I open my eyes slowly. “Ah, sleeping beauty awakes,” says Calanthe with a smile. “Hmm, it’s nice to see you smile again,” I said, “does this mean you are no longer scared?” “Actually, I’m terrified, not scared,” she answered. My eyes slowly adjusted and I suddenly sat up! “Oh, my head,” I said, “shouldn’t move so fast I guess. We’re back in my bedroom.” “Yes,” said Calanthe, “and so are the cats, plus someone else.” I turn and the cats are curled up sleeping, but I check to make sure they are still alive. And next to them was Linnea, I check her also and she likewise is alive, just sleeping. “I was the fortunate one,” said Calanthe, “they just blindfolded me and basically dragged me here so I wouldn’t know how to get back to them. I only saw Francois and Karl in the room, plus another woman I had never seen, but her name was Gisela and you mentioned her before.”
Meow,meow.=See, Gisela is here, she after us and treasure. Meow.=Human Gisela very bad, must be careful. “It’s nice to see you two are awake again,” I said, giving each of them a hug. “See if you can wake up Linnea,” I said to them. So they went over and started jumping on her, which did indeed wake her up quickly. “Um, I meant gently,” I said. Meow,meow.=You not say that, you only say wake up. Meow.=Yep, that right, not mention gently. Linnea was lying there looking at me. “Gently would have been a nice thing to mention,” she said with a smile. Suddenly another one of those extra loud roars of thunder that shook the whole place, and the bedroom door opened and a body dropped to the floor. Both Linnea and Calanthe screamed slightly. I went over to check who it was. “Claudin!”, said Linnea in a shocked tone.
“You have been missing what has gone on here tonight,” I said, “Claudin was killed by Muffin though, he has broken ribs.” Then I looked at his back, not pretty, Muffin got him right at his heart for sure. “Well, this is our ghost, good going Muffin,” I said as she came over to me. “Yes,” said Calanthe to Linnea, “they have killed others tonight.” “Yes, Giselle, Henri, Adalene and a woman that looks just like you,” I said to Linnea. She gasped! “It can’t be, but, but, it must,” she said sobbing. She told us it was likely her cousin Aada as they could easily pass for twins. No doubt about that. Then a voice comes again. “Okay, you got what you wanted, now you help us.
This chateau belongs to Francois so Linnea must sign it over to him before you will be allowed to leave. Otherwise you will all die, one by one. Steve, I will save you for last, I have something special in mind for you since you killed my sister.” “That was a long time ago Gisela, and she was trying to kill me, it’s self defense,” I said. “Forget it Steve, right now you must convince Linnea to sign over the chateau, then the ladies can go and so can your cats. But you will stay here as our, um, guest, in the torture chamber below.” “Never!,” yelled Linnea, “I will not sign it over unless we all go free!” No answer. “Hmm, that means they are thinking about it, or that’s there way of saying forget it,” I said, “let’s check around a bit.” We went back to Linnea’s room and she confirmed it was her cousin Aada.
Linnea began crying so we went back upstairs to that sitting room. There’s something important about this room, but what is it? The cats start looking around the room again and Muffin jumps up onto the fireplace mantle to take a look at things. Meow,meow!=Come see, I have something good! Calanthe and I go look. There is a knob that pushes inward, but nothing happens. However, there is another knob just like it on the other side of a large picture that is firmly attached to the wall. I can’t reach both knobs so Calanthe pushes the other one, still nothing happens. I ask Linnea to try moving the picture while we push the knobs, and sure enough it swings open revealing a small safe. However, it’s empty. I look a bit and there is a spot which I push and the bottom of the safe opens revealing some old documents. “This is exactly what I have been looking for, and why I hired you Steve!,” she said excitedly.
To Be Continued.
Pictures of Mr. Cat are very kindly supplied by his human, Nina.
Previous chapters of this story and other stories in this series can be found on my home page under “The Investigators, Inc.” and 20/20 Investigations, Inc.”
©2021 Steve McLeod.