{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copies left
You can choose from our best books below
xMeganful would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

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.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Caryn Moy: Love this series! Very well written, great plot and characters! I love time travel mysteries and this was different from anything I've read in the past! Bring on the sequel!!! I need to see the Compact get squashed!

Tavis Ryan King: "What Happened to Charlie Carmine" is a fabulous mo-gee-toe cocktail fuelled midget orgy of psychology, fantasy and sarcasm. I laughed out loud when reading this novel so many times it made the London commuters I shared space with look at me with curious disdain - and I did not care. [Rating: 4....

mcase: I really enjoyed this story. Felt drawn to Cami as a genuine person. Great characters with funny honest perspective. Many subplots made this continually interesting. I was never bored and thought the overall plot was intriguing. I do wish that some elements had been excluded, such as some extrane...

danijelstoilkovic: I really like this story. The characters, the mysteries, that bonding in the end, but I would really like to see what happened next. Is there a second part? And this would really be one cool horror movie and if I was the director, I wouldn't change a thing.It's awesome!

Someone: This was a fun, entertaining read. Although the novel wasn’t stylistically polished, and although the first couple of chapters struggled to hold my attention, the rest of the novel was engaging and beautifully done. You had me fooled until the end. The rest of this review will contain spoilers fo...

missmary: This story sucked me in from the start and kept me reading when I should have been in bed. My only disappointment is how it ended. While I have nothing against Sherlock/John pairings- and this was well done- I kind've hoped it would come out a little different just for a change. Still, this was w...

M.L. Bull: Hello, Aalia!Your story compelled the emotional pain and struggle of a teenage girl very well.. The imagery was also convincing and well-written, showing the different personalities of your characters and their actions. However, I do think that many of your sentences are too lengthy and could use...

mcase: I thoroughly enjoyed every particle of this interesting story!! I really enjoyed the development of the main characters and loved them despite their flaws. The plot was interesting and kept me reading, wanting to find out what would happen next. Great work!There were a few consistent mechanical e...

BFIrving: A first rate story and well crafted, the blend of horror and action worked very well indeed and had me turning page after page. When not actually reading it, I found myself thinking about it which is always a good sign.There are quite a few grammatical and spell-checker errors but nothing anothe...

More Recommendations

Maryam Rehman: The story was overall amazingly penned down. I loved how the story transitioned from the lavish city of London to the war torn Aleppo. Even though the story had some loopholes in some places, it made me contemplate failing in chemistry, because I was up all night glued to my mobile screen rather ...

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.

CornflowerBlues: I'm liking everything about this story so far: the brazen detective, the way he gave in to temptation, the temptation (<3!!), and the unexpectedly complex backdrop of his job and the case he's working. The story is well written, and despite its erotica tag, has an intriguing detective story and a...

Samantha Speed: There were several punctuation, grammar, and missing word problems but it did not detract from the story. This story was very well done, enjoyable, and had an interesting enough plot. It took a while to finish. This story is not complete. I love it, but I want to see another book or have more cha...

Gayle Gunderson Boyce: I loved the book. Couldn't stop reading it. The story was good with a strong build up of suspense and sense of urgency to catch the killer. All clues pointed to Talbot yet enough things didn't add up to keep us looking and thinking. Jack Creed is a likeable character with lots of gut experience. ...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.