Sherlock Romes and the Case of the Midnight Visitor.
It was quarter to midnight and all through the house, not a creature was stirring. Not even a…Crash! Something huge, black and white thundered past, evidently chasing a new friend he’d brought in through the catflap at dusk. Sherlock Romes deduced it couldn’t possibly be later than this, because Duncan had closed the flap for the night before it got too dark to chase Reive round the garden. Romes further deduced that whatever his brother was chasing, it would be young, barely having found its feet and likely to keep Reiver going all night in his eager pursuit. Resigned to this behaviour, the feline detective curled up on the top of the sofa and prepared to get what sleep he could.
‘Pack it in’! Came a deep and weary voice, emanating from the smaller bedroom. This was Duncan himself, who had just gone to bed after feeding the cats, and was hoping for some kip of his own. Romes decided that, for the sake of the household, he would have to come out of retirement and find the cause of Reiver’s excitement. Not easy for an old man like himself, whose many health conditions led him to spend most of every day and night on the sofa or on his own, personal table-rug. Romy felt chuffed that his ‘pension’ was flush enough to include a variety of comfy sleeping places, including the rug they’d put on the table just for him. A detective likes to be valued, and a feline one is no exception.
It was easy to follow the trail of dropped things in Reiver’s wake, but less easy to predict where the intruder might go next. Sherlock decided to wait in the living room (his personal base) until someone or something crept back through from the hall. ‘A good hunter waits’, he thought to himself, as he settled down on the sofa back for a little doze. zzz…
Next morning at around 5am, the feline detective awoke with a start. The house was quiet; it seemed that the intruder had managed to elude his little brother all night, and even hole up somewhere where he couldn’t be found! This was the only possible explanation, considering the eagerness of Reiver to move in for the kill and also Reive’s historical head injury, which leaves him unable to concentrate on even fun stuff like chasing things for more than five or ten minutes at a time. If the intruder had rustled anything or run about, Reive’s motion would have awoken the detective and got him right back on the case. Awoken the whole house, most likely. Sherlock Romes howled speculatively, the better to order his early breakfast from the morning housekeeper; Janine. She came through in a timely fashion and presented Romes with a bowl of food, which he ate just a little of (as is his wont) while he mused on the facts of the case.
Later on, the usual Sunday activities took over from the essential duties of cat-care – the collection, sorting and delivery of fresh food for the charity ‘Cook-Inn’. The couple who took care of the detective and his embarrassing little brother jetted off to be at Morrison’s for eleven am, collect the donation and bag it up under the awning outside. Sherlock Romes knew, of course, about the couple’s charitable concerns; but while he approved, it was to their detriment that it meant leaving him alone with Reiver (and his new houseguest) for several hours. Still, mused the detective, they will likely pop back to give me late lunch. Romes still felt aggrieved about the pills he had been forced to imbibe at breakfast, but fortunately his superior intelligence led him to understand that they were only doing their best to keep him healthy. Romes mused that it wasn’t their fault that medical science hadn’t improved enough yet to do away with such unpleasant necessities. As an afterthought to the use of one of his personal litter trays, Romes mooched around a bit doing some detecting. There was a strange smell; not quite a mouse, and not a bird either. Vole, perhaps?
While he was searching for clues underneath the window, Sherlock heard the familiar sound of that VW Polo engine. Hastily making his way to the middle of the room, he settled on the table rug just as the housekeepers came through the door. Wouldn’t do to let them see me working, Romes thought. They might get the idea that I don’t need all that much looking after! I’ve worked hard for my pension, and I am convinced that I deserve all this cuddling and extra feeding. Why else would I – ever – let them take me to the vet? Just so’s she can pronounce me as needing all their tender, loving care!
‘Hello Romy’ said Janine cheerily, stroking his head. ‘We got loads of grub today! We gave to all the referred households, and we still have enough to call round the hostels. We’ll have fed over a hundred people today’!
The detective’s heart sank. All the hard work he’d been doing to let them get a good night’s sleep, and they were going to leave him again? ‘Don’t worry,’ Janine consoled him. ‘I will be staying on the prepare our tea, and to cuddle you. Duncan is volunteering for the hostel deliveries’. Sherlock Romes let out a sigh of gratitude. ‘Sometimes’, he thought to himself, ‘it’s almost as if they understand my language’! Chowing down on (just a few bites) of some different food, Romy let himself be fussed over a bit. Got to keep the troops happy. While the housekeeper chopped veg, he wandered around the room checking for evidence of strange rodent. Reiver, who had seemingly forgotten all about his tiny new flatmate, ‘helped out’ Sherlock Romes by finishing up the food in his discarded bowl.
Bullseye! The world’s best detective had done it again… Sherlock halted at the bedroom door, having followed a trail all the way through from the bigger room. A newspaper had been knocked down by his little brother earlier that day, and amongst all the other things Reiver had dislodged from their proper places, it had been missed in the general clear-up. Underneath it, behind the door and completely squished – undoubtedly by the considerable bulk of his brother – lay a baby rat! Having quickly expired, it had remained hidden there – perhaps for a couple of hours – but in the end, Romy’s rapier mind had uncovered the truth. The mystery was solved, and Detective Romes could look forward to a good rest and a cuddle on Janine’s lap. As she came through, he nudged her to show her the good news.
‘Oh, a baby rat’! She exclaimed. ‘That’s what kept us up last night ‘playing’ with Reiver. Ok then’. She disposed hygienically of the thing, then washed her hands and came back to him. Basking in the gratitude and adulation, Sherlock Romes nearly missed the advent of the next bombshell; ‘Perhaps now you can help me locate what Reiver’s done with his safety collar’?
…A detective’s work is never done!
God bless, all. See you next week.