Thanks, Ladies, for inviting me to post! I hope you don’t mind I went fannish with it. My prompts were:
The barn window lay at the corner of the field with one cracked pane.
The barn itself, however, was conspicuously absent.
“Aliens?” John asked.
“I was only joking,” said John.
“Were you? I can’t always tell.” Sherlock took one confident step forward into the vacancy, turned to look over his shoulder. “It really isn’t here.” And for the first time, he sounded honestly baffled.
“Right,” John said. “That’s the whole point.” And as Sherlock began turning circles, “Who moves a whole barn?”
“No sign of machinery.” Sherlock stopped short and pointed across the field, which was just beginning to show signs of spring. “What’s that?”
“. . . A cow.”
“Do they always look like that?”
“They . . . come in different colors . . .”
“Cows live in barns, though,” said Sherlock.
“Very good. With deductions like that you’ll have this solved in no time.”
“But there’s nothing,” Sherlock insisted. “No hoof prints, no stray bits of straw. Did the barn have a floor?”
Sherlock’s shoulders slumped for a moment then straightened, his posture going from question mark to exclamation point. “Where are the rest of them?”
John lifted his eyebrows in a silent request for elucidation.
“The cows,” Sherlock said. “There must be more than one.”
“Maybe they went with the barn,” John suggested.
An accusatory finger shot out and from across the field came an answering moo. “Then why was that one out?”
“Why are you asking me?” John asked. “You’re the brilliant detective. You figure it out.”
But Sherlock only turned on his heel and started back toward the farmhouse. “I’m going home. Tell Mycroft his efforts were wasted. Next year for my birthday, he should buy me a scarf.”
“Don’t you want to know the answer?” John called after him.
“There was never a barn to begin with, John,” Sherlock called back.
And across the field, the cow mooed again in consensus.