The Case of the Missing Irregular

Part 8

by Stacey (SST205 at aol.com)

In turns, Miss Fayre and Holmes told the visitor about the events of the morning.

The color disappeared from Lynette Fayre's face. Deidre looked at the floor, half expecting to see the puddle of blood that had drained from her body.

"So...you've called the police...yes, yes of course you have. You just got through telling me they were here this morning," Mrs Fayre murmured, staring blankly ahead of her.

"Lynette," Miss Fayre said, getting on her knees in front of the couch, "are you all right?"

"All right?" Tennyson's mother said in the same low tone, looking at her sister-in-law without really seeing her. "I've just been told that my only son has been kidnapped. No, I'm not all right."

A tear escaped from her left eye and ran down her cheek. "Caroline -- I left Tennyson with you because I didn't want the media hounding him when they found out I had a son. I didn't want to put him through what Ashton did to him all over again -- certainly that would have come out. Also...I wanted him to be safe....from his name. He is a rich woman's son, and just as Ashton said...."

She trailed off. Holmes remembered Christmastime; Mrs. Fayre had revealed that she was the one dropping sums of money on her sister-in-law's doorstep in order to help care for her son. Holmes and the others had been there to hear Mrs. Fayre tell what her husband had said when she told him she was going to bring Tennyson home -- after Mr. Fayre had thrown him out of the house.

"Fine, Lynette! Go--bring him back here, I dare you -- but things happen to rich men's sons, you know -- kidnappings, things of that sort -- one day you might wake up and find him gone again."

Could this have been Ashton Fayre's work? No -- he had gone to America. Of course, he could have come back....

He came over to the coffee table, got on one knee and looked Tennyson's mother in the eye. "Madam, I will do everything in my power to get your boy back safely."

Mrs. Fayre drew a deep breath and wiped the single tear away. "That is a great comfort, Mister Holmes."

Her sister-in-law said, "There's Someone else watching out for Tennyson, too, Lynette."

The woman on the couch drew a deep breath. "You have your religion and your God to give you comfort, Caroline. I, however, prefer to put my faith in that which I can see."

But 'Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen,' Holmes said to himself, but he knew that now was not the time to get Mrs. Fayre involved in a discussion of Scripture.

"Mrs. Fayre, I suggest you go back to your buisness or home now, or from wherever you were before you came here," he said aloud.

The woman looked at him sharply. "Are you suggesting I forget about my son?" she asked.

"Not at all, madam. I am simply suggesting that you get your mind settled down. Your being distraught when Tennyson's kidnappers make their demands will not help you or him."

Taking a deep breath, the mother of the youngest Irregular nodded. "You are, of course, right, Mister Holmes. I will go back to work -- there are plenty of things to keep my mind occupied there."

She stood and looked him in the eye. "I am putting my faith in you, Mister Holmes."

She leaned down and hugged her sister-in-law, then stood and nodded to each of the others. "Doctor Watson--Wiggins--Deidre."

She went out the door.

"Holmes, I wonder if she's all right to drive by herself?" Watson said dubiously.

"She'll be fine, old friend. She's a strong woman."

Caroline Fayre looked at the floor sadly. "She could be stronger."

"I know, Miss Fayre -- Lord willing, someday she'll learn that. Right now our prayers need to go up for Tennyson, and our bodies need to get to the task of searching for him."

There was a knock at the door then. Looking puzzled, Miss Fayre got up and answered it.

"Why--Inspector Lestrade. Come in, please." She stepped aside and let the Inspector in.

Holmes noted a hint of a gleam in Lestrade's eyes. "Lestrade, what is it?" he asked, eyeing the manila envelope in her hand.

"The guys in the lab got clear prints off of the windowsill," she answered. "Here, take a look for yourself."

She handed him the envelope. Wiggins and Deidre were immediately on either side of him.

"Open it, sir!" Deidre urged.

"Yeah, I wanna get a good look at these guys," Wiggins added, a spark in his eye.

Holmes did so, and slid out the papers that were inside. On the first page were two color computer-generated pictures, one of a man with greasy hair and a full face, the other of a man who was thinner and looked only slightly cleaner.

"Michael Baxter and Jacob -- Baxter ." Holmes read aloud. "Hm -- brothers," he commented further as he read on down the page.

"Says here that they were suspects in several petty and greater crimes since they were teenagers," Deidre added, reading down further, "--and that they were avoiding the New London Child Protective Services before that."

Wiggins read down further. "Here it says that once they were caught with stolen jewelry they took from the home of a prominent New London businessman and his wife."

"Yes," Holmes acknowledged, looking at the ceiling. He separated the papers, giving some to Deidre, some to Wiggins, and keeping the last for himself. "Deidre, what is on the papers you have?"

The girl scrutinized it. "Well, at the top of the page are the copies of their fingerprints, which if they've already been arrested for crimes, I guess were already in the Yard's records."

Inspector Lestrade nodded, pushing some of her shoulder-length brown hair over her shoulder.

"Plus," Deidre continued, "it lists some more of their crimes: stealing jewelry from an auction, robbing several people at gunpoint, holding up an armored car that was parked outside Akien Systems--"

Holmes' eyes lit up. "Outside where?"

"Akien Systems, sir. Actually, there's a date beside each crime, and according to this, that must have been the first one they were accused of."

"Interesting," Holmes murmured, rubbing his chin.

"What's that, Mister Holmes?" Wiggins asked.

The detective glanced at Wiggins, then Deidre. "Come now, my dears. Use your brains -- where have you heard that name before?"

For a moment or so the teens looked at each other, unsure what Mr Holmes was getting at. Suddenly, their eyes widened.

"Hey, that's--" Wiggins started.

"Mrs. Fayre said--" Deidre spoke up at the same time.

"That's what Mrs. Fayre said that Fayre Technologies was called before she married Ashton Fayre and allowed him to change the name," Holmes completed their thoughts.

"Whoa," murmured Wiggins.

"Possibly just coincidence," Holmes speculated aloud, "but possibly worth looking into in the future. But I digress. Go on, Deidre."

It took a moment for the girl to pull herself back together. "Um... holding up the armored car, robbing people who were attending a charity function, as well as taking the cash that had already been raised -- stealing the funds raised from a charity skyboard race."

Deidre drew a deep breath. "That's it on my pages."

Holmes nodded. "Again, interesting. Wiggins, what about you?"

The boy on his other side looked at the paper in his hands. "Well, this says that after the two guys were caught and went to trial, their barrister pleaded insanity. After that they were checked out by a psychologist."

"Really?" Holmes said, his eyebrows shooting up. "By chance, are there any notes about those sessions?"

Lestrade spoke up then. "There sure are, Holmes." She produced a folder which she had kept under her arm, and handed it to him.

Holmes took the folder from her, opened it, and began to read aloud.

"May third, two-thousand ninety-eight, nine twenty-five a.m. Doctor David Welch in a session with Michael "Mickey" Baxter.

"Dr. W: Michael -- or would you like to be called 'Mickey'?

"MB: Call me whatever, I don't care one bloody bit.

"Dr. W: Very well. Michael, what do you think caused you to commit these crimes?

"MB: Didn't nothin' cause me to commit nothin'. I wanted to do the stealin'.

"Dr. W. You wanted to ? Why?

"MB: 'Cause all 'a' them rich people don't need that money.

"Dr. W: Rich people? One of the places you stole from was a charity auction.

"MB: It was full 'a' rich people, wasn't it? Their credits was goin' in th' pot, wasn't they?

"Dr. W: You seem to have a fixation on rich people, Michael.

"MB: I don't 'ave no bloody fixation! It was rich people th't killed me pa an' me mum, too. They don't deserve t' 'ave what they got when me an' me brother's got nothin'!

"Dr. W: Mm-hm. It seems to me you have some sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder stemming from the trauma you suffered from losing your parents.

"MB: I told you, I don't 'ave a blinkin' fixation, an' I don't 'ave no ob-- com-- whatever it 'tis you said!

"Dr. W: Michael, let me try to help you. I'd like to try some different medications with you -- they'll help with both your disorder, and possibly your anger.

"MB: Fer th' last time, you bloody [expletive] I don't need no....

"(Note: session had to be ended when Mr. Baxter became violent and had to be restrained by two attendants)."

Wiggins gulped.

"Does it -- does it say anything about the other man?" Deidre asked.

Holmes put the top page of the sheaf in his hands behind the others. "Yes, Deidre. Here it is."

The girl took the papers from him, and began to read aloud.

"May fourth, two-thousand ninety-eight, nine thirty a.m. Doctor David Welch in a session with Jacob "Jake" Baxter.

"Dr. W: Hello, Jacob. How are you this morning? (doctor notes that subject appears nervous)

"JB: Um, kinda scared.

"Dr. W: Why?

"JB: I don' know wha's gonna happen.

"Dr. W: Well, Jacob, we're just going to talk for a moment. Is that all right?

"JB: I guess so.

"Dr. W: Jacob -- or do you prefer 'Jake'?

"JB: Well, ev'rybody calls me Jake, if that's what you mean.

"Dr. W: Very well, Jake. Do you know why you're here?

"JB: Yes, sir, I do. Me an' Mickey did somethin' bad.

"Dr. W: Well, Jake, you're not supposed to take things that aren't yours. Were you aware of that?

"JB: (pauses) Well, Mister Doctor, sir, tha's th' only way we'll get money.

"Dr. W: Who told you that?

"JB: Me brother. 'E says that--

"Dr. W: It's okay, Jake. You can tell me. I won't tell anyone what you say.

"JB: Well, Mickey says that -- if we don't take money from the rich people, 'e won't 'ave enough money to get me the operation to make me smart.

"Dr. W: I see. Why dosen't your brother get a job?

"JB: 'E-- 'e says that takin' from the rich people is better -- 'cause they killed our mum an' pop.

"Dr. W: Really?

"JB: Yessir. Mum an' Pop both died workin' fer rich people.

"Dr. W: Thank you, Jake. I'm glad I talked with you.

"JB: You won't tell Mickey what I told you?

"Dr. W: (note: JB looks very nervous about this). No, Jake, I won't.

Holmes looked up from the papers. "Speaking of client-patient privilege, Lestrade, how was it that you were able to acquire these notes?"

"I -- have a lot of contacts over at the hospital," Lestrade explained, "and -- I told them a boy's life was at stake."

Holmes' brows drew together. "Lestrade!"

"Holmes, I didn't tell them who it was or the nature of the case, I promise."

The detective looked at the floor. "Beth, if anything jeopardizes that boy's life--"

"I know, Holmes." Lestrade answered, putting a hand on his shoulder. "I knew you could use this information, though -- I'm sorry."

Holmes sighed and looked her in the eye. "I know, Beth. You were doing your duty. Thank you."

Behind them, Deidre and Wiggins looked at each other. They knew that even though Holmes wouldn't want anything to happen to any of the Irregulars, he had a special place in his heart for Tennyson. That didn't bother them -- they both did, too.

Just then, everyone heard a beeping.

"What's that?" Wiggins asked, looking around the room.

Lestrade tilted her head, listening. "Sounds like a communicator."

Watson activated his inner scanner. After a moment he said, "The source is on the shelf above the stove."

Miss Fayre walked across the room to the small kitchenette. Reaching behind a canister up on the shelf, she produced a half inch-thick metallic device upon which a red light blinked.

"Fine place for this to be," she muttered, pushing a button under the red light with her thumb. "Yes, this is Caroline Fayre."

"C-Caroline," came her sister-in-law's shaky voice. "Is--is Mister Holmes still there?"

Miss Fayre looked at the detective. "Yes."

"Please -- tell him to come to Fayre Technologies right away. I--I've received something -- very disturbing in my mail."

On to Part 9!

Back to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, and part 7.

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