The Dog From The Sky [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Dorothy Bodoin
eBook Category: Romance/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Description: When Jennet Ferguson rescues a collie who has been tortured and left for dead in an isolated wood, she vows to find the person responsible for this outrage.
eBook Publisher: Wings ePress, Inc., Published: 2010, 2010
Fictionwise Release Date: May 2010
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3 Reader Ratings:
Henry McCullough lived in a white Victorian house next door to the animal shelter with his aging collie, Luke, who had once fallen into Al Grimes' trap. Once I had seen a Christmas tree in Henry's bay window, decorated with old fashioned ornaments and lights and draped with environmentally unfriendly tinsel. When I looked again, it had vanished.
I always thought of Henry's elegant Victorian as the House of the Phantom Christmas Tree. Because I'd never found a rational explanation for the phenomenon, I still expected to encounter strange happenings within its halls.
But Henry had come to the shelter's kitchen this afternoon to talk to Jill Lodge. Lila served her special apple coffeecake with steaming hot coffee. Her eyes were red and she said more than once, "I'm so sorry, Jennet. You trusted me to take care of Sky, and I let you down."
"We'll find her," I said, wishing I could believe it. "The Fiend is one step ahead of us for now, but I plan to catch up."
"The Fiend?" Jill said.
"That's my name for the person who tortured the collies."
"It's a good one." She turned to Henry. "You say you were home all day yesterday, Mr. McCullough. Did you see anyone loitering around the shelter?"
"Not a soul," Henry said. "My window looks out on the girls' yard. Sometimes I sit in my rocker and watch the dogs play. But I have to admit. I dozed for about an hour."
"Did you hear anything?" Jill asked. "I'm thinking of more barking than usual or howling. Any noise at all."
"Mmm. Only the ice cream truck," he said.
I looked up. "An ice cream truck in October?"
"Well, it's been a warm month. The Ice Cream Parlor is still open. Luke and I had cones earlier this afternoon. The truck was playing a nice happy tune," he added. "Over and over again, the way they do."
Jill and I exchanged glances. I remembered Emil Schiller canvassing a neighborhood for unattended dogs in a mobile grooming van. Doubtless Jill did, too.
"Was it on Park Street?" she asked.
"You can't tell where those trucks are. I didn't see it, but it sounded near."
"Do you remember the time?"
"That's when we were at the Pet Emporium," Letty said. "We got home at four."
Jill scribbled a line in her notebook. "An ice cream truck in October."
"It looks like we have our first clue," I said.
There was one more question I wanted to ask Henry. "Do you remember the tune the ice cream truck was playing?"
"Sure do." He hummed a few bars of a lively familiar melody. "But I don't know the name."
"That's easy," Jill said. "It's Pop Goes the Weasel. Why do you want to know, Jennet?"
"I'm just curious, and I wonder if ice cream trucks have more than one song."
"They must," Letty said.
"Did you ladies ever see or hear this truck?" Jill asked.
"I didn't," Letty said. "I don't think I've ever seen one, but we lived out in the country on a farm."
"Neither did I," Lila hovered over the table with her serving knife. "More coffeecake, anyone?"
Henry held out his plate. "I'd like another piece. It's delicious, Lila."
While Lila cut the rest of the cake into thick slices, Letty refilled our coffee cups. I glanced at the stove clock. On a typical night I would be on my way home, but we were having leftover roast beef and pie for dinner tonight which gave me a free hour.
I felt encouraged by being with my friends who shared my determination to solve the mystery of Sky's disappearance. By working together, we might accomplish the impossible.
Jill added a line of doodles to her notes. "We may have a clue, but I don't see how we're going to find an ice cream truck in this sprawling county."
"There are ways," I said. "We just have to think of them. For one, it will be easy to spot and hard to hide. Also, don't people have to have a license to sell ice cream?"
Jill jotted another note in her book. "I'll look into that."
"The weather is supposed to be nice for another week," Henry said. "I'll keep a lookout for the truck while Luke and I are out for our walks. Could be I'll catch a glimpse of the driver's face."
"To see if he saw someone snatch our Sky?" Lila asked.
"I'm thinking he might have done it himself."
"Crane covers a lot of territory in a day," I said. "I'll ask him to watch for it."
"If you can think of any other disturbances, Henry," Jill began. "Anything at all. It'd be helpful."
"I'm sorry, I can't. I didn't even realize Sky was gone until Letty called me. Sky was my favorite dog of them all," he added. "She's so pretty. Do you think that's why she was stolen?"
"I think it's something else," I said.
He shuddered. "Not dognappers again?"
"Something more insidious."
"It certainly is odd," Jill said. "Twilight Zone-odd. A dog disappearing from behind locked gates. And the fact it's this particular dog may be significant."
"The one I was going to adopt," I murmured.
"Isn't Sky the collie Ashlyn Weston found and turned into the shelter?"
"No, I'm the one who rescued Sky, not Ashlyn."
"I wondered at the time if there was a connection between a missing girl and a stolen dog."
That surprised me, although I'd wondered the same thing briefly. Ashlyn had been gone for days now. As I had anticipated, updates on her disappearance had all but vanished from the nightly television newscasts and the papers. Even her friend Debby was thinking about M.A.R.A. and the deer kill demonstration these days.
"I'm inclined to believe it was a coincidence," Lila said. "Anything else is simply too far-fetched."
"Like a twist from the Twilight Zone," I said, thinking about an ice cream truck cruising the lanes and by-roads of Foxglove Corners in the off-season.
Someone besides Henry had to have seen it.