The Case of the Missing Irregular

Part 17

by Stacey (SST205 at aol.com)

11/20/01

Mrs. Fayre shivered. She had come just where Tennyson's kidnapper had told her -- and now was standing in front of a stack of crates. Directly across from her was an old warehouse. Mrs. Fayre stared intently at the door.

Come on, you bloody cretin! she thought. If you've harmed my boy....

She looked around. Where on earth was Mister Holmes? He said he'd be there....

"Good day, madam."

Mrs. Fayre looked to her left. An old man with bushy grey hair and an equally bushy moustache came hobbling around the side of the crates with a cane.

"Sir," she said, "I'm sorry, but I'm waiting here for someone -- I must ask you -- I beg you to leave."

The old man waved a hand. "Yes, yes, you're waiting for Mister Holmes," he said in a voice that sounded like a squeak that needed oiling. "Well, he decided it would be better to send me -- that I'd be less threatening."

Tennyson's mother felt the blood drain from her face. She was appalled -- how could Holmes do this to her? How could he do it to Tennyson -- who he seemed to be so concerned about before? What help would this old man be?

No time for that, now, she thought to herself. I must get my son back -- even if I have to do it myself!

She squared her shoulders and turned back to face the warehouse door. "Very well. I suppose Mister Holmes knows what he's doing."

Mrs. Fayre looked impatiently at her watch. It was seven minutes after one.

"Blast -- where are they?"

"Lookin' fer me, Missus Fayre?"

She and the old man looked toward the door, which was now open. Against the doorframe leaned the figure of the now familiar Mickey Baxter.

Mrs. Fayre's eyes narrowed. "What have you done with my son!?" she demanded.

"Now, don't get yer knickers in a twist," the man said, laughing. "You'll 'ave 'im back in a minute. Now, where's th' money?"

The woman was about to demand that Baxter bring Tennyson to her first, when she felt a hand on her arm.

Looking down, she saw the old man with his hand on her arm. He shook his head slightly. "Now, ma'am, y' don't demand things o' this type," he said in a low tone.

For a moment Mrs. Fayre wondered how the old man would know such things, then she looked back at Mickey Baxter. "I have the money," she said, holding up a briefcase in her right hand.

Beside her, the old man's strangely keen eyes were moving around. He caught a movement behind some crates about fifty meters from where he and Mrs. Fayre stood.

Behind the crates, Wiggins looked up at Deidre from where he squatted, ready to get up at a moment's notice. "Well, what's going on?"

"Mrs. Fayre just showed Baxter the briefcase with the money in it," she answered, frowning. "No sign of Tennyson."

"He's gotta be in that warehouse," Wiggins said. "I wish we could do something besides sit here."

Deidre got down on her haunches next to him and looked him in the eye. "So do I, Wiggins, so do I."

On the other side of the crates, at the warehouse door, Mickey Baxter had pushed himself away from the doorframe and stood up. "Have the old man bring me th' money," he said.

"What?!" the woman cried, looking down at the hunched-over figure beside her.

"Jus' gimme the case, ma'am," the old man whispered in the squeak that was his voice, holding out his hand. "We want t' get yer boy back, don' we?"

"Rrrrr--"

Mrs. Fayre growled and gritted her teeth. For all she knew, this old man was in league with her son's kidnappers. She'd give him the money, he'd take off with his cohorts, and she'd never see her boy again.

The old man looked up at her, his eyes keen and sharp. "Missus Fayre -- hurry it up, now. We can't keep this fella waitin'."

Tennyson's mother looked down at the man, then over at Mickey Baxter, who had a sickening grin on his face.

"NO!"

The old man beside her jumped a bit, and Baxter's eyes widened.

"No!" Mrs. Fayre repeated. "For all I know, you've slit my boy's throat and dumped him in the Thames! Now where is he!?! Tell me, or you won't see any of this money!"

On to Part 18

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