Veronica
by Harry

PART THE TWENTY-FIRST

Veronica finished her last glass of wine and thankfully realized that she had at last got her errant body under control. The tissue was cold and clammy beneath her, but the embarrassing and shameful seepage had ceased at long last. As she glanced across at Miss Prosser, once more clad in her sensible clothes, she had difficulty believing that the two of them had just passed such a strenuous and very articulated time together. As for her having so thoroughly enjoyed herself, that, too, seemed quite unbelievable.

"I understand that I still have one more thing to do for you, Sir."

"Indeed you have, my dear. I so hope that your sojourn in this, my humble dwelling, has enabled you to recover fully from your recent distressing encounter with the Law, in all its corrupt and bestial brutality."

He cackled in his wheezy manner. Veronica became almost alarmed for his safety and wondered if she should go to his aid. Miss Prosser, also, seemed to be trying to fight down her mirth. Her shoulders were shaking with suppressed and increasing merriment. Oh, dear! What HAD this old bastard got lined up for her this time?

"Go home on foot, my dear! That is your next and final task. Sounds so easy, does it not?"

"If I knew the route, it would indeed. I guess Iím not too far away - close enough to be back home well before dawn."

He wheezed and croaked his mirth again for some moments, Miss Prosser snorting into her glass.

"Have no fear, my lovely young friend. I will let you study a map before you leave and that fine and powerful mind of yours will memorize the details, which will, I doubt not, be stamped indelibly upon your inner eye from this time forward, until the very end of your days."

"Good. That should be no problem, then. Iím pretty tired, but Iíll make it OK. Frankly Iíd expected something rather harder than..."

And then it struck home! Of course - how stupid of her!† She was to walk back home naked! Oh no! It had been bad enough on the train, clad as she had been, in a thong and nothing else, but that was a total breeze compared to walking through Londonís streets in the absolute, unvarnished unadulterated altogether! Oh, fucking, bloody Hell!

Resignedly, she reached for her shoulder bag and prepared to leave. But Andrew Vane-Clatworthy, full of surprises to the very end, had yet more bad news for our heroine!

"Not the bag, my dear. A vulgar accessory in any case, an unworthy accoutrement for a fine young woman of your undoubted good taste. I think the rather garish nail varnish can also be removed before you leave. It will be merely you, in all your natural sweet loveliness, that will venture into the cold and dark night to wend a weary and footsore way back to Happy Hampstead!

"But - my keys!" stammered a despairing Veronica. "Just supposing I did make it without either being caught or freezing to death, how am I supposed to get in to my home?"

"You will just have to sleep outside your front door until, in the morning, your things are returned to you! Fear not, my sweet, I do not expect you to gain entry as a condition of your fulfilling your mission. Suffice it that you make it back to your front door!"

As she busied herself with the varnish remover, something inside Veronica snapped. She had been progressively and humiliatingly denuded all day of clothes which she had been ashamed to be seen wearing in the first place. She had been drenched with rain and battered by hail. She had been terrorized by a pair of gruesome uniformed dykes and finally debauched by this despicable old bastardís frustrated retainer. And now, to cap it all, she was expected to walk back in the freezing cold, half way across London, to a flat, whose front door key she was forced to leave behind with this horrible couple!

She had had ENOUGH! Veronica now saw with fearful clarity the meaning of those words that had been dinned time and again into her as a young schoolgirl. "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" That was just what she had been doing to herself all day! Bit by bit she had been voluntarily allowing herself to be robbed of all about her that made her precious, unique and worth-while - and all in the pursuit of so contemptible a prize as a large sum of money! She knew, now, what she must do.

"OK, show me the map and Iíll be on my way. Donít bother sending me the cheque, even if I do make it back without mishap! I donít either need or want your fucking dirty money. Keep it!† Iíll obey your last command, but not to make myself rich - just as an act of penance for my terrible greed. I hope I do suffer on my way back, and suffer a lot, because itĎs no more or less than I deserve."

She threw the red shoulder bag across the room in a fury. After looking at the map and memorizing all the details (Andrew had been right about that) she turned on her heel and stalked out of the room and the house, hearing the door slam to behind her and feeling, for the first time in hours, the cold air against her skin. It felt clean and good as she walked away from that house. She welcomed the chill as it began to eat into her, making the warmth of the living room, and its extraordinary session of Sapphic love, a distant and loathsome memory.

She decided it would be best to walk across Hampstead Heath. Once there, she would almost certainly be able to cross it undetected. The problem was - how to get there? The Kentish Town Road was the obvious route, but it would still be busy. No - she must go through the back streets to Gospel Oak and slip across Gordon House Road and go past the Lido. Once there it would be easy to get to the East Heath Road and then she would have a few back streets to negotiate safely before dashing across the High Street to her block of flats. Thank heaven the Police Station, just down the road from her flat, was no longer manned twenty four hours a day!

All went well for the first half of her walk to Gospel Oak and she was beginning to feel confidence growing inside her. It would have been better for her if she had remembered the old adage about cups and lips and many a slips.

Passing one darkened doorway, she became aware of a movement and made to run away but was too late to avoid being grasped by two pairs of hands, which turned out to belong to a couple of youths, both of whom had obviously spotted her as she had left the house and been following, waiting for their chance to spring out and surprise her.

These far from amiable young gentlemen announced in the most obscene way, their intention of screwing her arse off, among other things that were even more unpleasantly distasteful to her fastidious ears.

Was there no end to her troubles, she asked herself?

PART THE TWENTY-SECOND

The two youths, panting and gasping from the combined effects of exertion and eager animal anticipation, dragged her into the mouth of an alleyway, where one of them released his grip of her arms, leaving her, as he thought, in the safe hands of his partner in crime. As the eager, acne faced, evil smelling and priapic youth fumbled with his trousers Veronica kicked up at him with all her strength and had the sadistic and righteous satisfaction of watching him drop to the ground screaming and writhing in what was obviously great pain.

Now that she had only one of them to worry about, she easily broke free of the other and made it back to the road. At this point a car drew up and came to a noisy halt, the driver jumping out and running after the second of Veronicaís attackers, who had started on his hurried way homewards as soon as the car arrived. Veronica saw her rescuer catch up with the fellow and start to drag him back towards her. She went back to the first boy and pulled him roughly to his feet.

Emerging back into the road, dragging the would-be rapist behind her, she administered a thorough and painful chastisement to the wretched youth, soon reducing him to bleeding and broken-nosed unconsciousness. She was a big girl, as I have said before, some five feet eleven inches tall and this fellow was three inches shorter than she, scrawny and feeble with it. Add to this her extreme, superheated anger, and the youthís immediate prospects were poor to say the least. She tossed his unconscious form aside with contempt and turned to the other creature, now firmly in the grasp of the young man in the car. She noted with grim satisfaction that all this had barely caused her to break sweat. Great to be fit!

"Do you want me to deal with this one, Veronica," asked Douglass, "or are you up to it yourself?"

"Iím very much up to it, thanks! Hand him over!"

Fifteen minutes later a subdued and very sore couple limped dejectedly away and Veronica and Douglass embraced long and lovingly.† Between frenzied kisses and wild groping they poured out their hearts to each other, amazing themselves with the inventiveness and general soppiness of their lovelorn eloquence. Veronica had not been wrong! Douglas had fallen in love with this tall blonde beauty the moment he had seen her sitting in the Lamb, with that revealing split skirt exposing her luscious thighs for all to see.

"Can I give you a lift home, darling?" he said, finally emerging for a moment from the whirlpool of passion.

"No, sweetheart." gasped Veronica. "Thanks all the same. I canít explain this. Itís a whole jumbled up mixture of reasons that even I canít fully understand. I started this crazy enterprise, albeit for the worst of motives, and Iím going to finish it. I shook hands with that old man, and Iíll keep to my side of the bargain. Another thing is I feel I need to expiate my guilt in some way. Iíve been such an avaricious bitch, putting monetary gain above all else. Hell, Douglass! - if it had been his wish, Iíd even have exposed my pussy in that strip joint, to all those leering dirty old men!† I want to purge and punish myself somehow, and this is my way of doing it. So IĎll see you tomorrow sometime, and then we can talk and talk and talk about the rest of our lives together and the absolutely enormous family weĎre going to have."

"Enormous family! Are you sure?"

"Course I am! Two such exceptional people as we are - we owe it to a mediocre world to produce lots of quality offspring - just like us!"

They continued to stand clasped together for some time and then Veronica steeled herself to make a confession.

"Douglass, darling!"

"Yes, my sweet?"

"Iíve a confession to make. Please donít hate me for what Iím about to tell you!"

He held her even tighter and laughed.

"Miss Prosser?"

Veronica sighed with relief, melting thankfully into his powerful embrace and squeezing him for all she was worth. He knew and he still loved her! She rested her head against his breast and wept silent tears of gratitude. All her other problems, such as her job and the little matter of getting back home without either freezing or being caught, were nothing to her now.

"Yes." continued Douglass. "Andrew told me all about that. I canít pretend to be happy, but the way you kissed me just then sort of set my mind at rest. Anyway Iím so crazy about you, for whatever reason, Iíd forgive you pretty well anything!"

"Youíre crazy about me because Iím the loveliest, sweetest, most talented and sexiest girl in the whole wide world and you - you lucky sod - are going to have me to yourself to be your very own for ever and ever!"

Douglass digested this for a second or two and then asked.

"And why are you crazy about me?"

"Because I am - thatĎs all! Isnít that good enough for you? And now, you absolutely gorgeous lovely man, be off with you. DonĎt even think about following me. Just go home and come round and see me sometime after work tomorrow. I mean that! IĎll let you wrap me in cotton wool for the rest of my life, and I hope you will, but tonight is mine. IĎve got to do this on my own and with no help from you. OK?"

He protested, asking her how she would have coped if he had not come to her rescue. She hooted with laughter at this question.

"I was doing fine. Just crippled one to the everlasting detriment of his procreative prospects and after that Iíd have done the same to that other pitiful creep. Admit it, now!"

He released her, not before kissing her wide-open and warm mouth again, very long and very tenderly. Then he drove off home, worried sick about her, but not daring to disobey,† seeing very clearly the reason for her decision and loving her all the more desperately because of it.

Alone once again, Veronica hastened to cover the remaining distance to Gospel Oak. This time she was very careful to keep out of sight and check that she was not being followed. Despite her bravado in front of Douglass, she was fearful of another such encounter. She might not be so lucky next time!

PART THE TWENTY-THIRD

A group of returning late night revelers forced her to take refuge under a parked car. There seemed no other place she could hide, owing to the absence of trees in this particular bit of street. She felt the oil dripping onto her back and cursed the owner for the slovenly way he maintained his vehicle. The wretched people hung around chatting and making their farewells for what seemed to the impatient and shivering Veronica to be an age.† Finally all but two left. This particular pair were obviously young and deeply in love - something with which Veronica could appreciate after her recent enjoyable cuddle with Douglass.

And then she recognized the voices! Emerging from her very uncomfortable refuge she was enthusiastically greeted by Gwendolyn and her faithful Daniel.

"I always seem to hiding away from you two," she laughed, relieved that she could finally be on her way; it had been uncomfortable and cold cowering under that car.

"Golly! Have you been wandering about like that ever since we saw you?" asked Gwendolyn. "You must be awfully cold by now. Itís going to be a frost later on according to the forecast!† I see youĎve lost that tiny red thong! What a fantastic body, youíve got - hasnít she Danny? You really are brave arenĎt you?"

Veronica assured her that she had been indoors for much of the time and further related how since emerging back into the open she had been given plenty of opportunities for vigorous exercise! Gwendolynís eyes were as wide as saucers when she told her about the two attackers and their subsequent rout.

†"My, Oh MY! They certainly picked on the wrong girl when they chose you as their victim. I wish I were a tenth as brave and tough as you - I really do!"

Daniel murmured his agreement and Veronica could see that he was looking at her with even greater approval than he had been earlier on at the railway station. And Veronica was years older than he! She felt like a baby snatcher! The poor boy obviously felt, at least for the present, that poor Gwendolyn was a very inferior girl! Not wishing to spoil their romance, she made her apologies, explaining that she had a deadline to meet, and left then to resume their romancing.

The couple watched Veronicaís oil-smeared, but still sexy, bottom as it wiggled its bewitching way into the night.

"I do hope she gets home OK, Danny!" sighed Gwendolyn. "Do you wish I was as lovely as she is? I donít blame you if you do!"

"Naah! Youíre my girl, Gwen and Iím happy about that. My place or yours tonight?"

Gwendolyn giggled delightedly. She had not, as yet surrendered herself to him in the way he was implying, and was glad that† he should have taken the initiative at long last. Much as she admired Veronica - hero worship would not be too strong a term - she hated to think of losing her beloved Daniel to her. Off they went to Danielís humble bed-sitter where the dawn appeared all too soon, to the great satisfaction of them both.

There, if you do not mind too much,† we will leave these young people to their simple pleasures - to say nothing of a happy event which their unrestrained, injudicious and unprotected lust made inevitable some nine months later.

Veronica, meanwhile, had almost made it to Gospel Oak and the entrance to the Heath when a car-full of hooting and whooping young men came round a corner and careered up behind her. The roars of delight which betrayed the fact that they had spotted this tall and naked wanderer, rent the night air with raucous and uncouth hideousness.

"Going our way, Darling?† Youíve got a greasy bum - like me to wipe it for you?" shouted one of them, to answering laughs from his three friends.

She broke into a run and reached the Heath entrance just as the car came to a stop, allowing two of the men to leap out. She was yards inside the gate and swallowed up by darkness in seconds, but kept running until she heard the car start up and drive away. Another narrow escape! Life would never be quite the same for her after today.

In front of her was the looming bulk of the redbrick Lido, still closed during its annual refurbishment. There were lights winking on the top of the surrounding wall and she heard laughter.† Some one was climbing over, despite all the barbed wire and other impediments to unauthorized entry! There had been several incidents of intruders causing damage to this open air swimming facility in the past, and another such episode of youthful vandalism was obviously in progress. Veronica huddled close to the perimeter hedge, prepared to take shelter behind the hawthorn bushes if need be.

Sure enough, a few moments later a transit van presumably belonging to the Heath Police arrived and the entire area was bathed in light. She kept out of sight until the intruders had either fled or been caught. Finally, the van departed and silence and darkness returned.

It was certainly getting no warmer, she reflected. The exertion of running away from the hooligans had kept her from feeling it for a while, but the enforced sheltering behind the bushes had reminded her afresh just how chilly it was becoming. Best not be too long getting home! And then she remembered that she would still have to sleep outside her front door, to be allowed into her apartment in the morning by one of Andrewís minions! Any way, it would be warm enough to spend a few hours once inside the apartment block.

After weighing up the various alternative routes back to Hampstead High Street, she decided that it would be best to cross the Heath until she got to East Heath Street. There she would be within striking distance of her destination, having to negotiate a couple of side roads before coming to the High Street. At this time of night, there should not be too much difficulty crossing the normally busy high street undetected.

Having made this decision she struck off up Parliament Hill, keeping far from the perimeter path by the running track. Soon she was high above London and turned around and saw the whole panorama spread out beneath her. It was a beautiful sight, a mass of light. She reminded herself sharply that this was no time for aesthetic appreciation and pressed on, coming to a dip and a hollow in which she saw something that made her blood freeze and her heart leap up into her mouth.

From behind the shelter of a hedge she saw a group of men and women dancing around a fire. Some of them were masked and there was the sound of chanting coming form their direction. ĎIt must be some kind of Satanic ritual,í she thought. What nerve they must have to be doing this kind of thing the heart of London! It did look a lovely big fire, though! Just what she needed to warm her up before she made the final dash for home. But it would not be wise to fall into the clutches of people like that!

And then she saw something that caused her to change her mind!

PART THE TWENTY-FOURTH

Just behind the fire she made out in the gloom a group of men and some lights, one of which was switched on as she watched, lighting up the group around the fire. So, this was not some exercise in nocturnal diabolism. It was just some people making a film! Relieved at this, and unable to endure the cold for one more second,† she decided to risk going down to them and asking if she could warm herself by the fire for a few minutes before going on her way. She really was quite desperately cold by now.

This sort of person was sure not to be too scandalized at the sight of a naked woman! Not likely - the things they all got up to! One long round of lechery and licensed debauchery - that was the life these people led - hell, they probably wouldnít bat an eyelid when they saw her!

As she approached the group a couple of them looked round and their jaws gaped wide open at the sight of the naked and lovely Veronica. This unnerved her a bit - she had expected a bit more sang-froid!

"I wonder if I might warm myself by the fire for a few minutes?" she said rather nervously and with her teeth chattering. "Iím bloody freezing as you can see!"

One of the women in the group replied. "Of course - are you in some kind of trouble? Youíve been attacked by some bloody man or men, havenĎt you? Bastards - all of them!†† We can get the police if you like and Iím sure we can find something for you to wear!"

"No. Iím deliberately naked. Too long a story to bore you with. Iím nearly home - all I want is to get warm enough to tackle the last lap."

At this a fussy and harassed-looking man, holding a clip board, came bustling up to them.

"Come on everybody!† Time to shoot this bloody scene before the fire starts to go down. Letís get on with it!"

He looked at Veronica. "I donít recognize you. What are you doing here? Never mind! At least you undress a lot more quickly than the rest of this lot!"

Veronica became aware that, all about her, the men and women around the fire were stripping off their clothes. Soon she was no longer unique in her nudity!† The lady who had first befriended her explained to the director that Veronica was not part of the act but merely a passer-by in need of some warmth.

"Well, youíll have to either dance around the fire with all these good people or go away. Otherwise itíll ruin the scene. Write down your name and address here and weíll be in touch with you about the fee in due course. Two hundred pounds for being an important extra!"

Veronica, still in a bit of a daze, scribbled down her name and address. Soon after she was dancing hand in hand with two others as part of a ring of revelers, or whatever, around the lovely roaring fire. ĎGolly! That was better,í she thought as she began to cease shivering and start to perspire instead!

Whatever the film she was taking part in, the bonfire scene was soon over and she found herself sitting, still near enough to feel the blessed heat of the fire, and talking to two of the other extras. One was a man and the other the same woman who had spoken to her in the first place. He was called Jeremy and she, his fiancť, was called Drusilla. They both sat without replacing their own clothes, perhaps as a way of making Veronica not feel out of place.† Veronica was about to be on her way home (time was pressing somewhat), when there was a scream of pain and a commotion from the fringe of the group. The man in charge - presumably the director, came across, looking more worried and stressed than ever.

"Oh, bloody wonderful. That bitch Roseanne seems to be having acute appendicitis or something equally inconvenient. And we need to wrap this sequence up tonight. What are we going to do?" Then his eye lighted on Veronica.

"Do you act at all, young woman - youĎre certainly photogenic enough?"

"Not since I took part in a few School Drama productions - no"

"Thatíll have to do. As soon as I get that cow off to hospital, IĎll show you what to do. You donít know the nearest hospital, I suppose?"

"The Royal Free is the nearest on Pond Street."

"OK. Donít go away, now!† Roseanne is our Virgin Sacrifice and sheís your build and hair color. Itís worth a thousand to you if you agree to do it! No need to tell HM Inspector of Taxes - straight out of the petty cash!

First of all, I must see sheís taken care of - be right back!"

Veronica wondered what Henry, her Tax Inspector friend, would make of her new career as a tax dodging moonlighter! She decided she would not trouble him, busy man that he was, by talking of this incident!

"Gosh, isnít this your lucky night!" said Drusilla enthusiastically. "Thatís twelve hundred pounds youíre going to be better off by! I bet youíd never have guessed this morning you were going to end up with all that money before you went to your bed, did you!"

Veronica decided not to answer this!

Soon the director and a trio of assistants were back.† Veronica was ushered over to a rudimentary table.

The Director addressed her in a crisp and stern voice.

"You are to be dragged screaming over to this spot and tied spread-eagled to the corners of the table. Then a hooded man will stand beside you, pronounce a lot of incomprehensible but horrible incantations, and, finally with a flourish of a ritual knife, he will disembowel you. All you need to do is scream and look and sound frightened."

ĎThat shouldnít be too hard,í she thought.

Before she could reply, she had been seized by four hooded men and dragged to the scene of her sacrifice. She screamed for all she was worth and the man with the clip board looked almost happy for a change.† As the blade of the ritual knife gleamed in the light and came flashing down towards her naked, quivering and unprotected stomach, there was nothing feigned about her screams!

PART THE TWENTY-FIFTH

"Are you sure you have to be going home so soon?"

These words were addressed to Veronica, the new and highly applauded film star, by the Director, who was by this time a very friendly man indeed. This previously harassed and irritable fellow had taken a great fancy to the stunning tall blonde by this time. In his opinion she had handled the human sacrifice scene brilliantly.

Everyone had agreed that she had brought a startling dimension of horror the scene by her unearthly screams and gargantuan writhing against her restraining bonds as the knife had flashed down towards her unprotected and heaving belly.† Truth to tell, she had half believed that the disembowelment was to be for real!

"Sorry, but it is part of my agreement. IĎm doing this nude thing as part of a kind of bet."

"Well, you certainly dug us out of a pretty deep hole tonight, my dear. I canít tell you just how much we are in your debt. I wonder if you would be interested in taking part in any future productions we might be embarking on?"

"Are you a very well known film company?" asked Veronica, trying to suppress a deep and very loud yawn. (She was getting to be pretty exhausted by now).

"No" replied the director, giving his name as Algernon FitzWalter. "I fear we are a very struggling enterprise. And if this latest production doesnít make the grade, we will be in a bit of bother.† DonĎt worry - youĎll get your money OK."

"Oh, no!" sighed Veronica. "You saved my life tonight with that lovely fire and all that warming exercise. If I can ever help, I will. Not that that is very likely, alas, apart from my minimal acting talent!"

Then she explained to the Director the reason for her being in a state of undress.

"What a story," he exclaimed. "We might even try to make a film out of that! You never know! That gay black Wykehamist bouncer is a lovely touch!"

"Iíd rather you didnít, to be quite honest," replied Veronica with a shiver - the fire was rapidly diminishing by now and she was, of course, still quite naked in the cold night air.

"You never know. This film could be the making of you! I certainly hope so! And now I really must be getting along before all the good that blaze did for me goes to waste! Goodbye everyone!"

She slipped off into the night with the good wishes of the film crew ringing in her ears and was soon out of earshot of them all as they prepared to tidy up and leave the Heath in the same pristine state that they had found it in earlier in the night.

The lovely Veronica had a choice before her now. It would be quicker for her to make for the path between the mixed bathing pond and one of the other ponds, but this would leave her totally exposed on a narrow pathway and with no hope of concealment for very many yards. She decided to make towards the right and take the longer way around, where there would be much greater cover in case she happened to come upon a late night patrol of the zealous guardians of law, order and public decency.

Fortunately there was a clear sky at present, which was the worst of bad news from the temperature angle, as she shivered uncontrollably and tried to forget the intense cold - mind over matter and all that - but good news when it came to picking her way in the dark, as the moon was almost half full by this time of the month. Nevertheless, her feet kept stepping on sharp and stony protuberances, much to the detriment of her already tender and over exercised soles. She gasped painfully more times than she could keep count.

Veronica was making towards that tree lined avenue familiar to anyone who had ever watched the 1980s series "Smileyís People" - that sinister avenue where the hapless elderly General Vladimir had met his grisly death in Episode One.

Veronica was thinking about this as she walked gingerly along. ĎMoscow Rules,í she thought. ĎJust what the bloody Hell WERE Moscow Rules?í

Making chalk marks on wooden posts seemed to have formed a part of this odd and mysterious procedure, although what possible benefit it was to any dangerous and covert operation, she had always been at a complete and utter loss to understand. It hadnít done the poor old General much good; that was for sure! ĎMind you, old girl,í she thought, Ďthere was a heck of a lot I didnít understand about that series. Friends is a lot easier on the brain, but, of course, itís American, so it would be.í

As she was thinking these thoughts and feeling a little apprehensive about negotiating the storm-damaged avenue in question, she was on the point of screaming as a new fright burst upon her!

A black creature darted out from the shadows and sped towards Veronicaís naked and well shaped ankles, wrapping itself sinuously around them and bringing a much needed touch of warmth to those chilled parts of her almost frozen body.

The frightened and startled girl, scarcely suppressed a frightened scream, looked down and felt her heart rate rapidly subside to a more sustainable level.

Beneath her in the gloom, the lovely Veronica descried the shape of a long haired and very friendly cat, whose pretty face stared up at her with adoration.

As she bent down, she was able to make out the features of this very talkative feline. As the mews and wails of the darling little creature filled the night air with their sweetly musical cadences, she recognised the furry little face that was turning itself up to her with such a winsomely appealing look.

Oh, yes!

This was the adorable moggie, whose features on a duplicated poster had stared out at the passing and, sadly, indifferent multitudes from pretty well every tree trunk in Hampstead for several days, now.

Veronica recalled the words of this notice in all their heart-rending pathos.

"MISSING CAT. Lost since Saturday. Very greatly loved friend and faithful companion. Reward Offered for Safe Return."

There followed the phone number of the distressed owner.

Veronica playfully twitched the big toe of her right foot and the animal made a dive for it, fastening its teeth painlessly upon it. She laughed.

"Oh, you little darling!"

Then she thought. This lost feline wanderer had a name. This name had been inscribed on the notice, but she could not, for the moment, remember what it was. Something pretty bloody daft, she recalled, but what?

Veronica stood frowning with concentration and shivering in the rapidly intensifying cold as she cudgelled her brains to yield up the name of this sweet little stray.

And THEN! It came to her.

"Cuddlywinks ?, she nervously intoned to the still writhing creature as it continued its ministrations to her lower limbs.

"Miaowowwow!!, Prrr! Prr!" replied Cuddlywinks, as he appreciated in the depths of his primitive intelligence, that his days of fending for himself were now over! A rescuer was at hand! This lovely lady knew his name!

He had enjoyed, to start with, the novel experience of fending for himself in those first days after a backfiring car engine had caused him to flee, panic stricken, from his home and become hopelessly lost, ending up here on the Heath as an involuntarily feral feline

This nice young lady had addressed him by name! He was recognized at long last for who he was. Oh, Bliss! Soon this lovely woman, with her sweetly scented body, would take him home to renew his life of pampered ease with a doting owner. Cuddlywinks enthusiastically returned his attentions to Veronicaís well-turned ankles.

"Oh, come on! Time for us both to be heading home. I donít know about you, sweetheart, but Iím perishing bloody cold!"

Veronica picked the animal up and started to carry him in her arms. She looked down at him in the faint half-moonlit light and cooed. "Oh, arenít you a sweet little boy?"

"And you have the juiciest pair of tits Iíve ever seen, sweetheart," replied Cuddlywinks. He dearly loved his owner, but this old lady had long ago ceased to possess a body like that of his luscious rescuer!

To Veronicaís untutored human ears, this came out as "Ioww, Owww, Mioaww".

An affronted Veronica began to realise the import of the catís remarks when the appreciative Cuddlywinks began vigorously to caress her hardened and very sensitive nipples with his warm and rough little tongue.

"You dirty little sod! You feline pervert!" a horrified and disgusted Veronica shrieked. "From now on you walk you depraved little fellow!"

The disappointed cat was rapidly deposited upon the ground and henceforth followed adoringly behind the tall and lovely naked lady. He was determined that he would not lose sight of her. Every now and again, he would wind himself around her delicately sculpted ankles and nearly bring her crashing to the ground.

After what seemed to the increasingly irritable Veronica to be an age, she came to the point where it was possible to leave the avenue and make across the grass to the main road and then to her ever more dreamed of home.

Could this be the end of my day of troubles? She asked.

We shall have to wait and see!