The crumbled form of what at first glance appeared to be human, twenty years of age, and grievously injured lie at the foot of a chain link fence. Above that fence, at the height of approximately twenty feet a window stood open, sheer curtains billowing from the room to which it was attached.
"It appears we have the victim of a heinous crime, Mr. Watson! Prepare the board while I search for clues!"
"It makes no sense!" said Watson. "There is no blood, no deformity, no visible sign of trauma, yet he refuses to awaken, even through the most vicious painful stimuli!"
Watson and his contemporaries tended to the injured man as I scanned the crime scene. Six persons stood nearby, some crying, some shouting, some simply in a drunken stupor. One particularly inebriated young man accosted me, grabbing the lapels of my overcoat and shouting, "He's too young to die!"
"Calm yourself, man!" I spoke firmly, without raising my voice. "Tell me what has befallen your young friend."
"He fell from the window," he said, a little shakily. Guilt? Remorse? Time would tell.
"Fell, or was pushed?" I cleverly asked the suspect, searching for the slightest hesitation or odd facial expression. He mysteriously shrank away, releasing my lapels and disappearing into the midnight mist.
"Keep an eye on that one," I instructed one of the constables that had arrived. He squinted his eyes and followed in the suspects path.
I returned to the victim's side, and saw that all was well.
"Mr Watson, the game is afoot!" Take care while I gather evidence!
"Elementary, Holmes," said my most capable assistant.
The victim had been secured to the backboard and was safely in the rescue wagon, Watson leading the team of firefighters as they established IV's, ran oxygen, performed an EKG, administered Narcan and did a thorough primary assessment.
The crowd began to dissipate. Curious, I thought, packing my pipe with pungent tobacco as I watched them flee.
"Sir! Madame!" I shouted to the retreating people. "Have you no care what happens to your friend?"
"He's drunk," said a drunken woman. We were fighting. I tried to put him to bed but he kept trying to leave his room. We blocked the door, then he got real quiet.
"Pray tell, what happened next?"
"Penelope found him lying on the sidewalk, and we called you."
"Interesting." I struck a match, the light from the flame illuminating her tired face. This was not the look of a liar. She spoke the truth.
"You may go, but stay near, we may have further questions."
"Thank you sir," she said, and filed through a gate and into a door that led back into the house. I watched her, puffing on my pipe, imagining her path as she retraced her footsteps. I looked toward the open window, envisioning the woman attempting to destroy evidence. Watson appeared by my side.
"It doesn't add up, Mr. Watson! Why would a healthy young man subject himself to such bodily harm?"
"Dr. Holmes! Do you not see? Look closely at the window. Those marks at the sill, they are footprints!"
"Now why would somebody be walking on the second story of this house? And how would gravity allow it?" I pondered.
"Look closely, man. There, hanging from the window. Bedsheets! Tied together! And there, below the fence. Another bedsheet, fallen from the height of yonder window, no doubt! The knot must have slipped!"
"It can't be!" I said then, shaking my head in disbelief.
"It is, I'm afraid," said Mr. Watson. "The oldest trick in the book."
"The Rapunzel Retreat," we said as one.
"Perhaps an extra fabric softener was slipped into the laundry basket!" Watson said, stroking his mustache as he contemplated the idea, and its repercussions.
"It is a strange city, full of strange people," I said to my partner, clapping him on the back. We walked amiably back to the rescue wagon, where the victim had regained consciousness and was drunkenly fighting his restraints.
"I think he will live to rue his poor descision this night, Dr, Holmes."
"Elementary, my dear Watson. Elementary."
We left the scene, victim on board, and brought him to the infirmary, where he is expected to make a full recovery.
Another mystery solved.