LEINIGEN & THE LAMBETH TREASURE
A Twitter adventure told in portions of 140 characters or less
Part Twenty: Another Journey, Further North!
Of our journey north there is – conveniently for matters of pacing and fatal momentums towards a tale’s climax – relatively little to tell.
Vespa and I passed the first leg of the trip tied face to face, dumped in the Reverend Moon’s grimy truck. Matthew of the YMCE sat guard.
Eventually – around Dundee, my shaky Scottish geography suggested – he fell fitfully asleep. I took a chance to quiz Vespa about her trials.
In whispers, she told how she and the captive Archbishop of Canterbury, who now lay gagged and unconscious nearby, had been taken north.
They had travelled as we did: bound, in a cage on a truck, under a tarpaulin. Impressions of scenery and colourful locals were thus few.
In her scant whispered passages, Vespa had cause more than once to stop, in order to tell me not to wriggle about. We were tied too closely.
I tried not to, but being ‘en pointe’ with Vespa Cryptoides is not an experience a chap takes lightly. I had not done so before, in Athens.
Still, I struggled, manfully, not to impose my manhood too hard upon her. As our bonds chafed, I was chaste in thought and, sort of, deed.
It was rather like the temptation of St Anthony, only with a lusty call for a fall and submission after the first randy she-devil turned up.
Eventually, Vespa, silent, lay still. I lay still on top of her. The Archbishop of Canterbury lay still too. Matthew of the YMCE woke up.
The truck stopped. I heard other engines, in convoy, grumble to a halt. Military (or paramilitary, I supposed) boots jumped down to tarmac.
After a short pause, the tarpaulin was raised and a harsh torchlight shone upon us. The cage door was opened and two YMCE men leapt in.
Our bonds were loosened! But there was to be no room for rash or desperate manoeuvre. Matthew of the YMCE covered us with a jutting Sten.
Freed from rather agreeable bondage, I rubbed feeling and blood into wrists, ankles and breast. Vespa did likewise. I volunteered to help.
She shushed me and, shushing my protests, motioned with her eyes. I turned. Simon of the YMCE proffered a pair of stern steel handcuffs.
Understanding – and, curiously, not entirely averse – I turned to Vespa and cuffed her to me. Metal bonds clicked on wrists. Simon motioned.
Vespa and I dropped, gingerly, to the tarmac of a lonely Scottish country road. Mizzle misted the air. Shaggy cattle lowed in the gloom.
Around us stood a battalion or flotilla of gun-toting YMCE goons, their slacks crisp, their pomade newly-applied and their stares steely.
Moon and Mr Holman-Hunt (if that was his name, which it wasn’t) were nowhere to be seen. In the cab, perhaps. I arched a customary eyebrow.
Simon of the YMCE leapt from the truck and jabbed into my back what I could only assume was his weapon. ‘Let’s go,’ he barked. We went.
Where we went was a low-slung, turf-built hovel, set back fifty yards from the road. A light burned in a crevice that passed for a window.
We were accompanied down a rather swampy path by a platoon of YMCE types. There was no chance to cut and run for the dark country around us.
At the door of the hovel – emblazoned with the legend ‘Mother Dare’s Lowland B&B’, and rudimentary heather – Simon rapped on wooden slats.
Mother Dare (I presumed) answered shortly. About four-foot nothing, the proprietress of this desperate botlhole squinted up from her door.
Simon pushed past her. Mother Dare clucked, but did not protest. The other YMCE members pushed Vespa and I inside. Dare shut the door.
Inside, in peat-smoked miasma, I looked about. We were in a cross between some sort of turf-cutter’s cottage and, well, some sort of hotel.
It was hardly the Ritz. It was hardly the worst stew on the wrong end of Vancouver jetty, where Canadians go to die. But we were to stay.
Shortly, from without I heard the grumble of departing engines. It seemed Moon, Holman-Hunt and the Archbishop would travel on without us.
Simon of the YMCE and his cohorts did not seem in the mood to explain why, so as Mother Dare clucked about our dinner, I held my tongue.
We were served a thin, grey, sickly gruel that Vespa had to convince me was porridge. Accompanied by neat ewe’s milk, it slipped down.
After our meal, Mother Dare led the way to a back room. She motioned to a sagging, unhealthy trestle bed. Vespa and I were told to lie.
Our handcuffs stayed. The scene was familiar, but it missed a memory. Maybe it was the ewe’s milk. I took thirty-nine steps towards Simon.
I determined to tell him, with reference to our situation, that it simply Donat do to commit such unoriginalities on guests. Or such puns.
A raised firearm, however, quitened me. And so Vespa and I lay down to sleep, under a scratchy blanket and grimly guarded by three YMCE men.
Outside, on the high road to the Highlands, the dastard Moon, Holman-Hunt, the Taxus Brevifola and the Archbishop of Canterbury raced north.
Moon sped north with his vile caravanserai. He sped to rendezvous with the mastermind of his evil. He sped to prepare a welcome… for me!