Something Stinks in Deep Cove

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News of the mutilation of an entire herd of goats in the high passes of the Lonely Wood has brought the famous bowman, Willie Tayler, in search of the Deepbrook Devil. While Garrett and Willie search for answers to the century old mystery of the beast, Merle is left to take care of business at home. With Garrett’s bigger bed to sleep in and no one to nag him about his daily routine, everything seems to be going according to plan. That is until a high powered businessman turns up dead in his new factory, and a dozen witnesses point their finger at Garrett and Merle’s automaton helper.

Fantasy / Humor
Age Rating:



Moonlight glinted off the water and cast its dancing shadows over the docks. The lapping of the ocean waves was accompanied by the rhythmic thumping of a mooring buoy against the end of the pier. From the darkness, upon a cold wind, echoed the soft moan of the channel marker’s bell. Two cloaked figures made their way up the pier. The individual on the right pushed a wheelbarrow that bumped along over the planking of the dock. Stopping outside a darkened entrance, they knocked softly and waited. For several minutes, there was naught but the sound of the waves and the distant bell. At last, the door was opened by an old woman. She carried a lantern and was bent with age. The lines of her harrowed face were etched in relief from the lamplight.

“We have come at your bidding, madam,” said the man. He was older, with silver hair and a hard look to his eyes. Beside him, a younger woman cleared her throat and covered her mouth at the smell coming from the hovel.

“He has passed,” said the old woman from the doorway. “I won’t say it was peaceful, either. Cancer ate his belly.” She ambled back inside and motioned for them to follow.

The inside of the hovel was dark and cold. There was no fire lit against the autumn chill. The homeowner led them into a back room, where her husband lay on a narrow cot, the blankets rumpled around him. The younger woman went to the bed and grabbed the dead man by his arm – his only arm – hoisting him up and over her shoulder. Try as she might, she could not help but gag at the smell.

“His bowels went at the end,” said the old lady. There was no trace of shame and only the slightest of sadness on her face. She turned to the man and accepted a bag of coins. “Why are you doing this?” she asked not for the first time.

On this occasion, the man gave her an answer. He removed his hat and made a quick sign of blessing as the younger woman carried the dead man outside to the waiting cart. “Your husband was a hero, madam. Most have forgotten, but we at the Veteran’s Association have not.” He turned to go.

“He will receive a proper burial?” asked the woman. This time, worry was evident in her frail voice.

The man replaced his hat and gently guided the woman’s hand to his breast. “I swear it.” He looked into her face and nodded. “I have commissioned a statue to commemorate his deeds. It will rest in Overbay Park. All who see it will know that your husband was a Vellian hero.”

“Were you a war hero, too?” she asked. She nodded to where the man’s left sleeve was pinned against his shoulder.

“No, madam,” he said, releasing her hand, “nothing of the sort.”

The widow used the lantern to guide the man back outside to his partner, where they found the dead man draped across the cart. The old woman cast her eyes to the sky, unable to look at her husband in this state.

“God bless you,” said the man with a stiff bow. “Remember what I have said about going to the bank. You will now receive a small pension from the Veteran’s Association.”

“Thank you, sir,” she called as the two strangers set off toward the mainland.

“Our pleasure,” said the man from over his shoulder. “It’s not every day you get to honour a one-armed man.”

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