A murder of crows cawed in chorus somewhere nearby.
Bales and the search team kept on trudging through the forest.
Along the way, another piece of candy was found.
Each piece, as it was found, was bagged as evidence, the last three with no blood on them.
“It’s starting to look like a trail,” Bales thought to himself. Upon the fourth piece of candy without blood, being found by Wazza, Bales was certain it was a trail. He stopped to looked at the map, the team gathering around him. He’d marked the spot where the candy was found with an ‘x’. They were all leading towards the back of Farmer Baa’s fields.
“Right, team. These are the spots where all the candies were found, including the one Matty took back to the station. They’re starting to look like a trail. In case that’s what this is, we’re going to head to the back of that field (pointing at the map), so just a slight directional change that way.” He pointed in the direction of Farmer Baa’s sheep paddock.
So, onward they marched, directed by the curious bits of candy.
Matty walked to the front counter to see who “dinged” the bell.
It was Little Red Riding Hood. She looked anxious as she was constantly rubbing her hands over each other and had a worried look on her face.
“Red, what’s the matter? You look quite worried about something,” he asked.
Little Red Riding Hood, fondly called Red, was born Redfern Hood. Being a mere 140cm tall with fiery red hair, and having a love for horses, if she wasn’t being called Red, she was being called Little Red Riding Hood. Over the last ten years, Red has built up an award winning race horse training facility called ‘Riding Hoodwinked’, and was her pride and joy.
“Yes,” Red replied. “I’m worried about my grandma.”
“What’s making you worried about Grandma Hood?” Matty enquired.
“Well, I went over to Grandma’s around 6:30am this morning to take her a basket of baked goods I made last night, but she didn’t answer the door or her phone,” she explained. “I went over there again with the basket not long ago to check on her, to make sure she’s ok. But she’s still not answering her door, or phone!”
“That is odd. Never known Grandma Hood to sleep past 6am.”
“No. It’s not like her at all!” Red started tearing up.
“Ok. Well, I’m sure Grandma Hood is fine. But I’ll pay her a visit to confirm that for you,” Matty promised.
“Thank you, Matty,” Red said, relieved. “That’d be wonderful.”
“Not a problem, Red. Keep trying to ring her, though. Maybe she stayed up late watching infomercials or something,” he suggested.
“Maybe. I’ll hear from you soon, then?” Matty nodded and Red walked out the door.
Matty was feeling a little stiff by now. And tired. He glanced at the clock on the wall.
“Another missing person. Weird,” Matty said out loud.
It’d been a big day already, and wasn’t even over yet. Stretching, he was now thinking about the morning’s earlier call. Grabbing the notes he’d taken during the call, he read over what he’d written.
“Mavis Baa…..prized black sheep missing…..large dog prints in the mud…..blood on the fence…”
“I’ll go by Grandma Hood’s on the way back from Farmer Baa’s farm,” Matty thought to himself.
He locked up the station as there would be no-one to man it, hopped into the police car and started the engine.
Cawing crows hovered above as the search team arrived at the back of Farmer Baa’s field.
They’d only found one more piece of candy, absent of blood this time.
“Constable Bales,” Hansel called out. “There’s an awful smell coming from over here.” She was pointing towards the forest’s edge, only a few meters from the farm’s bordering fence. Bales walked briskly to where Hansel was pointing and stopped. Leaning over, he vomited. It was indeed putrid! Putting his nose into the crevice of his elbow, he headed towards the nauseating odour.
It was difficult to see in this part of the forest as it was a lot denser than the other side where they’d started. He saw something on the ground a few meters in, next to a massive tree. A small shadowy black mound. When he reached the tree, he could see clearly what it was.
Farmer Baa’s prized black sheep.
Remembering Jack Spratt’s murder, he approached the team who were peering into the forest, and instructed them to do a five-meter radius search from the sheep. He suspected there would be a body nearby.
None was found.
Bales was deeply concerned, suspecting a possible connection to Jack Spratt’s murder. He took his phone out of his pocket and proceeded to call Matty at the station.
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