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, and Chapter 14
The room was completely unchanged from when Hanson last saw it. Still curled up in the corner the woman sat exactly where he had left her. Hanson hoped he would have time to do more investigation into this woman’s identity but he was as out of hope as he was time. With only 30 minutes left before Chief Grassly showed up and let her go, he decided his only chance was to reason with her. Something that was not his forte.
Not only that, he only had 5 or so minutes before his presence was required to help Trout and Caden. So he got started, “Hello.” He tried to be calm and kind. Tried being the key word. She sat in silence and did not respond. “Listen, maybe, I can help.” He thought if he could just get her talking he could find out something about her. “What can I do to help you?”
She raised her head from where it sat between her knees. She looked directly at Hanson and said, “Let me out of here.”
“I’d like to, if you could tell me who you are. I’d be happy to let you go.”
Her head returned to it’s placement between her knees. She was again shut down. He wanted to take another run at it but time dictated otherwise and regrettably he had to leave.
Standing on the porch Hanson could see Caden 100 yards away as Mildred bounded past him now in a full on sprint, headed for home. Trout appeared next to Hanson. “Where’s Rebecca?” Hanson asked.
“Caden dodged through another backyard a few blocks back and I haven’t seen her sense.”
Hanson looked disappointed.
“You could thank me,” Trout offered.
“You said, Don’t let Rebecca catch Mildred, and I didn’t.”
“I also didn’t say loose her.”
“I can only do so much,” Trout said.
“I noticed,” Hanson said.
Caden appeared next to them. “Sorry we didn’t stay still like you asked, but I didn’t want to.” His face was filled with a cheesy grin.
Hanson ignored him and chose rather to use his own influence to get Mildred, who was now on the porch, to bark. Hanson was happy to hear Mildred begin barking. He really didn’t want to ask Caden for anything, ever again.
The door barely opened when Daisy’s screams of joy filled the air, “Mildred, you are home. I can’t believe it. Where have you been girl?” Mildred jumped into Daisy’s lap. Daisy let the force knock her over as Mildred licked up tears of joy while Daisy embraced her. Mildred was the closest thing to a child Daisy had ever had, and Daisy thought they would never embrace again, by itself this would have been enough to send her emotions on the ride of their lives, and when combined with everything else it was too much. Crying for joy was not new for Daisy, but she had never sobbed for joy, but there was a first for everything. “Riley, come see who’s back.” She called out as best she could between sobs.
Riley came down the stairs and knelt down to pet Mildred. The scene was perfect enough to bring a smile to anyone’s face, but the three ghosts in the room faces were filled with sheer terror. Even with their poor sense of smell they noted the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Looking into the kitchen they saw what was causing the smell, a pot full of coffee and next to it a cup already poured.
Trout and Caden started towards the kitchen. Hansen beat them by porting. Looking into the cup he said, “It’s full, if this is her second cup we are already too late.”
“She never drinks two cups in the evening,” stated Caden. “So what do we do now?”
“Don’t let her drink it,” stated Hanson.
Caden turned to Trout, “Your buddy here is a real Sherlock.” Then turning back to Hanson asked, “No kidding, how?”
“Mildred. That’s why she is here.”
“You want Mildred to drink the coffee?” Caden asked.
“No. But she has what we don’t, a body to move things, and a voice. If she loves Daisy the way most dogs love their owners she will not allow Daisy to be harmed. So Caden, you need to convey to Mildred that the coffee is poisonous, she will do the rest.”
“Are you sure about this?” Caden asked.
But there was no time to debate if Hanson’s plan was going to work because Daisy was now standing and wiping her eyes as she began to head to the kitchen.
“Mildred the coffee’s poison, if Daisy drinks it she’ll die,” Caden yelled.
The effect was instantaneous. Mildred began to bark and jump running between Daisy and the counter.
“What’s wrong girl?” Daisy asked.
Mildred now turned to the counter and pointing her nose directly at the coffee pot began a deep growl combined with barking.
“Good girl.” Caden encouragingly cheered on Mildred.
“It’s just coffee girl,” Daisy said, kneeling down to pet and try to calm Mildred. She’s never gotten mad about coffee before.” Daisy said to Riley.
“It’s okay see,” Daisy picked up the cup and the barking and growling intensified. Hanson, Trout and Caden all gasped as she raised the cup to drink.
“See you soon, Honey.” Caden called out.
But before the cup reached her lips Mildred leapt into the air and bit down hard on Daisy’s arm. Instinctively Daisy cried out in pain as her muscles released the cup and it fell towards the tile surface, smashing upon impact.
Blood oozed from the wound as she tried to cover it with pressure from her other hand. “Mildred, Why?” she cried. The physical pain couldn’t compare to the emotional pain she felt by the betrayal of her most trusted companion on earth. She ran to the bathroom to clean the wound and apply bandages.
“You better have her finish the job, before Daisy gets back and puts her out.” Hanson said to Caden.
“Get the coffee girl,” Caden yelled. With another leap Mildred jumped on the counter, turned her head, bit the coffee pot by the handle and flung it to the floor with a crash, glass and coffee covered the floor. Then with a wag of the tail Mildred sent the open can of coffee grounds to join the smashed pot and coffee on the floor.
Daisy ran in half bandaged to see what was going on.
Trout said what all three were thinking, “That is quite a dog.”
Caden was too proud to speak.
Hanson could not enjoy the victory, he was aware of the time, it was 8:13.
The room remained the same, the woman still crouched in the corner. There was no sign of Chief Grasley but Hanson knew he wouldn’t be far behind. The Chief was a man of his word and he knew if he said 8:15, then he’d be here at 8:15. Hanson chose not to speak, but took a seat right next to her. She didn’t acknowledge him. The chief appeared. “Hello Hanson.”
“I need more time.”
“Do you have more information?”
The pause was painful but finally Hanson admitted, “No.”
The Chief took a deep look into Hanson’s eyes and shook his head. He really did hate to do this. Hanson wanted to believe it was because the Chief understood that he was right, that this woman was involved, but Hanson knew that more than that the Chief was disappointed that Hanson had put him in this situation. “Mam, I want to apologize to you. There was never any reason to detain you and you are free to…”
Before the Chief could finish she ported away. “Now Hanson…” But looking around he realized he was alone in the room. “Hanson, you sly dog,” he laughed to himself.
Hanson quickly looked around, cars blazed all around him in the busy intersection. He was quickly thrust into the air, by the gust created by the passing vehicle. The force caused him to be pushed away from the woman whom he had been sure to be barely touching when she ported from the room. They were much like two plastic grocery bags pushed about by the gust of each new vehicle. As the wind swirled them about Hanson’s eyes caught hers. Her eyes were filled with absolute disgust and anger, “How could you?” Hanson saw her lips mouth as she ported away. She got away, but it didn’t matter. The street signs brought instant recollection to Hanson. He now knew why she looked familiar. He knew where he was, knew who she was, and most importantly what she’d done.
Here is Chapter 16