Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Four:

Case File No. 09-165

cat logo brown

AMBER LOVE 06-JULY-2020 Find out how all this began. Catch up on Year One, Year Two, and Year Three cases at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. Thank you for all your financial and social support! Oliver and Gus are looking forward to bringing you more fascinating discoveries and investigations into the chipmunk mafia, the blue jay gang, the neighborhood critters, and cryptid sightings.

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.


Where We Left Off:

We shared some evidence from our photography archives about the various tracks we’ve recorded this spring — some known, some unknown.


Beyond the Forest:

Usually the sighting of a bear doesn’t scare me. I prefer to be the right distance away to get photos. However, when I was in the woods with Gus, close to a road, and picking up litter… a bear jumped through the trees from the road only a few feet away scared the fucking shit out of me. Gus was mostly unaffected and more annoyed that it interrupted his chipmunk stalking.

litter in woods

This scenario is precisely what happened on May 13, 2020. Gus and I walked down the fire trail to the location of the original body farm (where I had the Jersey devil-deer and briefly had half of a groundhog). I checked on the skeleton to see if any parts were stolen. That’ll be covered in a separate case file.

The trail takes a turn and continues to a busy road. There were more trees chopped up into large logs from the utility workers along the edge of the woods by that road. I took out my pruning shears and trimmed back some of the random branches reaching over the trail. Gus was determined to go through the thorny thicket, but I tried hard to guide him. At the time, I felt like I was doing an abysmal job leading Gus. He was leading me and he was not concerned for his own safety like I was. He loves doing parkour over all the biggest rocks and logs. It’s fun and normally fine if we’re away from the road.

bag of garbage

I spotted some litter. That shower cap from an earlier case file about werewolves in our area was still there. I picked it up and examined it this time. It wasn’t one shower cap. It was three — and I’m not sure they were shower caps, but I can’t figure out what else to call them. That’s what they looked like, but only one was a full cap. The others were loops/circles without offering full covering. Since I only use a full shower bonnet style cap, I have no clue what other options people might use.

wildlife bear volkolak tracks

 

Moving along the trail, Gus found the chopped logs and wanted nothing more than to climb and exercise (and keep hunting as always). I was willing to go with him as long as I could balance and keep from getting tangled in the prickly thorns. I stepped up on the first set of logs. Gus begged to be unhooked from his leash to navigate through tighter areas. I insisted it wasn’t safe. He pulled to make the leash tight and when that didn’t work, he made a U-turn. I spotted another piece of litter. Poster board saying “don’t take wood” but it hadn’t been fastened to the logs so it had been blown several feet from it. I’m sure someone wanted that for firewood — and the property owners always allowed people they knew to take logs that were already down. The flimsy poster wasn’t such a great marker though.

I had to back off the log — not a graceful moment — and turn to follow Gus. He brought us even closer to the road since we were at the end of the trail.

Gus picked up the scent of a chipmunk and crossed over to the other side of the trail to follow it. The chipmunk scurried into the bushes that were the last barrier from the road’s grassy shoulder embankment. Gus pulled to go under those bushes in pursuit. I was in the process of reaching for the poster and turning and stepping off the logs. My surroundings were already a spinning blur. I saw Gus look not at me, but passed me. I turned my head at the same time I heard the disturbances of branches rustling.

A mass of black jumped through the bushes and trees, briefly landed and then continued in a jump-run gait up the claustrophobic hill through dense trees and brush. A few seconds later, I heard a loud metallic CLANG. There is a firewood shed over that way in someone’s yard and I think it has a metal roof. Perhaps the beast jumped onto the roof and quickly jumped off. Maybe it was something else.

Gus on a log

Only ten minutes earlier, there was a woman pushing a baby carriage up the road on her daily walk. She was minutes away from a large beast crossing her path. Chances are, if it had seen her, it would have stood perfectly still and waited until the coast was clear. Then I heard the sounds of engines. As I said, it’s a busy road. At any given minute, the creature could have collided with someone’s front end.

Amber selfie

Based on the size of the black blur, it could have been Arkadi, the newest bear-shapeshifting volkolak. I tried to get my camera out in time and couldn’t. Gus wasn’t interested in the bear figure that ran by us. As soon as it was out of sight, Gus resumed his hunt for the chipmunk. I knew we were way too close to the road. I had never let Gus go there before. If I hadn’t been interested in picking up litter, I would’ve kept him deeper on the trail, up the incline. I forced him to redirect to the trail. He was not happy, but obliged. He kept trying to steer us off the trail, but I held his leash. I had to try to keep up. He occasionally makes me do this type of cardio which I hate.

Gus with puffy tail

Gus and I easily made our way back to the property and headed to the garden wall. He jumped up and lounged to collect himself. My breath was faster than I expected. I was stunned — also not expected. I had to compose myself. I decided to snap a selfie because I wanted to remember what we had just been through together.

Gus on garden wall

Case Finding:

Arkadi was spotted moving at a quick pace from east to west coming from the road and heading up the wooded hill. The bear appeared to be acting fine — not injured from what I could tell and what little knowledge I have on the subject. All parties encountered were not confronted directly as if the creature was repelled by our presence.

Case Status: Closed

Gus on garden wall

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