That high pitched scream we just heard was me. Muffin had come flying down the stairs and jumped onto my back, holding on with all 18 claws! That made me drop the coffin lid on my fingers. So all of this naturally made me scream. Sigh. Must you do that Muffin? Would you mind unhooking yourself from my back and let me know what the problem is as well? She climbs onto my shoulder and doesn’t say a word, just points her tail toward the stairs. Okay, let’s go take a look. Up we went back to the kitchen with Muffin on my shoulder looking backward in case someone tries to sneak up on us.
Hmm, no one in the kitchen, but the back door is now unlocked which means someone was in here. I locked the door again which made Muffin feel better so she jumped down and started looking around again. I decided to check the front door as well to make sure it was still locked. Okay, it was, so off to the dining room next. There was a nice big oak table, still set with dishes like someone was planning to have a dinner tonight. Except everything was covered with dust. There was a beautiful chandelier above the table, and, what’s this? The spot where Mrs. Baker usually sat at the head of the table was dust free. Just like her chair in the living room. And again there was no dust on the floor in here either.
The dishes were beautiful blue and white china and they looked to be hand painted. Each one of the plates was just slightly different in the pattern which was kind of odd. I picked up a plate to get a better look. Hmm, very heavy for china. There was a maker’s stamp on the back but I couldn’t figure out the name. There was a large oak buffet against one wall and a small plant stand by the window, with a live plant! Now that is very odd since I was told no one ever comes out here anymore.
Back in the living room I sit down in that big armchair and look around. Nothing seems abnormal or out of place. Above the fireplace mantel hangs that painting of Mrs. Baker. I go and take the painting down. On the back is her name, Lydia Baker. I wonder why John never told me her name? I put the painting back. Oh well, guess I should go check upstairs. I wonder where Muffin is hiding? I call her, but no answer. Very odd, so I go looking for her. Can’t find her anywhere, did she go upstairs by herself? I start up the stairs, then stop suddenly.
The woman in the painting, wearing the same white dress, was standing at the top of the stairs. And…she’s holding Muffin! If she didn’t have Muffin I would think I was seeing things. Muffin isn’t moving. The lady then laid Muffin gently on the floor and said just one word, “fireplace”. Then she turned and walked away. I ran up the stairs as fast as I could, but she was gone. I looked down at Muffin, just lying on the floor. I picked up her limp body and started to rub her little head. It can’t be possible, it just can’t! Then she opened her beautiful eyes. Muffin! What happened? Meow, meow!!
To be continued.
Steve and Muffin.
© 2020 Steve McLeod.