The Case of the Missing Irregular

Part 3

by Stacey (SST205 at aol.com)

The afternoon passed pleasantly enough, with the kids joking around with one another, and Holmes and Watson thouroughly enjoying it. Holmes found the three young people to be as large a part of his life as the original Dr. Watson was -- the differences being that these three were younger, of course there were three of them, and they didn't room with him.

After a few hours, Wiggins stretched and yawned, then looked at his watch. "Aw, man--we should go, guys. It's gettin' late."

Watson looked quizzically at the oldest Irregular. "Rushing off so soon, Wiggins? That's unusual."

"We were given a big assignment at school today," Deidre informed him, heaving a sigh. "So much for Winter Vacation."

"Whurrrrr." came the plaintive sound from Tennyson's keyboard.

Wiggins chuckled. "What are you worried about? You'll probably have the assignment done by tomorrow afternoon."

"Yeah, especially since the first part of the assignment is doing research." Deidre said, knowing her young friend made any excuse to read--even school assignments.

"We'd best let you go, then." Holmes said with a grin. "Now go on before the sun starts to set."

The three Irregulars said their goodbyes to Holmes and Watson, and headed toward the edge of town.

As they came to the somewhat run-down neighborhood in which Tennyson lived, he looked up at his two friends.

"Burr-eeep--whurrr?"

Deidre sighed. "Sorry, Tennyson. I guess Wiggins and I both decided to walk you home after what happened today."

Tennyson heaved a sigh. "Whurrr-eeep-urr-eep-urrr!"

"Yeah, li'l buddy, we know you can take care of yourself," Wiggins assured him, "We just--well, you know--you're like a little brother to us, and we don't want anything to happen to you."

The boy in the hoverchair shook his head and smiled behind the bandanna covering his face.

Just then the three of them found themselves in front of a tiny cottage with a picket fence around it. It was still light enough to tell that the house was a robin's-egg blue, and Tennyson and Wiggins knew for a fact that there were no leaks in the roof. The little place practically sparkled compared to the run-down houses around it. Painted on the mailbox by the gate was the name: C. Fayre.

"Here we are," Deidre said as Tennyson flew his hoverchair over the fence and turned to wave to them. "Safe and sound."

"See you tomorrow, Tennyson," Wiggins said, turning on his heel and glancing at Deidre. "Now to get youhome safe and sound."

Deidre rolled her eyes. "Oh, please. You know full well I can take care of myself."

Tennyson sat in the yard and listened to them fuss at each other until they were out of range of his hearing aids. After that he turned and went into the house.

The threesome had taken no notice of the two figures in the shadows across the street.

"Well, I'll be--would y' lookit that."

"What? I thought it was awful nice a' them kids t' bring their li'l friend home."

The taller of the two received a smack in the arm from his companion. "Not the kids, y' bloody fool--'t least, not the bigger boy an' th' girl."

"Y'mean the little fella in the 'overchair. Yeah, I r'member 'im from this afternoon."

"Y'see th' name on the mailbox?"

"Mmmmm.....C....Fayre."

"That's right -- Fayre. That's th' name a' the richest bloody family in this 'ere city."

"Well, if they're so rich, what're they doin' livin' out 'ere?"

The short man sighed and smacked his forehead. "Oh fer th' love a'...I don't know, but I'll bet that kid's worth an awful lot of money."

"Ohhhhhh....I get it."

The short man grumbled, "It's about time. C'mon, let's go."

The next morning, Holmes woke up at six 'o' clock. He climbed out of bed and into his bedroom slippers. Sleepily taking the robe that hung on the bedpost off and putting it around himself, he made his way to the dining area.

Watson was just setting a place at the table for him. "Good morning, Holmes. Did you sleep well?"

"No, I did not, Watson, but thank you for asking." the detective said, slumping into a seat, putting his elbows on the table and his head in his hands.

The compudroid set a cup in front of him. "This should help."

Holmes looked up at him and grinned slightly. "Thank you, no, Watson. No offense, old friend, but the last coffee you made reminded me of the oil you lubricate your workings with."

"What was the matter, last night, Holmes?" the compudroid asked, returning to the stove and, as usual, taking no offense. "Thinking about the robberies?"

"No -- I haven't enough to think about concerning them." Holmes answered, staring into the cup in front of him. "Something was bothering me terribly -- and I could not for the life of me put my finger on it."

Although he knew very little of such matters, Watson asked, "Did you try praying about it?"

"I certainly did--all night. Nothing came through."

"Well," Watson said, moving the untouched cup and setting a plate of eggs in front of Holmes, "I've heard you say more than once that 'the Lord does things in His time.'"

"Yes, and it's true, I've found. It's just that human patience can often be lacking."

Holmes said a short grace over the food. When he looked up, a light caught the corner of his eye. Turning his head, he saw the light that indicated someone was calling on the computer terminal.

"Oh...Watson, would you get that? I am in no state of dress or anything else to answer it."

"Certainly, Holmes."

The compudroid went across the room and flipped the switch that made the computer screen light up. They were surprised to see the hard yet somewhat distressed-looking face of Inspector Beth Lestrade.

"Lestrade, what is it?" Watson asked. Upon seeing the Inspector, Holmes stood and came over to the computer, pulling his robe around him. He knew that if she was calling thisearly, it must be important.

"You two are not gonna like this." Lestrade said, looking off to the right and shoving a lock of shoulder-length brown hair behind her ear. "You've both heard about all the robberies going on?"

"Yes, Lestrade, go on," Holmes said. He got a rather sickening feeling in his stomach.

"Well -- we've had a...a break-in, if not a robbery. You two had better get over to Caroline Fayre's house--immediately."

On to Part 4!

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