While all this was going on, we now turn the clock back to see what was happening back home at the time…”Hmm, this is strange,” said Linnea, “this is the third time I have tried calling Steve and he doesn’t answer his phone. I hope he’s okay.” Baldwin was there and immediately told 3 of his associates to go check on me, and fast. So they did. They got to the chateau in record time and began to look around. After checking the area thoroughly they called Baldwin. “There’s no one here sir,” said one man, “but we found an underground room out back, looks like they had gone in there, but no sign of them now. We did find an envelope addressed to Linnea on the kitchen table.” “Come back and bring that envelope with you,” said Baldwin, “and leave a note for Steve to call immediately just in case he comes back.”
So they did and brought the envelope and handed it to Linnea. She was shaking as she opened the envelope. “Hey, you better sit down Linnea,” said Lena, “you’re shaking too much.” She did right away and then read the note and started crying. She handed the note to Lena who read it and gave it to Baldwin. The note read: “I have taken Steve and the cats and hidden them. You have 24 hours to find them, if you do, they are yours. But, if you do not find them, then they are mine, and I’m sure you know what I will do with them. The timing starts at 5pm.” But there was no signature, no name at all. It was now 7pm, 2 hours are gone already, there are only 22 hours to find Steve and the cats. “It’s impossible,” said Linnea in tears, “we have no idea where to start looking.”
“Well, we won’t find Steve by just sitting here,” said Baldwin and he was on the phone and had some of his people at the chateau within 2 hours looking over the place closely, checking for any clues they might be able to find. Unfortunately the only thing they found were traces of some gas used in the underground room, likely used to knock us out. But how did someone get in that room? Questions are found, but answers are needed, and quickly. They were able to analyze the samples and find out exactly what gas was used, something very uncommon and not easy to get hold of. It means whoever did this has access to some confidential information. So not your ordinary kidnapper. Poor Linnea, she had to be given some tranquilizers to calm her down and allow her to sleep that night.
Baldwin’s men were up all night at the chateau, but found no other clues and no other way into that underground room except the way we went in. Morning came and Calanthe made some coffee and breakfast for everyone, but they found it hard to eat. “Hey you girls, eat,” said Baldwin, “making yourself sick won’t help us find Steve and the cats, we need our strength and our brains right now.” Everyone agreed so the girls ate better and got a bit more determined to get this done and not admit defeat already. Noon came very fast and they still had nothing to go on. How would they ever find Steve and the cats in less than 5 hours?
Meanwhile, now we head back to Steve and the cats as they finish eating. “Hmm, this oak tree seems to be the tallest tree around here,” I said, “I’m going to climb up and maybe I can see a road, or river, or something.” Meow,meow!=Oh, not like idea, you might fall, get hurt, maybe hit head! “Well,” I said, “if I hit my head then maybe my memory will come back, that can happen, I think so anyway.” The cats look at each other. Meow?=You think what I think? Meow,meow.=Yep, but how we hit his head? Meow.=Hmm, that good question. I come down. “I couldn’t see anything but trees and very low rolling hills. No high hills, no mountains, no river or lakes, no roads, “I said, “we really are nowhere.”
Meow,meow.=Let me see back of head, you keep rubbing all time. “I know, it’s sore back there,” I said and laid down on the ground so they could see well. Meow.=Oh, there is cut which is sewed up. Meow,meow.=That mean maybe someone put something in head to make you forget. “Wow,” I said, “this is all so strange to me. It’s almost 1pm.” Meow,meow!=You have watch, let me see! I showed it to Muffin. She pressed on it and it glowed a bright red. Linnea saw her watch glow too. “It’s Steve!,” she exclaimed.
To Be Continued.
Pictures of Mr. Cat are kindly supplied by his human, Nina.
Previous chapters of this story and previous stories can be found on my home page under “The Investigators, Inc.” and “20/20 Investigations, Inc.”
©2021 Steve McLeod.