We all sat down while Linnea and I studied the documents. “What are they all about?”, asked Calanthe. “These documents show that the chateau was purchased by Linnea’s relatives from Francois’ relatives about 200 years ago. And they have stayed in Linnea’s family ever since.” “Yes,” said Linnea, “and Francois has been saying for quite some time that his parents had owned the chateau, but they never did, and now I have the proof.” “So then Francois really has no legal claim to the chateau at all,” said Calanthe, “he has done all this to steal the chateau from you. And kill you first if he has to.” “Yes, that’s about it,” I said, “then somehow Gisela got involved and used this as a way to get at me. That one note you received Linnea, the one that said ‘I will hurt you the way you hurt me’, was really a note from Gisela to me.” “Wow,” said Linnea, “all of this makes my head spin, all these people killed tonight, all for revenge from both Francois and Gisela.”
“How are you holding up Calanthe?”, I asked, “I guess this is all a bit of a shock to you.” “Yes,”, she said, choking back tears, “I feel so sorry for grandpa, doing such terrible things.” Now that we have these documents I need to keep them, and the ladies safe, so we need a place to hide for awhile. But Francois probably knows all the passageways in this chateau. I whisper to Linnea. She nods her head and we all follow her to the tall tower and up to the top floor. Hmm, I already know about this passage so I’m sure Francois likely does too. But down we go in that passage which I know only goes to the next floor, but when we get to that level Linnea pushes a brick and a very narrow passage opens up with narrow stairs going down past the next two levels and down under the chateau. We actually had to go down the stairs sideways until we got past the bottom floor then it widened enough we could walk normally, but the passage was still just wide enough.
As we neared the bottom of these stairs Linnea said to not step on one certain stair or that would be the finish of us. I won’t bother asking what that means exactly. At the bottom is a wood door which Linnea opened by pushing on another brick. That door was made from wood beams a foot thick and held together with heavy iron straps! It wouldn’t be easy to break that. The passageway kept going but Linnea said there were some traps along the way, instead we went into a room that was nicely furnished. “My uncle found this room when his parents owned this chateau,” she said, “this room and passageway does not show up on the map of the chateau.” “There’s actually a map showing all the hidden passageways?”, I asked. “Oh yes,” said Linnea, “my uncles parents had someone come in and study the different passages and map them all.”
“And my grandpa has a copy of that map,” said Calanthe. “Hmm, no wonder he can get around in this place so easily,” I said, “now, you two and those documents will stay here while the cats and I return upstairs to face Francois, Gisela and Karl.” “No,” said Calanthe, “I should go with you.” “No, not this time,” I said, “the cats and I can handle this best by ourselves.” And off we went back to the top of the tower and into the main part of the chateau. The storm had stopped, it was 4 am, it’s been a long night and I’m tired, but we can’t wait any longer. Waiting gives them the advantage. “Well Gisela, you want the documents, then come and get them,” I called out. Silence. Meow.=Here they come. Mr. Cat was right, they were spread out too, hoping to make it hard for us. Karl had a shotgun, Francois had my gun and Gisela had my other gun.
“Okay,” she said, “hand them over.” “Meow,” I said in a normal voice. “Thwock!” “Thwock!” Both Karl and Francois fell. Gisela started shooting but I had already fallen to the floor and “Thwip”. Gisela fell, but got back up and ran out the back door with the cats and I chasing. When we got there she was already driving away. By the time the electricity was back on and we had called the police, Gisela had disappeared once again. Amazing how she does that. Calanthe was part of the plan with Francois at the beginning, but she changed and had told me about the plan early on, deciding to help me instead. I had hidden some extra steel balls and muffins for the cats under the bed in my room, plus a dart gun for me, which certainly came in handy. Well, that was one of our more scary cases and now Linnea offered to let us stay for awhile and rest before heading back home and we gladly accepted!
©2021 Steve McLeod.