The Disappearance of Sir Oliver Plumb
Chapter 3: Back at the Inn
Copyright© 2012 by normist
Back at the inn, we left her bag at reception and headed straight to the restaurant for a late lunch, or was it an early dinner? I had to stop Sarah from ordering the whole menu. It did take several orders to assuage her hunger. Wisely she stuck with water to drink. "Ah! That feels better." she said, wiping the last traces of the meal from her lips. "What now?"
"We book you in."
I was worried that she might not be as safe as I could make her yet, so I made inquiries at the reception desk. They had a two-bedroomed suite free. I arranged to be transferred, and to have Sarah's bag taken up. After which, we made our way upstairs.
Once we were comfortably installed in the sitting room of our suite, I asked Sarah, "Who, or what, is Catsup?" and she laughed.
"I am," she said. "when we were children, it was Olly's nickname for me. Because I was so saucy, you see?" she giggled.
"Now what can you tell me about the person who turned you into a statue?"
"Not much. He was waiting for me when I got back from Olly's. When I demanded who he was, and what he was doing there, he pulled a pistol on me. There wasn't much I could do to escape from him. He said something about making a memento for Oliver..."
"He called him Oliver?"
"Yes, he did! He then made me stand in the corner. He waved a wand at me and suddenly my clothes vanished. Then he mumbled something and I felt myself stiffening. After a few moments, I found I couldn't move at all"
"Can you describe this man?"
"I can do better than that." she said jumping to her feet and disappearing into her bedroom. Moments later, she reappeared clutching an artist's pad and a selection of pencils. Sitting again and propping the pad up in front of her, she started to sketch. Four minutes later, she handed me the pad. The face she had drawn reminded me very much of a comic book villain, Ming the Merciless. It was evil incarnate complete with devil's horns.
"He didn't actually have horns," she smiled, "but I could see them in my mind's eye! He was tall; about six feet in height and he had an air of grayness about him ... I can't think of a better way of putting it, but; an air of grayness!"
"Never mind. Tell me all about yourself. What do you do? What are your likes, dislikes and so on?
Well, let's see. I'm twenty-three. I have a Liberal Arts degree. I like to paint, but I'm not as good as I'd like to be. I also write a little. My main income comes from a small trust fund and I have a part-time job with Olly.
We discussed our experiences in college and since, until it was time to retire. I said, "Tomorrow's going to be a busy day. I think we should go to our beds."
Note the use of the plural 'Beds'. I didn't want to give Sarah the wrong impression. However she surprised me by jumping up and flinging herself into my arms. She gave me a kiss that seemed to go on forever. Finally, she spoke.
"Thank you again for saving my life. I don't think I could have survived much longer." She continued, "May I share your bed tonight? I'd feel much safer if I could stay close to you!" She renewed her kiss! At last it ended. She looked at me with sparkling eyes. "You realize that if you save someone's life, you remain responsible for them from then on?"
"Now you mention it, I think I've heard it said, but we can go into all that in the morning. Good night!" I said, trying to ignore her request.
We retired to our own rooms, although Sarah seemed to hesitate.
Next morning, we arose early and were the first into breakfast. "What are we going to do today?" asked Sarah, brightly.
"I have to return to your brother's this morning and what I do then depends upon what I find there." I contemplated for a moment what would be the safest course of action for Sarah! "For your own safety, I think that you should come with me." I was rewarded with a broad smile. Soon we had finished breakfast and made our way to Sir Oliver's. His manservant opened the door and invited us in.
"Good morning Sir. Good morning Demoiselle Sarah. Sir Oliver has still not returned, Sir. Are you aware of his whereabouts?"
"Not yet. However, there are a couple of points on which you can help us." I turned to my companion. "Sarah please show our friend your sketch." I asked Sir Oliver's manservant, "Please examine this face carefully and tell us if you recognize this man."
He examined the picture for a few moments. "No Sir. I have vague feeling that he may have been here once, some time ago, but I am unable to remember his name."