The Beast

Bunty, Lola and Mr Dorking reached the Whip Crack Away! room, which was devoted to the film Annie Get Your Gun and fumbled with the keys to open the gun cabinet which was cunningly disguised as a miniature stage coach.

“Bingo did love his musicals so!” said Bunty sighing.

“Never mind that, ” said Lola, “there’s a wild beast heading this way-sorry Mr Dorking-and it sounds angry!”

Bunty furnished herself with an elephant gun, wondering when Bingo had gone on safari and Lola took a shotgun. They made their way to the first floor and cautiously opened a window with the lights out for a better view.

“See anything Lola?” asked Bunty.

“Only mist and darkness-my eyes need to be come accustomed to the dark-hang on-Mr Dorking-Badgers are nocturnal! Come here boy, can you see anything? Give him some cake Bunty.”

“I have not got any cake!” said Bunty guiltily whilst fingering the last piece of Battenburg in her pocket.

“You’ve always got cake-give!” ordered Lola.

Bunty reluctantly handed the cake over to Mr Dorking who gobbled it appreciatively. Lola trained the badger to look out of the window, and before long he was snuffling his nose against the window and yapping.

“Lola, he’s found something! Good boy!” said Bunty.

“Right Bunty, you’re a more practised shot than I am, take aim over there and shoot when the howling starts.” said Lola.

“What are you going to do?” asked Bunty.

“I’m going to be the bait.” said.

With Mr Dorking looking over her shoulder, Bunty aimed the elephant gun and waited to see the white handkerchief that Lola would wave as a signal; this was a dangerous game and she worried, but Lola had assured her that she knew exactly what she was doing, and when she was in a determined mood there was no stopping her.

Lola crept out into the night and listened for the howling of the beast-it came right on cue, and from its volume she could tell it was getting closer. She moved in its direction, her hand coiled around her favourite piece of ammunition, the pearl handled revolver, which was fully cocked and loaded.

The howling came again, closer still, Lola could hear a rustling in the under growth not one hundred yards away, she raised the handkerchief and readied the revolver to shoot.

Bunty saw the signal and took aim, but in the gloom she could not make Lola out clearly and was in terror of shooting her friend and missing the beast entirely-just then she heard a scream and in instinct fired the gun, the shot ringing out loudly in the night.

She rushed down the stairs followed by an avid Mr Dorking and into the grounds, remembering to take a flash light with her.

“Lola, are you alright?” she cried. There was a silence in which she feared the worst, but then a cigarette lighter flared into life and she knew that she was fine.

Bunty trained her light in the direction of the billow of smoke and discovered Lola, her revolver fixed onto a prone dishevelled shape.

“You remember Max Bunty. It seems that the beast on the moor is revealed.”


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