￼THE WINCHESTER-NABU DETECTIVE AGENCY
YEAR TWO: CASE FILE NO. 24-76
￼AMBER LOVE 22-OCT-2018 Catch up on Year One and previous Year Two cases at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. This 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. For a one-time tip, you can go to the new PayPal.me.
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Where we left off:
We learned about a local urban legend involving young twin girls, the disappearance of one of them, and a Ouija board party game.
What Lies Beneath
On October 1, 2018, the Moon was in Cancer. To most people that doesn’t mean anything. If you are a follower of astrology, it meant that it wasn’t a great time for social functions or anything involving large groups. It was a nice time for solitude or being with only close loved ones. To Oliver and Gus at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency, it meant another night staring at the walls, listening for scratches, and reaching into crannies to see what they could find. Hunting for mice or treasure!
In the course of three nights, these boys caught two different mice. One of them was killed eventually and found by an elder human in the dining room. Fortunately it was out in the open because when things die inside the walls and floors, that smell of decay permeates for many days. The second house mouse got away when the boys were trying to non-consensually play with it.
Old houses tend to have creepy things. Even not-so-old houses have artifacts that might spook a person with a weak constitution such as myself. When the clawing against the drywall sounds much too large to be a mouse, I’m the second one to point out there are monsters. Oliver is the first.
If you’ve been reading our case files for a while, you may recall that Gus was investigated for brutality against the rodentia community outside. All charges were dropped as the Supreme Court of Squirrels agreed that the behavior was abhorrent but was not a crime since it was in his nature. Inside the house and the mobile command unit, the mouse hunting is encouraged. None of us want to see it or be woken up from it, but we agree that keeping mice away from where we eat and sleep is a good idea. In some cases, Gus has even been able to turn mice into confidential informants. He releases them if they swear they’ll snitch on the Moretti crime family.
Inside the dusty house during another bout with humidity, everything felt damp. The fabric on the chairs. The sheets. Our clothes. It was generally an icky, moist time. On the main floor, the cook had been making fires in the hearth to dry out this dampness. Up on the second floor where the detective agency and my bedroom are, we’re what you’d call “SOL” (shit outta luck). As much as I wanted to request to have the furnace turned on once in a while, I knew it was foolish since it was staying above seventy degrees.
As I mentioned, Oliver and Gus detected something awry and spent a few nights hunting all night long. They’d request “first breakfast” anywhere between three and five in the morning. Then they’d nap until seven; I’d walk Gus before “second breakfast” at eight. It was strange for them to be good all night. They took their stakeouts so seriously and would have made Captain Holt proud.
A long time ago, when Ollie was a wee babe, a hellion spawn of the Dark Lord, he stuck his arms into holes in the floorboards and broke his own toe. The vet made Ollie’s grandmother feel like an abusive, neglectful owner because the kitten did what kittens do — get into shit. We found a new vet when Gus was adopted. Now that they’re older, they still reach their arms into holes around the house and the property looking for artifacts because goddammit, National Treasure is accurate! One of these days, the cats are going to find the right nodule to open a secret door to a tunnel that leads to the center of the mountain where there is a pile of gold, old books, and Revolutionary War artifacts.
As for this particular October week, I spotted Oliver loafing on the upstairs bathroom floor a couple times. I’ve seen Gus over near the toilet. He frequently jumps up on the vanity at that end to look out the window and claw up the screen. He turned around and walked back to me and I told him I wasn’t trying to disturb him. I know I had just swept that floor so I was surprised to see a huge tumbleweed of a dust bunny. It was the size of golf ball. For Gus to find a dust bunny like that means it had been stashed somewhere. It’s a challenge to get them out from behind the bathtub but that’s where I most frequently find them. This wasn’t in a spot where that would have made sense. He was by the baseboard heater which was cold.
I picked up the tumbleweed and that’s when I spotted his treasure. Gus had retrieved a tiny white puppy figure which had somehow gotten into the baseboard or a wall or wherever and he found it while hunting. The cabinet doors don’t exactly close because nothing is ever level here and the custom woodwork doesn’t fit anymore. The puppy figure could have been inside a cabinet, I guess, but Gus doesn’t go in there.
The figure is an inch long. It appears to be the shape of a Labrador retriever puppy, white with black eyes and black nose. There’s some residual black spots on it too which could mean it had spots at one time and is a Dalmatian or it’s dirt.
Significance of the Artifact:
In general, dogs signify loyalty, companionship, unconditional love. In Celtic ways, dogs were common hunting assistants. That’s pretty much true for a lot of places considering there’s a competitive class called the “sporting group” which was used for herding or hunting.
According to Hoodoo practitioner, Quornesha S. Lemon, the symbolism of a Dalmatian in a vision or dream means things are looking up in the home life for the person who saw it. “Something generous comes your way It is time to balance the way you live and the angels and ascended masters are assuring changes to you at this time.” I’m not sure if it would apply to Gus or to me. He’s the one who found the artifact. Although it’s not the same as having a vision or psychic experience.
I should have realized that Dalmatia was an actual place, but I didn’t. It sounds like a fantasy world where you go to run into a puppy pile, eat ice cream all day, and it’s always springtime. It’s actually a real place in Croatia!
Dalmatians have always been super cool in my book because of our Norman Rockwell imagery of the spotted, intelligent hound that works at fire departments. As if being called Firehouse Dog wasn’t cool enough, the bespeckled pooch has other aliases: Carriage Coach, Spotted Coach Dog, Leopard Carriage Dog (because they ran alongside carriages like the old timey fire coaches), but my favorite is the Plum Pudding Dog.
It’s interesting that they’re such great hunting and guard dogs because (according to Wikipedia), only about 70% have full hearing ability. Deafness is common in this breed. Somehow they’re great at sniffing out fires, rats, and mice. Apparently they are tolerant of kittens too.
The Labrador Retriever
These are the most popular pet dogs in the UK and America. They have that over-excited, goofy-doofy, friendliness to them. When they’re young, they’re all energy; when they’re old, they need to stay by your side.
According to spirit-animals.com (I’m not responsible for potentially offensive names), the Lab loves unconditionally and if that’s your totem or animal guide or familiar, it’s a sign that you fully accept people for who they are.
“You know how to set your boundaries and yet are compassionately generous with your love, bounty, and wisdom. People often turn to you for advice simply because they know that they will not be judged for their indiscretions.”
Gus can love unconditionally, but he’s a cat. He loves whoever feeds him and entertains him. I don’t think Gus finding a puppy figure would mean that it’s his totem. However, when we have conversations, I don’t feel judged so I think that part makes sense. I mean, sure, cats are always kind of judgey, but he’s a good listener.
The artifact discovered in the baseboard is plastic, mostly white with small amounts of black, and marked CHINA on the flat bottom surface. A spirit of this house decided to use this toy puppy to communicate with Gus. Instead of the symbolism meaning the recipient is already tolerant, it means that Gus should become more tolerant. This would be swell since socialization is a problem area for Guster Nabu.