Investigator Andrea Dora drove to the residence that was plugged into her GPS from a remote location of her employers at WWIU, that is, World Wide Investigators United. When she’s called to work, she is never given anymore information except the bare minimum. Whether she enters a crime scene or a theoretical conspiracy, all information, given to her past or present is nil. And, that was for a good reason.
Too much information confuses the pressure, the images, the thoughts that Andrea receives from somewhere, beyond. She’s not sure where “Beyond,” is, but information to her is always kept to the minimum. It confuses her and the investigation. Not only that, but in the investigative departments, many agents kept their findings to themselves until enough evidence could be used for a formulation or hypothesis worthy to investigate further or be used in a court of law.
The drive was five hours from airport to the GPS location. She read that on the GPS and saw the map, but was unaware of this part of the world. Never been here, she mumbled to herself. A black Cadillac SUV, though it was comfortable, was provided compliments of WWIU.
As Andrea drove for an hour, or so, impressions and images began coming to her. Some of them, were unpleasant. One in particular had a bird of prey following her as it screeched. She stopped the SUV, in the desert, and got out to look. What is the screeching cacophony? So annoying and trying so get her attention. But, nothing was there. She looked three-hundred and sixty degrees and also under the vehicle for harmed animals or birds. Nothing there.
Climbing back not such a large SUV, for such a short tiny person, was similar to mounting a wild black steed ,only more controllable. She chuckled at her own thoughts as sometimes she entertained herself with thoughts of men and what they would be like. However, for now, she had work to do and the SUV was back on the road again.
Soon, the loud bird was coming at her from somewhere. Its noise was getting louder and louder. She heard it and didn’t see it. Then suddenly, it appeared. It hovered over her windshield, as she drove. It managed to fly backwards, not hitting the windshield, but facing her. An owl, in the daytime. Its wingspan stretched across the windshield with it’s feather tips stretching further. She pulled over. The bird hovered for moments then took off in the same direction she was traveling. It must have been trying to tell me something. Andrea watched the direction it turned until it was no longer seen. It’s a sign, but I don’t know what it means, yet. I don’t know if it has anything to do with where I’m going. This hint will have to play out. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which sign belongs to which investigation and the clues don’t tell you categorically. You just have to put the puzzle together. Some you miss. Some solve other mysteries of long ago and are coming through late… Andrea talked into her phone recorder to explain what she saw and heard.
Within two hours and no further interruptions from large birds, she pulled up to the GPS location. It was dark outside and there were two other unmarked cars in the driveway. The lights were on inside. Andrea made a verbal entry into her recorder.
Location: Gps coordinates Somewhere, USA
Temperature: 0C and 32F
Present: Andrea Dora and ?
Findings are as follows:
The neighborhood in which the SUV’s GPS brought her was dark, as it was night time, and what she could see, it was quaint, had trees and sidewalks and was an older established area. The mature oak trees line the street and they looked, old. The stone path led to the entrance of a wooden door. It had a wicker wreath on it which was decorated with wintery tchotchkes. Andrea started to ring the doorbell. She thought of how she felt a mess after the drive in her wrinkled suit and unbrushed teeth and a scant amount of make-up left on her face, but it was getting late, and she had work to begin.
Her hand lifted to the brass door knocker of two lovers, but before she reached it, a loud hoot or coo seemed to yell at her from the tree behind her, she looked that direction. Her eyes caught a glare from the street light and seeing was difficult. She went to turn around to knock again. Then, the flapping of wings occurred and another loud hoot. This time she saw the owl flapping it’s wings. She watched and started to step off the front porch and go towards the bird when the from door opened. It was an official person. Andrea turned his way and stepped with her hand out to shake his hand.
“You’re late. We’ve been expecting you hours ago.” He said this without any expression and extended his weak write hand. The digits were almost blue. He had vapor coming out from his mouth when he spoke.
“Late? I’m terribly sorry. I’m Andrea Dora. I wasn’t aware that anyone was to meet me. But, I do apologize as the GPS brought me here from the airport and through the desert where we made a stop. Please, my apology for any inconvenience.” he had pulled her hand back from his icy cold blue digits. She notices the chill coming off his breath.
“The desert, you say?” Gruffly he added.
“Yes, about two hours from here.” Andrea straightened her clothing. She continued to watch his breath whirl like smoke.
“Ma’am, the nearest desert is seventeen hundred miles from here. Perhaps you’re mistaken?” He corrected the silly woman.
“Of course. What was I thinking? And may I ask why the heat isn’t on in the house? Is it freezing in there? I see the smoke coming off your breath and your hand is like ice.” Andrea carefully watched his response.
There was non. He simply said, “This way inside.” They walked through a lantern lit court yard to another front door. There was an amber ambience in the area. The dirt smelled rich and moist. In the dark she made out leaves from large potted plants. A cat scurried behind a large clay one. It’s eyes watched her.
As the man opened the second door, Andrea said, “You know I’m so sorry, I don’t remember your name. I think I failed to ask you being startled at that bird outside.”
He looked at her with his usual poker face. “My name is not important Ms. Dora. Go on inside.” He shut the door behind her as she walked into a foyer. He stayed outside.
And, that’s why his hands are blue and cold. He stays outside. Okay, that answers that. She reasoned with herself as she stood still in the foyer. She heard nothing and the lights were off. She felt around for a light and saw there was a table lamp in front of her on the greeting table. She turned the light on and noticed the sign in book. The names in the book and the dates had not been signed since December 20Th. 2015. She held it to the dim light and studied the times and the last entry. A week before Christmas.
A cold chill passed over her and through her. Andrea turned towards a light and behold a woman stood there holding a candelabra with five candles. The matronly woman said in a soft melodious voice, “Ms. Dora, are you hungry? The mistress left some food for you in the other room. Would you like to have some hot tea and a sandwich?” She gestures Andrea to enter the hall and she would follow her.
Andrea didn’t refuse as she was hungry and she needed to use the bathroom.
The woman turned to her and said, the restroom is in here if you would like to tidy up?”
Andrea nodded her head yes and went into the restroom closing the door behind her. There was a soft candle burning for light. The place was cold. Almost as cold as the February outside, in here. I guess there is no heat on in the house. The is no warm water either.
She made a right as the woman suggested into a fairly bright kitchen. Bright because there was a fire burning, it was warm, and there was a man reading the newspaper sitting at the table waiting for her.
“Sit down. Make yourself comfortable. Mrs. Hilary, please pour Ms. Dora a cup of hot tea.”
Andrea noticed he wore a red flannel shirt and smoked a pipe. No one smoked pipes like that anymore. It smelled so cherry like and he looked like such a nice grandfatherly man. Silver hair, slouched over, eyeglasses on his nose and pink cheeks. He was slender and probably was much taller years before. He had a kind chuckle with a certain twinkle in his eye. He seemed friendly so far.
“Normally, I would stand up and pull your chair out. The years have taken away my ability to be a gentleman and cordial. But, please, be comfortable.” He smiled.
Andrea sat. And Mrs. Hilary poured the hot tea into a delicate teapot. The sandwiches were butter and cucumbers on white bread. The bread was stale and mold looked like it had been cut away. She ate the sandwich and tried not to seem grossed out, but totally thankful.
The old man leaned over and picked out a Brandy from the cabinet behind him where he had stashed his hard liquors. “How about a dash of whiskey in your tea? We do this every night.” he poured it into Andrea’s teacup before she responded. “It will help you sleep tonight.”
“Sleep? Oh, I forgot my manners. I better find a hotel. It’s late.” She arose from the table.
Mrs. Hilary said, “No need to go anywhere. We’ve made a room up for you. I think you’ll find it quite comfy, dear. Finish up your tea and sandwich. I have a hot bath for you drawn upstairs.”
“But, you have no hot water?” Andrea replied.
“Oh, not to worry dear. Uncle has ways of pumping hot water from a hot spring in the backyard.” Mrs. Hilary explained quickly was to the point. Her answer satisfied Andrea.
“Well, if you are finished dear, I will show you to your room and bath.” Mrs. Hilary politely stood for Andrea to exit first.
“But, my bags are in my car.” Andrea turned to inform Mrs. Hilary who seemed taller than before. She reasoned that perhaps it was just her shadow that seemed elongated and long. Andrea thought that she could be loosing her mind as she was tired from the days journey and too tired to insist that she find a motel tis late at night.
Mrs Hillary spoke as she opened the door to Andrea’s bedroom. “I hope you don’t mind, but uncle brought your bags inside to your room.”
“Oh, that’s nice.” Andrea looked at her room, the bed with all the blankets and comforters and the hot steamy bath in her room on the ledge. “How nice and cozy. Just like olden times.” She felt as if she was back in time.
“Good night dear. I hope you sleep well.” Mrs. Hilary nodded and closed Andrea’s door.
Andrea thought she heard a key lock her into the bedroom. She went to the door and tried to turn the handle. It wouldn’t open. She noticed the bed and the hot bath and dismissed her fears for cleanliness and comfort. And after soaking for a while she dawned her flannel PJ and got in the bed with the down comforters. “God it must be 32 degrees in this house it’s freezing in here.” She climbed into the bed. And soon, Andrea Dora was sound asleep in the warmth of all the down comforters. She snored most of the night and awakened thinking she had been drugged. The tea. It made me sleep like that. I never sleep that soundly, anywhere. She sat up in the bed and noticed the fireplace was burning wood. The room was cozy warm, unlike the night before. She heard no one come into the room and heard no one bring in wood or try to light it. There was also hot tea in the china pot with a china cup and an assortment of teas. Cream and sugar were in silver decanters and on the tray were fresh flowers.
Andrea muttered, what time is it? She went to open the window curtain. Oh, it’s dusty. She coughed. After catching her breath, since she is an asthmatic, realized she didn’t have an inhaler handy. Soon she gathered her air and saw that it was early morning, there was frost on the ground, and she could see her breath twirl when standing by the window.
The door opened to her bedroom and Andrea saw no one standing there; however, she heard a meow. It’s the cat from the courtyard last night. Oh good morning, she said. It wandered in and jumped on the bed. It was a tabby cat. Female, green eyes and very scrawny and underfed. My, you are thin. Are you hungry? She broke off a piece of the toast that was brought up on the tea tray. Be careful it might have mold. She broke little pieces for the cat which devoured it and wanted more. I will see what I can find you to eat.
There was a knock on Andrea’s opened door. Mrs. Hilary was standing dress in the same dark dress which was snug around her this waist and she had on the same servants cap. She looked as if she was wearing turn of the century clothing which was certainly odd for 2016.
“Oh, Mrs. Hilary, you startled me for a moment. I’m sorry, I’m a little shaky this morning.” Andrea says, “You’re up early, I see? Is there anything that I can help you with?”
“No, mum. Uncle and I sleep all day, but we’re up all night watching the grounds and working. So, there is something to eat in the kitchen and there is a table with pictures, belongings, and items that you will want to look over for the investigation. You make yourself at home. Uncle and I sleep upstairs and he’s already gone up so the day. We get up when it starts to turn dark, but please don’t awaken uo. Uncle gets grumpy and mean when he’s been awakened.”
Andrea couldn’t imagine that man Uncle walking up and other flight of stairs. This house is much larger than the one she thought she saw on the street. She replied to Mrs. Hilary, “Yes Mum. I’ll not bother you.”
Mrs Hilary said, “The cat. Don’t feed her, she kills the mice. Her name is Poetess. The old lady who died was a poetess. She named the cat, ‘Poetess'”
“A poetess? You say?” Andrea asked incisively.
“Yes, a poet or poetess. You’ll see her writing all over the place.” Mr. Hilary turned and said, I’m heading up for bed now. Help yourself downstairs.”
“Oh, my keys should I need to go into town,” Andrea added quickly before Mrs. Hilary was out of hearing range.
“There by the front door where you came inside from the second door, dear.” With that Mrs. Hilary was gone for the day.
Andrea mumbled to her self, I dreamed of poetry last night. Well, hello Poet. And, I shall feed you. You’re starving little body.” She extended her hand towards Poet’s body, but she ran off the bed. Oddly, she noticed that he was so light weight she never made a dent or a paw print on the made bed coverlet. No paw marks. She looked carefully for paw prints, but no, there were none.