thick dark fog

My Sherlock Scripts (so far)

Since I’m starting a short online script-writing course this time next week, I thought I’d put up the stuff I’ve already written in script format in one place. Then, I can look back and hopefully as I become more confident writing in script format, I can update with some more pieces in the future!

(In order of most recent publication date first)

A Great Heart

EXT. ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL.JOHN and SHERLOCK running in sync, tearing through the COURTYARD. We cannot yet see who they are pursuing. A full moon rises above ST PAUL’S DOME. This is it, there’s magic in the air: the thrill of the chase; just the two of them…

a Three Garridebs style scene set in London, with beautiful illustrations. Originally written for The Johnlock Fanzine.

Time To Burn


(speaking very quickly)

So a- a-a countdown, then, but to what, what?

Home is where the heart is…

partly inspired by John Smith’s fanmade Series 4 teaser (x).

Just A Scratch-



Don’t worry, John. It’s slow-acting. Rather like you.

Another Three Garridebs scene, written as an end of episode/finale moment.

17 Steps-


But, where are we?

It is dark. Thick fog hangs in the air. Complete silence for one beat. Then, a steady rhythm: clip, clop, clip, clop. Horses hooves. Surely not? The fog slowly begins to lift to reveal…

A hansom cab, wheels quickly juddering over the cobbled streets. The horse is spooked- it quickens its pace, nostrils flaring. Suddenly, it rears back on its hind legs, whinnying in alarm-



Picking up from where The Abominable Bride left up- acts a bridge between that and Series 4.

The Trial of Sherlock Holmes Series-


Don’t be smart. You know what happened to Wilde.

Three connected scripts: Brothers In Arms; The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name & Testimony of The Heart. Written before The Abominable Bride, based on speculation that Sherlock will be put on trial in The Abominable Bride to parallel the Oscar Wilde Trials of 1895.

A Very Sinister Intro-


Pristine white chaise longue. Next to it, a spindly table. Sitting on top of the table is a silver dish bearing a telegram. Red wax seal with a magpie embossed on it.

Written before The Abominable Bride aired- a.k.a me calling that Mary would receive a telegram from Mycroft ;)

The Rat’s Fall-


He’s the rat, John! It’s been him from the start, always has-




Mycroft! (rest in one breath) Except, it’s a ruse, has to be-


Sherlock, slow down-


-make Moriarty believe what he needs him to, and then… but why not tell me in the first-

My very first script! <3 Largely inspired by TJLC & M Theory meta,

Renegades- 7

Summary: Life with James “Bucky” Barnes was supposed to be the American Dream, until you accidentally become the target of a well-known drug pusher with no reservations about putting a bullet in both your heads. Now on the lam, the two of you will go to extraordinary lengths to survive. 1990s AU

Words: 2191

Warnings: Language, drug references

Master   Part 6

Originally posted by insanityofthemoon

The sun was just beginning to peek out from behind the clouds as you crossed the parking lot back towards the motel. You stopped, watching traffic go by. Opening the pack of cigarettes, you stuck it between your lips and lit, taking a moment to yourself. The wind cooled your face, tinting your cheeks pink. Fingers numb, toes curled, you stared at Bucky’s truck, sitting in the parking lot across the street.

Keep reading

Trellimar’s Temple Trial

This is my first attempt at fan fiction so please be gentle. That said, I would really appreciate any and all feedback.
From the first time I watched High Rollers, I gravitated towards Matt/Trellimar.
With them both leaving for a while, I just felt compelled to add to the story of Trellimar in their absence.
I also feel the need to say this: High Rollers is my only exposure to D&D so please forgive me for any inaccuracies and improbabilities when it comes to abilities, lore etc.

This is just for fun. If people like it, I’ll be sure to make some more.


As the days passed and Trellimar ventured deeper into the ancient cave systems of the Underdark, he noticed an unnatural, inky black matter had began to flood the ground around him. He stepped into the black matter to seemingly no detriment of his own. It shaped around him as he walked through the thick fog-like darkness. The further he travelled, the area around him became increasingly submerged by the pitch black. He was undeterred, using of the Shroud of Eyes to navigate a safe path. Granamyr was more concerned than his master and refused to enter the shadow. Solely focused on his task, Trellimar sent his familiar back to base camp.
The darkness had become almost all-encompassing before he discovered the temple he had been looking for. It matched perfectly with the description given to him by his patron, Dah’Mir. 
In the midst of the craggy cavern walls, a large smooth section of darker stone stood out. He placed a hand on the dark stone and muttered the password that Dah’Mir had told him. The stone became highlighted by a dark red glow and the ground beneath his feet began to shake. He took a step back as the darker stone folded in on itself to reveal an entrance. The deep black matter poured into the temple as the stone doors opened.

The doors shut behind Trellimar once he entered. The black matter that had entered with him dissipated almost immediately. It was clear that this temple was being preserved by some form of archaic magic.
 It was noticeably cooler inside the temple than in the caves and tunnels Trellimar had traversed to get there. The air also seemed much cleaner than what one might have come to expect in the Underdark. 
The temple was completely unlit but for a thin beam of what must have been sunlight from the surface that had filtered through a small crack in the ceiling. The almost golden light was just enough to betray the massive scale of the temple.

An imposing humanoid figure was kneeling in the centre of the light about 30 feet away from the entrance. A very large weapon was planted in the ground next to the figure. Trellimar stepped forward.

As he approached, the figure became distinguishable as an orc. Had he not already seen a myriad of curious things during his adventures, Trellimar would have been taken aback by the presence of an orc in the Underdark. More curious than the orc itself was that the orc’s skin seemed to have a reddish quality to it.

“Aren’t you a little lost down here?” Trellimar asked, confidently.

The orc grasped the hilt of what can only be described as a ginormous mace as it rose to it’s feet. The orc was not armoured but huge in stature, dwarfing Trellimar.

“You cannot possibly fathom my power, drow.” A voice, not that of an orc, responded.

Trellimar snapped his head around and scanned the room, his hand on his blade. Only the orc in the light could be seen.

Giving Trellimar no time to identify the mystery voice, the orc took the mace in both hands as it strode forward to attack. The drow swiftly unsheathed his short sword and advanced with it at his side. The orc brought the mighty mace down with a frightening strength but the drow was just able to roll out of the way. The mace smashed into the ground, cracking the smooth stone floor of the temple. Before Trellimar could regain his composure, the orc lashed out with an arm and struck him in the gut, winding him. He dropped his blade and fell to one knee as the orc stood over him. The voice in the dark began to laugh maliciously.

As Trellimar got back to his feet, the orc’s eyes briefly flashed an intense crimson colour. The mace itself became imbued with a deep scarlet hue and the orc swung recklessly.
The drow barely managed to glance the strike with his blade, deflecting the mace into the ground next to him. Though the mace did not strike him directly, a pulse of red energy blasted Trellimar and large slabs of the stone floor into the air.

He landed in an area of the room not illuminated by the sunlight and the orc seemed to be struggling to pull the mace that was now embedded in the rock.
Trellimar grimaced as he stood up once more. Fearing the power of the orc in hand-to-hand combat, he reached for his crossbow and stalked the orc in the shadows. 
He fired a bolt from the darkness and it struck the orc in the back. The orc did not react and the voice in the dark began to laugh once more. The orc finally pulled the mace out of the ground and the bolt from his back as it turned around looking straight at Trellimar. The orcs eyes now ablaze with the same crimson as before.

“The darkness is no longer your friend, drow. Soon, I will claim the Underdark as my own.” the voice boomed.

Sensing a threat beyond his material weaponry, Trellimar put his crossbow on his back as the orc began to charge once again, mace in hand.
As the orc drew nearer, a violet primordial eldritch power flickered in the palms of Trellimar’s hands. 
Just as the orc was within range to attack, a mighty beam of vivid purple energy lit up the expanse of the temple and blew the orc into the darkness.

“Right, we’ve played your little game. Now show yourself.” Trellimar said as he dusted his inverness cape down and strutted toward the beam of sunlight.

There was only silence for a short while before the voice responded.

“Oh, I’m not finished just yet”

The orc leaped at Trellimar from the darkness. It’s eyes were glowing an even brighter, more sinister crimson. The mace above it’s head looked as if it was engulfed in flame. Before Trellimar could react, the orc delivered a devastating blow to the midriff with the mace. He was launched at least 15 feet into the air by the hit and and he landed in a heap.

The voice in the dark cackled with delight. 

The red orc moved slowly towards Trellimar, preparing to deliver the final blow. The near-maniacal laughing subsided as the drow agonisingly got to his feet, coughing up blood into his hand.
The red orc began to charge, Trellimar raised a hand and began to mutter the same ancient language as he did to enter the temple. Instantaneously, the orc stopped in it’s tracks and dropped the mace. The mace lost it’s blood-red quality as it hit the ground with a loud thud that reverberated around the vast expanse of the temple. 

The orc’s glowing crimson eyes turned black and it’s figure soon became distorted by dark energy. 
The very essence of the orc began to flow towards the outstretched hand of the drow. The figure became nondescript, more a silhouette than an orc as the vitality was drained from it.

Eventually, Trellimar withdrew his hand and clenched it into a fist as he consumed the last wisps of energy. 
All that remained of his foe was an unidentifiable husk.

The Pack From Hell: Our Pack Reunited: Part 1

Originally posted by stilinski-jpeg

So guys we’re all done! This was the joint project between me and @beaconhills17 We’re really excited about this and hope that you guys enjoy it! Enjoy! Xxxx

Being twins were hard, never being able to agree on stuff. Never being able to have anything for your own without having to share it.

But then came the day when Hazel and Brooke wanted the same thing. To get their pack back together.

And these girls were going to do anything it took to make it happen. And they mean ANYTHING and they would let no one get in the way of their plan.

Not even their Alpha, Scott. Yes they both may be humans, but they were strong. And more than capable than of looking after themselves. They weren’t technically going against their alpha, seeing as of course he doesn’t know about the plan but he will soon, when the pack start coming back one by one.

Which is why at 2:03 am, Hazel and Brooke were in the middle of the woods, leaves in their hair and dirt under their nails as they stared at the slowly growing hole in front of them.

The first pack member to bring back was Theo Raeken, The one who the girls missed the most.

I mean, they were human after all and have you seen him? Jeez he was hot. And by bring back they meant bring back from hell of course.

Yes Hell, they were going to hell to bring him back, no matter what no matter how dangerous it sounds they were going, and who knows what could get out. But they were ready for all hell to break loose.

Quite literally actually as large deep cracks began emitting from the ground, sprouting from the hole as hot red flames danced around the edges.

They made it, they made it to hell. More smoke began rising, but then they heard something or someone coming towards them. Who was it? The girls stopped digging. They got ready to attack with their shovels

Leaves crunched and twigs snapped as the footsteps got closer. They aimed their shovels high, watching the shadows carefully.

Two people, emerged from the darkness within the woods.

They couldn’t see their faces, which mixed up with the dark and thick smoke. The girls ready themselves, Brooke’s shovel held at a jabbing position as Hazel got ready to swing hers.

They were ready. Then all of a sudden. “What the hell are you two doing?”

The girl’s froze, they’re shovels faltering. “Oh you know,” Hazel mused, staring at Stiles’ confused face, “Just digging to Hell, just gonna go say hello to the Devil. Only a casual Tuesday of course.”

“Yeah like you could ever get to hell, it’s a myth” Stiles told them both. The girls looked at each other then at Scott.

“Like him then”

“Oh and that mad lizard thing that tried to paralyse us as well.” Hazel laughed and then stopping once she seen the look Scott was shooting her.

They then went back to digging. “Girls just stop at this point…” Scott began but was interrupted by Stiles “Wait what the hell is happening to the ground?”

“Either things are breaking out of the ground.” Brooke tapped the ground nervously at her feet. “Or the ground is breaking apart.” Hazel finished for her, watching the ground somewhat worriedly.

“Is that H..Hell” Stiles questioned backing away. “I think so, I hope so,” Hazel replied. “Girls this is dangerous, why are you digging for Hell?” Scott shouted edging closer to you, getting more and more angrier.

“You know, um we were gonna get Theo out.” Brooke said, carefully positioning her shovel between her and Scott. “Wait! You’re literally summoning the Devil!” Stiles shouted

“HELL YEAH” The girls said in unison.

“Now if you don’t mind, we have work to do here!” Hazel said as she turns back around to look at the large crater they had made, the heat from the sparkling fires burning her feet slightly

“You can’t do this girls” Stiles shouted, trying to be heard over the crackling of the fire from hell. He started to move towards the Hazel and Brooke. He went to grab Brooke’s shovel but she turned around to quickly and kind of knocked him out. It was a complete accident. Brooke would never hurt Stiles on purpose.

“Brooke!” Scott shouted, unsure on whether or not to be angry or shocked. “Easy! Easy!” Hazel tried to smooth over, throwing her shovel to the ground in case she accidentally took someone’s eye out. Knowing her and her clumsiness something like that was bound to happen.

“Hey Scott look on the bright side, it might of knocked some sense into him” Hazel joked kneeling down to Stiles to check that he is still alive. “Oh he’s fine, he has a pulse, Now can we get Theo?!”

Scott looked around in amazement, as if the trees might back him up. “No!” He exclaims looking between the two girls, who shamelessly stared back.

“No, what do you mean no?” Brooke asked, “He killed me but first he tried to get Liam to kill me, LIAM! My own beta!” Scott shouted

“Well you know, Liam might have been having a bad night okay! Everyone makes mistakes!” Hazel defends, unable to stop herself. “Look the choice is Scott, either he comes out on his own, or we go in after him!”

“YOU ARE NOT GOING TO HELL!” Scott yells frustrated.

“Fine, but if Stiles doesn’t wake up soon guess where he’s going?”

“I mean he’d fit right in with that mouth of his!” Hazel snickered and Brooke high fived her. It was like they weren’t standing literally right in front of the gates of Hell.

While they were discussing who should go and get Theo, they didn’t realize the hand protruding out of the hole.

“Guys!” Scott warned and the girls turned on heel. “Oh maybe it’s Theo!” Brooke said optimistically as she grabs onto the hand and begins pulling and someone who was definitely not Theo began crawling out the ground. While Scott got ready to let out a loud scream Hazel grabbed her shovel and began beating at the hand as Brooke shouted, “false alarm!”

The girls burst out laughing. “This isn’t funny girls, this is serious!” Scott yelled his eyes flashing red

“Sorry.” They say, folding their arms slightly guilty. “Look Scott, if we don’t go in soon, more things are gonna start coming out.” Hazel warns.

“Like what?” He asked getting more nervous. “Scott its Hell, so demons” Brook informs him. “Demons” Stiles mumbled, waking up confusedly, but fainting again with the thought

Rolling her eyes Hazel goes down on one knee, lightly slapping Stiles in his face. “No demons.” Stiles murmurs. “Well at this point, sweetie it’s either now or never.”

“But if there are demons, we have a way to get rid of them, But we need to get Theo, then we will never touch hell again” Brooke told them

“Okay, we pinkie promise!” Hazel persuades. But Scott still shakes his head. “It’s too dangerous. And not worth it! Remember you’re going to hell for Theo!”

“Theo, is gorgeous, we need him back in the pack!” And this time another hand came out of the hole. It was Theo. He dragged himself up, long burns and scratches marking his skin as he drags himself out of Hell. “QUICK THEY’RE COMING” He shouted.

Thinking quick Hazel turned round and shoved Scott as hard as she could, knocking him halfway down the hill to make sure he didn’t force Theo back down. “Help me!” Brooke shouted at her, tugging Theo up by herself, her face lit up from the flames.

After some tugging and pulling Theo was soon standing beside them, when all of a sudden, a big gust of black smoke comes flying out. “D…D…DEMON!” Stiles yelled screaming like the biggest girly girl. The black mist in front of them formed a miss-shaped body.

“Brooke gimme the guns!” Hazel shouts hurriedly, pulling Stiles behind her. “What? You have the guns!” Brooke exclaims and they both gulp. Looking between each other and the swirling black mist they both scream, “RUN!”

They shoot the gun but it fails to get rid of it, they shoot again while running but still the Demon gains closer to them, “WHAT ELSE, WE NEED ANOTHER IDEA!” One of them screams, throwing her gun in frustration.

“Damnit I don’t know!” Hazel shouts, the sound of feet pounding against the ground filling the air. “Confuse it! It’s the only way to stop it!” Theo yells, yanking Stiles out of the way of a low hanging tree branch

“Confuse it? It’s not a bloody crocodile we can’t run in zig zags to confuse it!” Stiles yelled “ANY BETTER IDEA’S” The girls screamed in unison

“Duck” Scott roared as the girls shovels go flying over their heads, barely missing them.

“Bright light!” Hazel suddenly screamed. “Bright light confuses them!“

"Where do we get a bright light from?” Someone throws back as they all run faster.

“Stiles, where’s your Jeep!” Brooke gasped, clutching at the painful stitch in her side. “Turn on the headlights!”

“It’s over here” Stiles shouted pulling his keys out of his pocket, nearly dropping them as he took a hard left.

“I’ll hold it off.” Scott says, suddenly stopping, his eyes glowing a bright red. “Like hell you will, that thing will destroy you!” Hazel yells, stopping as well. “Let him do this! Or we’ll all die.” Theo wraps his arms around Hazel’s waist and pulls her towards the Jeep the other two had already reached.

Stiles switched on the lights and the demon stopped. It was struggling, he couldn’t move.

His skin began bubbling grotesquely in places as it staggers slightly. Scott growls, his long fangs jutting out his mouth as he ran at it. “No Scott! Don’t touch it!” Theo screamed and Scott stopped, unsure on what to trust. Theo or his instinct.

“We need to kill it and a werewolf bite will kill you scott!” Theo yelled “An exorcism will kill it” Hazel yelled looking at her twin sister. “You ready?” Brooke gave a simple nod.

“Regna terrae, cantate deo, psallite dommino, qui vehitur per calus caelos antiquos Ecce edit vocem suam,vocem potentem: akinoscite potentiam dei majestas ejus, et potentia ejus in nubibus timendus est dues e sancto suo dues israel; ipse potentiam datet robur populo suo benedictus dues Gloria patri”

Dark grey fog swirled around the twins as their eyes glowed a bright white.

BANG! The demon vanished into thin air, a dark thick fog replacing it. The hole they dug began to close up.

The ground practically stitched itself back together, the long cracks erasing themselves. A loud roar filled the air as more and more dirt rained down into the hole

It was over, and the best thing about it was the girls plan worked, not exactly how they expected it to, but they got Theo out of hell. They practically rugby tackled him to the ground, hugging him.

“You’re alive! Thank god you’re alive Theo!” They gushed, hugging him hard. Behind them they heard Stiles yell, “Since when did you guys speak Latin?” As he got out his Jeep, slamming the door shut behind him.

Theo hugged both of the girls back, a large grin on his face. None of them wanted to let go. They had one pack member back. 1 down.

And believe it or not, this might have been the easiest one.

We will just have to wait and see, now to the next pack member!

Send in ideas for Part 2! And let us know what you think! Xxx


I’ve been putting this off for one reason or another, but I guess I should write a final update.

Yep. A FINAL update.

I have had my post op check up. It’s now been a few weeks since the actual surgery… long enough that I’m back to normal and that I don’t even remember when the surgery was. I did have a mini scary moment when I thought I was getting an infection, but it was just an ingrown hair on my incision line which seems fine now.

So I am done. For now. I know that at some point my erectile device will break, but that’s just a thing I will have to deal with then. It could be a decade before that happens (it also could break tomorrow, but hey, I’m gonna be optimistic).

Suddenly my life feels very different. The limbo I was living in has lifted and now it’s just time to exist. To actually live.
The timing of the NHS is pretty excellent, as I’m currently having therapy to deal with my anxiety and some mild depressive issues. I already feel a change in me, and there’s changes afoot in my life in general. Mostly these changes are being driven by a desire to have a future. To have a successful future. Transition has given me this. It’s given me clarity in a world that was once a dark and thick fog. It’s given me a platform on which to build happiness, hope and peace. Lower surgery was the final tick box on a list of things to “right myself” and that box is finally ticked.

It’s just over three years since I had my stage one of phalloplasty and boy has it been a ride. Along with all the complications, the post op depression and the moments of feeling utterly fucked, there has been moments of realisation about how strong I am and how much I can put up with. Granted, in terms of complications I could probably be considered lucky. Three stages turned into six, but I am here at this point and I am DONE.

As always, I am incredibly grateful to those of you who have shared this journey with me, and who have written me such kind messages and shared so much with me. You’ve helped me more than you probably realise, so thank you (especially you guys - AJ and RJ - I hope you’re both doing well and thank you so much).

I hope this blog has been of use to people. I realise I haven’t shared as much as I could, but I’ve shared as much as I wanted. Mostly a lot of words, ha.

So yep. I guess the last thing to say is this - it might be the hardest thing I’ve ever done (having lower surgery), but it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done. Because I finally just feel like me :)

✿ Daily Story Seed ✿

The Dark Wall
Write about a character who witnesses the world come to an end, not with a bang– but with darkness. Explore the point of view of this character as a dark, thick fog envelops the whole world. What is this character going to do now, when they can only see a few feet ahead of them?

Any work you create based off this prompt belongs to you, no sourcing is necessary though it would be really appreciated! And don’t forget to tag maxkirin (or tweet @MistreKirin), so that I can check-out your stories!

Want more writer inspiration, advice, and prompts? Follow my blog:!

welovesherlolly  asked:

Molly breaks a leg and Sherlock insists to take care of her. Just if inspiration hits, you don't have to do it obviously ^^

For you, my dear, I’d love to! I do hope it’s fluffy enough for you. :) Enjoy!

Of Broken Bones and Secrets

Molly whined helplessly and flopped back in bed. As gently as possible, she shifted her plaster-covered leg, trying desperately to relieve the itch behind her knee, the one place a fork could not reach. She only managed to jostle her aching leg, crying out in pain.

Toby jumped up on the bed beside her.

‘Bloody stupid cat,’ she cursed the purring feline who proceeded to rub his face along the hard cast that covered her leg from mid-thigh to her toes. ‘This is your fault, you know. If you hadn’t tripped me, I wouldn’t be stuck here for a month with an unbearable itch that I can’t reach!’ She reached down helplessly, as though scratching the offending cast would relieve her of this horrible discomfort.

Just as she was about to give in to the one of the urges to screech or shriek or cry, her bedroom door suddenly opened and Sherlock swept in, covered in various bags and carrying a heavy-laden tray. Toby scrambled from the room in fear of the intruder.

‘Molly, do try to relax. I could hear your complaining all the way in the kitchen. Also, you need a new lock, I seem to have broken the pathetic excuse for one that your landlord installed twenty-some odd years ago.’ Sherlock set the tray down on her nightstand and began unloading the bags as he continued rambling on in his usual blunt, rapid manner. ‘However, since it was a bit not good that I inadvertently broke it, I suppose I should replace it… although, this would not have happened if you had given me a key. Well, that won’t be a problem again, I shall have a spare made when the new lock is installed…’

Molly gaped as the normally aloof, calculating, and completely uninterested detective chattered away and pulled therapeutic pillows, an extra throw blanket, romantic comedies, and a plethora of chocolates from the bags. She blinked rapidly as she tried to remember if she took pain meds recently and was, perhaps, hallucinating.

‘Erm, hello.’ Molly finally managed to unstick her tongue.

He didn’t acknowledge her stunned greeting, instead wrapping his arm behind her shoulders and lifting her up enough to slip an odd-shaped, but delightfully comfortable, pillow behind her back. He turned back to the bags and Molly tried once again to inquire as to what in the name of sanity he was doing in her flat when he whirled back around and shoved a couple of her white, pain pills into her hand with a gruffly ordered, ‘Swallow.’

She automatically obeyed, accepting the glass of water he offered. Her meds were quick-acting and she could already feel them taking effect as she watched Sherlock sift through the bags.


‘Hmm,’ he hummed distractedly as he investigated the back of one of the DVDs, a look of horror passing over his features as he read.

‘Why’re you here?’ She asked, her words slurring together slightly. Her head was starting to feel fuzzy and light, her eyelids drooping as she melted into the pillow. The throbbing in her leg was gone and a strange euphoria was bubbling up in her chest.

Sherlock dropped the DVD in disgust and picked up another, his frown deepening as he perused the information. ‘You are in need of assistance. There is a current lack in decent crime and my schedule has become wide open. Helping you is preferable to being smacked by Mrs Hudson for shooting her walls in boredom.’

‘Awww.’ Molly giggled happily and reached out to smack his leg. ‘You’re sssweet.’

He looked down at her in horror. ‘I most certainly am not! You take that back.’

The happy feeling was spreading, making her feel light and giddy. She slapped a hand over her mouth and slid it haphazardly around her face as she giggled. ‘Nope. You,’ she poked his leg in emphasis, ‘are sssssssweet, Mister Consssulting Sweetheart.’

‘Molly, do refrain from such silliness.’

Molly laid back against the pillows and shook her head firmly, a pout on her lips. ‘No, I will certainly not… Nopity, nope.’

‘What’s in those pills?’ Sherlock muttered, picking up the bottle.

Molly turned her head to the side and pulled on his shirt, trying to get his attention, but he didn’t look at her. ‘Sherlock,’ she whispered loudly. ‘Sheeeerlock!’

‘What is it, Molly?’ He mumbled.

‘Sherloooock,’ she whined, pulling harder on his shirt. He finally glanced at her, his eyes widening at the dazed look on her face. ‘It’s a ssssecret.’

‘What is?’

She pulled on his shirt until he was kneeling beside the bed, his head level with hers. His face kept going in and out of focus and her eyelids were almost too heavy to hold open. ‘You can’t…’ she licked her lips and tried again. ‘You can’t tell anyone, but I’m in loooove!’ She widened her eyes dramatically, watching Sherlock’s face blanch at her whispered admission.

She snorted and broke down into laughter, the heady waves rolling over her again. Her head lolled around the pillow, finally finding its way back to stare at Sherlock.

‘Promise… promise not to tell?’ She pouted prettily at him, trying to bat her eyes, but the heavy lids refused to cooperate. His answering smile seemed forced, but he nodded. ‘Good,’ she said as she patted his cheek absentmindedly. ‘Good… Can’t let him know… he’s a married man.’

‘Married?!’ Sherlock jumped to his feet.                                                       

Molly glared up at him. ‘Shhhhhh… some people are trying to get some rest, Miiiister Holmes.’ She snuggled down in the bed and closed her eyes, too tired to try keeping them open. ‘Yep. Married. Never met hissss wife, though. Don’t think he actually ‘as one.’

Above her, Sherlock growled accusingly. ‘Lestrade.’

The darkness was creeping into the corners of her mind, dragging her into blissful sleep. The lightheadedness was gone, replaced by a comfortable feeling of heavy limbs melting into plush bedding. ‘Greg’sa nice guy… but not m’type. No, my guy… s’married to ‘is work.’ She turned over onto her side, her leg shifting but no pain penetrating the dark, thick fog in her mind, and mumbled sleepily, ‘Least, that’swhat he says. Crime s’an awful wife, me thinks.’

Sherlock exhaled deeply and she felt him place a blanket over her and tuck it around her carefully.

‘Well, he’s an idiot who thought he’d ruined any chance of happiness with you. But I think he’d be worth a shot. After all…’ She felt his lips press gently against her temple just as sleep stole her away. ‘…he’s thinking about getting a divorce.’


Staining The Sundarbans - 1

It was 5am as we set off from Chandpai forest station, heading south into the Sundarbans. A thick dark fog hung sullenly about us. A few kilometers on, visibility beyond the prow fell to near zero, forcing us to dock mid-river.

As we waited, voices rang out from somewhere in the thick blur: fishermen singing to semaphore their presence. Occasionally a low dinghy would row quietly by, unseen until it was almost upon us.

In the distance, a ship boomed its approach. Our boat master shook his head in concern. In such poor visibility, we’d stand no chance if we stood in its path. He revved up the engine and guided us into a khal (a channel).

5am on December 9, 2014 must have been just such a scene. The Oil Tanker Southern Star -7 was docked four kilometers from the confluence of the rivers Sela and Passur, near Mrigamari in dense fog. It carried 350,000 liters of heavy black viscous furnace oil.

The fog must have been at its darkest and alertness at its dullest when a cargo ship, also plying the same channel, loomed unexpectedly upon the tanker. The Southern Star-7 stood no chance.

When the cargo ship rammed into it, it nose-dived its cargo into the Sela River.

The Sela is part of the Sundarbans, the largest unbroken stand of mangrove forests in the world. A UNESCO World Heritage Site. A fragile ecosystem that has adapted itself to life on the brink of brine, for these mangroves form the margin between the salt water of the Bay of Bengal and the freshwaters of three mighty South Asian rivers: The Ganges, the Brahmaputra, and the Meghna.

Sundarbans, which literally translates as “beautiful forest”, straddles the border between India and Bangladesh along the eastern Indian state of West Bengal. India has 40% and Bangladesh has 60% of the mangroves. Both areas are designated wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests.

This mangrove margin is home to some of the world’s most endangered creatures: the masked finfoot; the Irrawaddy, Gangetic, and four other kinds of dolphins; the Bengal tiger and the beautiful, endangered sundri tree (Heritiera fomes). Almost a million forest people depend upon this ecosystem for their livelihood.

By definition and by law, heavy shipping traffic carrying hazardous cargo has no place in the Sundarbans.  Yet in Bangladesh, tankers carrying “modified cargo” — oil, pesticides, fertilisers, insecticides, fly ash, cement, sand, and salt — cleave the channels of this fragile ecosystem every day; each traverse a disaster waiting to happen.

On December 9th, the Fates were tempted once too often. Two ships collided; 230,000 liters of oil poisoned this fragile, protected environment.

Our boat, the Gol-Patta, reached the Sundarbans on December 14, four days after the spill. Men, women, and children were knee deep in the mudflats and elbow deep in heavy fuel oil. They were scraping black, viscous goo from sedges, reeds, leaves, trunks, roots. Each painstaking handful of black pulp collected was smeared off along the rim of a cooking pot. Then they turned back to the plants for more.

Children were covered in black from toe to waist.

Khals — channels filled with sweet and brine, that snake through the mangroves — now flowed dark, dirty, and viscous. The forest stood ankle deep in low tide, in 3m high black tar socks. The high-tide line had become the oil-line.

The river below danced with oil too: graded by thickness from black to brown and then all colors of the rainbow.

Dark acrid stinging fumes spiraled from fires heating oil in the sleepy fishing village of Joymoni on the Sela river.

Save for the blackened fishermen and children, we saw no one else cleaning the spill. The slick sloshed forward in the ebbing tide. We followed it: 4 km past the spill site, 8 km past the spill site, 12 km past the spill site, then fifteen … twenty … thirty … forty … the slick sloshed ahead of us, beside us, behind us. Films of oil of varying thicknesses floated in the main channel and pooled in the smaller khals.

The tide went out by nightfall and came back in at dawn. The oil, ditto.

With the dawn tide came fishermen who had seen the slick almost 80 km down the river.

Oil was everywhere – thick, doom-black, hugging the sides of the mangroves for almost 30km, and a playful, almost beautiful swish of colors afloat along the 80 km stretch of river.

The plants and trees of mangrove forests are uniquely adapted to the salt-and-sweet water inter-tidal zone. They deal with submergence during high tide by sprouting aerial roots, snorkels that stay above the water to breathe. Those snorkels (called pneumatophores) were now smothered in black oil; the forest seemed like it was choking, gasping for breath.

Consequences of the spill were all around us, yet so much more remained unseen, unquantified.

In Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, newspapers screamed of dying animals. Activists on social media posted doctored images of oil-dripping dolphins and oil-swimming tigers. To counter the anger, the government spokespersons shot back officialese for ‘no harm came from the oil-spill and it is all under control.’

The dark truth lurked somewhere in-between.

Animals caught in the water during the first few days of the spill were coated with oil, and may have died. We had seen a blackened crocodile slip tentatively into a brown slick 10 km from the spill site, but we had no way of knowing its fate. We had also seen flocks of egrets there, flying white and free of any smears.

The worry was not so much of animals dying in the immediate aftermath, but of the oil staying in the water, on the mudflats, and smearing the trees.

The effects of the coated and residual oil will be seen over months in the forests of this ecosystem. It could manifest in hormonal changes and reproductive changes, over time, in animals exposed to the substance. How exactly this spill will affect the ecosystem can only be determined by a scientific longitudinal study which, at this point, no one has signed up to do.

A spill of this magnitude in an area this ecologically sensitive is a qualifiable, quantifiable disaster mandating emergency measures. Yet, clean-up operations have been slow and unscientific, and are focused only on recovering the oil from the banks in a buy-back scheme by the company, Padma Oil, that owned the barrels in the Southern Star-7.

Here is where the hazard lies: fishermen from the village (Joymoni) most affected by the spill are collecting the oil. Children, women, men, all scrape the goo by hand and collect floating smeared plant matter that they dump into their boats. The boats are towed back to the village “depot” by the Forest Department, which is coordinating the effort (with local NGOs). Here, the plant matter is boiled and heated to loosen the oil. This is collected in barrels, and trucked back to Padma Oil.

The fishermen are doing all the collection and boiling sans any protective gear. They are smeared in oil by day on the river, and engulfed in its fumes when they get home. These oils contain chemicals that are toxic. It can have dire digestive, pulmonary, and dermatological effects and, if the exposure extends over time, also neurotoxic effects.

Eleven days after the spill, the children of Joymoni have begun to fall sick. They have been throwing up. But no one cares, no one spares a thought – it is all about recovering and selling back the oil.

No lessons appear to have been learnt. The Bangladesh shipping ministry has already begun to push for resumption of shipping traffic through the Sundarbans. Area rumor says the matter has been taken out of the jurisdiction of the Ministry for Transportation and transferred to the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The Bangladeshi government, after dragging its feet in the aftermath of the spill and then organizing the cleanup in haphazard manner, has its eye firmly fixed on the lost revenue from the stalled shipping lane, and is now desperately downplaying the extent of the disaster.

How things unfold in the aftermath of this disaster remains to be seen. I will continue to report on this incident, and analyze how we got here. The reportage will also focus on a larger problem looming over the Sundarbans.