Here is the Link to the Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14, and Chapter 15
Hanson ported back to Caden’s home where he saw Trout and Caden both anxiously sitting on the sofa watching a Pixar movie with Riley. “Glad you two are so busy.” Caden and Trout both turned, “Did I miss anything?” asked Hason.
Caden answered quickly, “No, this is pretty much the beginning.” Trout could see from Hanson’s glance that his question was not about the movie.
Embarrassed to be caught watching a Trout rather sheepishly answered the real question. “Daisy bandaged her hand, cleaned up the kitchen, and got out a new can of coffee, that’s about all that happened.”
“She wasn’t too hard on Mildred was she?” Hanson asked.
Caden spoke up, “Are you kidding me? If she’d found out that Mildred was the one who shot me she’d forgive her. She may be perplexed about why Mildred attacked her but she’s long since forgiven her.”
As they spoke Daisy came in and told Riley it was getting late and time for the TV to be turned off. Riley complained a little but was no were near as upset about the movie being cut short as Caden was. “If I would have known it was this good I would have watched it when I was alive.” But Daisy ignored his pleadings and escorted Riley up stairs promising to read her a story.
“How long will Daddy be in jail this time?” Riley asked.
The child’s sincere question touched everyone and Daisy held back tears as she said, “Don’t worry about that, the police will figure out pretty soon that’s your Dad's innocent, and then he’ll come home.”
“If he doesn’t, will I have to go back to the foster home?”
Daisy embraced her, still trying somewhat unsuccessfully from holding back the tears. “No, you’ll never have to go back. You can stay here as long as you like.”
They held each other close and it was Caden’s turn to begin to have some glistening substance roll down his face. “I should have let her stay.” He said looking up at Trout and Hanson then he added, “Why am I telling you guys?” He turned to Riley and Daisy adding himself to their embrace, “I should have let you stay, I'm so sorry.”
From behind Trout and Hanson appeared someone they had not realized was there; it was Barbara Worthlin, Daisy’s mother, she approached and embraced Caden. He turned and embraced her saying, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay,” she said. Also with a glistening face.
“Aunt Daisy why are you crying?” Riley asked.
“You know, it’s because I’m happy.”
Daisy was surprised as Riley was, and she said it out loud as much to have herself hear it as anyone else, “I’m truly happy, for the first time in the last few days I feel like things are going to be alright. It must be because of you and Mildred. You two are really helping your Aunt. Now let’s go read a story.”
“You know I feel better too,” Caden said as he wiped his face. “What is this stuff?” He asked as he looked at the glistening substance that was now on his hands.
Barbara spoke up, “They are your spirits tears. Your spirit has fluids in it just like your physical body, and much like your physical body you cry to show strong emotion.”
Trout would have asked Hanson if that was true, but he was also crying and witnessing the phonomenum for himself. Hanson was less moved and was off from the group looking out the window. “I hate to break up the family blabber fest but our friend is happily more persistent than I gave her credit for, and things are about to get interesting.” There was a knock on the front door.
All those dead present moved their congregation to the window to see what Hanson was looking at. Rebecca sat knocking on the door. “Oh no, the lady who stole Mildred.” Caden called out.
“Glad she made it,” stated Hanson.
“I don’t get you,” Caden said. “First you help me find my dog and then you keep slowing us down so the dognapper has a chance to catch up, and here she is, no doubt to take Mildred back and you are ‘glad she made it?”
Hanson ignored Caden as Daisy rose and said, “Riley you run up and get into bed, I’ll be there soon,” and then went to the door.
“Don’t open it,” Caden called out. Daisy paused as she reached for the door knob. There was another knock. “Don’t do it Honey. She is going to take Mildred.” You could tell it was getting to her. She took her hand away and put it to her chin.
Then she shook her head, reached for the door and opened it.
“She never did listen to me,” Caden said.
“Hello,” Daisy said as she opened the door.
“Hello my name is Rebecca. My Dalmation got away from me and I lost her somewhere in this neighbor…” She trailed off because as she spoke Mildred walked up to Daisy’s side. “That’s her, you found her.”
“I’m sorry, you must be mistaken. This is my dog, Mildred.”
Rebecca was not the kind of woman to call someone else a liar, especially to their face, but she could tell this was her lost Dora. As noted earlier, Mildred’s spot pattern was not a common one. The only person to speak out during this long awkward pause was Caden. “That’s right Honey, you told her whose dog it is, now throw her out.”
Hanson turned down to Caden, “I have a place I can port you that you can’t get out of, so unless you stop it, that is exactly where you will find yourself.”
“I think you are lying,” Caden said. Hanson turned back to Daisy, daring Caden to try it. Caden fell silent. Clearly he wasn’t so sure whether or not Hanson was lying.
“Mrs…” Rebecca started.
“Daisy, Daisy Mason.”
“Mrs. Mason, my dalmation has one black and one white ear just like the one by your side.”
“How coincidental? So does my dog, this dog, Mildred.” It was a perfect line, and perfectly delivered. Caden bit his tongue to keep from cheering.
Both women sat for a bit feeling the other was in the wrong and would have angrily parted if Hanson didn’t get involved. Luckily, he could influence without having to actually vocalize the thoughts. And it was based on his suggestion that Daisy said, “When did you get your dalmation?”
“About three weeks ago.”
“Well, that explains it. My Mildred turned up missing three weeks ago, and came back today. Thank you for taking care of her, where did you find her?”
Rebecca was not sure what to say but attempted to find the right words, “Um, it doesn’t really explain it. I got my Dora from a rescue organization, Canine Hope” she grew a little more quiet as she added, “because she was abused.”
“Canine Hope?” Daisy asked with a bit of rage beginning to flair inside her.
“Now, you see why I was so anxious for these two to meet.” Hanson threw in.
Rebecca now worried if this was the previous owner and wondered if Canne Hope rescued the dog against her wishes. Rebecca could tell Daisy didn’t seem to like the organization much. “Yes, you are familiar with them.” She tried to ask it innocently but could tell things were about to get ugly.
“Any chance Jim was involved?” Daisy asked.
The way the question was asked she worried for Jim’s life if she answered in the affirmative, but she was not a very good liar. “You know, I think, now that you mention it, that may have been his name, but my memory is not perfect. But if it’s your dog, I better go.” She wanted to get her dog out safely but she also wanted to get herself out safely. But as a last ditch effort she tried, “Unless for everyone’s safety you want me to take her.”
“What do you mean everyone’s safety? Questioned Daisy taking a step forward.
Rebecca took a step back and said, “I happen to notice the bandage on your hand, that’s all.” It was becoming more clear just how abusive this woman was.
Daisy was a bit defensive about the fact that the dog she had loved for years had turned on her but something inside of her, in this case Hanson, kept saying, this woman is also a victim in this, she is losing a dog she fell in love with. Daisy knew how hard that could be. Plus, she was beginning to have some serious concerns about Jim and the information this woman had may be of value. With all this in mind Daisy took a breath and said, “I can tell you are worried about Mildred, I understand, she’s an easy dog to fall in love with. Why don’t you come in and let me show you how she will be taken care of?”
Rebecca wasn’t sure she liked the phrasing but while she wasn’t sure she should trust Daisy, she decided Daisy wasn’t likely to be a murderer or anything and came in.
Mildred was happy to see her new friend and jumped by her side. “Hey girl,” Rebecca said. Only two steps in Rebecca began to think she had misjudged Daisy. Not only did the dog seem very happy but when she conjured up in her mind the home of the dog abuser, whomever it was, she envisioned pizza boxes and beer bottles on the ground. Not a living room that fit on the cover of better homes and gardens. That is exactly what the living room she now found herself looked like. “Have a seat in the living room and I’ll get you a cup of coffee.”
Hanson leaned into Trout as he asked, “You are sure she threw out all the poisoned coffee?”
Before Trout could respond Caden jumped in, “Unfortunately, Yes.”
Rebecca sat down, and noticed the photo on the mantel, with Caden, Daisy, Munchies, and Mildred. Along with the urn for Munchies, this further made her feel that she had misjudged her. Daisy was walking to the living room from the kitchen with two cups of coffee as Rebecca turned from the mantel to the kitchen she saw the couch covered with a large blood stain. Maybe, pizza boxes and beer cans weren’t the worst thing. Daisy saw her eyes get big and knew why. “Oh, sorry about the stain, my husband was shot there a few days ago, and I probably would have replaced it but I’ve been in jail.”
Rebecca now thought perhaps she had not judged Daisy harshly enough, and wished she had refused the invite to come in, but it was too late and when Daisy said, “take a seat,” She did so, after checking for blood stains, of course.
Hanson assumed that once these two sat down they would instantly put the pieces together and once establishing Jim was behind the dog napping of Mildred that they’d be off to the police and he’d quickly be suspect #1. And while their early conversation was full of promise the last 30 minutes were much less exciting. What Hanson had failed to account for was the two women had one thing in common, a deep love for Mildred. The conversation began with Daisy trying to prove her love and care for the dog. This quickly led to scrapbooks of Mildred coming out, beginning with photos of her as a puppy, which led to home videos. Both women loved talking and learning about Mildred. Rebecca quickly realized that Daisy was so good to Mildred that she must have not killed her husband, or that if she did, he must have had it coming. But while Rebecca hung on every word, the rest did not and Caden, Trout, Barbara, and even Mildred quickly fell asleep.
Hanson assumed at some point they’d get back to the fact that the whole reason they ever met was because they had both been duped by Jim, but that was clearly not happening anytime soon.
He woke Trout up, “You can go home if you like.”
“Sorry for dozing off.” Trout said as he jumped up. “Miss anything?”
“Yes, the thing your internet is full of, cute videos of puppies. You head home, meet here tomorrow at 8.”
“Thanks,” he said and ported home.
Hanson would have loved to stay and find out if these two were half as good at detective work as they were about reminiscing about dogs but he had other work to do. He looked over at the snoring Caden, “desperate times,” he thought as he aroused Caden.
“Don’t drink the coffee,” Caden yelled, waking from a dream.
“I won’t.” Hanson responded. “Listen Caden, if you are willing I could use your help.”
“Me, you need me? ...Again. Funny how you seem so nice when you need something, and then back to threatening to port me to timbuktu when you don’t need something.”
Hanson was not one to gravel, so just stated what he needed. “I need you to listen to your wife and Rebecca and see what they figure out about Jim and what they plan to do about it. Are you willing to listen and report back to me?”
“Well, I don’t know. I have helped out an awful lot. What’s in it for me?”
Hanson wasn’t one for games, “Will you do it or not? If not, then I will have to stay.”
“I can do it.” Clearly Caden was ready for Hanson to make an exit.
“Thanks.” Hanson said as he disappeared.
A few minutes later Caden was again fast asleep.
Hanson arrived in a nice apartment. It was on the third floor and looking out into the midnight sky and the familiar view of the Chicago skyline. A woman sat in a rocker across the room also looking out the window.
“Who are you?” She kindly asked.
“I’m Detective Hanson, I’m investigating the murder of Caden Mason.”
Concern passed over her face, she turned from Hanson back into the night sky, then hung it back down shaking it slowly, “This is about my mother isn’t it?”
Hanson nodded, the two had a lot to talk about.
Here is Chapter 17