Shots pinged off the cabin roof. they appeared to come from down the main street as two figures walked slowly and confidently towards the boat. the few locals ran for cover in the adjoining buildings.
We instinctively ducked on the seaward side of the cabin and crawled along out of sight.
” I may be able to buy you some time Cathcart. When I throw this grenade, you and Harold run around the cabin and down onto the dockside. There is a horse and cart at the far end outside the grain merchants. be quick and make haste. Your lives are at stake!” Templeton said whilst scrabbling around in a bag at his side.
” Ready. Three Two One Go!”
He threw the device towards the approaching men who stood confused at a small canister rolling to their feet.
Suddenly an enormous flash and bang erupted, tossing the lead assailant into the water to his left. The other man was blown backwards and his head hit a steel mooring. The man in the water floated face down, arms spread out whilst the other man lay slumped in a pool of blood at the mooring base.
Uncle Harold and I quickly jumped ashore and ran to the cart tied up. The horse was whinnying and stamping the ground following the explosion but Harold managed to calm it sufficiently. I jumped up and took the reins whilst Harold untied the horse. I pulled back on the reins to restrain the beast. Harold jumped up along side me and took the reins off me without asking.
We lurched off down and turning right out of the right out of the main street towards open country. The carriage thundered along the road scattering some children playing in the street in front. We left the last of the houses behind us soon enough and slowed the carriage to a trot. The landscape was flat and featureless. The odd copse was dotted amongst wet marshes and fields.
As we moved along the winding country lane, we were aware of the sound of a galloping horse from behind.
A man was waving frantically whilst steering a large black stallion inexpertly towards them.
Harold pulled on the reins and slowed the carriage to a halt.
“I know Templeton gave you a pistol. Draw it but keep it hidden. I will do the talking” said Harold.
A gangly tall man wearing a bowler and tweed suit pulled the stallion up beside us.
“Mr Travers I assume?” the man said slightly out of breath.
We both acknowledged the man then I answered.
“And who might you be sir?”
“The man you were supposed to meet in the public house this evening. However gentleman you seem to have announced your arrival rather louder than planned. Let me introduce myself. I am Algernon Templeton. My elder brother always had a flare for theatrics. My job is to take you to safety. Time is of the essence and you need to turn off this road soon. Follow me and quietly this time”.
The family resemblance was unmistakable. We agreed and followed in Templeton’s wake. Soon we turned off the lane to a farm track. We drove into a small wooded area half a mile or so down the track. The track veered suddenly to the right revealing a large weather boarded farmhouse and yard. Templeton unmounted then opened the gate for the carriage. As we moved into the yard the back door of the farmhouse swung open and then…..