The Affair of the Dartymuir Dog. Part Ten

The adventures of Piglock Homes and his sidekick Doctor Bearson.

At the inn, Bearson was glad just to roll into bed, as was Yore, but Homes waved away their concerns.
“I shall smoke a pipe with our genial host before I make my way between the sheets,” he declared.
It felt like only minutes later, when Bearson was shaken from his sleep by an impatient trotter.
“Up. Old chap. Up. And be quiet about it. There’s evil afoot on the muir, and it’s up to us to stop it.”
Bearson groaned and looked at his watch. It was four in the morning. He groaned again, but knowing the futility of arguing with a determined Homes, he dressed quickly and crept out onto the landing. Homes waited impatiently.
“Bring the bag of breakfast,” he instructed, before going back into the room where Yore still snored.
Bearson fetched the linen bag and was back on the landing in time to hear a muffled scream from Yore’s chamber.
“I warned you,” Homes was adamantine. “Now get up and stop being a bigger fool than you can help.”
Bearson sincerely hoped Homes hadn’t actually bitten the inspector, although the probabilities leaned that way.
However he had been persuaded, Yore followed Homes onto the landing, and the great detective led the way downstairs. At the back of the inn, there was a small stable where a sleepy lad was busy harnessing a grumpy looking donkey to a small cart. Homes flicked the lad a shilling and Yore led the donkey out into the morning darkness. Once out of the stable, the donkey seemed to become angry and it put a good deal of force and determination into trapping Yore against the stones of the stable wall. The inspector pulled the animal’s ear down to his mouth and whispered something.
The donkey stepped back, and Yore smiled toothily – his good humour having been wholly restored by the exchange.
“Horseman’s Word,” he said and jumped onto the driving seat. “Where too Mister Homes?”
Homes and Bearson climbed aboard.
“We need to be where we stopped last night.”
Yore nodded. “I took note of the place.” He shook the reins and they were off.
If it had been strange to drive across the muir in moonlight, this ride in a creaking little cart, with Yore profanely deciding their route, was surreal. The weird light of false dawn lit a pearlescent mist and the donkey’s unshod hooves made very little sound as it plodded along.
Bearson would have been hard put to say where he was, but both Homes and Yore seemed satisfied when the cart drew to a halt. Yore set the brake, before hobbling the donkey and providing it with a nose bag of sweet-smelling hay.
In the half light Bearson saw Homes bare his sharp, yellow teeth in a feral grin.
“Break out the breakfast, old man, we’ve naught to do for a while but wait.”
Nothing loath, Bearson passed around thick ham sandwiches, slices of crumbly cheese and hunks of richly spiced fruit cake. They had all but finished their repast when Yore’s large ears twitched.
“Company coming,” he growled.
“I hope so.” Homes was at his most demurely irritating.

Piglock Homes and his sidekick Doctor Bearson will continue their investigation into The Affair of the Dartymuir Dog next week

Jane Jago

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