After a very restless, nightmarish sleep, I tried to clear my head, but without success. Bailey’s ghastly fate was burned incredibly deep within me.
My theories had gone up in flames and smoke.
So it was back to the drawing board – again.
Not only that, but David and Carpenter had gone off without explanation, before Watson, Cartwright and myself woke up.
I questioned the Trembath’s about it, but they were just as puzzled as we were.
However, the Trembath’s provided the three of us with a full breakfast, but it didn’t ease things – until.
Mrs Trembath came into the room, holding a letter.
“I found this slipped under the door. It’s addressed to you Mr Holmes.”
“Thank you, Mrs Trembath.”
I took the envelope and opened it.
The letter inside took me completely by surprise.
Come to Carn Kenidjack tonight Mr Holmes and the mystery of the beast of Cornwall will be solved. I’ll meet you at the Inn at eleven.
“What does it say Mr Holmes?” Watson asked.
“You read it.”
I handed the letter to Watson, who read it.
“Let me read it,” Cartwright said.
Watson handed the letter to Cartwright to read.
“Let us read it too,” said Mrs Trembath.
Cartwright handed the letter to Mrs Trembath, who read it with Mr Trembath.
“Most interesting,” Mr Trembath said.
“The end may be in sight,” said I.
Unless it was some kind of hoax.
“The question is – who sent it?” Watson asked.
“Who indeed?” asked I.
“Well, I’m certainly not getting involved,” Cartwright said. “Not after what happened to Bailey.”
“You can stay in the house with us,” said Mrs Trembath.
“Thank you,” Cartwright said.
“What are we going to do in the meantime Holmes?”
“Explore Watson – explore. I have a lot of thinking to do – theorizing so to speak. After that, we will go back to the Inn, have some dinner and wait for whoever sent the letter.”
“Very well Holmes.”
Watson and I exchanged goodbyes with the Trembath’s and left the farm.
Throughout the day, we explored old mine buildings, areas of moorland and walked by the coast.
While doing so, I tried to construct some new theories, but I had next to nothing to go on.
Bailey was right out of the picture – so was Cartwright, who had been present when Bailey met his fate.
I no longer suspected David and Carpenter was in the trees with Watson and I.
And yet, why did David and Carpenter leave this morning without an explanation?
Now my suspicions lay upon everyone else in the area, all the farmers, all the villagers, everyone. Even Mr Tobin I laid a finger on and his family. The Trembath’s too were on my suspect list – seeing as Bailey had died on their land.
Anyone in the region could have attacked me in the trees last night – to prevent me from shooting at the beast. Anyone could have blown that whistle to call the beast off after it had finished devouring Bailey.
But the biggest mystery, was the letter.
Who had sent it?
Further still, I had no idea what the motive was behind the devastating events taking place.
Why were such killings taking place? Why in such a ghastly fashion? Why not a bullet to the brain or the heart? Why not a stabbing? Why not poison? Was there any method behind it all? Or was it sheer madness?
I shared my thoughts with Watson, who was just as baffled.
“Not a word will I speak of this at the Inn,” said I. “And neither will you.”
“Why not Holmes?”
“Because it will put everyone on guard and the culprit may be there.”
It was fairly late by the time we returned to the Inn.
We had dinner and bided our time playing chess and cards.
When it was around about eleven, people were starting to leave the Inn.
I then saw two familiar people enter. One was David, the other Carpenter.
Watson stared at Carpenter and David.
“What on Earth are they doing here?” he asked.
The pair of them spotted us and came over
“If you come with us onto the moor Mr Holmes, the mystery of the beast of Cornwall will be solved,” said David.
I was taken aback.
Half as much had been written in the letter I received.
“Did either of you write that letter, which Holmes received this morning?” Watson asked.
“Yes,” said David. “I did.”
“I don’t like this Holmes,” said Watson.
“You must come – alone,” Carpenter said.
“I don’t like this at all,” said Watson.
I suddenly felt on edge myself.
“You three stay put for the moment,” I said.
“Why?” asked Watson.
“No why’s Watson. I want to speak alone with Mrs Tobin.”
I got up and went over to the bar – where Mrs Tobin was standing.
“Yes Mr Holmes, what can I do for you?”
“Can we talk quietly for a moment?”
“Certainly Mr Holmes.”
Mrs Tobin came out from behind the bar and sat with me in a corner, out of earshot.
“Now then Mr Holmes, what is it that you want to say?”
“First, I want you to know that the end of the terror in the area may soon be over.”
“Your case is nearly complete?”
“I hope so. However, there’s one problem.”
“Tell me Mr Holmes.”
“David over there said that if I accompany him and Carpenter onto the moor, the mystery of the beast of Cornwall will be solved.”
“Well, that’s a good thing Mr Holmes – isn’t it?”
“Watson doesn’t like it and I feel slightly on edge – especially seeing as I will be going alone with them.”
“I will need Mr Tobin and yourself to support me, so that I may, hopefully complete my case.”
“Anything to restore peace to the area Mr Holmes.”
“Here’s what I want the pair of you to do.”
After speaking with Mrs Tobin, I returned to Watson, David and Carpenter.
“What did you talk about?” Watson asked.
“That, I cannot say.”
“Are you ready Mr Holmes?” asked Carpenter.
After a major protestation from Watson, I left the Inn with Carpenter and David.
We left St Just and headed off up a windy lane – passing a farm, which Watson and I had visited.
At one point, we turned off to the right and headed up a track, which led onto the moon-lit moorland, which Watson and I had explored earlier in the day.
In the near distance was Tregeseal stone circle and up on a hill, further away, was Carn Kenidjack.
“Well Mr Holmes, neither David, nor myself can go any further.”
I wasn’t expecting that.
“Whyever not?” asked I.
“Because you alone must solve the rest of the mystery.”
That made sense.
“Everything will be revealed at Carn Kenidjack,” David said.
“Where will you two go?” asked I.
“We cannot say,” Carpenter replied.
I was slightly on edge about it.
“Very well,” I said.
So David and Carpenter began to make their way back down the track – leaving me to go the rest of the way, all by myself.
By then, I was beginning to feel quite disturbed.
As I came within twenty metres of the cairn, I saw a very familiar object appear on the lower rocks.
My blood froze in my veins.
It was none other than the beast of Cornwall.
When the beast saw me, it gave a bone-chilling roar. It then jumped down and began to advance on me stealthily – like a big cat.
I didn’t dare draw out my revolver, in case the monster made a quick move at me and running away was right out of the question.
So, I awaited a most brutal fate.
When the beast was near enough, it positioned itself – ready to pounce.
Within its gaping jaws, there were dozens of horrendous teeth, its clawed hands were splayed wide on either side of its head and its tail was positioned like that of a cat, when ready to pounce on its prey.
The horrific thing was, I was the victim.
Never in my life had I been so paralyzed with terror. I closed my eyes – ready for the attack, but it never came.
Instead, I heard a gunshot, followed by a painful, spine-chilling shriek and a heavy thud.
I opened my eyes and saw the beast lying dead.
“Thank Heavens I got here just in time,” came a familiar voice.
I turned round and saw Watson standing four metres away slightly to the right.
“I took it upon myself to follow you Holmes. My instincts told me you were in grave danger.”
“Thank you, my dear Watson.”
“Well at least we know now that the beast is not a demon.”
“Did you see where David and Carpenter went?”
Watson was about to reply, when there came into view on the lower rocks, a figure, all shrouded in a long hooded black cloak.