” Mycroft urged, and Enola obeyed.

****

16 Years earlier, a burnt out side street deep in the Middle East… She had never felt this alone before. She had been left to look after herself plenty of times at home. She had spent many a day at her parents’ home by herself, she had never had any friends at school so spent the majority of her days alone and had never felt loneliness like this. She knew her way around London and much of the English countryside with no need of a map. She knew the states of America and their location on a map, she could draw and label an entire map of Europe from the age of 6 but she had never felt so lost.

Data. She needed Data.

She glanced around. Not much to see. The street was empty, apart from some large skips and fallen plaster and ash. She dusted herself off and walked onwards, keeping an eye out for any sign of movement, while also committing every turn and ally to memory. She stopped suddenly. She had heard something. A movement, from the left. In her peripheral vision she saw something, a shadow moving behind a large bin. She ducked around a corner and watched as the shadow stumbling towards her. It was breathing heavily, staggering clumsily. Her instincts screamed at her telling her it was Sherlock, it had to be, but she needed to be sure… As she watched, she noticed that the man, she was sure it was a man now, was holding something close to his chest, protecting it. A small box. He held on to it for dear life, as though it was the most precious thing in the world to him. He stumbled once more before collapsing to the ground in a heap with a soft moan of pain.

She wanted to run. What if it was a bomb? But her morbid curiosity kept her rooted to the spot. She waited. She waited as long as she could bear it before approaching the man, the body. She gently prodded the man with her foot before jumping backwards again, but he didn’t move. She breathed out slowly and quietly. She moved forwards again and grabbed the package from the man’s arms and ran.

Once she found a busier street she slowed down.

“The best and safest place to hide is in plain sight” her brothers’ voice rang in her head. She swallowed the lump that rose in her throat. He was gone, but he would be back. He had to come back.

***

Sherlock was running. He ran back to the side street. The street where he had left Enola. She was gone.

“She can’t have gone far” he muttered to himself, “She’s a smart girl”

But even as he said this aloud he felt himself begin to panic.

He forced down the feelings of fear and the pangs of guilt rising through his gut and turned on his heel and began running back to the hotel. Surely she would be back there. Surely she would have gone straight there. She was a Holmes.

So why was he so scared?

Because he was being chased by a gang of crazy drug dealers.

She’s going to be ok. She’s got to be ok.

… Surely she’ll be ok…

***

As she walked through the streets she held the package. Clinging to it, wondering what was inside, wondering whether to open it.

Soon, her curiosity, once again, took over and she stopped. She glanced around as she leaned against a wall, and slit open the edge of the package.

It was a small wooden box with a small key hole. Like a jewellery box. She opened it and out fell a small domino with the numbers 6 and 3 on it. Was it significant? She wondered. What did this mean?

Sherlock would know, she thought. He always knew.

***

Sherlock entered the small hotel room he and his sister were sharing. It was stripped bare. Their luggage was gone and there was no sign of Enola.

He sensed something else was wrong before he saw it.

The shadow outside the window.

***

Enola started making her way back towards the hotel. Surely Sherlock would return there when he could. It would be safer and smarter to wait for him there.

***

He sensed the movement before he even saw the shadow move.

But he was too slow.

His reactions weren’t immediate and his mind was not able to keep up with the situation as it unfolded, he couldn’t even process what he saw in the room, everything was moving so slowly, his mind clouded with fear and guilt.

Three men grabbed him and wrapped their hands around his arms and legs, binding them together before dragging him out the door and down the stairs.

All he could think was, “What the hell have they done to Enola?”

***

She began to sprint through the streets, looking for anything she recognised.

There!

She spotted a small cafe where she and Sherlock had had breakfast the previous morning. She knew she was close… so close to safety and one step closer to Sherlock.

***

He was gagged and bound, he saw the man who had jumped from the window, tall and stocky with unnaturally blond hair. He walked forwards, speaking to the man holding Sherlock in place,

“Let the boss know we got him, I’ll leave a calling card,” he glanced down at Sherock, not realising that he had understood every word of his thick German accent, he smiled as he brought his face right next to his, “I’ll send someone to get your sister very soon…”

Sherlock tried not to show his fear but it was evident that he had failed when the blond German stood up and laughed loudly before clicking his fingers. The man behind him dragged Sherlock to his feet and began to drag him out of the room, but as he was hauled away, he saw the Blond German take a domino out of his pocket, it had the numbers 6 and 3 on it. He tossed it on the bed and slammed the door.

***

She crept up the stairs and into her room. She flicked on the light and had to stifle a gasp. Everything was gone. Their bags, their clothes, everything. The room was stripped bare.

Sherlock was gone.

She stared at the empty room. Shocked, let down- devastated. How could he do this to her? No, surely he didn’t do this out of choice. Clues, there must be something to give an indication of where he had gone.

She closed the door behind her and began to search the room. It didn’t take long at all, she looked on the bed and immediately found a domino, like the one she had found in the package, 6 and 3. She pulled out the one she had found earlier- identical. This was not a coincidence, she didn’t believe in them, this was a clue.

Data, she needed data…

***

Sherlock was dragged into the street and thrown roughly into a vehicle of some sort.

He scrambled to regain control of his thoughts but all he could think about was his sister,

“I’ll send someone to get your sister…” that had been a threat.

He knew he shouldn’t have brought her here. This was his fault.

She was in danger and it was all his fault.

He had to get out. He had to get to Enola.

***

Enola held the domino in her hand as she walked. She hadn’t a clue where she was a going but she knew she couldn’t stay in the hotel. So she walked. With no particular destination in mind, she hoped that her mind would tell her feet where she needed to be.

This was no place for a 12 year old.

How had she gotten into this?

She wanted her mother. She wanted her father. She wanted her teddy bear and her bed. She wanted her brothers. She wanted Sherlock. She needed Sherlock.

“Oomf!”

She bumped into someone. She hadn’t realised she was crying until she tried to look up at the person and could only see bleary lines.

“Are you ok?” An Australian accent said softly. A woman. A young woman.

Enola broke.

She fell to her knees and began to cry. All the emotions she had bottled up from the moment she had lost Sherlock came flooding out in a mess of tears, snot and quiet wailing. She shook as she sobbed.

Then she felt arms around her, a comforting pat on the back.

And then she was brought into an embrace. Warm, scratchy and smelling faintly of cheap perfume, The Australian woman was giving her a hug.

And, although Enola was never one for close contact with others, there was something so comforting and safe about this embrace. She leaned into it.

After a while the woman pushed Enola back from her, holding her at arm’s length to study her.

“You’re not a local then,” she mused as Enola wiped her eyes,

“I-I’m from London, England…” she stammered, regaining her composure, “and you, you’re not local either. Australian?”

The woman smiled, “I can’t hide, even if I wanted to!” she laughed, patting Enola on the back again.

“You lost then kid?” she asked, frowning slightly, concern written across her face.

“I… No, I’m not lost. I just… I’m looking for someone,” Enola wasn’t sure how much to say, what if this woman was a spy? Could she trust anyone? How big did this gang reach across this foreign city?

“Hm… ok,” the woman studied Enola again, “Well, do you need any help?”

“I… I’m just not sure how you could help me,” Enola sighed looking down at the ground, “Thank you for your kindness. I guess I should go…” she got up to leave.

“Hang on, hang on, hang on kid” the Australian said, “You can’t just go wandering the streets at night. It’s dangerous- didn’t you parents teach you that? Speaking of which, why are you out here all by yourself?”

Enola shook her head, “I’m sorry I have to go…”

The woman called after Enola, “wait, kid!” she jogged up behind her, holding out a small card, “Look, this is my card, it has my number and my address here on it. If you need any help, come find me ok? Any time, night or day, yeah? You got money?”

Enola took the card and shook her head.

“Here,” the woman handed her a handful of notes and coins, “use this get some food, a place to stay for the night and use those coins if you need to call me ok?”

Enola nodded obediently and pocketed the money,

The Australian woman smiled and ruffled Enola’s hair, “You’ll be right, kid… now get off the streets and somewhere safe-”

There was a distant gunshot and the woman stiffened,

“Gotta go kid, get it touch tomorrow will ya?” and she ran off down the alley, leaving Enola on her own again.

Enola looked at the card the woman had handed her, a plain white rectangle with black font,

   “Ophelia Blackburn, P.I

        0762-403-5672”

And an address on the other side of the city.

Enola’s gaze followed the woman until she was out of sight, wondering why she was here, whether she was genuine and whether she could really help… before turning and walking out of the alleyway again and continuing her walk around the city.

******

Sherlock had ben blindfolded, and, although he could still remember every turn and the direction the van travelled, remembering the route was not as easy as it would have been had he been able to see. For one, they could be taking him round in circles, very wide circles, he deduced, but it was still a possibility.

After about half an hour, he estimated, the blindfold and his focus on memorising their route had taken away from his sense of time, they stopped and Sherlock was roughly pulled from the vehicle, across some loose stones and sand before being dragged into a building with hard concrete floors and echoing surroundings. He guessed it was an empty warehouse, judging by the echo and concrete floors.

He was pulled forwards and then brought to a sudden stop. The blindfold was roughly pulled off his face and he found himself face to face with a middle aged Asian man. Sherlock studied him, he appeared to be in his early 30’s but he suspected that his swarthy skin hid some of his age. He was tall, around 6 foot, a head of thick black hair, cropped and carefully parted at the side and had no facial hair. He was well dressed, crisp shirt, gold cufflinks, so a man who was doing well for himself, expensive shoes and a well-tailored suit.

“I do apologise, I am very under dressed. But I didn’t have much opportunity to prepare myself for this… meeting” Sherlock dryly remarked.

The stranger and his henchmen looked at Sherlock in shock, before the man with the expensive taste burst into loud, booming laughter, followed by the unsure snorts and titters of his friends.

“This man is funny!” he exclaimed, in perfect English, Sherlock noted, with a slight hint of an Indian accent, motioning to Sherlock, who curtly bowed his head, somewhat ironically, “Funny and smart! Sherlock Holmes! Welcome! Allow me to introduce myself, I am Rakesh, the leader of a huge criminal organisation.” He laughed again, “one that you have attempted to infiltrate several times, unsuccessfully,” He looked seriously at Sherlock now, all humour gone from his voice, “I do not like spies,” he said in an offhand sort of way, but the hatred in his eyes told another story.

Sherlock remained silent, still studying the man. People tend to give away more hints about their personality without even being asked or prompted. This man, for example, was confident, cocky. His smile, his dress, the fact that he had brought Sherlock here and appeared to be showing off. Sherlock also took a brief glance around the room, or warehouse, he was in. It was vast and filled with cardboard boxes with no markings. At the very back of the room was a large truck with writing on the side in a foreign language, he could not distinguish from this far away. In the brief silence he heard the rumble of a train not too far off.

“Mr Sherlock,” the man’s voice snapped Sherlock back to attention, “why would you be so interested in ending my business, hm?” the man smiled in a casual way. Sherlock was reminded of his brother, Mycroft, when he was winning at chess. He would smile in a smug sort of way and ask “What will you do now, brother mine?” Even as a child Mycroft hadn’t let him win, but he had managed to outwit his brother on several occasions. Mycroft was cocky, complacent, and that was when he would strike gold.

“I’m sorry,” Sherlock said slowly, “I never meant to shut down your… business,” he eyed the man carefully, gauging his reactions to his words, choosing them carefully so as not to alarm or anger the fellow,

“Didn’t mean to?” the man asked, looking slightly pissed off, whoops, Sherlock thought but he continued anyway,

“What I mean is, I didn’t realise it was this big. You see, I was under the impression that I was following a London street gang who escaped arrest…” it was a lame excuse but maybe, just maybe the man would buy it…

“I’m not buying it,” the man said sharply. Damn. “Why come all the way out here for a simple London gang?” Now the man, Rakesh, was eyeing Sherlock closely.

“Well, I like to finish a job and close the case fully. I am very particular about that.” Sherlock said sternly.

The man looked at Sherlock as though inspecting a rare jewel. He stroked his chin, deep in thought for a painful few moments. And then his face broke into a large grin, “ah! A man after my own heart! You see, I too, like to finish a job thoroughly” the man smiled wider and wider, Sherlock began to feel uneasy, he didn’t like where this was going. “My career demands that I do a job and do it to completion. No evidence, no mess…”

This was it, he was going to die. This man was a maniac and he was going to shot him dead so that he could hide the evidence.

But he couldn’t die. Not here, not now. Enola was out there, alone. He almost smiled at the thought, his sister, fighting her way through the streets, refusing any help. She would be ok, but he had to find her.

No, he wasn’t going to die, he decided.

“and that is why, Mr Sherlock, I would like…” he paused for effect, Sherlock was poised, ready to duck, he kept his eyes on everyone in the room waiting for the slightest twitch towards a gun, “I want you to do a job for me,”

Sherlock almost jumped with shock,

“I’m sorry?”

“Do not apologise my boy! I want you to do a job for me!”

***

It was close to midnight but she couldn’t sleep. Enola had decided that staying in the hotel would be too risky- what if the people who took Sherlock came back? What would they do to her then? She had to stay free so she could help Sherlock.

Sher had left the street where she had met the kind woman and continued to wander aimlessly agin. She was alone.

Ironic really, seeing as her name, “Enola” was “Alone” backwards.

A painful joke that her mother had played, calling her that. Such an odd name, so much teasing at school… Enola was used to being by herself, but she had always had her brothers, her family, to play with and keep her safe…

But she was young, too young for this, she was alone in a place she had only just arrived in, she was afraid and alone and she wanted to go home. She wanted Sherlock. She needed Sherlock.

She had found a quiet side street and had cried for a bit, she was only a little girl alone in a big place. She felt helpless and alone. But she soon sobered up, remembering her mother’s words, “crying won’t solve anything”

“’ere, that’s my spot!” an angry voice jolts Enola from her thoughts, “You deaf? That’s my spot! Move it kid!” A girl, no much older than herself stands over her. She has dirty blond hair, a round face and a scowl that could curdle milk.

“I-I’m sorry I didn’t know…here,” Enola quickly shuffled out of the way, the blond girl stared, open mouthed. Enola eyed her carefully, listening closely, was something behind her? Did she step in something? Maybe-

“OH MY GOD!” the girl screamed, Enola jumped and looked around quickly, ready to move or duck, her heart pumping faster than ever,

“YOU’RE ENGLISH!” the girl jumped for joy and ran to scoop Enola into a hug, “Where are you from? I’m from London myself, but you sound a bit posh! How did you get here? I came here a while ago, long story but so so exciting! I ran away from home with my brother, he’s in a gang and was going to go to prison, of course he ran off and left as soon as we landed- prick- but now I have you! This is amazing we are going to be best friends! My name is Bethan by the way, are you ok?” the girl suddenly seemed to realise that Enola had barely moved since the hug.

Enola’s thought were almost tripping her up, this girl was from England too? She had lost her brother? How was she here? How long had she been abandoned and lost here? How did she manage to fit so many words into one breath?

“Uh… I’m Enola, I grew up in the countryside outside London but I’ve been there a lot. I came here with my brother too, he had to work but I lost him…” she stuck to the basic facts, keeping things vague until she knew for certain she could trust this girl- however nice it was to have a friend, she didn’t want to take the risk that this girl might be a spy…

“That’s so cool!” Bethan exclaimed, “You can stay here if you’d like, we can be friends!”

Although Enola’s instincts warned her against trusting anyone straight away, she was alone, she was scared and she was lost. She had always struggled to make friends in the past, she had never really found it useful. Sherlock and Mycroft had always talked about how they didn’t need anyone and so she assumed that friends were over rated… But it would be nice to have some company…

“Ok then,” Enola smiled, “Friends,” she extended her hand and Bethan took it and shook.

***

The sound of a train rushing past nearby drowned out Rakesh’s voice,

“Sorry, what?” Sherlock shouted over the roaring engine and the scrape of wheels against the tracks,

“I said!” Rakesh spoke loudly and slowly, “My boss wants you to help solve a murder! Apparently-“the train had now passed by and the silence was almost as deafening as the train itself, “apparently,” Rakes spoke normally again, “you’re good at that type of thing.”

Sherlock was now in a car with Rakesh and just two of his cronies. There was a well-dressed chauffeur in the front. He looked out the window as they drove next to the train track

**********************************************************************************

John walked upstairs, hearing Sherlock play a classical tune on his violin, or maybe he had composed it. He wasn’t sure, he didn’t care much for classical music, and it all sounded the same to him, lovely, but very much the same.

He entered the flat and immediately wished he hadn’t. Or at least knocked.

Sherlock was playing his violin, strolling around the Livingroom, naked. Again.

Sometimes John wondered what it would be like to have a friend or flatmate who was normal. Did the washing up, didn’t keep body parts in the fridge and generally, kept his clothes on.

Sadly this was the complete opposite of Sherlock Bloody Holmes.

“Ah, John, have you got a case? Anything interesting?” the man himself asked hopefully. He knows this annoys me, he likes annoying me. Prick.

“Put some clothes on Sherlock and then I will tell you what I came for,” John hissed, reaching for the door “and quickly before someone- ”

“Boys? john is that you?” Mrs Hudson said as she bustled into the room, “oh John it is-OH!!” she covered her eyes and averted her gaze, turning to leave again, “if you two had wanted some privacy all you had to do was close the door, or say something, oh I must get you a sign or something.!” She hurried back downstairs before John could explain that he was not gay.

“Go and get some BLOODY clothes on NOW!” John bellowed

Sherlock frowned and did as he was told, returning several minutes later wearing nothing but a bathrobe, however after an exasperated look from John returned to his room, from which he emerged after some time fully dressed looking incredibly childish and annoyed. He posed mockingly showing off his outfit,

“Ok?” he gestured,

“Ok” John agreed

“In that case to business” Sherlock said briskly as he snatched John’s bag and sat down in his comfortable chair next to the fireplace.

**********************************************************************************

**********************************************************************************

Sherlock crouched next to the body, examining every inch of it, looking for clues. John and Lestrade stood by, watching in amusement and interest, as usual. So easily pleased and amused.

“She took a nasty blow to the head,” Lestrade surmised, “they recon she’s been dead at least 12 hours, no one found her until this morning when some bloke came to leave the bins out”

Sherlock closed his eyes and sighed in exasperation, of course he knew this, but he quickly held his tongue thinking about how clueless John usually was.

“We didn’t find anything on her person, her handbag was stolen but her jewellery was left…”

“Could’ve been mugged? She’s in an alleyway, killed last night in the dark…”

Sherlock chose to block out the conversation because it was so ludicrous he could barely stop himself shouting at the pair of them. A mugging? There was no sign of a struggle, a mugger wouldn’t have hit her from behind and left with only her purse, her jewellery was expensive, 17 Karat gold rings and pearl earrings, not to mention the diamond necklace. And what was the woman doing down here anyway? He was a well-dressed, clearly well off, woman who had no business whatsoever skulking down darkened alleyways alone, in the middle of the night.

“Hold on,” Lestrade said, bending down to get a better look in the dim light, “is that-?”

Before he had finished Sherlock jolted up and jabbed his finger into the red substance on the woman’s leg, before stuffing it in his mouth.

Both Lestrade and Watson looked repulsed by the action, John almost retched, while Lestrade stood up quickly and backed away from the body. But Sherlock jumped to his feet and ran out of the side street,

“What the hell-? Where are you going?” Lestrade shouted, at the same time John yelled in an exasperated tone,

“What was that?”

Sherlock barely slowed down, running cross the road, causing several cars to slam on their brakes, he looked over his shoulder and shouted one word, as though it would clear up every question they had about the case,

“JAM!”

**********************************************************************************

Sherlock wasn’t afraid of withholding evidence from the police, it was something he did on a regular basis.

But this time something made him feel different. He felt almost, shaken. Nervous. Scared.

While Lestrade and John had been swapping almost idiotic ideas, he had discovered something that made his skin crawl. It dug up memories that he had buried long ago, memories he hated, memories that haunted him and always would. Things from his past that he had tried so hard to forget, secrets that he had told no one, feelings that he had forgotten he had…

As he looked through the dead woman’s coat he had found evidence that his past had caught up with him. Proof that he had run as far as he could and it was time to stop.

He had found a domino with the numbers 6 and 3.

**********************************************************************************

As John drank his tea in the kitchen with Mrs Hudson, she talked about the children she had met at one of her various knitting or book clubs,

“Yes they taught me all the lingo” she smiled, sipping her tea, “they think I am a very hip lady” she chuckled looking at John, who, not knowing what to say or do, took a large mouthful of tea. Mrs Hudson didn’t seem to mind though as she prattled on,

“Yes I know all about the slang words and “el oh el” and emoji’s” she looked at John and said, suddenly very serious, “I ship you and Sherlock you know,”

John looked up at her, mystified,

“I ship you two… I want you two to be in a happy relationship… It’s called “Shipping”, come on now John!”

John spat out his tea before she could continue,

“You WHAT?” he cried, tea dribbling down his chin and out of his nose, “How many times have I-?”

“-Ship, I ship you. You two are my O.T.P. I call it “Sheron”” she giggled and walked out of the kitchen to answer the doorbell.

John stood in the kitchen utterly dumbfounded. All he could find himself thinking was “”Johnlock” has a much better ring to it”

**********************************************************************************

The Adventures of Dinner Man and Agent Time PART 5 

Part 1
Part 2 

Part 3

Part 4
And here is part 5! 

*************

The Podcastards had made it to London in record time, thanks to some singing from Ine to convince the train driver to travel directly to London. 

They were worried about Greg and Chris. They had not tweeted anything other than “serious” news things and factual content. 

“This isn’t right” Katt said putting her phone away. 

There was a murmuring of agreement from the others as they walked into Victoria station. 

“We need to get the Tube to Oxford Circus and we can walk from there” Julia said, pointing the way to the underground. 

“Isn’t.. isn’t there a bus or something we can take?” Sara asked, looking warily at the numerous steps to the underground platforms. Ellen agreed, along with Ianthe and Lauren. 

And so, the intrepid explorers and kind strangers walked out the doors and towards the bus station, still talking about their plan and how worried they were about two of their heroes. 

*** 

Mr Unimagination man had come up with a cunning plan. 

By which, of course I mean that Brian had come up with a cunning plan. 

“So, let’s review” Mr Unimagination man said as they walked up Regent street. 

“I’ll sneak in while you create a distraction” Brian said smoothly. “They won’t recognise me in this coat,” indicating his long, brown coat. 

“And when I get upstairs I’ll-“ Brian was cut off by a loud honk of a horn. 

“I’ll, uh, I’ll… what was I saying?” Brian stammered, flustered, as one tends to be after almost getting flattened by a London bus (always look both ways before crossing the road, kids) 

“I’ll do the distraction while you sneak up and…?” Mr Unimagination man looked at Brian the way a child looked at an entertainer, like this person was the best and most interesting person in the entire world and no one and nothing else in the universe matters apart from this one person right now. 

“Uh, yeah. So I’ll get up there and… and… and I’ll put this chip in the processor of the computer and transmit the B-waves across the radio signal to bore the whole of the UK.” Brian sighed slightly. He still hadn’t thought of a way to get out of it without Mr Unimagination man finding out.

“Excellent my boy! Excellent!” Mr Unimagination man clapped his hands gleefully 

“But sir, I have a question.” Brian barely paused for breath as he continued before he could be cut off, “how do we reverse it?” He saw the look of malice on his evil boss’ face and hurried to explain himself, “ I mean, what if I take a hit of it? You won’t have anyone to think up imaginative and cunning plans for you…” 

Mr Unimagination man considered this carefully. He stopped next to Starbucks to ponder more deeply. 

“Well,” he said, stroking his boring chin. 

Brian prepared himself for a long and boring speech but he knew he had to stay alert. He had to find out how to help Greg and Chris 

“You see Brian, my boy, my main guy, my… compadre. It’s important to remember the importance of having a backup plan. And of course I have one. My backup plan…” This was incredibly dull, “… I have a reversal code” 

“You what?” Brian choked, “I, uh, I mean… that’s a very very clever idea sir. Always good to have in case of an emergency… or an error caused by someone as dumb as me” 

Mr Unimagination man eyed Brian with interest, “yes… yes, accidents like you tend to slow down people like me” 

Brian tried very hard not to show how much this comment hurt him, remembering that this man was very mean and very evil 

“So what is the code? Just in case I mean..”

“Why my dear boy, the code is…” the boring evil genius glanced around and motioned for Brian to come closer, “the code is,” his voice got quieter, “908- I’m not dumb” 

Brian moved back, a look of confusion stamped across his face, “excuse me?” 

“I’m not stupid Brian! I know you have a soft spot for those two losers! I won’t tell you the reversal code! Now get up there and plant that chip!”

*** 

The Podcastards got off the bus at Oxford Circus and began walking up Regents street towards broadcasting house. 

“Lots is odd people in London aren’t there?” Sara noted, “look at that bloke in the long coat… chatting to a boring looking man,” she yawned. 

They hurried up the street, in the direction of the odd looking pair. 

Ellen accidentally bumped into someone, who bumped into someone else, who spilled their coffee on the man in the long coat. 

“Oh I’m so sorry!” Ellen gasped as she reached forward to try to help somehow. But all she managed to do was summon some leerdammer, which quickly melted on the hot coffee. She continued to try and help, but there wasn’t anything she could do. 

“Ellen! Come on!” Ine called to her as the rest of them hurried up the street. 

*** 

Brian was soaked and burning. Hot coffee hurt. And he knew that it stained really badly and these were new shoes and he was wearing a crisp white shirt. And his cool detective coat! 

Mr Unimagination man sighed and rushed into the cafe for some napkins and threw them at Brian, 

“Get going then! You’ve got a job to do!” 

Brian rolled his eyes, like a child would do when they’re asked to do their homework, he gritted his teeth, as you would do when you’re trying not to hit someone who is being particularly annoying, and turned and continued walking up the street, behind the gang of girls responsible for his soaking shoes and burning leg

*** 

They hurried towards broadcasting house, dodging and weaving around all the people. 

Chloe and Judith were leading the way, dodging and ducking, showing off their sporty cape, while Lauren showed off the cat like qualities of her cape as she nimbly weaved through people. 

“Oi! Wait for us you Speedy Gonzalezes!” Ianthe shouted. 

The three girls in the lead waited for a moment as the others caught up, and they walked together towards the big building in the distance, like the A Team. 

“The P-Team” Chloe suggested, 

“You what?” Laughed Katt. 

“We’re walking like the A Team but we should be the P Team. Podcastard Team. WEEEEEEEEEEing our way to get justice” chloe explained. 

Everyone laughed. Everyone. Including Brian. 

Lauren whipped around quickly and leapt at him, 

“Stranger! Why are you following us?” She hissed 

Brian leaped backwards, terrified by this girl wheeling around on him like… like a cat 

“I-I- I’m going to the BBC I’m sorry” he stammered. He caught sight of ellen, “she spilled hot coffee on me!” He said accusingly 

“Sorry” ellen said quietly. 

The other Podcastards rallied around and formed a protective circle around ellen. 

“Why are you going to the BBC?” He said accusingly, his voice growing stronger, “and who do you think you are? The A Team?” He laughed 

“Actually we’re the P Team. Team podcastard” judith said proudly, earning herself an elbow in the ribs from her twin and a “shhhh!” 

“Podcastard?” Brian spluttered, his spine began to tingle, like when you hear some beautifully haunting music, “but that means- Greg and Chris! You’re here for Greg and Chris?!” His face spread into a wide grin as he approached the girls, “me too! I’m here to help. Mr Unimagination man- he- he made them boring. And he made my head hurt and-and he wants to make the whole of the UK boring too. He sent me to put this chip in the radio so it makes everyone boring. But i don’t want to. I don’t want to help. Will you help me?” He gasped in a deep breath. 

The girls looked at him, a range of emotions crossing their faces. Shock, horror, confusion… understanding. 

“Come with us. I’ll explain” said Julia, leading the way into the building with Brian by her side, speaking quickly as they went.

***

MEANWHILE, UPSTAIRS 

Greg and producer Chris were finishing their meeting and Greg was walking down the corridor feeling overwhelmed and sad. He only had a few days to come up with new ideas for features and games but he was so boring now. He couldn’t think. He couldn’t imagine. He couldn’t even dream! And the only person who would believe his crazy story was probably having the same problem as him!

He bumped into his mate, Chris Smith with the news, literally. Walked straight into him. 

“We need to get this sorted, he’s talking about sending us off on leave for a few weeks… I love this place, I can’t go, mate… what are we gonna do?” He said sadly, his eyes had a pleading look in them, much like a puppy begging for an extra treat. 

As he spoke, the lift doors opened and out walked a group of young people, a large group of young people. Out walked a tall girl, dragging what looked like an excel sheet, but drawn in the air, another girl, holding a cat, someone holding a notebook, scribbling feverishly, someone else, humming softly to herself, someone holding a handful of cheese, a giant thumb? Rainbows? Were those two doing jumping jacks? Another girl holding a phone saying “hello” over and over again and another who looked oddly awake?? 

Finally out wandered a dazed looking man in a long coat, covered in coffee stains. 

Watching them all walk out of one lift was much like watching one of those magic tricks where 30 clowns climb out of a Mini Cooper. How did they all fit? 

“Who the hell is that?” Greg muttered in utter shock 

“Julia? Ine! Chloe and WeeJudiee!” Chris exclaimed

“podcast post sara! Lauren and Katt!” Greg smiled despite himself 

“Ianthe and Ellen? Sammy!“ 

“And Natalia!” They concluded together 

“And… Brian!” Chris exclaimed, “mate are you ok…. after….?” He trailed off.

“I’m fine guys, but we don’t have much time. Listen to Julia. She knows her stuff” Brian replied, motioning to Julia 

“Is there somewhere more… quiet and out of the way we can go?” She asked. 

Greg led them to a small office and closed the door, Judith locked it and pushed a chair in front of it giving Greg a stern look before glancing back to Julia as she began to speak. 

Podcasts 

I’m often asked why I love podcasts so much… 

And I’ve been thinking about it a lot… ‪I think the reason I love podcasts so much is because they’re like a little community, or a family. ‬

‪I’ve lived my life being ridiculed, bullied and treated like an outsider. I’ve rarely had close friends (very few from childhood but now things have changed for the better) I always found it hard to be myself around people. But then I started listening to Matt Edmondson and Chris Cox. They read out my emails and made me laugh. I started to feel more confident at uni and I actually started to make friends! ‬

‪Then there were these two weirdos called Greg James and Chris Smith. They did a podcast too, full of silliness, nonsense and just such joy and passion for what they were doing. ‬

‪I think it was these two podcasts that built up my confidence that had been shattered by years of bullying… These guys took the time to read my emails, and then read them out in their podcasts. ‬

‪MY emails! MY opinions and thoughts. MY thoughts were VALID and WORTHY of being read out to other listeners! ‬

‪It made me realise that maybe I wasn’t worthless. Maybe I was a bit funny, a bit clever… Maybe I was worth something. ‬

‪And then, somehow, thanks to those two weirdos called Greg and Chris, I was introduced (indirectly, through several twitter interactions) to a bunch of wonderfully weird and lovely people called the Podcastards. They have become my best mates and I feel like I could trust them with my life… and then I had the honour of meeting Matt, who was absolutely lovely and answered all my weird questions about his scooter. ‬

‪As well as that I got to meet Greg and Chris, who are two of the kindest, most humble and charming lads I’ve ever met. I didn’t feel like a guest on the podcast, but a part of it. I have never felt so loved, accepted and cared for in all my life… and all thanks to some far off voices through a pair of tangled earphones… ‬

‪And I’ve become more confident in real life too! These past two weeks have taken me way out of my comfort zone, meeting loads of new people. But, y’know what? I’ve made so many new friends- like, real friends. People I genuinely care about and people that I feel that I can talk to and trust… ‬

‪… all thanks to some weirdos with odd voices, silly games, emails and the nice kind of strangers. ‬