On the other side, they saw Mercedes standing with a black robe in her hands. Sir Talbot stood next to her, but was preoccupied more with her figure than the robed figure. The girls closed the door and walked up to Mercedes with Johnny.
“He’s disappeared!” said Mercedes as she turned, looking at the others.
“He couldn’t have disappeared,” complained Johnny. “This is open countryside and, might I add, there’s snow on the ground. All we have to do is follow his footprints.”
“Okay,” responded Mercedes. And the way she said it told Johnny he wasn’t going to like the next thing out of her mouth. “The footprints start at the tower,” she said, “and end where I found the robe.” She held up the robe and with great sarcasm said, “Oh wow, Johnny, here’s your culprit! An empty robe! You’d make Mr. Chan very proud!”
The girls giggled.
The Casebook of Johnny Secret
“Let me see that robe,” Johnny said. Mercedes thrust the robe toward him and as she did so, a black feather fell from it.
He picked up the feather and studied it a moment. He handed it to the knight. “What kind of bird did this come from?” Johnny asked.
Talbot took the feather and studied it as well. “Methinks it would be that of a raven.”
“I agree,” said Johnny. He studied the area a moment, especially the sky. It wasn’t snowing at present, and the visibility was very good. He saw a wooded area to the left and a small village straight ahead. “Mercedes, when you first got to this spot, did you see any birds in the sky?”
“Just a big black bird heading towards that town,” she replied, then paused a moment. “You’re not suggesting that our robed friend is a bird?”
Johnny nodded. “He was human when he entered because of the footprints,” said Johnny. “He then became a bird, more specifically a raven, and flew into town.”
“A were-raven?” suggested Sir Talbot.
“That’s what I’m thinking,” replied Johnny.
“That’s absurd!!” shouted Mercedes.
“Yellow brick road, my dear.” Johnny smiled. Mercedes, once again, agreed. She kept forgetting that things in this place, in conjunction with the towers, were not necessarily realistic; that is to say, what she considered real, and every time Johnny used that phrase, she felt more attracted to him.
“It’s not really absurd, Lady Gatling,” replied Talbot. “I have a close friend who is a were-dragon. She’s quite an attractive girl but once she transforms, look out!”
“But it’s in the middle of the afternoon,” Mercedes objected. “I thought that kind of thing only happened with a full moon.”
“Ah, that’s with people who suffer from Lycanthropy,” Johnny said. “It’s a disease that causes them to change. Regardless of the time of day or season, this person can change his shape at will.” The knight nodded in full agreement.
Suddenly Johnny looked over at the girls. Although they were still wearing the outfits they got as Mercedes’ handmaidens, they were both shivering.
“I suggest we head into town, find some warmth and a good hot meal,” Johnny announced. He offered his sport coat for Sara and Erika to share. He ushered the girls across the field towards the town. Mercedes followed, still unsure of this whole were-raven thing.
To find out what happens, you’ll have to buy the book and read it for yourself. That’s all for this week. Feel free to leave any comments you might have about this article or others that are on this site.