Where was Stiletto?
As it was home to England’s other famous university, it seemed only logical after time spent in Oxford, that Gregory Cobblestone should find himself in Cambridge, ostensibly to attend a performance of Othello at the Shakespeare Festival. However, the real reason was to deliver the package without detection by The Rabbit.
Haydrift Eaglebeard was a strange fellow, but that in itself was his best recommendation. Strange carried connotations of weird, and weird was where the two friends were going.
What is it with the museum thing? Gregory pondered. Collection had been at the Ashmolean, whilst delivery was at the Fitzwilliam, a wonderful museum with a fine collection of Impressionist paintings and statues. Gregory was quite surprised to see so many fine works outside of Paris or Amsterdam.
He was particularly taken with the beautiful bronze statue, A Woman Combing Her Hair, which apparently was on loan from the Tate. It was a pity they weren’t international art thieves instead of universal conspirators, because Gregory had fallen in love with it and could imagine this beautiful statue having pride of place in his apartment on Sunshine, Lord Stiletto’s space station, near the Horse Head Nebula.
There was no sign of Stiletto, but was that Lady Bane descending the magnificent stairway? Stiletto was convinced she was on the side of the angels, but Gregory thought of that magnificent silver ring, and wasn’t so sure.
Eaglebeard, who to the casual eye, had been examining some beautiful marquetry on a splendid old cabinet, was deep in conversation with the Girl with the Red Hair. Was he simply flirting, or delving for information, or maybe, the thought came, he didn’t actually know who she was. If the Girl with the Red Hair was here, then surely, they must be in the presence of The Rabbit!
Quickly Gregory put his hand to his waistcoat pocket, but it was still there, the wax sealed package.
The timing had to be very precise. The portal would only be open for seconds.
Gregory sighed with calm satisfaction, then buckled in unbelievable agony as the jagged blade was placed, rather than stabbed, into the left of his two kidneys.
Something was wrong! Glancing over the space of the hall, Haydrift Eaglebeard saw his friend slowly collapse, a pool of crimson blood spreading around him on the polished mahogany floor of the splendid antiquarian museum.
Before he could act, the Girl with the Red Hair looped a fine wire, so thin and strong it couldn’t have been made on this planet, over Eaglebeard’s right hand, and with a deft tug, removed it at the wrist.
Thank goodness for Stiletto. Biding his time in the shadows, he stepped from behind a curtain and shot the Girl with the Red Hair. Unfortunately, the gun was set to stun, so she would live. Reaching down, he calmly picked up the hand from the floor, and slipping it into his pocket, guided his friend towards the ever-spreading pool of blood around the prostrate form of Gregory. Lifting Gregory onto his shoulder, he heard the strangled whisper, “the package,” but it was too late. A red trail of rabbit prints led away across the polished floor and a quick check of the waistcoat pocket showed that the package was truly gone.