I couldn’t believe what we saw…it was Linnea! “Be careful Steve,” she said, “someone wants to kill you.” Then she turned and ran down the hall with Muffin and I right behind her, but when we entered the hall, Linnea was gone. We went down the hall to the end, but there was no sign of her at all. How? Linnea is dead, though we haven’t had the funeral yet. Muffin and I look at each other. “What do you think Muffin?”, I ask. Meow,meow!=It ghost, must be, Linnea dead. “No,” I said, “it wasn’t a ghost. It had to be a real person though, it was just too real to be a projected image, without having the right equipment anyway.” Calanthe called us, dinner was ready. I told Muffin not to say anything right now, I didn’t want to scare Calanthe since we would be staying here tonight.
We finished eating and the alarm on my wristband beeped. “We have some visitors coming,” I said quietly. Then I thought about what Linnea had said. Was she warning me about these visitors? They came in the front door which I had already unlocked for them. “Well, well,” said a rather large, or I should say, fat, man, “I see you are expecting us.” He had a tall thin man with a gun with him. “Please close the door and tell your man to put away his gun,” I said sternly. “Oh, this is my bodyguard,” said the fat man, “it is necessary for him to carry a gun.” “Meow?”, I asked. Meow, meow. “Meow.”, I said. Muffin was on her back and “thwock!”, the bodyguard fell to the floor. “Don’t worry,” I said, “he’s not dead, just enjoying some much needed sleep.”
“My, my,” said the fat man, “and he was such a good bodyguard. Too bad he will have to go.” Then he turned to me and now I had my gun out. “Now we can talk,” I said, “though I don’t know what we might want to talk about.” “Hmm, we seem to have gotten off to a bad start here,” he said, “perhaps we can change that and be more civilized now. Oh, by the way, I’m forgetting my manners, my name is Baldwin Deichert, born and raised in America.” “You are talking about being civil?”, I ask, “and yet you go around killing people.” “What?!”, he exclaimed, “I do not go around killing people.” “No, your men do it for you, but it’s the same thing,” I said. “You have the situation confused sir,” he continued, “all I wish is to buy this chateau.” “Have a seat,” I said to him while I went over and took the bodyguard’s gun and tied his hands with specially designed rubber handcuffs.
“You have been after Linnea for a long time to buy this chateau and she wouldn’t sell, so you killed her,” I said, “and you tried to kill us also while we were in the hospital.” “I assure you, all of this talk is news to me, I only heard today that Ms. Linnea had died and that you were in charge of selling the chateau now,” he said, “and that’s why I’m here. But, I did not kill Ms. Linnea, or anyone else.” “No,” I said, “the nurse that works for you did the killing.” “I have no nurse in my employment,” he said quite firmly. “If what you say is true, then there is another player in this game who also wants this chateau, and is willing to kill to get it,” I explained. “I don’t like having other players around,” he said with a frown, “but I am willing to pay fair market value for this chateau, plus an extra 300,000 euros on top. I need a nice quiet place for my corporation headquarters.”
Hmm, I knew what he meant by that. I looked at Calanthe. “Sounds like a good deal to me Steve,” she said. “I agree,” I said, “but, I was hired to do a job and I want to find Linnea’s killer.” “Well, I wish to expand my business,” said Baldwin, “and this would fit my needs perfectly. Do we have a deal then?,” “I want 7 days to try and locate the killers I’m after,” I said, “then we can close our deal.” “Good,” said Baldwin, “I am going to look around myself, as I said, I don’t like having other players involved, it can make things messy.” After this he left with his bodyguard who had awakened by this time. “Would you prefer to sleep in here or in the guest cottage tonight?,” I asked Calanthe. “I say the cottage, this place is just too creepy now,” she said. The cats agreed too so off to the cottage we went. I took the first watch, I needed time to think anyway.
To Be Continued.
Pictures of Mr. Cat are kindly supplied by his human, Nina.
Previous chapters of this story, plus other stories can be found on my home page under “The Investigators, Inc.” and “20/20 Investigations, Inc.”
©2021 Steve McLeod.