"When Moriarty breathed his last at the Reichenbach Falls," said the ghost of Sherlock Holmes, "that should have been the end of his life and his schemes. Somehow, it was not. He became an undead thing, and the evil he did lived on, with him still at its helm. Year after year, decade after decade.
“Professor James Moriarty and I are family.” His eyes kind of flickered for a second. “I mean, of course, in a… certain sense. He is ‘my own dead.’ Death is not an ultimate end, as I think we all know by now. But it is… it should be the end of one’s influence in this world.
“The Professor’s time in this world is—like mine—long since past. It is time for me to usher him to the place where he now belongs. Of course, I can be of no use to you physically. But I can accompany you and give you the benefit of what Miss Kelly flatters me by referring to as my ‘fine mind.’”
“Oh, please,” said Mary, “after all we have been through together, Mister Holmes, and what we are likely to go through together tonight, you must call me Mary.”
“And I’m Vionna,” I said. “Or you can just call me Valis, like you did in the not-dream.”
“Very well,” said the ghost, with one of those little head bows of his. “And both of you must dispense with the formalities and call me Holmes.”
“Holmes,” I repeated. “Just Holmes?”
“Yes,” he said. “Just plain Holmes. That is how my friends address me. You mustn’t think I’m being standoffish. It’s just that… Well, I have never cared for my Christian name. You’ve no idea the hell I went through at public school. One lad in particular had a diabolical talent for composing bits of obscene doggerel in which he rhymed ‘Sherlock’ with things I would not repeat to a room full of drunken sailors, much less you ladies.”
“Children can be cruel,” Mary sympathized.
“It is their natural state,” said Just Plain Holmes. “How they have managed to acquire a reputation for sweetness and innocence is beyond me.”