We walked around until noon without finding anything. By this time I knew I was not fit to be a mountain goat. I was aching all over, my back was ready to give out completely, but I could not tell anyone that. Sigurbjorn, who stayed closest to me by Kat’s orders, knew I was having trouble. “We need to go back,” she said to me quietly. “No, not yet,” I said, “we will call everyone together and have lunch here.”
Soon everyone was at our spot under some nice big pines and we sat down for lunch. Kat looked at me while we were eating and I could see Sigurbjorn nodded at her. “Perhaps it is time to go back,” said Kat, “we are not finding anything anyway.” “No, I am sure we are in the right area to find Pete’s cabin,” I said, “we will check a while longer yet.” “If we stay much longer we will be camping out here,” said Rock. “That is okay,” I said, “we have everything we need to camp out for a night.”
Meow.=Yep, we have kitten tent too, and blankies, all set. Meowr.=Me smell nice fresh water, maybe stream close by. “Hey,” said Angel, “a stream would be a great place for Pete to build a cabin, he would have a good supply of water.” “Good thought,” I said, “time to check that out!” So we went in the direction Storm led us and in a few minutes we found a beautiful mountain stream bubbling along among the rocks. Muffin was on my shoulder looking around.
Meow,meow!=Me see cabin! She was right, about a hundred feet from the stream was a nice, and still quite solid, log cabin. It was also bigger than I thought it would be for a hermit. The largest glass window was broken, but the smaller ones were still in good condition. I slowly opened the door and stepped back in time to the world of Hermit Pete. The main room was large with a kitchen at one end including a nice old wood stove. He had cupboards which still had old canned goods in them.
A rifle and shotgun hung on the wall in the sitting area. Benson had his attention on those right away. There were a number of old tools in a small room off the sitting area which Pete likely used for storage though now it was empty except for the tools. His bedroom was also quite large with a bed, an old dresser, a large comfortable looking chair in one corner. A large mirror hung on the wall with a washstand underneath, an old china pitcher and basin sitting on it.
He had a double bed, again rather odd for a hermit, with a nice quilt on top. There were pictures on each wall too. The girls were all gathered around the dresser where a picture of a young woman stood. Her name was Hazel. Now the cabin makes more sense, Pete made it for her. There was also an old metal trunk at the foot of the bed and it was locked. MC was at it as soon as I got his tools out and click, it was open. There were a lot of things in the trunk, including a diary written by Pete.
I sat down to read a bit. In the kitchen Rock looked for a cellar door but there was none. Then he leaned on the table, then he tried to shake the table, but it did not move. He tried to pick it up, but instead of lifting upward, it lifted like a door in the floor, which it was. That is how Pete hid his cellar door, but why would he do that? Rock, Benson, Rossana, Carine and the cats went down to look around.
It was a normal cellar, lots of preserves lined up on shelves, a few boxes, mostly empty, some had dishes, some had women’s clothes in them. Rossana walked on part of the floor and stopped. “It feels hollow under here,” she said to Rock. He cleaned the dirt away and discovered a wood door which he opened and aimed his flashlight into the darkness.
He then called for me so I went down and could not believe my eyes. “That is a lot of gold,” I said, “and that is what everyone is looking for.” “What should we do with it now?”, asked Rossana. “Steal it ourselves,” I said, “we cannot let any of the others find it.” “But where do we put it?”, asked Kat, “that is a lot of gold to carry back with us.”
Meanwhile, back with Annelie… “Hey girl,” said Jake, “I have news.” “And what might that be?”, asked Annelie. “I now know the identity of Q,” he replied, “but you might not like it.” “Tell me anyway,” she said. “She is from Iceland, and her name is Svala,” he said. Poor Annelie nearly choked on her coffee…
To Be Continued.
©2022 Steve McLeod.