The Case of the Missing Irregular

Part 5

by Stacey (SST205 at aol.com)

Tennyson awoke slowly. As he did so, he became acutely aware that his head hurt, and he felt sick to his stomach. Could this possibly be the product of the horrid nightmare he'd had the night before?

He opened his eyes when he was fully conscious. Upon seeing nothing but red cloth, which he guessed was his own bandanna, he realized that it hadn't been a nightmare.

Painfully, the boy tried to lift his head. Doing so caused a wave of nausea to come over him, so he laid still a few more minutes. There was a large knot in the small of his back, and upon moving slightly he realized that the knot was his own hands that had been bound behind him.

Whether he wanted it to or not (and he didn't) the nightmare came back.

It had seemed he had just fallen asleep when he awoke with a start. Rolling over in bed, he saw a shadowy figure in the hall. "Aunt Caroline!" he thought to himself, grabbing his hearing aids off of the nighttable beside the bed and putting them on. As soon as he did he heard a familiar voice say, "There, now. Hurry, grab the boy."

Tennyson sat up. The first figure entered the room, followed by a shorter one. His heart leapt to his throat. "Dear Lord, help me out of this one...." he barely had time to think when the larger of the two figures grabbed his shoulders and shoved him back down on the bed.

The boy struggled. Not that he could have run away if he got loose, but one never knew what might happen if he was able to deter his assailant. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the shorter of the two figures kneel by the side of his bed and pour something from a bottle into a cloth.

"'Old 'im still, will you?"

"I'm tryin', Mickey--but 'e's a feisty un, 'e is."

There was a low growl from the other man. Reaching under his companion's arm, he clamped the soaking wet cloth over Tennyson's mouth and nose. The boy gagged a couple of times at the sickeningly sweet smell, then passed out.

"Oh, no...." the boy thought, his stomach turning. " What must Aunt Caroline be thinking? No, she has enough confidence in the Lord to know He's in charge; and Mister Holmes...."

His thoughts were interrupted by the light outside the blindfold becoming slightly brighter. In the distance, Tennyson heard footsteps. Suddenly someone grabbed him by the shoulder, yanked him into a sitting position and slammed him against something hard. The blindfold was yanked away from his eyes.

For a moment, all the boy saw were colored spots. He focused his eyes on the floor until they became used to the light, and then he saw two pairs of feet -- one in scuffed boots and the others in equally worn loafers.

"Well, well -- you're awake," a now-familiar voice said, and the shorter of the two men -- the one Tennyson remembered being called Mickey -- knelt in front of him. "'Ow'd y' sleep, lad?" he asked mockingly, grinning widely. Tennyson could tell the man had probably never had dental work done in his life.

"I think we could've tried t' make 'im a little more comf'trable," the taller one said, stamping his loafer-shod foot on the concrete floor.

"Nah," the other snarled, "'e's a li'l rich boy, Jake. 'E should 'ave to stand uncomf'table quarters fer a week 'er so -- live like some 'a th' rest 'f us."

Mickey placed two fingers under Tennyson's chin and lifted the boy's head. "I would like t' know what y' were doin' livin' in the poor part a' town, though. I'll bet that's qui' a story, isn't it?"

The man tickled his young captive under the jaw, and the boy jerked his head away. The next thing Tennyson knew he'd been grabbed by a lock of his hair and forced to look up at Mickey again.

"Now, little 'un -- if you want t' be treated nice, you'll behave yerself," Mickey hissed, bringing his face so close to Tennyson's the boy could smell pickled herring on his breath. "You're goin' t' do everythin' me an' Jake 'ere say, or you're goin' t' get worse than a little ticklin', understand?"

The boy tried his best to nod, but he could hardly move his head with the firm grip the man had on his hair.

"Good." Mickey shoved Tennyson back down on the floor.

"C'mon, Jake--let's get this ball rollin'."

The leader of the two turned on his heel, and went out an opening in the stacks of boxes piled all around. His partner followed. On the floor behind them, Tennyson closed his eyes. A tear slipped out the corner of one eye and ran into his hair.

Back at 221B Baker Street, Holmes sat on the couch staring into his hands.

"I know You do things all for the best, Lord, but I have to wonder -- why? Why that poor defenseless boy?"

"Sherlock?"

He looked up to see Watson there, the teatray in his hands. Setting it down on the table in front of Holmes he said, "If you'd like, I'll relay the news to them."

"No, Watson." his roommate said, heaving a sigh. "I believe I should."

"Very well."

Rap! Rap! Rap!

"Mister Holmes!"

The detective chuckled weakly. He would recognize Deidre's excitement anywhere. "Come in, kids."

The door fairly flew open, and the two older Irregulars rushed in. Deidre came in first, with an out of breath Wiggins on her heels.

"Mister Holmes, you won't believe this!" the girl cried, skidding to a stop in front of the table and falling on her knees. "Miss Fayre -- her house was broken into!"

"Yeah -- we heard it from some folks on the way up here," Wiggins added after gulping for breath, "but being you, you probably already knew that."

The detective murmured, "Yes, I did."

He was too despondent to note the "I told you so" look Wiggins gave Deidre, or the wince from the crack in the knee he received afterwards. After a moment, however, he heard, "Mister Holmes? What is it?" Looking up, Holmes met the anxious brown-eyed gaze of the girl across from him.

"My dears, I have something to tell you..." he managed to get out, "...something which I would rather not, but...."

"Hey," Wiggins said suddenly, "Where's Tennyson?"

Holmes swallowed hard. It was now or never. "He...I fear he's been kidnapped."

One could have cut the silence with a knife, it was so thick.

Wiggins' face was abnormally pale. "K-k-kidnapped?" he finally managed to get out.

"Wha--by who?!" the girl beside him demanded, immediately on her feet.

Shaking his head, Holmes answered, "As of now, I have no idea. You can be assured, however, that whoever has done this will be brought to justice."

"You'd better believe they will!" Deidre said, her eyes narrowing. "No one's going to carry off the equi... the, well, someone who's like a little brother to me -- and get away with it!"

"No, Irregulars, they most certainly will not," Holmes answered her, feeling uplifted by his young friend's enthusiasm. "The Lord said vengeance was His, and He will have it -- but I for one believe in putting 'legs' on one's prayers."

"What?" Wiggins asked.

"Working toward what you pray for instead of just sitting around waiting for the Lord to grant it," Deidre explained.

"Exactly," Holmes affirmed. "Now let's start by getting back to Miss Fayre's and seeing what we can learn."

On to Part 6!

Back to part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.

Back to the fanfic index