THE WINCHESTER-NABU DETECTIVE AGENCY
￼AMBER LOVE 07-MAY-2018 My work is supported by the generous backers who adore my cat stories at Patreon.com/amberunmasked and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast. Also, I’m an Amazon Influencer so you can shop through my personal recommendations and buy my books with these handy links below:
ADVENTURES WITH GUS – CHAPTER FIFTY-TWO: BORDER INCIDENT
- Chapter One – The Great Hunt
- Chapter Two – The Great Escape
- Chapter Three – The DaVinci Plan
- Chapter Four – On the Wild Side
- Chapter Five – The Leash I Could Do
- Chapter Six – The Maltese Finch
- Chapter Seven – The Two Snakes
- Chapter Eight – Heat Wave
- Chapter Nine – The Sleepless Detective
- Chapter Ten – Baby Beasts
- Chapter Eleven – The Blue Dahlia
- Chapter Twelve – Stray Cat Strut
- Chapter Thirteen – The Strange Case of DI Nabu and Mr. Hyde
- Chapter Fourteen – Gus and the Grumpy Old Man
- Chapter Fifteen – The Night of the Hunter
- Chapter Sixteen – On Dangerous Ground
- Chapter Seventeen – Escape in the Fog
- Chapter Eighteen – World of Witcherscape
- Chapter Nineteen – Romancing the Stone
- Chapter Twenty – Where the Sidewalk Ends
- Chapter Twenty-one – Out of the Fog
- Chapter Twenty-two – The Moletiverse
- Chapter Twenty-three – To Kill a Woodpecker
- Chapter Twenty-four – Follow Me Quietly
- Chapter Twenty-five – Hell’s Half Acre
- Chapter Twenty-six – Black Snake Moan
- Chapter Twenty-seven – Night of Terror
- Chapter Twenty-eight – Spellbound
- Chapter Twenty-nine – Ghost Rider
- Chapter Thirty – Chips in the Wall
- Chapter Thirty-one – Of Mice and Men
- Chapter Thirty-Two – The Fairies’ Dancing Place
- Chapter Thirty-Three – The Lovely Bones
- Chapter Thirty-Four – Two Hounds of the Baskervilles
- Chapter Thirty-Five – Training Day
- Chapter Thirty-Six – The House on Haunted Hill
- Chapter Thirty-Seven – Guardians of New Jersey
- Chapter Thirty-Eight – The Big Country
- Chapter Thirty-Nine – State of the Agency Address
- Chapter Forty – A Real Stick in the Mud
- Chapter Forty-one – Despereaux Times, Despereaux Measures
- Chapter Forty-two – Footsteps in the Fog
- Chapter Forty-three – Four Boys and a Gun
- Chapter Forty-four – Rabbit Angstrom
- Chapter Forty-five – Gateways
- Chapter Forty-six – The Two Towers
- Chapter Forty-seven – The Two of Wands
- Chapter Forty-eight – Cat on a Cold Tin Roof
- Chapter Forty-nine – Crooked Wings
- Chapter Fifty – The Lady Confesses
- Chapter Fifty-one – Kingdom of Death
Where we left off…
Gus has delivered a lot of bones to Oliver for examination and identification.
THE WINCHESTER-NABU ESTATE. EXTERIOR.
On Saturday, April 14, 2018, I was not the one to take Gus on his walk (see why in Chapter 50). The Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency butler/chauffeur Alfredo Pesosvalour (codename) escorted Gus through the perimeter checks and went up to the neighboring cottage at the top of the hill to make sure there were no trespassers other than us.
Gus and Oliver are clever in their own ways. Oliver is methodical. He takes his time to think before leaping into action. Gus is quick and ready to rumble in an instant. He lets his nose lead him anywhere, danger be damned. Together, they seem to make a decent hunting pair inside the building though I find Oliver doing most of the work. He sits through stakeouts almost every single day. This was highlighted in Chapter 36 when some of the paranormal activity was discussed.
Like humans, cats are able to be charlatans at times. I’m not saying you can’t ever trust them, because you can; you simply have to learn when you should be suspicious. Gus can be like that snide delinquent Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver. Eddie Haskell was this teenage boy who was friends with Wally, the older Cleaver brother. Eddie was smarmy. He would smile to any adult’s face and pretend to be angelic when he was usually up to no good. Gus can definitely get that way, only he’s a lot cuter and easier to forgive.
One of Gus’ usual deceptive habits is taking credit for good behavior and feigning innocence when something goes wrong. Any dog or cat owner who has spent an hour perusing the #dogshaming or #catshaming lists knows what I’m talking about here. Gus loves to take credit for hunting mice. I’ve spent a lot of time hunting with him so I know he’s capable of some things. However, when it comes to mice, I believe Oliver is really the top warrior.
Case 52A – The Body in the Yard:
Since Gus also loves investigating and getting his nose into everyone’s business, if there’s a dead mouse, he’ll get it and find a way to get himself involved while taking all the credit. Such was the case this bright, sunny April morning when Gus was out with his butler. They went up the private road and discovered another dead body. If you recall, this happened before and Gus took ownership.
I was in bed resting with various bottles of prescriptions by my side on the cluttered nightstand when my phone buzzed. Alfredo sent messages with the images on our secure app. They were able to handle the investigation without me although, just like the last time, the real killer has gotten away.
Alfredo described the activity to me later. The body was originally discovered in the grass next to the road. It’s a petite critter. Field Mouse species identification confirmed. Once the original state of the body was noted, Gus moved it to the asphalt for better examination. The similarities to the last body are striking.
The Boulevard of Broken Dreams:
Even though we can see a pattern forming, the FBI: Animal Services Division won’t classify it as a “serial killing” until there at least three victims. There may be leeway if one of the victims gets away and survives but is attacked with the same M.O. We know the killer’s taste now: petite, slender field mice with white bellies; young and vulnerable; traveling alone on the edge of the Boulevard.
The team asked around and pleaded with a squirrel to carry the message from the Boulevard through Bunny Hollow that we are looking for information. They added a warning that other critters matching that description should be on high alert.
I relayed all the information to Oliver back in the office. He compared all the crime scene photos and noticed something the rest of us missed. Both of these tiny field mice, Mouse Doe #1 and Mouse Doe #2, had notches in their left ears. The marks were so small, it’s a miracle he caught it. With this new information, Gus returned to the scene to look for more witnesses to question. Even though we were pretty sure it was a serial case and hence not our jurisdiction as private investigators, Gus wanted credit for any leads that would take down the culprit.
It took a couple of weeks for the grapevine to bear any fruit. I was back on my feet and walking Gus regularly. He avoided the Boulevard for a couple of weeks. It was strange because he had no problem going along the second trail which runs parallel to it. He took me by surprise the day he finally veered off the pavement at the first trail. Overhead, five or six birds circled. I couldn’t tell what kind they were but a notable hawk wailed from somewhere. That many birds overhead meant there was prey or a corpse below them.
We have to take some detours now because the March winter storms knocked over so many trees that block the trails. Gus was interested in crawling deeper into the jungle. Now with the foliage growing back, it’s even harder than it was in the winter. I’ve been finding ticks on myself a lot (ewwwww!). So far, I have not had an extremely debilitating panic attacks from it. I’ve been trying to let Gus get to those tough spaces by unhooking his leash. Sometimes he listens well and stays close to me. Other times, he’s too focused. I’ve caught him lying on knocked over trees just hanging out there, meditating.
When we reached the end of the Boulevard, I started cutting my way through the thorn bushes with my shears. Since we’re bordering other people’s properties, I didn’t unhook Gus. He wasn’t happy waiting for me. I had to crawl under a tree that was too high for me to straddle.
More bushes. Great.
I started cutting through those. Again, Gus got tired of waiting for me. He turned around and went back the way we came as if I meant to intentionally redirect him. Not that particular time. I try to vocally queue him, “Back the way you came. Back to me.” But stuck in the bushes, all I said was, “Wait.”
A small bird landed in a bush. Gus approached. I worried he’d try to kill it. He sat there and listened though. It was interesting to watch. The bird chattered on and on. Gus kept right on sitting there with his eyes glued. When the bird flew off, Gus came right out of the bushes over to me. The network of confidential informants has spread the word that a field mouse slayer is on the loose. The FBI warned us not to give the perp any clever nicknames for the media. It draws the wrong kind of attention, they said.
The boys don’t want any mice living inside the building. Frankly neither do the humans. Outside though, that’s where the cute critters belong. Whatever is after them isn’t taking them for food and that’s the strangeness of the problem. Birds, foxes, larger snakes, and cats — they eat mice. Domestic cats will usually bring them to their human companions for praise if they don’t eat them. Why these bodies were left cast aside in the grass, we still don’t know.
Case 52A Findings:
Due to the nature of corpse preservation and our lack of resources to perform a proper necropsy, Mouse Doe #2 has remained unidentified and cause of death is unknown.
No reward is offered at this time.