on the morning when I woke up without you for the first time,
I felt free.
and I felt lonely.
and I felt scared.
and I began to talk to myself almost immediately,
not being used to being the only person there.

the first time I made coffee for just myself,
I made too much of it.
but I drank it all,
just ‘cause you hate it when I let things go to waste.
and I wandered through the house, like a little boy lost at the mall.
and an astronaut could’ve seen the hunger in my eyes from space.

Woke Up New - The Mountain Goats

It was an ordinary morning. John rolled out of bed the same way he always did, yawning, stretching and wiping the sleep away from his eternally-tired eyes. A sliver of sunlight trickled in through the space between the curtains and caught the dust that swirled sluggishly in the air. He crossed the room, his bare feet patting gently against the hardwood floors as he exited through the doorway and into the hall. He glanced into the open door of the other bedroom as he passed to see an empty and neatly-made bed. Sherlock must already be awake he thought to himself as he descended the stairs groggily. John guessed it was about nine, judging by the lighting, and he would have been shocked to see that mop of inky curls resting on a pillow at this hour. He struggled briefly to remember a time that he’d gotten out of bed before his flat-mate before deciding it wasn’t important anyway and he wasn’t awake enough for this amount of thinking. He needed his coffee first, at least. No doubt Sherlock hadn’t had his yet, either, despite the fact that it was likely he’d been up for hours already. The man was a genius, but he’d never bothered to work out the mystery that was the coffee pot – there was no need to when he could always rely on either John or Mrs. Hudson to prepare it for him. John might have liked to pretend that this laziness bothered him, but in a way it was comforting. It was a consistency, which was not a luxury that he often experienced with Sherlock Holmes as a best friend.

When he reached the kitchen he was surprised that no one sat at the table with the morning paper to greet him with a comment on how people are idiots, see what they’ve done this time. He looked around for any indication that Sherlock was in the flat. It appeared that he was alone. Maybe he went out. Sherlock never would have troubled himself to pick up groceries, he must have gotten a call from Lestrade and he would be home soon enough. John had stopped wasting his time fretting over Sherlock’s random disappearances. He always found his way home.

John stifled another yawn as he shook coffee grounds into the top of the coffee pot. It was a Sunday, he wouldn’t have to go in to the surgery today. Depending on what news Sherlock received from the Yard, it could turn out to be a relaxing day at the flat or a hectic day spent running all over London. John wasn’t particularly opposed to either, it felt like it had been months since they’d gotten a case and he was beginning to miss it. He filled the pot with water and poured it into the coffee maker before sticking it back into place and pressing the button to start it. It began to hiss and gurgle quietly and John went to fetch the paper. Lestrade’s call must have gotten Sherlock particularly worked up, as he hadn’t even checked it yet. This might have struck John as odd had he had his coffee yet, but he didn’t give it more than a fleeting thought as he returned to the table and settled down with it.

John read through the news quietly until the coffee signaled its completion with a short beep. He checked the clock. 9:22. If Sherlock was gone much longer he was going to text him, but for now he figured he may as well enjoy the peace and quiet. He stood and walked to the counter and removed the pot from its platform. As he poured, the warm smell of freshly brewed coffee filled the air and he inhaled deeply. It was strong, Sherlock would like it. Black, two sugars, John reminded himself needlessly. Even if he didn’t remember it himself, Sherlock would make a point of telling him. A half-smile tilted John’s lips at the thought of it and he shook his head as he added the sugar to his own drink and raised it to take a sip. He returned to the table to read the paper with his coffee.

Time passed and the coffee in his mug became dangerously low. John looked at the time again. 10:16. The coffee was most likely cold by now and there would be no tempting Sherlock into drinking it. John pushed out from the table heaved himself up from his chair with a sigh, coffee in hand, remembering he had left his phone in his pocket. He took a step towards the door where they hung their coats but something stopped him. He furrowed his eyebrows and the creases in his forehead deepened. His eyes were playing tricks on him, the coffee hadn’t done its job just yet. These were the only explanations for the long black coat accompanied by the blue scarf that hung beside his jacket. Why would Sherlock have left them behind?


A rush of images and sounds took over John’s thoughts. The tall slender silhouette atop St. Bart’s, toes just peeking over the edge. The terrifyingly unfamiliar uncertainty in the deep sonorous voice that usually held so much confidence.

“Don’t move. Keep your eyes fixed on me. Please, will you do this for me?”

“This phone call – it’s, er… it’s my note.”

“Goodbye, John.”

Everything returned to him vividly. The careless toss of the phone, the brief moment where the figure braced itself for the fall before tipping gracefully over the edge, coat and scarf billowing. John’s hands began to shake as he realized the reality of the situation. His vision blanked and so did his mind, as if protecting him from the scenes of his memory that would follow. He fell to his knees and his trembling fingers lost grip of the handle and the mug hit the floor with a thud, its dark contents sloshing and pooling on the floor. John knew Sherlock wasn’t at the Yard. John knew that Sherlock didn’t forget his coat or his scarf and he knew that there wouldn’t be a response if he sent him a text. There would never be another response, just like there would never be another case or a second cup of coffee to be made. John put his face in his hands as he sunk to the floor and he let out a rough sob. He knew he was alone again.

written for my creative writing class
prompt: pick a favorite song, then write a short story or scene for which the song could serve as a soundtrack.