A Call to Arms by Jamie Stokes | Gladstone's Library

A Call to Arms by Jamie Stokes

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On the evening of December 8th, I dined at the Library, as is my want, with a certain ‘colleague’ of mine, Mr. Phillip Clement. We spoke amiably enough of the delights of living amongst so many books, of being able, of an evening, to recline by the fireside with a fine glass of whisky. Our conversation concluded, we bade one another adieu and retired to our bedchambers. I sunk into an easy slumber, content with the thought that he was blind to my intentions.

Imagine my surprise when, the very next morning, I discovered this web log. The game, he says, is afoot. He claims, having read my previous web log, ‘Commencing the Treasure Hunt’, to have discerned within my words a façade – to have lifted the veneer on some sort of criminal investigation. He imagines his liberty is imperilled. He is only half wrong.

On the night of September 10th, I met Mr. Clement for the first time. Immediately my suspicions were aroused. By October I was convinced – I had to put him away. His mistake lies, however, in his assumption that my interest lies in his criminal activities. In truth these are of limited concern to me. What I cannot abide – what I will not allow to continue – is his air of delusion which has led to what can only be described as incompetence. For example, take careful note of his web log. The heading reads: ‘The Game is Afoot by Phillip Clement’. The caption beneath this however, clearly states: ‘posted by: Philip (sic) Clement on 9 Dec, 2013’. The man is so obsessed with what he perceives as my agenda that he regularly forgets how to spell his first name (here’s a ‘clue’ – it has a double ‘l’). Second, he writes, a few lines before the end, ‘The situation has begun impossible.’ What does this mean? I can only suppose that he meant to write ‘become impossible’, but that his fear-addled brain is disrupting his cognitive abilities.

I do not fret that he has revealed my identity – as he states, I myself was preparing with imminence to announce this very fact. What I fear – the reason I too must act – is his unstable frame of mind. I point to two facts: first, he refers to me not simply as a detective, but as a ‘Sherlock’. Second, he signs his report ‘Phillip (M) Clement’. It is clear what he is hinting with that ‘(M)’. However, having uncovered his life story with the utmost of thoroughness, I have discovered that in fact he has no middle name! The story he is playing out is no more than a reflection of his own deluded – dangerous – egotism. What will be his next step? Which of us will act first? Only one thing is sure – things cannot remain as they are. One of us must go.