The rest of the evening was spent chatting and talking about old times and family. Finally, Melinda headed off to bed feeling both tired and still somewhat angry that Angie had her come all that way for a lost cat. But she was here now and Angie, although loaded with faults, was still her sister and she loved her for better or worse. She couldn’t help wondering if having Angie for a sister would qualify her for sainthood. She chuckled at the thought then laughed even louder when it came to mind that contemplating murdering one’s sister, regardless of how bad she was, would negate any chances of becoming a saint.
The next morning when Melinda went into the kitchen, she was shocked to see a number of people there having coffee and morning pastries. She glanced at Angie as if to say, “What’s all this?”
Angie spotted Melinda’s puzzled look and stopped what she was doing. “Listen up everyone. This is my sister Melinda who has traveled from the East Coast to help us out.”
A chorus of voices chimed out, “Hi Melinda.”
Melinda nodded to the group then walked over to Angie. “What’s going on?”
Continuing to butter a toasted bagel, Angie replied, “These are my neighbors. Most all of them have their pet or pets missing as well so we’re going looking for them.”
Melinda glanced over her shoulder at the group, then turned back to Angie. “They’re all missing animals?”
“Yeah, and the weird part is they all pretty much went missing at the same time.”
Melinda digested the information and thought about it for a minute before speaking again. “You think there might be an earthquake coming? I read something not too long ago about how animals can sense an earthquake with the tremors and all.”
Angie handed her the bagel. “It’s best to have it with coffee dear.”
Melinda took the plate. “Didn’t you hear what I just said?”
“Yes, I heard you.”
“It could very well be, but it doesn’t change the fact that we have to go look for them. Now hurry up and eat, we’re all eager to get going.”
Melinda shook her head, made herself a coffee and found an empty chair at the table and sat down to eat. As she ate, she studied the faces of Angie’s neighbors and could see the pain and anguish they were going through. She had never owned a pet of her own so she couldn’t relate first-hand what they were feeling but their eyes told an unspoken story that reached deep into her soul and knew she was doing the right thing by helping out.
Once outside, they split into pairs; each pair heading off in a different direction. Each person had a cell phone, whistle and a flashlight along with a small packet of treats for the dogs and cats. Melinda followed Angie to the end of the street and then onto a small path heading into the woods.
Not far along, Angie called out, “Brandon, come here honey, mommy has some treats for you.”
Melinda rolled her eyes. “Mommy? You tell the cat you’re its mommy?”
Angie clicked her tongue. “You wouldn’t understand.”
“No I wouldn’t,” Melinda shot back. “Personally, I think you’ve spent too much time in the sun.”
Angie stormed ahead mumbling something. Melinda couldn’t quite decipher it and just laughed. To her right, she thought she spotted some fur on one of the branches and stopped to check it out. She pulled her hand back when she realized it was either a moth’s cocoon or a spider’s web. The thought of spiders sent a chill along her spine.
She quickened her step to catch up to Angie and came upon a fork in the path. “Just like her,” Melinda muttered in disgust. “Angie, where are you? Angie can you hear me? I didn’t mean it about the mommy thing. C’mon Angie answer me.”
Getting no reply, Melinda reached into her pocket and pulled out the cell phone. She hit the quick dial for Angie and held the phone to her ear. After a number of rings, she was transferred to the voice-mail. Melinda patiently waited for the message to end. “Angie what the heck is the sense of having a cell phone if you’re not going to answer it? I’m at the fork in the path and need to know which way you went.” She pushed the end call button and gritted her teeth. “Aargh! I swear I’m going to kill this girl!” she yelled into the woods and started walking to her right.
May 1, 2014