He drove along the well-lit streets, obeying the speed limits for now, and avoiding the revellers who were doing their best to return home in a straight line, even if that meant walking in the middle of the road. He was soon at the station and deposited the devices on a coach heading for Glasgow.
“Where are we going?” he asked.
Daisy smiled and showed the map to Tompkins.
“Well, I’ll be damned,” he said, “it looks like they’re taking the mickey out of us, Daisy.”
“Well, they’re either going to Stalky Stark’s place or to the safe house on the coast. If it’s the latter then it’s no longer a safe house, is it Daisy? I hope they’re going to Stalky’s place or rather where he used to live before Miss Scarlett muffled him.”
“I met her once, y’know,” said Daisy, “and she doesn’t look like a sex maniac assassin, more like a suburban housewife.”
“Daisy, they’re the dangerous ones, trust me, the lady has hidden depths that few other people possess. I am glad she’s on our side.”
“Are you sure she’s on our side, Tomcat?”
“Well, Daisy, that’s a good question, I believe she is, but if Stalky Stark had been a double agent and she was on the other side, then she might have got rid of him in case he blabbed to us. Anyway, Daisy, keep me posted on where the dot is heading, either to the coast or east and north of the safe house. I know the Chief Inspector in this area, so speeding tickets shouldn’t be a problem.” Tompkins pressed the accelerator and Daisy felt herself pushed into the back of her seat as the Jaguar headed south of the capital.
“Do you think we’re heading into trouble, Tomcat? Could this be a trap? If they capture the leader, they’ve won, haven’t they?”
“No, but I have taken precautions, Daisy, I’ve notified pals in Sussex and they’ll have both places covered. So, I may be walking into a trap, but the trap-setters themselves will be in a bigger trap, if you’ll forgive all uses of the word trap.”
“Yes, enough for a greyhound race, Tomcat.”
Tompkins’s laughter echoed around the car – “Love it, Daisy, and to use your analogy we’re the hare that’s going to cause the race to start, that’s what I think. My pals will come and get us if we haven’t phoned them within an hour.”
Outlines of hedges and trees flashed past. Occasionally the headlights illuminated the eyes of a fox or badger. Tompkins overtook other cars as he streaked southwards, braking only for the 30-miles-an-hour limits in the lovely villages of the area out of respect for the people he knew in those places. After 5 minutes of silence, Daisy held up her hand.
“Tomcat, the tracking device has stopped, can we pull over to see if you recognise the place?”
“Of course, I’ll just pull into the next lay-by, which is about a mile ahead.”
In 30 seconds, the car stopped by the side of the road. Tompkins took the laptop from Daisy and perused the map, now zoomed in to the most detailed level.
“Bish and bosh, the wonders of modern technology. That is Stalky Stark’s former place, Daisy,” Tompkins said, tapping the screen, “I hope this means they don’t know about the safe house by the coast. Let’s hope it still is, in fact, safe.”
“What shall we do, Tomcat?” asked Daisy.
“Let me think,” replied Tompkins, “let me think.” He tapped his fingers around the steering wheel twice. “I remember! There’s another obscure way to Stalky’s place via a back road from the nearest village. I don’t think it’s used by anyone other than local farmers and it peters out about 300 yards from Stalky’s property. We could come in from that direction and see the lie of the land. I would guess they don’t know about the road as you can’t see it from his house.”