The Sneaky Vole was packed, as Tepic slowly looked through the sheaf of papers. Most of them were lists of times and dates, with either a name or place beside them. He had already checked the tally sticks, and it was clear that these were records of where the mark had been and who he had seen – unfortunately they were all in the past, otherwise they could have skipped a few days watching.. What kind of chap kept such detailed lists of what he was doing? Maybe he had a bad memory?
The worrying bit were the other papers, single sheets with notes about someone, and a simple pencil sketch. These were being passed round, with admiring noises being made about the pictures, which although simple, were frighteningly lifelike. The horse Professor and Dr. Sonnerstein were there, as was Gilhooly, and Tepic guessed that there were probably other sheets about the rest of the people involved in Mr Arnold’s situation. There was a paper about Miss Hienrichs and Mr Melnik, but also one with him, though the notes talked about the place the urchins had over at Wheatstone, now long gone…
It meant that someone had been watching, and watching for a long time, without being noticed. Even worse, it could mean someone they all knew was a sneak spy – not good, natural dodging, but actually making friends with you then sneaking off and spilling the beans, a stoolie!
If the mark had this sort of stuff, watching him could be more dangerous than ever for the urchins, time to call off the following, they would have to do with what they saw in passing…. It was a shame, the pennies had been adding up, and the winter fund looking decent for once.
Tepic looked up as Hoyt dashed through the door, panting.
“What’s up Hoyt, you spooked by something?”
“No Tepic, just thought it best to nip back an let you know the mark’s down under the sea again…”
“You didn’t follow him did you, too easy ter get caught goin down them lifts.”
“Nope, I stayed up, ain’t daft!”
“Good, things are gettin a bit dodgy, we ain’t goin ter follow him no more. Anyone sees him going anywhere can report back, but NO following, understand?”
The room had fallen silent as Tepic raised his voice, addressing the others, and there was a chorus of assent.
“Right, i’m off ter let em know we’s backin off, you lot pass the word!”