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Cryptic Hearts

By xMeganful

Mystery

Cipher

London was shrouded by mist and rain the day that the message occurred, miserably drizzling down the window that Sherlock Holmes stood before, a violin grasped within his hands as he turned and twisted around the room with the melody. Barely a fortnight had passed since the ceremony between Dr. John Watson and Mary Morstan, the couple settling quietly into married life in their suburban home. Boredom clouding his mind, John had returned to the infamous man's flat.

"Just pick something, Sherlock!" sitting opposite the Consulting Detective, watching him from the familiar comfort that his chair brought, he sighed. John grasped his phone in his hand, scrolling through the many pages of requests that the two men had been asked to investigate. Setting down the violin, Sherlock groaned in frustration.

"They're all boring, John! Not anywhere good enough for my time..." he muttered, sitting improperly on the plush sofa on the eastern side of the room, his limbs splayed carelessly over the furniture. His dark hair was tousled and unkempt, his clothes reflecting the same disconcern for his appearance.

John pressed a finger to his temples, attempting to rub away the migraine that was beginning to arise, "You haven't even read them yet, for Christ sake." the brunette stilled in silent protest, his eyes fixated on the ceiling. "Please, Sherlock, just pick one. I need something to think about other than decor; it could another bloody Bluebell for all I care."

After a moment, Sherlock quitted the sofa for the table chair, forcing his laptop from sleep mode as he began to scroll through his website 'The Science of Deduction'. Hovering over his shoulder, the other man pointed to the screen.

"What about that one?" the message was from a young girl in Dartford, an image enclosed with it.

Dear Mr Sherlock Holmes,

Typically, I would not concern someone such as you with such menial matters, but I fear that something terrible is afoot.

Yesterday, I discovered an email that had been anonymously sent to me. Please find the attached screenshot.

I believe it to be a code or cipher of some sort, though I can't make any sense of it. Your help would be greatly appriciated, Mr Holmes.

Many thanks,

Charlotte Taylor.

Instantly, Sherlock's mind was buzzing with intrigue and delight. Opening the attached image, he found a screenshot of an email, as the girl had said. A line of seemingly random block letters was the only obvious message present.

DEEZZMAPEDCXJLTCYER

Though Sherlock Holmes knew better than to believe that this was random; coincidences ceased to exist in his racing mind.

John cleared his throat and piped up, "What do you think it means?"

"It's code. Give me a moment." replied Sherlock, his eyes transfixed on the screen as the email moved and altered within his skull, each letter become extensively analyzed as reality subsided.

DEEZZMAPEDCXJLTCYER

STTOOBPETSRMYAIRNTG

STOPTRYING TOBESMART

STOP TRYING TO BE SMART

Many minutes had passed when his mind resurfaced, John having regained his seat after he had become immersed in his thoughts. Sherlock hummed with a grin touching his lips, "A skip code in a shift cipher. How moderately smart."

"What?" spoke his friend, who watched the detective with interest.

He pushed himself from his laptop, paced the floors and began to explain the features of the cryptic message, "The letters were a shift code. The alphabet is moved a certain number of places left or right, so all I had to do was move them back to their original place. The shift code then revealed to be a skip code, which, when placed in the right order, reads-"

"Stop trying to be smart." John leaned over the laptop, the words printed in an email to the girl. He read the email were Sherlock explained to her that this was a prank conveyed by her classmates, who had previously taunted the girl over social media for becoming skilled in her studies. "So that's it? Case closed?"

"Afraid so, John." both men regained their positions in their chairs, endless boredom plaguing their minds. "That was barely a two..." muttered he, who sat with ignorance, unknowing that the mystery had only just begun to unravel.

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crystalholes: This is a great book, I've read several on here that I've literally had to grind my teeth just to get through. This was engaging, witty, and smart. No grammar problems plaguing so many of the pieces on this app. Definitely publish-worthy.

Jan Imonti: Loved the story, but didn't like the delivery...had to read this on my computer on line. Wasn't able to download it to my kindle. Excellent story, lots of twists and turns. Fairly quick read. Love the versitility of Mitchell's writing. Keep up with the great mysteries.

Deleted User: (A review in progress). I like this. It's sparse, gritty and atmospheric - reminiscent of the classic Golden Age of American detective fiction of the Thirties. I've only read the beginning, but I'll definitely be back. This writer knows their stuff and has done their homework on detective work. T...

Ali Albazaz: I started reading "Caged" few hours ago and I'm on chapter 7 now. Caged is definitely one of the most addictive stories I've ever read. Thank you so much for writing this novel.

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Spring: I normally don't read fiction novels, but I absolutely enjoyed reading Silent Shadows! The style is quite different from the previous fiction novels I've attempted to read. Great job!

Felisa Yoder Osburn: I really enjoyed the story. Civil War stories are some of my favorites and the intertwining of the past with current times was wonderful. I look forward to reading the next stories.

alisonward: If you like the paranormal then you should read this! Easy to read with a great story line and the characters are likeable. A few grammatical errors which made me have to reread a few sentences but could be forgiven as they were minor..I will be keeping an eye out for the next book.

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Anehalia: This review is for the first chapter:I struggled to get through the first couple of paragraphs. The first couple of paragraphs were all setting detail without any introduction of characters. The description of the setting used repetitive words and had some tense mix up for words. It made for a ve...

Deleted User: You put a lot of effort into this story, and in some places the detail is lovely. The beginning is really good. There is a lot of good detail in the first paragraphs. I get a good feel for his confusion.But I am lost in the back story. I have no idea where this is going. Perhaps mention someone y...

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