Hmm, it was a large, strong man that choked me, and it obviously wasn’t Henri so that just leaves Karl. He’s big enough though he doesn’t appear to be that strong, but maybe he is and, wait, there’s still Francois. “How big a man is Francois?,” I ask Calanthe. “He’s just an average size man, probably in his late 50’s or early 60’s,” she answered. “Do you think he is a very strong man?,” I ask again. “No, not really, probably more normal strength man for his age,” she answered. Well, that leaves him out, so that leaves Karl. But he’s not supposed to be here right now, yet Linnea is here. “Hmm, I wonder…” just thinking out loud, “Mr. Cat, you stay here with Calanthe while Muffin and I check something, and if anyone comes in here, no matter who, you know what to do.”
“Please Steve, let me come with you,” pleaded Calanthe. Meow.=I protect you good Calanthe, with my life. Calanthe looks at Mr. Cat and says, “I know you would Mr. Cat, I hope you won’t feel hurt, I just feel…safe, with Steve.” Meow.=That okay, I know, I understand. Meow,meow=Calanthe understand us good now. “Yes Muffin…”, she started to say. I smiled. You’re a special woman, that’s why you can understand the cats Calanthe,” I said, “you’re not going crazy, it’s real.” She came over and put her arms around me again. “Okay, let’s go back to Linnea’s room,” I said, “I need to check something.” Calanthe and Mr. Cat stood in the doorway watching and Mr. Cat kept looking in the hall too. “Check Linnea Muffin,” I said. She knew what to do and jumped on the bed. Her ears went straight up! Meow,meow!=It look like Linnea, but it not Linnea. “Good,” I said, “now we’re starting to get somewhere.”
Suddenly Mr. Cat yowled and Calanthe screamed at the same time! Muffin was in the hall so fast and “Thwock!” and a loud groan. Mr. Cat was laying on the floor bleeding. “Stay with him Muffin,” I said while rushing out the door with my gun ready. I went to Calanthe who was also laying on the floor gasping. She had obviously been choked, possibly by the same man who choked me? I take her back to the cats. Meow,meow.=I hit ghost man right between shoulders, no time to aim. “That’s okay Muffin,” I said, “you could have killed him there anyway, that’s right at his heart. But where did he go?” Meow,meow.=He just disappear. “I’m not sure either,” said Calanthe through tears, “I, I think it was Karl.”
“Come,” I said to everyone, “let’s go to the sitting room upstairs.” I carried Mr. Cat who had been sliced with a knife, but it must have been done by someone else, not Karl. That means he has a helper, which is not good for us. We stop at one of the washrooms upstairs so I can clean up Mr. Cat. He wasn’t hurt bad. “How do you feel Mr. Cat?” I asked. Meow.=Feel stupid, let someone sneak up on me and I not able to protect human Calanthe. “Hey, don’t worry about that Mr. Cat,” I said reassuringly, “things like that can happen to all of us, it’s happened to me too.” That made him feel better. Then we go into the sitting room to relax for a few minutes. “Okay Calanthe,” I said, “I think you’re holding something back, what is it?”
“Yes, I am,” she answered meekly, “when you were first in the library I came and closed the door and asked you to stay there because someone had stopped in. Karl told me to say that, and I was really scared because he and the others were supposed to be trapped in town. Then he told me to stay in my room or he would ‘deal’ with me later. I kept my door open a bit and saw who I thought was Linnea. Then the other maid who is on vacation showed up to answer the door. I couldn’t really hear what was being said, but it was a woman asking about you. Linnea said you never came here, so the woman left. Later I heard Karl saying he would take care of the woman in an accident. That’s all I know, I’m so sorry Steve, but I’m just so scared!” Then she really started to cry. Meow.=This your time, go over to her, she need you now. Sometimes I think these cats are trying to be matchmakers. After, I spotted a book among some others on a shelf which gave a brief history of this chateau. This is interesting…
To Be Continued.
Pictures of Mr. Cat are kindly supplied by his human, Nina.
Previous chapters and stories in this series can be found on my home page under “The Investigators, Inc.” and “20/20 Investigations, Inc.”
©2021 Steve McLeod.