Preparations were in full swing. In Druwich, for the Spring Flower Festival, and at “That Place”, for the event they had assembled for. What event is that, you might ask. That will be revealed in due time. No spoilers.
Margery, once she had returned put her considerable focus on the Spring Flower Festival, which from now on will be referred to a SFF. Everyone in town had something to do, it was on The List. Every year, The List was distributed, in the past, printed out on paper and passed out at town meetings, though nowadays it was all done digitally.
If you failed to do your job quickly enough or to Margery’s exacting standards, you would hear The Speech. I won’t transcribe it, it is VERY long, and quite frankly, condescending, but the upshot is that it made clear that you had little pride in your community and this was the first step towards the ruin of this town. It might be argued that pride in Druwich was in fact, an effort not to be lectured and looked down on. As far as Margery was concerned, it only mattered that these things were being done.
Very soon anthophiles (flower aficionados) would come to view the riot of colors, discuss in detail the details of arrangements, attend lectures, and most importantly of all, spend money. The SFF was a large slice of the pie for the town, economically, though the influx of passers through for the other event made it larger still.
Fortunately, for Barty in particular and the town in general, Margery remained ignorant of the brief disappearance of her only daughter. This was accomplished by a phone call to Constable Clive who had a brief chat with Lucy, pub owner and nexus of gossip in the town. The word rapidly got out that no one was to mention it and since being the focus of Margery’s ire was a thing to be avoided at all costs, the word was extremely mum.
Just as Margery was signing some papers that her daughter had handed her, invoices and such, Addington, the private detective was on the job.
He had reserved a room at a nearby town, Oakton, that was north of Druwich. Dressed in his sturdiest outdoors gear, he walked southward towards “That Place.” He was enjoying this job more than most, since it got him out into nature. This was lovely forest and he had already gotten some very nice pictures of some stoats.
From the research he had done, the property line for the “That Place” was very close, but he had only heard ordinary woodland sounds. It was odd that a large group of people should be so quiet. After a few minutes of carefully creeping, he saw a high stone wall.
This was not mentioned to him before. Since he was not equipped for climbing, he followed along the wall. It didn’t take too long for Addington to wonder, “How big IS this wall?” Something was wrong, he felt it. Not in the way Margery thought of wrongness, which came down to “This is different and I don’t care for it one little bit!”
He had an itch, not a physical one, but a feeling he got when something was off. The sensible thing to do would be to just go back to hotel, have a meal and pint or two, go to bed and drive back to London the next morning. Addington was about to do just that when he saw it.
It was sitting on rock, just to the right, a golden squirrel. Not the gold mantled squirrel, which was indigenous to Western North America, (which was only partially golden and really looked more like a chipmunk), but a glorious all golden squirrel. It’s coat shone against the muted greens, browns and greys of the forest. It could’ve been a statue until it cocked its head to look at him.
Addington had never seen anything like it, a completely new species. His mouth dry from excitement, he slowly raised his camera to capture proof of this amazing new creature.
As he did, the squirrel jumped to a tree. Addington adjusted to get the picture but then the little scoundrel moved again. This went on and on and that is how Addington patiently disappeared in to the woods.