The Case of the Missing Irregular

Part 6

by Stacey (SST205 at aol.com)

The car settled in front of the little house in the poorer part of town. For a moment Holmes just sat, marvelling at the silence that was so different from earlier that day.

Deidre got out of the back. "Come on, all, let's see how Miss Fayre is."

"Y'know, I just thought of something," Wiggins remarked as he emerged from the car on the opposite side.

"What was that, my boy?" Holmes asked, snapping out of his thought and getting out of the car himself.

"Well--who's gonna tell Mrs. Fayre? She has a right to know, right?"

Holmes stared ahead of himself a moment. Tennyson's mother -- she had completely slipped his mind in all of the confusion.

"You're right, Wiggins, she does. We shall have to deal with that situation when it arises."

The group made their way up to the front door of the little house. Once at the door, Holmes knocked.

For a moment, there was an uneasy silence. Deidre wondered, Oh, no, what's happened now?

Fortunately, they soon heard footsteps inside. The door opened, and Tennyson's aunt greeted them with a weak grin.

"Miss Fayre, I hope we're not disturbing you." Holmes said, touching the brim of his deerstalker.

The woman shook her head. "Not at all, Mister Holmes -- Doctor Watson, kids -- I've sort of been expecting you."

She stepped aside and let them in. Deidre and Wiggins settled themselves on the couch, while Watson and Holmes stood.

Miss Fayre seated herself on a low stool, pushing her now-brushed hair over her shoulder. "I assume, Mister Holmes, that you're here to ask me about what happened last night."

The detective took his deerstalker off. "Yes, Miss Fayre, I am. If you're not up to it, however--"

"I feel much better than I did this morning, thank you," the woman answered him, looking up with a face which had been washed and eyes that had lost a lot of their puffiness. "Last night was a terrible experience, but if I am to get my nephew back, I'll do what I must do."

"Very well."

Holmes sat down on the couch next to Wiggins, and looked Miss Fayre in the eye. "What did happen last night?"

The woman drew a deep breath, fingering the end of the blue ribbon that hung by her ear. "I woke up last night with a start. Upon looking at the clock, I saw that it was a little after two a.m. I listened a moment, and then --I heard an odd scraping noise coming from the area of this room."

She glanced at the window. " I got up, put on my robe and stepped out my bedroom door. From there, I could see two shadows at the front window.

She grinned wanly. "My first thought was that I was being robbed, then I wondered what on earth they could find in here that was worth stealing."

Her voice cracked then, and Deidre reached from her seat on the couch to take her hand.

Miss Fayre blinked back tears and looked up at her. "I went back into my room, hunting for the little communicatior Tennyson had made me. I never could afford one of those massive computers, even if I wanted one.

"Unfortunately, I could not for the life of me remember where I had put it. As I finished digging through my dresser drawer and closed it, someone grabbed me from behind."

Deidre's grip on Miss Fayre's hand became tighter.

"I -- struggled, but I've never been much of a fighter. I was pushed onto my bed, and while one of the men gagged me with a cloth the other bound my hands and my feet. When they were done--"

She began breathing hard. Watson hurried to the little kitchen area and brought back a glass of water.

"There, now, Miss Fayre, it will be all right," he said, handing it to her.

"Thank you, Doctor Watson." the woman said, taking the glass from him and sipping the water a bit. Staring blankly at the coffee table when she was finished, Miss Fayre continued, "When the men were -- done with me, one of them said, "There now....grab the boy."

"I had never felt so helpless in all my life. I tried so hard to get loose as those awful men left the room--but I only wound up hurting myself. I heard the men talking and a sounds of a struggle going on. The next thing I knew, the men walked by the doorway, one of them with my nephew over his shoulder."

Miss Fayre's tears were flowing now, and she tried to wipe them away with the back of her hand. "I don't remember praying any harder than I did early this morning, either."

Holmes got on his knee by the end of the coffee table. "I swear to you, Miss Fayre, I won't rest until I have that boy safely home."

The youngest Irregular's aunt smiled through her tears. "I know, Mister Holmes."

"How was it that you were released, Miss Fayre?" Watson inquired.

The woman drew a deep breath. "My neighbor was walking his dog... he saw the window was open. When he came closer to investigate, he noted that it had been forced. He came in through the same window, calling me -- and I managed to make some noise. He came into my room and untied me. When I told him what had happened, he was the one to inform the Yard."

She looked into Holmes' face. "The first one to arrive here, aside from the Chief Inspector, was Inspector Lestrade. She seemed rather upset when she was made aware of what happened."

Holmes grinned slightly. He could imagine Lestrade's face at the thought of telling him about Tennyson's abduction. "She and I have worked together -- several times, and she is quite familiar with the Irregulars," he said. "I wonder if--"

Knock! Knock!

"Caroline? Are you in?"

Tennyson's aunt stood and looked at Holmes. The detective nodded.

Caroline Fayre went to the door and opened it. A woman in a long coat stood on the step.

"Hello, Caroline, I'm sorry I haven't had the chance to stop by in a couple of weeks, I've been meaning to I swear -- it's just that the business is so much work now that Ashton's gone, and---"

Her green eyes focused over Miss Fayre's shoulder. "Why, Mister Holmes--what are you doing here?"

The detective stood and walked to the door. "Mrs. Fayre, hello. Miss Fayre, let your sister in law in, please. I fear that now is the time for us to tell her what has happened."

The lady of the house stepped aside, and the CEO of Fayre Technologies came in. "What -- what has happened?"

"Mrs. Fayre, please sit down," Holmes instructed, gesturing toward the couch. Wiggins and Deidre were immediately off of it.

The newcomer's glance went from her sister-in-law to Holmes, then to the couch. After eyeing each again, she walked over and sat down.

"May I take your coat, Mrs. Fayre?" Watson asked.

"No, thank you, Doctor Watson," the woman answered, her gaze focused on Holmes. "What is it?"

She then glanced at Deidre and Wiggins, and her face paled a bit. "Does it -- have something to do with my son?"

On to Part 7!

Back to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5.

Back to the fanfic index