Carol Herald was in position early for her morning thrills; this morning it was going to be Lord Avon and his stable lad cavorting in the ferns in Hen’s Wood. Lord Avon would sit astride the youth and then whip him quite savagely as he bucked and pranced in imitation of a bull – it didn’t look much like fun to Carol, but Lord Avon undoubtedly made the lad perform the role until he could take no more.
Carol hid in a low hollow and peered through the undergrowth until she saw the two males approaching. She readied her zoom lens and checked the video worked correctly. Presently, Lord Avon pushed the youth onto his haunches and mounted him roughly. A fox or badger scurried through the bracken to her right.
Lord Avon started shouting “Ye haaa, ride ‘em cowboy, ye haa.” The youth jumped up and down slightly but with no enthusiasm whatsoever. As Carol Herald was about to press play the blunt instrument came down on her skull and caused her to lose consciousness forever.
In the background Lord Avon’s, “Ye haaas” could be heard above the pleas from the stable hand for him to stop. The assailant whispered, “No more animals for you to hurt” into Carol’s unhearing ear and crawled off into the woods.
Mrs Hills collected Bingo from his doghouse and they walked happily along Sharrock Lane avoiding both Culpepper’s Woods and Doggett’s Field, which were both still cordoned off because of the two recent murders. Bingo ran along chasing the occasional pheasant and barking at the geese by the river. They walked along the bank and entered Hen’s Wood by the gate at the corner of Doggett’s Field.
Almost immediately Mrs Hills saw Barry Janus taking a picture of the river with the leaves of the trees hanging prettily over the slate-grey water.
“Good morning, Barry,” said Mrs Hills, “nice weather for photography, isn’t it?”
“It most certainly is,” said Barry lining up another image. “I’ve only been here five minutes and I’ve taken a good half dozen images already.”
“It’s about the only place we could go for a walk this morning, what with the police having cordoned off the woods and field over there.”
“What’s that your dog’s got in his mouth?”
Mrs Hills froze and slowly turned her head to see Bingo carrying a stick in his mouth.
“Oh thank goodness for that,” said Mrs Hills, “I was wondering what item of clothing he would have brought back this morning.”
Barry Janus furrowed his brow – he wasn’t sure what she meant.