The Case of the Missing Irregular

Part 13

by Stacey (SST205 at aol.com)

The note was written in pencil, in handwriting that slanted a bit to the right. It read:

Mother, Aunty and friends:
As you know, I have been kid-
napped by two men. They want
you to follow their orders, or I will be
brutally murdered by them..
Obviously, mother is to bring two million pounds to location
x --the warehouse on Kirtling Street--the Cringle side;
especially if she wants to see me alive again.
Sincerely,
    Tennyson

Holmes stared at the note, his brow furrowed. Something was odd about it, but he couldn't figure out exactly what it was.

This whole ordeal certainly has been taxing on my brain, he thought.

"Kids, what do you make of this?" he asked, glancing at the teens on either side of him.

Deidre looked the note over. "Well, it was written by Tennyson. I've seen quite a bit of his schoolwork--and all of his writing has that funny slant because he's a lefty."

"Yeah-- but-- as smart as Tennyson is, that's weird language -- even for him."

"How do you mean, Wiggins?" Watson asked.

"Well, for one -- why would it be 'obvious' that his mom should bring that amount of money?"

"Also -- why would he make a point of saying--" Deidre swallowed hard-- "--that he would be brutally murdered?"

The woman in the room with them visibly shivered.

"Perhaps his kidnappers instructed him to write it that way so as to--" Watson glanced at Mrs. Fayre--"--get their point across?"

Holmes continued to stare at the note. "Something tells me, my friend, that though our Tennyson's kidnappers may have given him the bulk of what to say in this note, he wrote it in his own words."

For a moment, he studied the note further. Tennyson, my boy, you're trying to give us some clue as to exactly where you are, aren't you? Dear lad, what is it that you.....

Suddenly it hit him. "Deidre, Wiggins! Do you know what an acrostic is?"

Wiggins raised an eyebrow. "An acros -- what?"

Deidre thought a moment, then her eyes brightened. "Yes! It's a kind of poetry that's written so that the first letter in the word of each line spells out the theme or title of the poem -- or something like that."

Mrs. Fayre frowned deeply. "What has that got to do with anything?"

"Well, madam, I believe that in writing this note, your son was trying to give us an idea of his exact whereabouts." Holmes answered. "Wiggins, read the first letter of each of these sentences."

The boy took the paper that was handed to him, and read aloud. "M...a...n...y...b...o...x...e...s. M-a-n...many boxes?"

"Hm. The note says the warehouse on Kirtling Street." Deidre mused. "That place hasn't been used in years -- why would there be any boxes in there?"

"Perhaps if the boy is in that warehouse, his kidnappers somehow used boxes to shield the area where they're keeping him." Watson guessed.

"Perhaps, old friend." Holmes said with a thoughtful frown. "We really haven't proof the boy is there, however. This warehouse is simply where his ransom is to be dropped."

"It's a start." Deidre said hopefully.

"Yes, my dear, it is -- and that is certainly better than nothing."

Holmes looked at the other side of the paper, then at Mrs. Fayre. "There are no instructions as to a time and date that this ransom is to be brought; therefore I am sure the kidnappers will contact you again.

Tennyson's mother sighed. "I just want this to be all over. I'll give anything to get my boy back."

 

Later, when the Irregulars and Mrs. Fayre had left, Watson returned from the kitchen to find Holmes lying on the couch with one arm across his eyes.

"Holmes--are you all right?" the compudroid asked in his usual concerned tone.

His friend moved his arm and glanced at the him from under it. "Yes, old friend. I just find this whole business quite a strain."

Watson nodded sympathetically, though human tiredness was certainly something he knew nothing about.

Holmes sat up. "However, there are still things that must be done."

Swinging his legs over the side of the couch and standing, he headed for his room. Upon coming out, he had on his deerstalker and inverness.

"Holmes, where on earth are you going?" Watson asked in surprise.

"To visit someone, my dear Watson." the detective answered, heading for the door. "I shan't be long."

He went out the door, leaving his compudroid friend speechless.

 

Holmes headed away from Baker Street, hoping he remembered how to get where he was going. He had only been there a couple of times before.... He sighed, remembering that the first time he'd been there was soon after he'd met the Irregulars. The other time, the kids had been with him.

He grinned a bit, remembering that second time. The Irregulars had helped him investigate a case of a computer 'vampire' that drained the information from high-tech computers and then seemed to mysteriously replace it. As it turned out, the 'vampire' was a girl about Tennyson's age -- who was as adept at computers as he was. Holmes couldn't help but chuckle as he remembered translating something Tennyson said to the young lady -- that the boy admired her skills, and that he also found her quite attractive....

Holmes sighed, stopping in front of the cavernous entrance to the Old London Underground.

"Oh, Lord, please, may these people somehow be able to help me get that boy back," he murmured. After drawing a deep breath, he made his way down the steps.

On to Part 14!

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