The Case of the Missing Irregular

Part 12

by Stacey (SST205 at aol.com)

Wiggins stood at the bottom of the school steps, waiting. What in the heck could Deidre have on her mind? he thought. Whatever it is, I'm sure I won't like it....

"Wiggins!"

The boy turned to see Deidre running down the front steps, occasionally skipping one or two. "Come on, we've got to go!"

"Wha--where are we going?" Wiggins asked as she grabbed his wrist and she pulled him along.

Still running, she looked over her shoulder and said, "The New London Underground!" She turned her gaze ahead of her again and kept going.

At the rate Deidre was going, it didn't take the two long to get to the cavernous opening. To Wiggins' relief, Deidre slowed down and stopped at the entrance.

"What are we doing here?" he asked, flexing his wrist and rubbing it.

Deidre looked at him, her eyes flashing. "We're going to ask Miss Agatha for some help."

For a moment, Wiggins didn't get what she meant. As Deidre turned toward the steps, however, it came to him. "Hold it!" he cried, grabbing her arm. In a lower tone he said, "You mean help with this buisness about Tennyson?"

She looked him in the eye. "What else?"

"I don't think that's such a good idea."

Deidre scowled. "You don't think it's a good idea to get help to find someone who's dear to us both!?"

Wiggins rolled his eyes and sighed. "It's not that at all. Just -- I don't know if we should be getting anyone else involved in this." He pursed his lips, then said seriously, "Tennyson might get hurt."

The girl in front of him closed her eyes and clenched her fists. Tears slid out of her eyes and down her cheeks. "Oh, Wiggins -- I just feel -- so helpless sitting around waiting!"

"I know."

Wiggins looked her in the face a moment, then exhaled. "Okay, maybe we could get someone to help us look for him. I don't think we should do anything crazy, though -- not without tellin' Mister Holmes."

Deidre wiped her tears with the back of her hand. "Thank you, Wiggins," she said with a grin. "Now let's go."

The teens made their way into the darkness of the stairway, then down into the tunnel.

"Miss Agatha?" Deidre called when she reached the bottom of the steps.

Footsteps could be heard from the opening on the other side of the tracks, and Miss Agatha appeared. "Deidre, Wiggins. Whatcha need?"

Deidre jumped down onto the subway tracks and made her way across. "Miss Agatha, we need your help."

Behind her, Wiggins nodded. "Tennyson's in big trouble."

The woman scowled, a deep frown on her face. "Th' li'l 'un's been nabbed, 'asn't 'e?"

Deidre stopped with her hands on the track wall, looking up at the woman in amazement. "H-how did you know?"

The woman grinned slightly. "It's as I tol' you, Miss Agatha knows a li'l bit a' ev'rythin'. Those two nasties th't grabbed Tennyson th' first time 're th' ones what did it, too, I'll bet."

The boy and girl that stood below her looked at each other. If they didn't know better, they would swear that Miss Agatha was Mister Holmes in disguise.

"No, darlins, Miss Agatha's not psychic -- that stuff's a bunch a balderdash, anyways -- an' she's not related t' Sherlock 'Olmes, neither."

The older woman got down on her knees with a bit of moaning and groaning, then put her legs over the side of the wall. "Y'see, kids, when you've been around 'lower class' folk like myself fer most a yer life, y' kinda get t' know 'em. I knew those two were up t' no good th' first time they grabbed that poor boy."

"Miss Agatha, could you help us some way?" Deidre asked. "Maybe send someone to look around?"

The woman looked down at her, her gaze sharp. "Did Mister 'Olmes ask y' t' come down 'ere?"

Deidre and Wiggins looked at each other, then at the ground.

"I didn' think so. Look, kids, I know it's 'ard, but th' good Lord does everythin' in 'Is time, 'e does. You two go on, now, an' 'elp Mister 'Olmes anyway you can. Th' best way y' c'n do it is t' pray fer 'im -- an' fer Tennyson."

Wiggins looked at Deidre. "Yes, ma'am."

He took her hand, and led her back across the tracks.

When they were on the surface, Deidre sighed loudly. "What a dummy I am."

"You're not a dummy." Wiggins assured her. "You're just concerned."

She looked at him and grimaced, as though not entirely convinced. "Thanks, Wiggins. Come on, let's get to Baker Street and see if Mister Holmes has heard anything else."

Holmes was at that moment sitting on the couch in the sitting room at Baker Street, lost in thought. He hoped the contact he planned to make would work out....

There was a knock at the door that tore him out of his thoughts. Before he could move, Watson headed for the door.

Upon opening it, the compudroid was surprised to find Mrs. Fayre standing there.

"Why, Mrs. Fayre! Come in, please!"

The woman nodded to Watson and stepped in.

Holmes got up off of the couch. "Mrs. Fayre," he greeted her, noting the envelope in her hand. "What is it?"

She moved closer to him. Holmes noted that her jaw was set.

"I received this in the mail today," the woman said, tightening her grip on the envelope and wrinkling it a bit. "I wanted you to see it."

Knock! Knock!

"Watson--" Holmes said, taking his eyes off of the woman for only a moment, then returning his gaze to her.

"Yes, Holmes."

The compudroid moved to answer the door a second time, and found Deidre and Wiggins there.

"Kids, come in." Holmes said, catching a glimpse of them out of the corner of his eye. "I'm glad you're here. Mrs. Fayre just arrived herself -- and I believe she has with her a ransom note from Tennyson's kidnappers."

The eyes on Tennyson's mother's pale face widened. "How -- how did you know?"

"Your demeanor, madam, gave it away." the detective answered. "Originally, you were quite upset that your son had been kidnapped, as the evidence of tear stains on your face showed."

The woman scowled slightly. "I still am."

"Yes, but now you're quite tense -- indicating that you've received news -- not so much that your son has been taken, but also what his kidnappers want. Your tension seems a mixture of following the kidnappers' orders to the letter, and anticipation at the thought of getting your son back."

Deidre and Wiggins looked at each other, and Watson shook his head. For a moment, Tennyson's mother stared at Holmes blankly.

"Yes -- yes, whatever you say," she blurted when she recovered herself. "Please, sir--" she said, fairly shoving the envelope at him. "Would you read it and see if you make anything of it?"

"Certainly," Holmes answered calmly, taking the envelope from her.

Deidre and Wiggins positioned themselves on either side of him, so that they could read it, too.

On to Part 13!

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