We called the police and waited for them. We answered the usual questions and told them what the worker had told us about Benjamin not being in the grave. After I showed my ID to them they let us go back to the Inn. While we were having our afternoon tea, the officers came and told us it was true, the casket was empty. Interestingly, the officers said hi to the owners of the Inn like they should be the rightful owners. So I decided not to tell them what we were doing, except to say I had been tracking down Benjamin to ask questions about a case I’m on. That satisfied them and they left.
Right now I’m not sure who to trust. I don’t believe these are the rightful owners of the Inn since they were not truthful about what happened to the people that were here on our first day at the Inn. I wonder what is actually going on around here? Who is this person claiming to be Jessica? She looks, talks and acts like Jessica, but with modern surgery it’s easy to make a person look like someone else, especially if they look somewhat alike anyway, just like Kat and Jennifer. Even without surgery they could pass as identical twins, except for their eye color.
Then I just about dropped my cup of tea when I saw two people come walking down the stairs. It was Jennifer and Annelie, though Jennifer had dyed her hair dark and was using a lot of makeup. They sat down at another table pretending not to know us, so I knew something was up. Meow,meow! Muffin just meowed normally to get their attention. “Oh, what an adorable cat,” said Annelie, as she got up to come over, “come take a look Jenny.” And she too came over. “I hope you don’t mind,” said Annelie, “but we both love cats!” “Not at all,” said Kat, “our cats love attention. Why don’t you join us?” “Sure,” said Jenny, and they both sat down.
Mable, the Inn’s owner, brought their tea to our table and left. We just talked about normal things, typical tourist type stuff. Jennifer sent me a text while we were talking. I almost fainted when I saw it. Kat could tell it wasn’t good news. She went and asked Mable if we could have the tea in our room because I wasn’t feeling well, and Mable said she would bring it right up for us. After we got back to the room and Mable had brought the tea, Jennifer told us what was going on. Baldwin had been shot and was at hospital in serious condition. He and Brandi were on their way to hide at one of Baldwin’s many homes, when a car drove up and someone started shooting.
Baldwin’s men got the two people in the car, but Baldwin and Brandi had been shot. Brandi later died at the hospital. Baldwin is still unconscious and doesn’t know about Brandi. Maybe this whole thing was about Baldwin, not us. Warning Baldwin actually put him in the open, making it easier to kill him. I was angry with myself for not realizing that. “Hey, keep calm Steve,” said Kat, “it’s not your fault.” “Of course not,” said Annelie, “we all thought that hiding out would be a good idea.” “But they should not have left together,” I said quietly, “Brandi would likely be still alive had they gone separately.”
“That’s only guessing Steve,” said Jennifer, “but something is going on that is big, that puts you and Kat in danger too.” “Well, that’s part of being a PI”, said Kat, “I realized that from the start.” “You girls need to get back and stay close to Calanthe,” I said, “she could be next on the list.” Jennifer and Annelie looked at each other. “You could be right,” said Annelie, “we’ll leave in the morning.” We talked some more about the case, and Jessica. When we mentioned Willard (Ben), that really scared Annelie. “He’s like a robot,” said Annelie, “nothing inside but machinery.” We had breakfast with them in the morning, then they left to head back home. We then went out again and I turned down the first road.
“I take it we’re not going back to the castle today?,” asked Kat. “That’s right,” I said, “we’re going to the house instead. There should be no one there right now.” “And if there is?”, asked Kat. “Keep your gun handy,” I answered, “and don’t be afraid to use it, especially if we meet Ben. Got that cats?” Meow.=Yep, we use steel ball today. Meow,meow=And steel muffin. We get to the house and it was completely deserted. After looking all over, we couldn’t find anything unusual. Yet the cats insisted there was something very bad in the house. Muffin and I stepped into the kitchen while Kat and M.C. were looking at something odd in the living room. The back door swung open and Ben was standing there, with his gun pointing at me…
To Be Continued.
©2021 Steve McLeod.