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Scrutiny

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             The two men stare at each other from across the room, each sizing the other up with a single sweeping glance.  Pale blue-grey flickering up and down across the drawn-up figure in his arm chair, taking in every twitch.  Multi-hued irises sweeping delicately over a languid form draped over a sofa, noting silently every tensed muscle.

             Older.  Careful hands.  Chemical stains on the nails.  Dark hair has retained its colour.

             Younger.  Long finger.  Fidgety.  Natural curls.  Not maintained.  Accidental.

             Tall.

             Tall.

             Old-fashioned dress.  Black frock coat.  Leather gloves.  Black trousers.  All carefully taken care of.

             Loose t-shirt.  Grey trousers.  Blue silk dressing gown.  One hole shot through it.  Patches on left arm.  Possibly bandages.

             Arrogant-looking.

             Insolent.

             The two men rise almost simultaneously, circling one another like a pair of predatory cats, their eyes never leaving an inch of the other out of sight.  Almost at once, they break the silence.

             “What are you doing in my flat?”

             There is a stunned silence from both men.  Then:

             “I live here.”

             A narrowing of the eyes.  The younger of the two men clenches his jaw slightly.  The older man stands his ground.  The next burst of dual speech erupts.

             “Who are you?”

             “I am Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective.  Who did you expect to find here?”

             Another shocked silence.  Finally, the younger man speaks.

             “I’m high as fuck right now, aren’t I?”

             A pause.  Hazel eyes glance up lightly.

             Dilated pupils.  Shallow breathing.  Racing pulse.

             “Yes.”

             “Hell.”

             The men resume their original positions, the younger ignoring his older counterpart stubbornly before drifting to sleep.  When he awakes, the man in the chair, the other Sherlock Holmes, is gone.

             A hallucination then.  A very, very detailed hallucination.

             A second glance over at the chair reveals a flash of colour.  A third reveals its source.

             A single red rose lays across the cushion.