Within two days of leaving Prescott in the company of Sherlock Holmes, John Watson is regretting his decision. Not that he doesn’t want to go to Colorado or has any particular urge for the gambling tables or doesn’t like riding such long distances, mind. It’s more the fact that his traveling companion, the afore-said Holmes, has to keep stopping to vomit.
Thank Christ they’re not in any particular rush to get there.
“I knew we should have stayed in town for another week,” John mutters, holding Sherlock’s horse by the reins as its master heaves up that morning’s coffee by the side of the road. It had, after all, been Sherlock’s idea to leave so fast, leading John to suspect that he wanted to get away from his brother. As soon as the initial withdrawal illness passed, he insisted that they mount up and ride out. John, fool that he is, listened, and now look at where they are! Two days out of town and Sherlock damn near bringing his guts up because he couldn’t wait for the full withdrawal phase to pass. The expression “stubborn as a mule” just doesn’t cut it.
John sighs, eyes roving over the plains where they’ve found themselves. There’s a river to the north – so Sherlock says - that they’ll probably hit around noon, and if Sherlock hasn’t much improved by then John plans to suggest that they hole up there until morning and see how he is after some rest. Passed that river, who can rightly say what they’ll find anyway? It’s not as if there are helpful signs with Next River, 50 miles etched onto them. Though that’s certainly an innovative idea. Probably some eccentric will erect them sometime.
It’s not much of a road that they’re on either, it’s more of a beaten-in trail which is hardly there in some spots. God help them if they get lost out here. There won’t even be cowhands to come across them – the land is too dry, though there is grass(turning gradually from green to brown) and not much in the way of herds has moved in out here just yet. All he can do is hope that Sherlock knows the way as well as he claims, or is half as good a tracker as he claims. John has never rued more his own inability at tracking. It was one of those things the Ranger captains he served under complained about for the few months that he was there.
Sherlock straightens up, swaying a little on the spot as he wipes his mouth. “I’m fine,” he says to John’s unasked question, voice hoarse, then wraps the reins around his hand and pulls himself onto his horse’s back. He takes the water canteen that John hands him and swills a mouthful before spitting it into the dust and swallowing another one.
“Onwards then.” Sherlock shakes up his horse and lopes off, John despairing as he follows.
It’s going to be a long way to Colorado.