In our last, we had left brave Patrick McLoughlin trapped in a room at Nightmare Manor. How did he escape?
Happily for him, in spite of a descending ceiling, snakes in the chimney and ominous white vapour crawling under the door, our hero quickly leapt to the unlocked window and, having opened it, worked his way along the ledge to the nearest water pipe.
Below, his faithful ally Branson waited to retrieve him from the assorted dooms which had been closing in.
But stay — is this the end of our story?
Branson may be an ally of sorts, but as we write he has not committed himself to anything. Our hero Patrick may soon find that rather prematurely announcing that Branson was West Coast Choice of the Month has put him into a new and interesting Little Ease, because Virgin is now enjoying the status of sole seller in a sellers’ market, and we know what that scenario tends to do to prices, don’t we?
So even as Patrick slides down the water pipe, will Branson remain there to receive him — and at what price?
Meanwhile look, if you dare, towards the dense woods which fringe the Nightmare Estate: what is that black figure loping out of the cover of the undergrowth, fangs dripping greedily?
It is surely the Dog Ellman, who even now is panting as she sees her prey.
The dark shadow bounds closer …
(To be continued in our next.)