The night seemed to pass quickly and quietly, I had just woke up and was lying there looking at the ceiling and thinking. It was early. Suddenly the door opened and the doctor rushed in. Kat, who had fallen asleep in the chair, was quickly awake with her gun out until she saw it was the doctor. He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw us. “When I saw the guards had been knocked out,” he said, “I feared the worst.” I quickly looked over at the other bed. The cats were gone! And an envelope was lying on the bed. The doctor picked it up and said, “it’s addressed to you,” and he handed it to me.
The note read: “The game continues PI. I know you are in the hospital, so I’m being nice. Starting at noon today you will have 48 hours to find your precious furballs. If not, they will die. Until then, they will be treated very well. If you find them we will do an exchange, your furballs for Kat. Want a clue? House and farm, log and lake, I hope you find them for goodness sake! From a far more beautiful Kat!” I handed the note to Kat. “She always called herself the most beautiful woman in the world,” said Kat. “She needs to look in the mirror more often,” I said, “maybe reality would settle in.” Kat smiled.
Then she got serious. “What now?”, she asked, “she has you backed into a corner, with a choice to make.” “I don’t like being pushed into a corner,” I said, “now it’s going to be my game, not hers. And she’s going to regret starting this game.” I then called Baldwin to see if he had taken Jennifer into hiding yet, he said they hadn’t gone yet so I asked to talk with Jennifer. I then asked the doctor and Kat to leave the room for a few minutes. When Kat came back in I told her everything was all set for my game to begin. “Okay,” she said, “are you going to let me in on this game?” “Yes and no,” I told her with a smile, “we have some serious planning to do though.
I have no intention of letting Katrina get hold of you. But I don’t want to say anything more until we get back home. Baldwin is going to meet us there.” “This better be good if you’re going to make me wait that long,” said Kat smiling. We soon left the hospital and flew back to our chateau. “This is crazy Steve,” said Kat, “Katrina isn’t stupid.” “That’s good,” I said, “then she won’t be surprised by this. Now pick out the right clothes for our trip, and get your backpack ready too.” “Hey, I know what to do my PI husband!,” exclaimed Kat, “and please be very careful.”
Soon Baldwin was on his way to one of his hideaway places with Jennifer. Now Kat and I need to figure out this clue, quickly if possible. “Obviously it’s two locations,” said Kat, “a farmhouse and perhaps a wilderness house, or log house by a lake.” “Yes,” I said, “now, which one do we pick? We don’t have time to make a wrong choice here. I would say it’s a log house by a lake, the last place we were at, or at least close to it.” “That would have been my choice too,” said Kat, “though it doesn’t make sense she would be using the place that Anthony used.” “True enough,” I agreed, “but it must be close to that place. Katrina had to be staying somewhere when she had us playing that wilderness game. So that’s the area we check.”
“Seems too easy though,” said Kat, “why give 48 hours and then give a clue that tells us right where to look for her?” “That part does bother me a bit too,” I said, “unless there is a hidden message in that clue. However, it will take us a while to get back to that spot, but we still wouldn’t need 48 hours.” Reading over the note again it hit me, “it isn’t going to be a fair exchange. The cats are bait, once we free them, that means I have accepted the exchange, then Katrina kills you, right there. You can stay here, Baldwin will surround this place with an army so you’ll be safe.” Kat just looked at me and said, “Steve, you’re my husband, where you go, I go too. I’m not afraid of Katrina.” “Good,” I said, “then let’s get going, we’ve already used up an hour.”
To Be Continued.
©2021 Steve McLeod.