Well, we picked up our “ghost” and went back downstairs. She confessed to working for John to scare people away from the house when he was not there. She only did it because he had kidnapped her mother and is keeping her somewhere. That could be a problem since John is now dead, so, we cannot ask him where she has been hidden. The young woman’s name is Angelina Matthews. She is 28 and is an artist. Apparently she is making just enough money for her and her mother, at least for food, and they lived in this house.
Her mother, Shirley, had a successful housekeeping business, but she lost it and her house when her ex husband sued her for physical and mental abuse, He won, even though she claimed to be innocent and that really it was the other way around. He had a better lawyer it seems. I am now interested to see this woman that inflicted physical abuse on a man that was 6 feet tall and weighed 195 pounds. Annelie was looking up the details and showed me a picture of the man standing beside Shirley.
She is 5 foot 5 and weighs 115 pounds. He was built like Rock, just smaller. Oh well, anything is possible I guess. But now, we need to find this woman before too much time passes. I figure she is somewhere in this house still. First I send Kristina, Candace and Jenny down to the room we found behind the fireplace. There were gone quite a while and I was starting to get a bit worried, but they arrived back, and with Shirley.
She had been tied up and put in a secret room behind the room we found. They just had to move a dresser to reveal another door. Hmm, this is quite the house, a lot of hidden passages and rooms. But why is that? It must be much older than we think. “There is a book on the history of this place,” said Angelina, “I have it in my room, I just started to read it.” “That is the book I have been looking for,” I said, “where is your room?” “Please call me Angel,” she said, “all my friends do. It is down a secret passage on the top floor. I can show you.”
“No need to,” I said, “Muffin and I have been in there before. Take Candace, Kristina and Jennifer with you Muffin and show them where to go.” Meow,meow.=Okay, me do it, easy to find. Off they went with Angel having a rather quizzical look on her face. “She actually understood what you said?”, she asked me. “Yes, these cats are important members of our PI team and have been trained in many specialized areas,” I told her, “and we can communicate with them and they with us.”
Now she looked like maybe I was totally crazy. Meow.=Not look like she believe you. “I think maybe you are right MC,” I said, “but that is okay for now, until we check out her story.” Anyway, we all introduced ourselves to Shirley and Angel and let them know that we are a team called “The Investigators”. “Do you need someone to clean your office?”, asked Shirley. “Well, we do not actually have an office, we work out of our home,” I explained.
“But I could certainly use a housekeeper,” said Baldwin, “I am fair and pay well for good work. Plus I can offer you your own suite in the house which is large enough for you and your daughter.” “That is true,” added Kat, “that suite is huge and has 3 large bedrooms.” “How big is your house?”, she asked. “Oh, just a typical house, nothing extravagant,” said Baldwin, “certainly not like Steve and Kat’s chateau.” “Um, I don’t think there is much difference in the size Baldwin,” I said laughing. By then the others were back with that book.
Now I remember it from our first case, but at that time it did not fit with what we had been told about this house. Maybe now it will be different. I quickly went through the book until…there it is, the painting which was done long ago, but the house went back to the 1860’s, older than the painting. While I was reading aloud from the book about how the painting held the clue to a treasure of gold that was buried, Kristina was still looking around that fireplace for a way to open the hearth.
She looked at the painting again and the downward pointing arrow. Right in line with the arrow was a round knob, one of several all along the edge of the mantle of the fireplace. She tried to move it, without success. Then she asked Rock to turn it. He tried, but nothing. Then he pulled it upward and it came up and that caused the hearth to slide open. “Wow, look at that!” said Kristina excitedly, “there are stairs!” Jennifer, Annelie, Baldwin and Rock stayed upstairs with our prisoners for now.
The rest of us went down the stairs to a room at the bottom. There was a door which we opened. It was just a very small room, more like a large closet and it was…empty. How disappointing. We figured someone must have found the treasure long ago. Carine just shrugged, “well, I will not miss what I did not have.” And she laughed. It was rather disappointing though to have an empty ending. But we were all okay and we freed Shirley and Angel. Everyone is now talking about a vacation for all of us, someplace warm and relaxing. But can we find such a place? I doubt it.
©2022 Steve McLeod.