Fade In - Out
Shirley Holmes Lyrics Challenge

by HA
July 2000         2,200 words

Shirley Holmes found herself standing in the middle of a wide field. The sky was blue and the sun was out with nary a cloud in the sky. Shirley looked down at her attire. Instead of her regular clothes, she was wearing a cape that covered her whole body. She felt the top of her head and found a hat. She took it off and saw that it was a deerstalker cap.

"Wha...?" Shirley was confused at first. "What am I doing here? What's going on?" She took one last glimpse at the cap before putting it back on. "And why am I dressed like Great-Granduncle Sherlock?"

"It's a good look for you," a monotone voice answered from behind.

Shirley turned around and was face to face with a girl. She was wearing a white long-sleeved shirt and a checkered skirt. What caught the amateur sleuth's eye was the girl's silver hair, which was in large pigtails, and her deathly pale skin. The girl's eyes were half-open, and they were staring intently at Shirley. Shirley felt uncomfortable, but she did her best to keep it to herself.

"Who are you?" Shirley asked the silver-haired girl, her blue eyes fixed on her.

"You fade in-out," someone said from behind.

Shirley turned around to face the speaker and found herself looking at a man. He was dressed in a black double-breasted suit with a black bowtie and a black bowler. It was the man's face that fascinated Shirley. Rather, it was a lack of a face. Instead of eyes, ears, and a nose, the man had a black question mark drawn on his white face.

"You fade in-out without a doubt," the man said, pointing to the junior detective.

"What?" Shirley said, becoming even more confused than ever. She turned back to the silver-haired girl in order to ask her what was going on, but she was gone.

"He does speak the truth."

Shirley turned around and saw the silver-haired girl standing next to the question mark man. "How...?" Shirley began to ask.

The question mark man pointed to the silver-haired girl. "She fade in-out," he said. "She fade in-out without a doubt."

"Who are you?" Shirley asked the two strangers. "What's going on here?"

"Why, the fair's in town today, Shirley Holmes," the silver-haired girl answered.

Shirley looked around. "What fair?"

Suddenly, Shirley found herself standing amidst a crowd of people. Instead of an empty field, Shirley saw booths, tents, and rides. She saw people pass by her to get to the booths and tents. There were fat people, skinny people, tall people, and short people. She saw parents with their little children, some of them carrying cotton candy and stuffed animals. She noticed the wide variety of nationalities, many of them dressed in traditional clothing. Many were talking to each other as they walked, sometimes in their native language. Shirley heard English, Spanish, Japanese, Tagalog, Chinese, French, Swahili, and other languages. In fact, Shirley noticed that people on opposite sides of conflicts around the world were actually talking to each other in a friendly manner. She watched as Jews and Arabs, Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants, and the like discuss their families, the weather, and other subjects.

"So, what do you think?"

The silver-haired girl was in front of Shirley. She was gazing at the young detective.

"What should I think?" Shirley asked.

"Whatever you want, but I think you have the same thought as I do." The silver-haired girl motioned towards her. "Come with me."

Shirley felt that she did not have any choice but to obey. She wanted answers, and she decided to play along. "Where are we going?" she asked as she followed the silver-haired girl through the crowd.

The silver-haired girl pointed to a structure that Shirley recognized as a roller coaster. There was no mistaking the hills of track with alternating height. At the end of the roller coaster, a large golden snake shaped like a question mark stood with its mouth open, ready to swallow the incoming cars. Three spikes shot out of the snake's back. Due to recent events, Shirley recognized the snake. "The ENIGMA symbol?"

The silver-haired girl said nothing and led Shirley to the start of the roller coaster. Shirley saw the question mark man standing there.

"Get on the roller coaster," the man said, gesturing towards a roller coaster car.

"Why?" Shirley asked, staring at the car. Hearing no answer from the man, she turned to the silver-haired girl, but she was gone again.

"Where did she go?" Shirley asked the question mark man.

"She fade in-out," he answered. "Without a doubt."

Shirley sighed and decided not to pursue the matter further. She climbed into the car, and the bar lowered on her. She looked around and saw that there were no other passengers. "Aren't we going to wait for the other people?" she asked the question mark man.

"This ride is for you only," he replied before starting the roller coaster.

Soon, the teen-age sleuth was going through rapid ups, downs, and twists. She ended up upside-down and right-side up. Despite the sudden changes of her position, she tried to stay calm and succeeded.

"Enjoying the ride?"

Shirley saw the silver-haired girl sitting next to her. She also felt like she was at a slow speed instead of the rapid speed of the roller coaster. She did not give an immediate response since she was trying to figure everything out.

"Enjoying the ride?" the silver-haired girl repeated. "You're not screaming like other people would."

"I'm not scared so easily," Shirley answered.

The silver-haired girl pointed to the front. "The end is up ahead."

Shirley looked ahead and saw the open mouth of the snake. She felt the roller coaster return to its normal speed and she found herself heading towards the mouth. She looked for the silver-haired girl and found her gone. Alone on the roller coaster, she sped into the mouth.

After entering the snake, Shirley found herself standing alone in darkness. She was no longer in the roller coaster car. She looked around, hoping to find something, anything. She reached into her cape and hoped to find a flashlight, but she found nothing. "Great," she muttered. Her eyes could not make out anything but darkness. Simply put, she was blind. Still, that did not stop her from walking forward. She waved her hands around in front of her in the pitch blackness.

"Hello?" she cried out. She heard an echo. "Anyone here?" She heard another echo.

Despite the darkness, Shirley pressed on. She kept her arms in front of her and proceeded slowly. As she walked, something unusual happened. A white light started to shine from her, and as she walked further, the glow around her increased slightly. Finally, the glow wa so intense that she walked normally with her arms at her side.

"Interesting," a voice said in front of her after what seemed to be an hour.

Shirley saw the silver-haired girl standing in front of her, then she looked at herself. She was still glowing. "What's going on here?" she asked the silver-haired girl.

"You're not afraid of the dark," the silver-haired girl responded while looking over Shirley.

"Where am I?" Shirley asked.

"The dark," the silver-haired girl replied, motioning around her.

Shirley looked around. "So how do I get out?"

"You are out," the silver-haired girl replied.

"What are you talking about?" Shirley looked around again, and this time she saw no darkness. She and the silver-haired girl were standing in the empty field again.

"How did I get out?" Shirley asked the silver-haired girl as she examined herself. The glowing had stopped.

"You weren't afraid of the dark," the silver-haired girl answered.

"What just happened back there?" Shirley asked, determined to get a straight answer this time.

"You know the answer. Just figure it out," the silver-haired girl said, starting to walk away.

"Hold on." Shirley ran up to the silver-haired girl. "What's going on here? Why do you keep disappearing on me?"

"She fade in-out."

Shirley saw the question mark man behind her.

The silver-haired girl faced Shirley. "Why do you act so surprised about disappearing and reappearing? You do the same thing too."

"You fade in-out without a doubt," the question mark man said, pointing to Shirley.

"It's a useful skill, but don't think it makes you untouchable." The silver-haired girl walked up to Shirley and looked at her. "They know all about you."

"They? Who's they?" Shirley was not making anything out of the whole situation.

"You know who I am talking about." The silver-haired girl turned to leave. "I think your skills and your drive are needed more than ever, but be careful. You don't know who you're dealing with?"

Shirley watched as the silver-haired girl walked away. "Who are you?" she called out after her. "What don't I know?"

"You'll find out soon, Shirley Holmes," the silver-haired girl replied. "Farewell."

"You fade in-out without a doubt," the question mark man said.

Shirley looked besides her and saw that the question mark man was gone. She looked in front of her and saw that the silver-haired girl was gone. She stood alone in the middle of the empty field while the sun shone brightly.

************************************

"Shirley?"

"Shirley?"

Shirley lifted her head from the table and blinked her eyes. Bo Sawchuk and Blake Hewitt were looking at her with concern.

"Hmmm?" Shirley grumbled, looking around her and trying to wake up. She looked down and saw that she was wearing her regular clothes, not the attire of Sherlock Holmes. She saw that she was in her attic. Everything came back to her. She, Bo, and Blake, had been studying for a math test and going over homework at her house. After some intense review, Bo and Blake decided to go downstairs and get a snack. That was the last thing she remembered before she fell asleep. She looked at her watch and realized that she had been out for about five minutes.

"Welcome back to the real world," Bo said, smiling. "Are you okay?"

"Should I be?" Shirley said.

"You were talking in your sleep," Blake recalled.

Shirley yawned and rubbed her eyes. "I was?"

"Yeah. You kept asking questions like 'Who are you?'," Bo said. "Even in your dreams, you keep interrogating people, Shirley," he added with a smile.

Blake put a hand on her shoulder. "You know, Shirley, you really need to stop these all-night Web searches on information on ENIGMA. It's causing you to lose some sleep. I don't think Mr. Howie can take any more of you dozing off in class."

"You might be right," Shirley said.

"So, what happened in Dreamland?" Bo asked.

Shirley was silent for a moment. "Maybe I'll tell you later," she said finally. "I'm still trying to figure it all out, especially that silver-haired girl." Bo and Blake stared at her. She found her homework and skimmed over her answers before speaking. "Now, who got four hundred and five for number six?"

************************

Somewhere else...

A soap bubble floated across the room. "So, what do you think of her?"

Someone in the front answered. "She is a determined individual. She does not give up easily. Just like her famous ancestor."

From a corner seat in the front row, annoyance was expressed. "I can't believe we are interested in this outsider. Why should we care?"

A seat in the back row spoke. "I hate to agree here with the Grouch, but why exactly are we interested in her? We got other things to worry about."

A low grow came from the front corner seat.

Another soap bubble floated across the room. "Because she is responsible for many good things, yet she hides herself. She never takes credit for what she has done. Solving a case is the sole reward for her. She is not in it for money or fame."

The back seat spoke again. "Gee, that sounds familiar."

A seat in the front spoke. "Don't make me come back there."

The quipper became silent.

The front corner seat was not satisfied. "So what? Why should we be interested in her?"

More soap bubbles floated across the room. "Because she is a dangerous threat to certain people because of her persistence. She appears when she is on a case, then disappears when she successfully solves it."

Another front seat spoke. "Now she does not have that advantage. They know who she is. She cannot take them on alone. Their power is too great."

From the middle row, curiosity was expressed. "Do we plan to make her a member?"

A soap bubble floated across the room. "No. She has her area and we have ours. Her independence must be preserved. However, it will be necessary for us to meet soon. A lot will depend on that."

A voice from the front spoke. "That is true. She will need our help soon."

"Agreed." The soap bubbles stopped. "Now, on to other business, albeit somewhat related. Lights off, please."

The lights went off.

"Thank you. Will someone turn on the projector, please?"

The projector went on.

"Thank you. Let us begin..."

A picture of Bart James appeared on the projection screen.

THE END

Fade In - Out

Lyrics by Oasis


Get on the rollercoaster
The fair's in town today
Y'gotta be bad-enough to beat the brave

So get on the helter skelter
Bowl into the fray
Y'gotta be bad-enough to beat the brave

(chorus)
You fade in-out
You fade in-out
Without a doubt
I don't see no shine
Today is just a daydream
Tomorrow we'll be castaway

Coming in-out of nowhere
Singin' rhapsody
Y'gotta be bad-enough to wanna be

Sitting upside a high-chair
With the devils refugee
Is goon be-blinded by the light
That follows me

She fade in-out
She fade in-out
Without a doubt
I don't see no shine
Today is just a daydream
Tomorrow we'll be castaway