Bunty stood up and adjusted her person, “Lola, Its Mr Dorkings!” she said

“Well and there was I thinking it was the Dalai Llama” she responded drily  furtively scratching Mr Dorkings on the head while Bunty rummaged for the biscuit tin.

“Where do you think he has been all this time and who would have thought a badger would live so long?”

Bunty made a big pile of a tin of family favourites on the kitchen floor and made a cup of tea for them both.

“I don’t know but mr Dorkings our ex teacher disappeared on the same day, there was talk he had been taken away by the police or something like that after the debacle with Miss Lovely.”

“Yes, a messy business in the end” nodded Bunty sagely

Mr Dorkings having eaten his fill shuffled to the door and looked at them both.

“Looks like he wants us to go somewhere” said Lola, “Whatever it is it will have to wait till morning. I’m not going anywhere at this time of night”

She turned on her mules and tottered back upstairs to the Judy Garland room and left Bunty to settle down with Mr Dorkings, she put on some Miles Davies and they both fell asleep by the Aga.

In Appen Asylum a strange new partnership had been forged between Mrs Damson and Mr Dorkings. He tapped into her obsession with housekeeping for the young ladies as her mind still refused to move from her time at Schlepping manor and he got her to talk about Miss Schlepping’s young life and the enigmatic Uncle Silas. She told him about the electrical experiments Master Silas did and how he had lived for at least 90 years by her reckoning and yet was as vibrant as a forty-year old until he had been destroyed.

Mr Dorkings, after the incident at the school had indeed been taken by the police but as the crime that had been committed was so bizarre he had been transferred to the asylum. The badger had to go too, because of the glue situation. They had been cell mates for many years but his burrowing skills had at last led to his escape. He sniffed the night air and followed the aroma of his favourite human. How fortunate she was so near she could help free his hairy cell mate. Mr Dorkings, the badger was after all, a wild creature and captivity was not the best situation to be in. He had gamboled in the garden of the asylum and buried his nose deep in the cool earth, snuffling up passing  woodlice. It was while he rootled he caught the scent of his old friends and without hesitation set off to find them.

Lola came down for her breakfast of a fingernail, black coffee and several cigarettes to find the record player still going round stuck in a groove and Bunty fast asleep with a badger on her knee.

Lola shook her awake

“Not now major, unhand my blunderbusses” she shouted

She opened her eyes, momentarily startled as she forgot the badger was there.

“Do get up Bunty, I think a visit to the asylum today, don’t you” said Lola waving her coffee cup around.


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