Last time Bill and the children rode home to the Evans’ farm victoriously, with their prisoners in tow.
Everyone slept well that night, with the exception of Bill and Johns. Johns remained on watch until the small hours of the morning when Bill relieved him, and let him get some sleep on a fold-out bed Mrs Evans had provided.
Johns was still up bright and early to take the prisoners to the Cardiff police station in the morning. He had a good hearty breakfast from Mrs Evans, and a lot of coffee to wake him up. Johns and Bill put the men in the car, hand cuffed of course. Just past 8am, Johns set off to Cardiff with Meier and Erlick to hand them over to the Inspector Bill had met with. David sat in the front with Johns, and two dogs were in the back.
The children, coming down from their adventuring highs were beginning to moon around, not sure what to do with themselves. Bill clapped his hands briskly once the car was out of sight and encouraged them to come along with he and Allie for a walk – “we’ve hardly spent any time together these hols now, what with everything that’s gone on,” he said.
That took up a reasonable portion of the morning as they explored uphill from the farmhouse, though Aunt Allie was relieved when they all returned for lunch in one piece. She had kept a very close eye on all four children all morning, half-sure that one or more of them would fall into some sort of trouble if she let her guard down for even a minute.
When they got back to the farm, Johns was back with the car and talking to a lanky dark-haired young man with a satchel at his feet. “Who’s that with Johns?” Jack asked, squinting into the sun, trying to see. “Is it your boss, Bill? Has he come to give you a medal?”
Bill snorted. “I very much doubt that, Jack. If anything I’ll get my wrist slapped for commandeering Johns for my own means.” He thought he knew who Johns was speaking to, if the short curls being tossed in the breeze were any indication.
He raised a hand in greeting as they got to the farm gate and he could see that it was indeed Anatoly. His verbal greeting got lost in the barking of the eight remaining dogs who, upon smelling Philip had immediately come bounding across the farmyard to jump up at the gate.
Philip sank down in the middle of the pack of dogs while Kiki left her beloved Jack and flew over to Johns and Anatoly and called, “God Save the Queen!” repeatedly at them. “I did not realise you were holidaying in a zoo, Bill,” Anatoly quipped as Bill approached.
“With Philip around I’ve learned to expect nothing less,” Bill replied with a shrug. “Glad you could join us, anyway. Johns? Everything go OK with the handover? Did you get any indication of when they’d take the dogs of our hands?”
Johns nodded, “Smoothly, boss. They weren’t happy but the Cardiff cops took them off my hands no problem, and then as I was filling in the Inspector our boys turned up, with this one here,” he gestured to Anatoly before reaching for his cigarettes.
“I thought I would take advantage and hitch a ride,” Anatoly said, his accent so thick that Bill was really having to listen to make out what he was saying. “Your Inspector Morgan, he was not happy to have these two fine criminals handed to him on the plate, and then have them whisked off again almost right away,” he said with a lazy grin as he lit his own cigarette.
Bill chuckled a little. “That is a shame for him, but I suspect out team will make it up to him,” he said as the children gathered around the agents.
“Are you here to help wind up the rest of the gang?” Jack asked Anatoly as Kiki settled back on his shoulder, and started nibbling his ear.
“Well, I actually came for a few days’ holiday…” Anatoly began.
“You don’t have to join me,” Bill cut in. “If you’re needing a few days to rest and recover.”
Anatoly’s eyes flashed at the challenge, even though Bill’s tone was joking. “I did not say I would not help.”
“Can we tell you all about it?” Lucy-Ann asked excitedly. “The boys were so brave! Philip even almost had to jump out of a helicopter!”
“Johns has filled me in,” Anatoly said somewhat dismissively. The last time he had been around Lucy-Ann and the others he had chatted to them in a fairly friendly way, the age gap between he and the children far smaller than the one between he and the other agents. Now, however, Bill saw that he had shed the last remains of his boyishness.
“He tells me you were all very brave,” Anatoly added after a moment, perhaps noticing the way Lucy-Ann’s face had fallen.
“I did my best,” Lucy-Ann said with a nod, “but Philip was the bravest.”
“I think you were braver than I, Lucy-Ann, you offered to take my place!” Philip gently reminded her, giving her arm a gentle squeeze of gratitude
“Time for some lunch, I think,” Bill said ushering the children towards the farm house, except for Philip who was still surrounded by dogs.
“What will happen to the dogs?” Anatoly asked Johns, echoing Bill’s earlier question.
“Inspector Morgan says they’ll train them up as police dogs, keep a few for themselves and sell the rest to other forces in Wales.”
“Not that Philip wants to give them up,” Bill said as they walked towards the kitchen door. “Philip, Mrs Evans won’t let that lot in her kitchen so if you want to eat you’ll need to leave them behind!”
Philip dismissed the dogs and smiled sheepishly. “They’re gone… I do think mother is mean not to let us take one home. They would make the best pet.”
“And who would take it for walks and feed it every day while you were at school?” Bill asked, repeating Allie’s usual refrain when Philip asked these sorts of questions. “I know your school allows Kiki but an enormous Alsatian that’s used to running for miles every day is another matter,” he added before Philip could suggest taking the dog to school with him.
“Let’s not get into that, and head in for food!” Dinah chipped in before Philip could try another reason on Bill as to why he should be allowed to keep a dog. “Mrs Evans has cooked the most impressive roast dinner I have ever seen!”
“I hope you’ve brought your appetite,” Bill warned Anatoly. “Mrs Evans hasn’t heard of portion control, and even if she had, I’ll wager she’ll be determined to feed you up!”
Anatoly smirked, and patted his stomach. “It has to be better than canteen food, so I will take the challenge! Show me the way someone!” They all laughed and the children started leading Anatoly into the farm house and one of the biggest meals they had ever seen.
To be continued…