THE WINCHESTER-NABU DETECTIVE AGENCY

Cats photoshopped as noir detectives

AMBER LOVE 02-OCT-2017 My work is supported by the generous backers who tolerate my cat stories at Patreon.com/amberunmasked and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast. Also, buy my books with these handy links below:

ADVENTURES WITH GUS – CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE: OUT OF THE FOG

Where we left off…

Detective Inspector Guster Nabu and two his human companions traveled across two towns to hike at a state park. It was likely the highest elevation Gus has achieved.

Fog hiking trail

THE WINCHESTER-NABU ESTATE. EXTERIOR. HIKING TRAILS.

The seasons are in that in-between stage where half the time it feels like summer, but the other half is the chill of autumn. Most mornings have been blanketed in a fog that fills the valleys and pushes over the lands with silent grace. It’s so subtle you don’t realize how close it is until you can’t see more than a hundred feet.

Fog over trees

Although D.I. Guster Nabu has routines and habits, every day we take a different route around the properties. Some days he goes directly to his favorite trail; other days he covers the backyard first then might head up through Bunny Hollow or the Kitty K-2.

He’s been in the mood to hunt a lot lately. I think the wildlife is scurrying around preparing for winter and all the action has Gus on high alert. There have been some rather Secret of NIMH moments. The one thing that’s been missing are the bunnies. They haven’t been around. Their vanishing is troubling.

Gus flagpole
“I LOVE YOU, FLAGPOLE.”

 

One morning we were walking up the driveway towards the trails. If Gus isn’t ready to get soaked by the morning grass, he’ll often stick to the paved areas or places where he can “hot lava” across the grass on rocks, moss, the knocked over flagpoles, or walls.

Of course I did not have my camera ready when a gorgeous fox trotted peacefully from a trail across the driveway to another trail. I thought it would make sense to follow the fox. Gus wanted to go in the other direction and follow the scent from where the fox might have been which just so happens to be Gus’ favorite trail. I’ve looked for the fox ever since, but they are called sly for a reason. They’re great at sneaking around undetected. No photographic evidence for the case files this time.

Supernatural-HomidicalFox-Priorities

Spotting that fox got me thinking about the artifacts revealed in the previous few chaptersSpecifically Chapter 19, in particular the crystal. The stone is believed to be from a sculpture about the tale of a woman who was turned into a fox. Since that piece of the stone was found on this very mountain, could the fox in the area be a supernatural manifestation of her ghost? Either way, it would explain the missing rabbits.

Bones-ConspiracyTheories

Unlike the genius Dr. Hodgins, the detectives and I believe you can be both a conspiracy theorist and a supernatural nutjob. We’d like to believe we’re both — same as the Buffy team. It’s possible that a real fox slipped down a foggy trail and disappeared before I could swipe the phone open and take a photo. It’s also possible that the spirit of Benzaiten is attached to the crystal. Her spirit can’t rest as long as the pieces are scattered around the world.

Kitsune

We don’t want any problems with a kitsune spirit. If that’s indeed what we’re dealing with, it’s well over a hundred years old. Folklore states that at age 100, a kitsune can shapeshift into human form. We’re definitely not exotic collectors like the ancestors were. There will not be any traps to ensnare a kitsune on this property as long as we are managing the estate. Kitsune will likely leave humans alone unless they try to do something stupid like capture them. What we can do is keep our eyes out for the fox or carefully observe the people around and see if any cast a fox-shaped shadow.

amber and gus shadow

I suppose I could research into the lore of kitsune spirits and see if there’s anything we can do. Personally, I’m fine with letting her be out there and doing her fox thing in her fox way. It’s all good. Gus would like me to strongly reconsider and figure out how to communicate with her.

Gus and crystal ball
“I’m pretty sure we can get these things to work.”

 

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