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Sherlock Fanfic: The Maize Maze - CaffieneKittySpace
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Sherlock Fanfic: The Maize Maze
Title: The Maize Maze
Fandom: Sherlock (BBC)
Alternate Postings: AO3
Rating/Content: PG13, unBritpicked grain crop terminology, very slight blood and some violence
Warnings: none
Word Count: 1200
Disclaimer: Not my world.
Notes: Written for watsons_woes October Spooktacular. Corn mazes are a thing in the UK, there's a whole Maize Maze Association, but the terminology surrounding this particular crop is different in the UK than North America, so I do apologize if I'm using the wrong words for things. Please do let me know if there are specific terms that ought to be changed.


Summary: Sherlock and John search a maze in a cornfield.


The Maize Maze


Browning sword-like leaves of long-picked sweetcorn plants lined the pathway, retained by a cheery yellow plastic tape with blood dripping words of warning, lit intermittently by the torch in John's hand as he jogged along. A faint breeze rustled the drying leaves against each other in the night. Sherlock of course was long gone, loping up the dark plant-lined path like a bloodhound on the scent.

Fantastic. Of course he'd leave me behind in a maze. Maize maze or no, I've still no bloody idea where I am. John couldn't even see Sherlock's torch ahead anymore, though in the maze that meant little.

An intersection loomed ahead. The only thing to differentiate it from the rest of this maze was the horribly unconvincing scarecrow at one corner, head slumping under its oversized hat as though it might fall off at any moment. Muttering deprecations, John peered down the twisting paths at the crossroads.

"Keep up, John" Sherlock's voice carried over the dried-out tops of the sweetcorn plants.

"Would if you weren't a bloody antelope," John muttered.

"What?"

"Which way, Sherlock?" John shouted.

"Left, right, right, left, round the curve, left-"

"No, which way at the scarecrow?

"What scarecrow?"

"You can't have missed it." John shone the flashlight over the scarecrow again. The head looked even more precarious.

"I don't miss anything. You must've taken a wrong turn. Retrace your steps to the last turn and hurry up about it."

John sighed. "Right." He took a last look at the scarecrow. Even at a high speed dash Sherlock wouldn't have missed this ugly thing. A bit Guy Fawkes, really. Ridiculous hat, checked shirt... smells like old beer and sweat-

The scarecrow shouted and rushed at John, shoving him flat on the pathway, knocking the wind out of him. John gasped for breath as his torch bounced away into the dense plants. The 'scarecrow's' footsteps slapped down the path.

John wheezed, "Sher- It's coming- to get you," before he lost his voice in a cough.

"John?" Sherlock called. "What was that shout?"

The steps faded off between the plants. John got to his knees, inhaled, and let out a bellow. "Sherlock! Scarecrow incoming!"

"Scarecrow? Be sensible John, a scarecrow is just an- AHHH!!!"

John swore. Casting a quick glance around he could see a patch of roots deep in the wall of sweetcorn plants lit up from his torch but no clear sight of the torch itself. He looked up at the nearly full moon, then ran down the path in the direction the scarecrow had run in the moonlight, quickly coming to a t-junction.

His head twitched left and right in the darkness, trying to guess which pathway to follow. If the 'scarecrow' had been stuffed with straw, this would have been much easier. He'd be leaving a trail, not that I'd have much luck seeing it without a torch. As it is- "Sherlock! Where are you?"

John stood still, breathing quietly, hearing only sounds of a struggle somewhere in front of him.

"Sherlock!" John grit his teeth, glancing down each path. Neither way seemed to carry the sound of fighting any louder. He glared at the wall of sweetcorn stalks in front of him. Bloody maze.

The tell-tale sound of Sherlock choking, or more likely being choked, carried over the tall stalks.

Right. Straight ahead it is. John yanked at the plastic novelty 'Caution: Haunted!' tape until it snapped, then waded in among the plants.

Sweetcorn leaves were anything but sweet, John swiftly found out as the sharp leaves slashed tiny cuts in his exposed skin. Hissing, he pulled his hands up into his cuffs and crossed his arms in front of his face, thrashing blindly through the tall plants, following the growing sounds of struggle. He veered left to keep the sound in front of him, the sound of Sherlock struggling for air growing louder and fainter at the same time. The attacking scarecrow was growling half-spoken profanities though; those were getting much easier to hear.

When John was close to the noise, he opened his eyes to look through the stalks, wiping a trickle of blood from a leaf-slice out of his vision. They were partly lit by Sherlock's dropped torch. The scarecrow had lost his hat and was kneeling overtop Sherlock, hands gripped tight around his throat, snarling. Sherlock made no sound now, and only pawed weakly at his attackers grip.

Not hesitating to think, John took a deep breath and launched himself out of the sweetcorn, intending to tackle the man off Sherlock entirely. What happened instead was he was caught midriff-level by the novelty 'Caution' tape supporting this wall of stalks, which he'd forgotten would be there, and ended up tumbling out on top of both of them in a great heap.

Both Sherlock and his attacker gave ugly grunts as the cannon-balling doctor tumbled out on top of them in a sprawl. John quickly sorted friend from flailing foe in the moonlight and landed a solid left hook to the scarecrow's face, followed by - since his limbs happened to be in handy proximity - a firm knee to the groin. The scarecrow rolled up into a ball and away from the dogpile, giving John the welcome opportunity to pop him in the back of the head, sending him out for the count.

"Sherlock?" John rolled off his flatmate, gripping him by the shoulder and pulling him into a sitting position. Sherlock gasped and coughed reassuringly as John inspected his neck in the wan light. Nothing broken, but even in the torchlight he could tell there would be some bruising to Sherlock's neck.

"Anthony Cosway." Sherlock finally got out with a wince.

"The bloke we were looking for?" John grinned. "Yeah, I gathered that."

"He'll have-" Sherlock got out before breaking into coughing again.

"Nothing crushed in your throat, but it will hurt to talk for a while, so maybe don't try, yeah?"

Sherlock glared at John.

"Oi, I'm not the one who strangled you, blame him," John pointed at Sherlock's assailant.

Sherlock glared at the downed criminal as John gathered Sherlock's dropped torch and pulled a good length of novelty tape from the row of plants. He dropped the several feet of tape and the torch beside the criminal.

Sherlock's eyes widened and he touched John's face, pulling away bloodied fingers.

"Just scratches. Turns out sweetcorn leaves are sharp." John said, steadily becoming more aware of the stinging and dripping from what felt like a hundred tiny cuts he'd been gifted on his rampage through the sweetcorn plants. John jerked a thumb over his shoulder to the gap in the plant wall. "Some berk left me to find my own way, so I took a shortcut. "

Sherlock snorted and pulled out his phone.

John slapped it out of his hands. "No pictures."

With an expression of great affront, Sherlock croaked out, "Lestrade."

"Nope. I'll call in and let them know we've got their suspect, since I'm the one with the voice. You tie him up with that stuff and then we can drag him out of here. Unless you want to take my shortcut?"

Sherlock made a disgusted noise and pointed down the pathway. John shone the torch along the path to see the exit gate of the maize maze, covered in cheerful ghosts and hopefully fake giant spiders, looming in the darkness.

Sighing deeply, John called Lestrade.

- - -
(that's it)

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