Cathcart The Intrepid Part 20 by John Linney

Harold lowered his gun and turned to walk back into the kitchen. I put out my hand and held it across his chest to stop him.

“It had to be done lad. Your father had his suspicions about Digby. He told me to protect you at all times and not trust your brother. He was just one bad apple in the family barrel Cathcart. And before you swallow any of those insinuations Digby trotted out, think again” he said taking hold of my hand firmly and removing it from his chest.

I was speechless and numb. I stood for a few moments before walking up to my brothers corpse. His faced looked contorted and ill at rest. I closed his eyelids and straightened his body out. I could not comprehend Digby’s involvement in this whole strange affair.

The farmyard was still and quiet. I suspected the sound of gunfire would raise interest from neighboring properties or even the town. Templeton approached me as I stood over Digby’s body.

“Cathcart. I am fully aware this is not a fight you ever wished to get involved in. You have been a victim of circumstance and a captive to events” he said in a measured tone.

“What happens next Templeton? How many more are there coming for us? When will it end?” I replied irritated now.

“These are questions to which I have no precise answers. We carry on until the fight is won. This organisation is very powerful, has many friends in high places and is extremely wealthy. Opium is increasingly becoming a scourge to our society. It preys on the curious, the poor and the desperate. While there is money to be made from its sale and distribution, they will continue to supply it. That is why we must act to defeat them.

I guess we will have a few hours breathing space to regroup and formulate a strategy. We must go on the offensive now. We must stop running and fight back. Dalgleish is gone and several others in the gang are dead. We must return to London. The drugs are coming into East India Docks and being distributed from the warehouse above the private members club.

First though, we burn the corpses and clear up after ourselves”.

I nodded and along with Templeton, dragged my dead brother to lay next to the other bodies. Hetty returned from a barn with some paraffin. She poured it over the corpses before lighting a match.

Digby’s fuel soaked waistcoat immediately burst into flames which leaped from his corpse to the adjoining bodies. I stepped back quickly to avoid the fumes and flames.  Harold dragged out a bale of straw which he tore into and sprinkled over the bodies. The heat intensified and the smell of burning flesh clung in the farmyard air. We stood quietly watching the funeral pyre rage. The bodies twitched and shifted in the heat. I went back into the farmhouse.

Suddenly I heard a shout and then….

 

 

 

Cathcart The Intrepid – Part 19 by John Linney.

The Werewolf sprang into the kitchen leaping straight at the table.  A loud crack of a pistol firing was followed by an ear bursting scream from the beast. It slumped over the table, its huge hairy forearms flopping over the edges.

More gunfire continued and I shot blindly into the smoke and chaos, gradually backing towards the door to the hallway. The noise  of gunfire was almost deafening and further disorientated me.

The shooting then ceased and gradually the smoke and confusion dissipated. The werewolf body had transformed to its naked human state.

The large muscular man had bled all over the table depositing a large puddle of dark red sticky liquid which crept steadily across floor.

“Cover the windows and shut the kitchen door. Cathcart, Hetty, move those two bodies out into the yard. We will give you covering fire if needed ” Templeton said.

Hetty and I crept out into the farmyard guns drawn anticipating a trap.

The two men were lying near each other, still and bloodied. We worked together to drag each man back into the kitchen before shutting the door behind us. Templeton was at the kitchen window scanning  the yard with his rifle.

We laid the bodies in the dining room before returning to the kitchen.

“So what do we do with him or this or whatever it was” I said gesturing towards the dead werewolf.

“He needs to be disposed of. I suggest we burn the body in the garden incinerator. We can take him out of the front of the farmhouse and the garden outbuildings are around to the right of the house. Hetty can chop him up can’t you ?” Templeton said with some relish.

Just as we were covering the werewolf to take him out, a voice called out from the farmyard.

“Cathcart! Ask yourself who might be behind all this mess. Uncle Harold? No he’s just a bumbling old fool. How about Templeton?  He is too busy being in charge. What about Henrietta then? Interesting idea but the battleaxe is too honest. Who then dear brother, who might it be?”

I listened as my mind raced through the possibilities.

“Your greed and jealousy Digby. That’s what is behind your involvement. I never asked or expected any of this. My future lay in India representing the family’s business interests. I trust those that have led me here.  All except my brother and I suspect father too!” I shouted back.

“Clever boy young Cat. Daddy is the greediest of all and will jump into  bed with any disreputable so and so if there’s money to be made. He asked me instead of you Cathcart”.

I could see Digby walking around in circles smiling to himself as though some moral victory had been achieved.

I didn’t initially notice Uncle Harold carefully but deliberately open the kitchen door. He stood in the doorway facing outwards and shot Digby through the head with two shots from his rifle.

Digby fell backwards onto the dirt and then…