Idwal Series

Lady of the Lake

Chapter Four

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]aryn Rees was standing beside the helicopter that had landed on the pad near the public car park at Pen y Pass, drinking from a thermos of coffee, when Seth Bowen and Aeron Collins came down the last flight of stone steps leaving the Pyg Track. Everyone was tired, from the physical effort and from frustration. A quick conference, which included the chopper crew, and it was decided that the policemen should return to Llanberis by air. The old shepherd and the collie would take the road towards Nant Peris, the direction to his cottage two and-a-half miles away.
Seth watched the rescue helo take off, before heading home. Llewelyn took the lead, racing away and then back; repeating the maneuver over and over again, still full of boundless energy. However, on the next foray the collie’s attention was drawn off the road onto the verge. The dog had picked up Cadell’s scent once more.
Sheepdog and handler moved to the stream that flowed down the valley, following for over a mile, but then Llewelyn stopped suddenly. He sniffed back and forth, finely sitting on his haunches, beside the Afon Nant Peris. “What’s the matter boy?” Seth asked, rubbing the collie’s head. “Has our young friend given us the slip by wading through the water?” The dog cocked its head to one side, before giving one long, wide yawn. “Tine to call it a day, huh? Home boy. Let’s go home.”
It was one o’clock in the morning. Llewelyn had left the hearth of the kitchen fire, and crept up the stairs to settle at the foot of Seth’s bed, trusting he would be unnoticed and allowed to remain. The collie, drifted off to sleep, prepared to be undisturbed until daybreak.Fleuron 1 90x35Seth woke to Llewelyn’s insistent bark, announcing something was amiss. The old shepherd struggled into his slippers, pulled on his dressing gown, and grumbled his way down the stairs, moving from the hallway to the kitchen to the rear door. The collie pawed at the exit, impatient to survey the rear yard and seek the cause of his brouhaha.
Seth, changing into galoshes, donned a woolen hat and thick top coat, before venturing out. Despite the absence of wind, the temperature was below freezing. He made his way after the collie, to the outbuilding that stored hay and feed for the few sheep that the shepherd still kept. He slide open the door and flicked on the light switch. A single lightbulb provided dim illumination, but revealed nothing out of the ordinary. Llewelyn was excitedly running around sniffing here, there and everywhere, settling on a corner where its master kept surplus outdoor gear, clothing and boots.
“What is it boy?” Seth asked. A quick look showed items missing from the clothing rack; an answer his question. “I see our friend has been here. Question is, where is he now, and what is he planning tomorrow? But there is nothing we can do tonight. Back to bed. Come on, old fella.”
Seth made his way back to the cottage;  assuming Llewelyn was following. He made their way directly upstairs, not noticing bread, cheese, cold meat and milk  missing from the pantry. That would only become apparent next morning.Fleuron 1 90x35

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