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Case 1 Detective Katherine Pig House Hunters

The Case of the Haunted House Hunters                                                            

 

                                                                                                                                                 A Detective Katherine Pig Story      

                                                                   Book 1

                                                                                     By Sally A. Wolf

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Illustrations by:


This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales, or any person, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

Published by: Sally A. Wolf

 

To my family.


Chapter 1  

Hello, my name is Katherine Pig. Yes, I am a pig from my pink snout to my curly tail. Today is the last day of Detective school. I only have one final test before graduating.  I am not sure where I am headed next but one of my teachers has told me about a Detective friend of his in the coastal town of Pumpkin Ville. This detective is planning to retire next year and if I pass this last test, my teacher said he would put in a good word for me. The only hang-up I have about moving to Pumpkin Ville is a Boar I met in detective school named Will. We have been hanging out together and I would hate to mess up any chances I might have with him. Despite this, I must focus on my final test and hopefully passing my class.

My teacher had come up with a new age plan for the final exam. Instead of sitting down at a desk and writing an essay, the whole class was going to use their newly learned skills in the field. We were to meet at city hall to talk to the local detective about his latest cases, and then we were each going to be assigned a task. If we helped solve the case, we passed. This plan had me worried. I had dreamed about becoming a detective since I was a little piglet, and now I was so close that the excitement was almost too much to stand. Just when I was about the go insane from thinking too much the phone rang.

“Hey beautiful,” said my favourite voice.

“Will, perfect timing,” I said then added for good measure, “I was just thinking about you.”

I heard him chuckle and then he said, “No you were not! You were reeling about our final test.”

I almost raised my arms in surrender but felt foolish and admitted, “You know me to well.” 

          “How about I take you out to lunch to distract you,” he suggested. I smiled, thinking about him holding his breath on the other end of the line waiting for my answer.

I paused until he was surely a paler shade of pink then replied, “I would love to…”

          “I sense a ‘but’ coming,” he interrupted. I smiled. He was always right about me and that was part of the reason we got along so well.

          “I was going to say we should really be getting to class. We do not want to be late.”

He sighed knowingly and, disappointed, said “Alright you win this round! I know how much this means to you. I will come pick you up and that way I can take you out to dinner when we are done. I have a present for you and it would be better if I gave it to you later.”

 I could not help but giggle at the prospect of getting a present and my giggles made him laugh too.

          “I will be out front waiting for you,” I said when I could speak again and then I hung up. I stared at the receiver for a few minutes wondering what gift he could possibly have for me. I would just have to wait until later though. Right now I had to get ready to go.

When Will pulled up, I felt another giggle catch in my throat. What was wrong with me? He got out and opened my door. I blushed despite myself and thought I saw him wink at me.  I moved over some loose papers and got in.

Once he was behind the wheel, I said, you know you should really do something about this car.” He looked around the car with a hurt look on his face but said nothing. We drove in silence to the courthouse where he pulled up to the front step and quickly jumped out to open the door for me. When I was safely on the sidewalk he bent down and kissed my cheek, causing my knees to go weak.

          “Wait here for me, beautiful, while I go park. I don’t want you facing this big day on your own.” He dashed back to the driver’s side and I stood there dumbfounded as I watched him go. He returned and I just stood there blinking at him so he took my elbow and led me up the stairs. We found our classmates and teacher wandering in the hall.

When we approached the teacher spoke, “Now that we are here. I would like to introduce to you my special guest Professor De Hippo. He has come all the way from Pumpkin Ville to help you on your final assignments. He is retiring this year and wishes to find a suitable replacement.” My heart quickened and Will squeezed my arm reassuringly. I took a deep breath and let his touch calm me.

          “Let us go into the conference room so I can debrief you on the cases I want you all to look at,” Professor De Hippo said, and led the way down the hall.

Once we were all seated, he turned out the lights and started the slide show.

          “The first case is an unusual one,” he narrated as he flipped though the photos. “There is a band of thieves who are impersonating Ghost Hunters. They enter a house posing as a group of scientist looking for ghosts.  They set up fake equipment and then under cover of darkness, they carry out the valuables in the equipment trunks. Any ideas on how to solves this one?” The room remained silent. Suddenly I had an idea and I raised my hand. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me; I tried to ignore them and waited to be acknowledged.

“The young Lady in the front row thinks she has an idea,” Professor De Hippo called out. I could hear a little bit of disbelief in his voice.

I cleared my throat and said, “Well, you could do it in one of two ways or even a mixture of both. First, you could set up a fake house where you advertise that there is a rare valuable hidden. When they come to rob the place, you can catch them in the act. Or you can pose as one of them and infiltrate their origination. That way we would know when and where they were going to strike next.” I finished and held my breath.

Professor De Hippo paced back and forth in front of the projector, a large mansion disappearing and reappearing on his massive chest. After about ten passes he stopped and looked me right in the eye and said, “That just might work.”

The breath that I had been holding came out in a whoosh. My teacher ran to the front of the class and announced proudly, “Katherine and Will why don’t you get on that plan?”

Will stood but I raised my hand and asked, shocked, “You don’t even want us to hear about the other cases?”

          “No!” Professor De Hippo insisted. “We have had our top detectives working around the clock on this one and not one of them has come up with a decent plan. Go see the evidence department for all the files and discarded fake equipment. When you are ready, send me a list of resources you might need.” 

My teacher rushed to the door and opened it for us so we could use the light in the hallway to navigate the dark room. Will took me by the elbow and led me though the open door. When it clicked closed behind us, I let out a small squeal and my knees went all rubbery. Will wrapped a protective arm around my waist and led me to the nearest bench.

          “What just happened in there?” I asked when I could speak again. Will laughed and cupped my face in his hands.

          “You happened!” he said. I tried to shake my head in disagreement but he held me firmly. Then he kissed me and I melted.

          “Are you ready?” he asked, pulling away. For a moment I had forgotten the rest of the world existed and blinked in surprise.

          “Yes!” I said and stood. “Let’s go catch us some ghosts.” He laughed and held out his elbow. I linked my arm in his and we went downstairs to the evidence room.   

          We found a quiet conference room and sorted the stuff out of the boxes into neat pile by type. At first glance it appeared there were four electromagnetic sensors, three digital thermometers, six disposable cameras, two tri-lens flashlights, and four negative ion detectors. After closer inspection, it was clear that all of the stuff was just cardboard.

          “They couldn’t possibly fool anyone with this junk. Thy must do the original scouting with the real deal.” I sat pondering the possibilities. Then I had an idea and looked at Will.

          “OHh no you don’t!” Will said, shaking his head at me. “Please don’t look at me like that. I know that look. You want me to do something for you.” I blinked at him and smiled my best “I have no idea what you are talking about” smile. He sighed and started packing the evidence back into the boxes.

          “Hey, what are you doing?” I questioned.

He just kept right on placing the stuff back into the boxes as he said, “You are going to have to discuss whatever it is you want me to do over dinner.” I started to protest but one look from him and I helped him put the rest of the stuff away, and then we both carried it back to the evidence department. Arm in arm we went outside.

I was surprised to see the parking lot was empty and it was almost dark. I watched as the last of the setting sun turned the sky a rich orange. Will pulled up and once again opened the door for me. This time I could not help myself. The giggling started from somewhere deep down inside me and as we drove it erupted into a full belly laugh. Soon it was too much for Will to handle and he began to laugh as well. We continued to laugh until we reached a long tree lined driveway. I looked at Will, but he just winked at me and followed the drive. As we crested a small hill a charming old estate came into view. Will drove around the circular drive and parked in front of the wide porch steps. He came around to my side of the car and let me out. I was truly awe struck by how beautiful it was.

As we ascended the marble stairs to the massive oak front door, I exclaimed, “Oh this is so wonderful.”

He gave me a sideways glance and said, “Welcome to my home. My family has lived here for four generations.”  In all of the time we had been dating I had never been to his home and was honoured that he was now willing to share it with me. We went inside and the pure beauty of it all astounded me, leaving me speechless. He led me to a kitchen were a small pig stood with her back to us, preparing some delicious smelling food. Will guided me to a small stool by a breakfast bar, I sat and he went to the woman and gave her a peck on the cheek. For a fleeting moment, I felt a flash of jealousy until she turned from her work to face me and I could clearly see the family resemblance.

Will saw the recognition cross my face and beamed with pride. “Katherine I would love you to meet my mother.”

I smiled shyly at her and she immediately rushed over and wrapped me in a big bear hug, kissing me on each of my cheeks.

          “My Darling, how wonderful it is to finally meet you!” she said to me in a small breathy voice that reminded me of royalty and I found myself instantly drawn to her.

          “Ladies, if you will excuse me I have something to attend to,” Will said suspiciously. I raised my eyebrows at him but he just kissed us both on the cheek and rushed out of the room before either of us could say anything.

          “I feel you and are already great friends. Dinner is almost ready why don’t you and I sit at the kitchen table and have a glass of iced tea you can tell me all about your assignment in class.” Will’s mother led me to the table in the corner.

          “Well Ma’am,” I said, but she shook her head and interrupted me.

          “My name is Violetta Von Piggy but since we are friends you can call me Violet.” Just then, a whirlwind of pink and grey spun though the room and planted itself in my lap. Violet laughed and said, “This bundle of energy is my daughter Will’s sister Sasha Sarah.”

The pink clad grey piglet stood and curtsied to me and said in a small squeaky voice that whistled though a large gap in her front teeth, “Princ-ss-e-sss  S-ss-a-sss-ha Sss-arah Von Piggy at your sss-ervic-ss-e.” I laughed and bowed back.

Violet patted her daughter on the head and said, “Run along and find your brother, tell him dinner is almost ready.”

          “OK Ma!” the little Von Piggy said and bolted out of the room.

          “Now tell me about your class today,” Violet said, setting her empty glass on the table. She sat still and listened intently as I told her everything Will and I had learned so far. Then she sat back and nodded in agreement when I explained my plans of how I hoped to solve the case. When I finished, she took a deep breath as if she was going to say something but a massive boar entered the room. She stood to great him and gave him a large kiss. The man held her in his arms for a minute before regarding me over her shoulder.

          “I thought I had captured the heart of the last pretty lady around but clearly my son has also found himself a looker.” I must have turned a deep scarlet because when Will entered the room he took one look at me, laughed and turned to his dad.

          “Pa, what did you say to embarrass her so?” He crossed the room and placed a protective arm around my waist. Will’s father raised his arms in surrender.

          “Nothing, son, I was just observing how smashing she is. If only I was twenty years younger.” This comment got him a swift poke in the ribs from his wife and he smiled and winked at me. The family went into the dining room where we sat a grand table. A crow served food in a white apron. It was so delicious that I ate heartily. During the meal, the family chatted about their day and I felt honoured to be a part of the love that so completely filled the room. When the meal was over Violet suggested we take desert in the drawing room.

Just as everyone finished their deserts and was lounging happily, Violet surprised us all by saying, “Well, it is settled then!” unexpectedly, as if we had be in on the conversation she had been having in her head. We all looked at her dumbfounded, and she continued unfazed. “You both will use this house to set up your investigation.”

Will started to protest but she gave him the now infamous Von Piggy look and he only nodded in agreement. We chatted for a while about it then I yawned and Will stood and said, “I will take you home.”

He led me outside and I slid into his car when he opened the door for me. I was so exhausted that by the time he rounded the car to get into the driver’s seat I had dozed off. Will woke me with a gentle nudging and I opened my eyes to found myself in the driveway of my apartment complex. Will smiled at me and I could not help but smile back.

          “Have a nice rest?” He asked and I nodded. He reached into the back seat, and then placed a small box on my lap. I looked from him to the present then back again.

          “Well are you going to open it or what?” he asked. I pulled at the bow on the top as he turned on the car’s interior light so I could get a better look. When I pulled the lid off the box it appeared to be nearly empty except for a small blanket. Then the blanket moved and I jumped in alarm. There was something alive in there. I slowly pulled away the coverings to find the large eyes of a tiny little creature. It blinked at me and I finished uncovering it to find two pointed ears and a microscopic wagging tail. I delicately extracted the rest of it out of the box, its baby soft tan fur glistening in the moonlight. A tiny pink tongue jutted out of its mouth and planted a big wet kissed on my snout. I laughed and said.

          “Oh! How Lovely!”

Will smiled and said, “I do believe you just gave him a name.” I looked at him perplexed for a minute then asked, “What do you think, little one? Do you like Lovely for a name?” It gave a little bark and wagged his tail.  “OK Lovely it is then. Welcome to my family.”

Lovely licked me on the snout again. Will and I laughed. I gave Will a thank you kiss and went in to my apartment. I gave Lovely some food and water then walked him in the courtyard. As I waited for him to do his business, I looked at the stars. How fortunate I was to have such a wonderful friend. After clean up of Lovely's pile, I went to bed and fell fast asleep, because despite my nap in the car I was exhausted.     


Chapter 2  

          The next day, anxious yapping and slobbery kisses awakened me. I blinked rapidly trying to remember what this creature was. The previous day came rushing back to me and I patted the little Chihuahua who was doing a potty dance on my chest. After dressing, I walked him then I finished getting ready to go to city hall for my second crack at the Haunted House evidence. I was just about ready when the phone rang.

          “Hello!” I said into the receiver.

          “Hey Beautiful! How did you sleep?” Will’s deep voice filled my ear.

          “Fine, thank you.” I replied

“How about Lovely? How is our little man today?” he inquired.

          “He is a little ball of energy who keeps following me around. I don’t know how I am going to leave him alone all day he is so little,” I said worriedly.

          “Don’t you worry that pretty pink head of yours, I have that covered. I will be outside your front door in a few and I have another present that just might help.” He hung up before I could protest.

          When he knocked on my door, I was ready to go. I opened the door to find not a man but a large box. I stepped aside so he could enter. He set the box down with a sigh and grinned from ear to ear. I just stood there blinking at him.

His grin faded and he said, “You don’t get this whole gift thing do you? When someone gives you a gift you say thank you and then you open the box.”

I blushed and went over to the box, which was nearly as tall as me. I pulled the ribbon and it swooshed down the sides in a river of red. I opened the lid to find a plethora of dog accessories. There were bowls, collars, food, beds, leashes, and clothes. In the bottom of the box was a group of little bags. I stood on my tippy toes and pulled one out. I examined it closely. All of a sudden Lovely who had been sniffing his entire collection of new toys stated barking at what I was holding. I set the bag down and he jumped in.

          “What a smart dog,” Will marvelled and said, “That is exactly how you are going to bring him to work with you. I have already cleared him as your assistant.”

          “My assistant?” I exclaimed. “You have got to be kidding me. He may be a smart dog, but no one is going to believe he is my assistant.” Lovely barked and jumped out of the bag. He rustled around in the items that I had absent-mindedly taken out of the box. For a moment, he even disappeared from view. Just when I had decided he was in need of rescue, he emerged from the pile tail first dragging something by a long purple ribbon. I hurried over and helped him the rest of the way. I held the package up to Will, who gave me his best "Where did that come from” look. I ripped the paper to find a stylish purple notebook with matching pen, the front cover inscribed with gold lettering that read, “Property of Detective Katherine Pig.” Without warning tears of joy started flowing and Will wrapped me in his strong embrace. I tried to speak but words failed me. Will silenced me with a passionate kiss until I reluctantly pulled away.

          “We better get going or we will be late.” Will helped me pack a small travel bag for Lovely then the three of us headed out to face the world and solve the mystery.

          On the car ride over I had an idea so I turned to Will.

          “I think you should go to the papers with a story about a rare brooch that was stolen from the former owner of your property. You can even make the story juicier by telling them that the woman was so distraught over her loss that she took her own life. Nearly a century later when your family bought the estate, you found the brooch when replacing the floorboards in the maid’s quarters. Not long after the recovery of the brooch, strange things started happening. You think the disturbances maybe caused by the woman looking for her lost brooch.” I paused to take a breath and glanced at Will. He had a peculiar smile on his face and I was about to ask him what it was for but we pulled up to the courthouse. He got out and opened the door for me then went to park. We went together into the building and found our teacher and Professor De Hippo waiting for us in front of the elevators.

My teacher took one look at the bag that contained Lovely and asked, “That is your canine assistant? He doesn’t look like the type of dog that would be a very good assistant.”

          I looked him in the eyes. “Looks can be deceiving, Sir, just look at me. On the first day of class, you told me that girls were not cut out to be detectives and here I am proving you wrong! I think that Lovely will surprise us all.” I puffed up my chest. Professor De Hippo slapped Will on the shoulder and said.

          “I think you have found yourself a winner, son.”

Will beamed at him. “Yes, sir, I do believe I have.” He took my arm and continued, “Excuse us, gentlemen, Katherine has a case to solve.” Surprised I tried to correct him and explain that this was our case but the elevator hissed closed. When we were alone Will swept me up into his arms and I forgot everything else.

          Back in the little conference room, I wrote out the article for the newspaper while Will and Lovely re-examined the fake equipment. All of a sudden Lovely started barking frantically. Will and I rushed over to him.

          “What is it boy?” we asked in unison. I looked closer and found a clump of grey hair stuck to the tape holding one of the seams together. 

          “Good work!” I said and bagged the new evidence. Then I went back to the incident reports. As I read them aloud to Will, I wrote my thoughts down in my new notebook. “It says here,” I quoted to Will:

          “There was a pair of ghost hunters who do preliminary research on a haunted property. They then come back on an appointed day to do their observations.  They had all of the appropriate documents and they carried themselves very professionally.” Will placed a glass of water next to me and I drank a quenching sip before continuing.

          “In all of the cases the owners of the property were absent from their homes the next day. A pair of individuals matching the ghost hunters’ description enters the victims’ homes. When the owners of the home return they find items missing and this fake equipment scattered around the room,” I gestured to the table.

          “Has anyone talked to the team of ghost hunters?” Will asked sitting across the table from me. I nodded and checked my notes.

          “They have been questioned every time but there has been no solid evidence linking them to the crimes and all of their equipment has been accounted for.” I made a note that I needed to interview the ghost hunters also. Then I stood and stretched. Will looked at me, concerned.

          “Why don’t we go walk Lovely down to the deli and get some lunch?”

I nodded tiredly. We packed the evidence back into its boxes, checked it in, and then the three of us went down the block to the main street deli. Poppy Basset the owner came out from behind the counter, her long ears flapping behind her as she rushed over and captured us in a big bear hug.

          “What do I owe the pleasure of this visit from my favourite customers?” she said with enthusiasm.

Lovely started barking and I scooped him up, embarrassed, and said, “I am sorry I will take him outside.”

          “Oh nonsense!” Poppy exclaimed. “Us dogs have to stick together!” She scratched him under the chin and he wagged his little tail. Poppy laughed then she led us to a corner booth.  She handed us some menus and said, “What can I get for you three?”  She took a notebook from her apron pocket and extracted a pencil hidden somewhere behind her ear.

I only glanced at mine before handing it back. “I will take the special.” Then I took out my notebook and set it on the table.

Poppy turned her head to the side. “You don’t even know what the special is.”

I nodded. “I know but I trust your judgment. Whatever you picked for a special must be good.” From the corner of my eye I could see Poppy’s long tongue unroll from her mouth and prepare for a giant slobbery kiss, but Will saved me by saying, “The special sounds good. I will have that too.”

“Two specials then!”

Lovely barked and we all glanced at him and laughed.

“Well that little dog of yours might not talk but he is a man of many words.” Poppy said “Three specials coming up.” As we waited for our food, I opened my notebook and reread my notes.

 


Katherine Pig case 1

Haunted House Hunters

 

-Ghost Hunters (Need to Interview)

-Fake Equipment (Learn about real)

-Grey Hair found

-Robberies happen when no one home

-Eyewitness say see ghost hunters enter but no evidence

            Our food arrived and it was delicious as always. When we tried to pay, Poppy shook her head, her ears and jowls flapping.          

 “This one’s on me, sugar. You go catch your thieves.” I blinked in surprise but Will lead me out into the afternoon before I could protest. We went back to the courthouse where I used the station phone to make an appointment with the ghost hunters while Will went to get the car. Luckily, they agreed to meet us today. When I got in the car, I gave the Will the address and we drove to the nice neighbourhood on the edge of town. Will parked in the driveway of a small yellow house with a perfectly manicured lawn. I got out and cracked the window a bit then closed Lovely in the car. By the time we reached the door, Lovely was by my side. I shook my head but did not attempt to take him back to the car.

It was a long time after ringing the doorbell before the door opened and a squeaky voice just above a whisper said, “Yes?”

I cleared my throat and said as gently so I did not frighten her away, “Hello we just talked on the phone. I am Katherine Pig and this is Will. We would like to talk to you and your partner about a ghost hunt.”

Two large eyes magnified by a pair of dark horned-rimmed glasses peered out from behind the door. They scanned us from head to toe and for a moment I thought the door was going to close again, but Lovely sat down right there on the front step in the way of the door and begged. The puppy eyes must have won her over because she undid the chain and opened the door. The mouse stepped aside to let us in and then after closing the doors behind us lead the way to a brightly lit kitchen. We sat at the breakfast table and she poured us some iced tea, even putting some in a little bowl on the floor for Lovely. We sat there in silence for a long time. Finally, I told her all about the woman and her lost brooch. Will chimed in with little things now and then regarding incidents he thought might be the work of the ghost. All the while, our host merely nodded and took notes on a little notepad.


Suddenly a large grey wolf appeared in the doorway and growled. “What are they doing here?”

The mouse answered him in a quiet voice. “They want to hire us to do a job.”

The wolf crossed the room and towered over us and I felt Will tense up beside me. The Wolf took one look at us and said, “We don’t work for cops!” He turned to leave; Lovely scurried out from under the table and barked at him he spun around again. “What is that?” he demanded.

I stood and scooped Lovely protectively into my arms, growling back at him the wolf. “Sir, we are not police officers! We just wanted an expert to tell us if we had a ghost in my boyfriend’s house or not!” I brushed past him. “With all of your bad publicity lately I figured you needed the work, and I was going to give you the benefit of the doubt. I have seen the photos of that fake equipment in the papers. That stuff wouldn’t have fooled an amateur and it surely didn’t fool me.”

I threw open the front door leaving it open and stomped to the car. Will trailed behind, a look of pure bewilderment on his face. We got in the car and Will put it in gear. Lovely started barking so he hesitated.

The big wolf strode to the car and bent down to the window.

“You are one feisty lady,” he said shaking his head. “Please forgive my rudeness. The cops have interrogated us for the past week. It tends to wear on ones nerves.” I blinked at him and pouted. He put his big paws together and begged. “As a measure of good faith we will do your job. I have to admit your story has gotten my ghost hunting hairs excited.”

I nodded and we agreed to meet at Will’s house the next day. The Wolf went back into his house and Will slowly descended the driveway. After about three blocks, he pulled to the curb. He sat there with his forehead on the steering wheel for a few minutes and when he lifted it again his face was dark. I knew better than to speak so I just let him work up to whatever was on his mind.

“You lied to those people back there,” he said at last. I could not help but grin at him.

“No, I did not,” I said suppressing a giggle. “Last time I checked we are boyfriend and girlfriend.” He was not amused my by sarcasm and growled back.

          “You know what I mean.”

I blinked at him surprised at his anger. “They asked us if we were cops which, unless I am wrong, we are not! We are not even licensed detectives yet!” I gritted my teeth.

He softened and turned toward me. “I love you,” he said I slid down in the seat. Will had a way of deflating you like a balloon. He tilted my head toward him and gave me an awkward car kiss. This sent us both into a fit of giggles that lightened the mood. Then he started the car and drove Lovely and me home.


Chapter 3  

          The next day the ghost hunters arrived right on time. They surveyed the area and took measurement. When they were done we all convened at the kitchen table.

The Wolf took a deep breath. “Well it looks like most of the activity is centralized near or around the master bedroom. I think we will set up our surveillance there.” Will and I exchanged glances but said nothing. “My partner and I will set up our equipment now and then return tonight to the observations.” Will and I nodded in agreement.

So they set to work and when they were done Will called the local newspaper. A reporter came right over to do a full page interview for the evening edition about the brooch, the wayward lady who lost it and the ghost hunters who were assigned the task of solving the long dead mystery. It concluded that the family would be leaving town the next day to meet with a museum that wished to complete their collection of artefacts for the lady’s family. The local TV station was notified and they too sent a crew out to investigate. After all the excitement I borrowed one of Will’s guest rooms and fell asleep while I waited for the witching hour to be upon us.

          I woke at 8:30pm and found I was covered in a quilt. I stood and saw Will dozing noisily in a chair in the corner. I crept over to him and kissed him lightly on the cheek. He moaned and mumbled, “Ah, Ma, just a little bit longer.”

I tried not to giggle and kissed him deeply on the mouth. He started awake. When he realized who I was, he wrapped me in a hug and dragged me into his lap.

          “I could wake up to that face every morning,” he said into my ear. I nuzzled his neck and said, “It is not morning.” He laughed and kissed me again.

Someone clearing his throat in the doorway startled us. I jumped off Will’s lap and tripped over the ottoman. I was caught just in time by a pair of strong arms.

          Whoa there, little missy,” Will’s father said. He steadied me. “I didn’t mean to interrupt, but the ghost hunters are here. They want us all to meet on the front porch for a little prayer of protection before they get started.” I blushed and rushed out of the room. As I crossed the threshold into the hallway, I heard Will’s father slap him on the back.

          “You have found yourself a mighty fine Sow there, Son.  Don’t let her get away.” I paused just outside the door so I could eavesdrop on Will’s reply. There was a long pause and I thought that he wasn’t going to say anything then he cleared his throat.

          “I know. Pa, but she has a big plans and I don’t want to get in the way of her career. It is important to her.”

His father’s voice was soft when he said, “Son, she loves you. If you are meant to be together all of the pieces will fall into place. Just like a good mystery.” I heard them hug and moved on, embarrassed.

I stood sombrely on the porch as I waited for the festivities to begin. I was a little worried about Lovely but Will assured me he was just fine sleeping soundly with his sister. The small group consisted of the two ghost hunters, Will, his parents and me. We all joined hands and bowed our heads. The Mouse began quietly at first but became more excited as she went along.

          Dear Load hear our prayer,

We ask you for your guidance and protection as we seek the truth about this wayward soul. Amen.” Amen echoed around the circle and the Wolf handed out thermometers and red-lensed flashlights. He took the EMS and handed the Negative Ion detector to the Mouse. Like a flock of sheep, we all hurried into the house and down the dark hall to the master bedroom. We filed into the separate sitting room and turned on our flashlights. The room instantly looked as if it was splashed in blood. Wolf went into the master bedroom and turned on the Motion camera and the voice recorder. He stood in the other doorway of the master bedroom and we crowded into the sitting room door.

Wolf cleared his throat and said, “Spirit we are here to talk to you. Please grant us audience.”

At first, nothing happened, and then our flashlights went dim. All of the meters and equipment clicked on. I looked at my thermometer – the temperature had dropped ten degrees and I could almost see my breath. I looked at Will who looked just as worried as I felt. I looked at Will’s parents, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves. Mouse stepped forward, her negative Ion detector beeping away.

          “Hello, thank you for granting us audience. Will you speak to us?”

A voice barely above a whisper answered. “Darkness!”

I stumbled backwards and Will wrapped a protective arm around me. Wolf and Mouse moved forward, conversing on the bed. They spoke in whispered unison, “Darkness is the path to the light.”

          “No!” screamed the unknown voice from nowhere. “Darkness is the path to murder!” Then all of our flashlights went dead. I felt a scream catch in my throat but just as it was about to escape, the overhead lights came on. Will’s dad was standing by the switch.

He turned to the rest of us and said; “Now that was interesting. Do you want to explain where you got that broach from, young lady?” I swallowed hard, still unable to speak. I pointed to will’s mother who stepped forward and spoke calmly.

          “That brooch belonged to my great, great grandmother, who was suspected of being the dreaded Black Widow. She was accused of killing at least seven of her husbands in order to amass a large fortune. My mother told me that her grandmother fell in love with my great, great grandfather, her eighth husband. She did not kill him but instead lived the rest of her life with him and died giving birth to my grandmother in that very bed.” We all looked at her disbelievingly but the expression on her face told us instantly that she was telling the truth. The wolf just nodded and moved to the centre of the room where he took her left hoof in his paw. Mouse held his other paw and soon we all stood in a circle in the middle of the room. This time Wolf gave the closing prayer, his deep voice filling the room.

          “Dear Lord, hear our prayer. Thank you for helping us. Please take this soul into you bosom. She may have sinned in the past but she found love and gave her life so another might live. Please forgive her and grant her a place by your side. Amen.” Once again the Amen’s filled the room and all of a sudden there was a loud crack of thunder, followed by a flash of lightning, and then an eerie silence. We thanked the ghost hunters who packed up their equipment and left, and then Will and I sat on the back porch swing gazing up at the stars. After a while he spoke.

          “I don’t think they are thieves.”

          “Neither do I,” I replied

“Where does that leave use then?” he asked.

I thought for a moment. “The plan is the same. You and your family are going to leave town, while Lovely and I stay to stake out your house and see where the pieces fall.” He stood and paced across the yard he came back and toward over me. He gritted his teeth.

          “I don’t like it. You could get hurt.” I look at his concerned face for a moment and felt his love for me resonate from deep down in his soul.

I shook my head and said, “I can take care of myself.”

His face grew red and he grabbed me by the shoulders. “Stop trying to be a hero. You have me now, you don’t have to be a one man team anymore.”

I got mad and stood pushing him backwards.

          “Is this about my safety or your precious pride?” I screamed, and rushed into the house. I whistled to Love who came running and we left though the front door. I was on my scooter and Lovely jumped into his basket. I fixed our helmets and we peeled out in a scatter of gravel. I did not even see Will who had followed me. He covered his face and called my name but we were already gone.


Chapter 4  

          The next day I felt as if I had a hangover. I hurt all over and could not seem to get moving. Lovely tried to cheer me up but nothing worked. I dressed in a black sweat suit and gave Lovely a matching black sweater. We headed out to Will’s place. We had scouted a good spot that had a clear line of sight to the front and back of the house as well as the driveway. We set up camp and waited for nightfall. As the seconds turned into hours I tried not to think about last night’s conversation with Will. I had been foolish and wished I could take it all back. It was too late for regrets, though, because just then a grey van pulled into the driveway. It backed up to the front door and two dark clad individuals got out. My heart sank. From this distance they looked like Wolf and Mouse. I watched as they carried several cases into the house. After an hour or so they carried the cases back out. Was it my imagination or did they seem to be heavier? The pair got back into the van and drove off.

I resisted the temptation to see if they left fake equipment that matched the others. Instead, Lovely and I followed the van from a distance, and when it reached Main Street it turned left toward the warehouse district. I took the back alleys trying to keep them in sight but avoid being seen. They pulled up to a dark warehouse. The big metal door clanked open and the van disappeared into the inky blackness. I thought about radioing for backup but was worried they might be monitoring the police band.

I parked my scooter a couple of blocks away then proceeded on foot to the dark building with Lovely close at my heels. I tiptoed around the building, looking for a way in. I found a door in the alley by the dumpsters and tried the knob, but it was locked. I heard the lock click and jumped behind the dumpster. Someone came out carrying a large armful of cardboard. From a distance, this creature had looked like a mouse but up close, it was clearly a small rat. He dumped the garbage and went back inside. He forgot to lock the back door so I crept toward it. Just as I was about to touch the handle Lovely whined.

I turned to him and whispered, “You stay here and keep a look out. If anything goes wrong you go to the court house and get help.” He whined again but did as he was told. I opened the door. It creaked and I froze. When no one came running, I slipped into the darkness. I put my hoof against the wall and followed it toward a small light at the end of a hall. I stopped just outside the door when I heard voices.

          “Well I really think we scored this time,” voice one said.

          “Yeah man!” the second voice concurred. And then the worst thing in the world happened: I sneezed.

          “What was that?” voice two whispered.

          “You blockhead, did you forget to lock the back door again?” voice one yelled.

I heard footsteps coming my way so I turned around and headed back the way I had come. Just as I was about to make a clean getaway someone gruffly grabbed by arm.

          “Go!” was all I could get out before I was silenced. I thought I heard Lovely’s nails click away on the pavement as my captor dragged me back toward the door.

He threw me into a chair and zip-tied me to it. I tried not to show any fear as the two glared at me. The one I thought was a wolf stepped forward out of the shadows and I realized he was not a wolf but a coyote. I squinted at them both in the dim light and had a sinking suspicion that I knew them from somewhere. Then I remembered where I had seen their faces before and I was afraid. They were both at the top of the ten most wanted boards at the courthouse. These were not your every day petty thieves, they were hardcore criminals. I wished I had not been so rude to Will because I knew that since I had seen their faces there was little hope of getting out of this alive.

          “What should we do with her, boss?” the rat asked.

          “We will dispose of her with the rest of the trash,” the coyote said.

I was scared and when I get scared my mouth starts running away on its own. I looked them both in the eyes and said with as much courage as I could muster, “You know that brooch you stole is cursed don’t you? I just came here to warn you. Lady Black Widow haunts those who possess her poison brooch.”

A large crash sounded from somewhere in the building.

          “Go check that out!” the coyote barked to the rat.

          “Why me?” the rat whined. The coyote kicked him and he ran out of the door in the direction of the noise.

I smiled despite my fear. “She is here!”

          “Shut up!” he said and I could see the doubt and fear that flashed across his face.

I was on a roll, so I kept going. “Did you know that she is suspected of killing seven husbands? She murdered them for their wealth and from what I have heard you two are the richest bachelors around.” He raised his paw to backhand me but there was a loud cry of alarm from Rat. “Well she has him in her clutches. You better go and investigate.”

Coyote looked from me to the door. Finally, a look of worry crossed his face and he rushed out of the room. The back door crash inward and voices cried out. “Freeze! Police!” I breathed a sigh of relief when heard Lovely barking and Will’s voice calling my name.

          Here!” I called out. Will and Lovely burst into the room. Lovely jumped into my lap and started licking me all over. Will kept asking if I was all right. Finally, I shouted at them. “I would be a lot better if you two would stop gushing over me and get me out of this chair.”

Will’s pocketknife clicked down and I was free. Bravely I tried to stand but my legs refused to work and I slid back into the chair. Will half supported, half carried me out to his car. Somewhere in a tunnel, I heard my name being called and Will telling whoever it was that they would have to wait to talk to me. Before I knew it, I was standing in my apartment. Will lead me to my room then stood guard outside the door while I blindly showered and changed into warm pajamas. He tucked me into bed and brought me a steaming cup of tea. I tried to drink but I was so shaky that I could not get it to my laps. Will took the cup from me and held it for me.

          “My scooter?” I asked.

          “Don’t worry, it is being taken care of,” he assured me. 

As the warmth of the tea filled me and the adrenalin started to wear off I grew drowsy and struggled to speak. “Will,” I breathed and closed my eyes for a second.

He patted my cheek and said, “Shush! Do not try and talk.”

I shook my head and said, “I am so sorry...” Then I was asleep.

          When I awoke Will and Lovely were dozing on a loveseat in my room. I tried to get up but my head started pounding and I moaned. Will sprang up and Lovely did a swan dive across the room. Luckily he landed on his feet. He bounded onto the bed and attentively licked me. Will disappeared and came back with a tray of food. My stomach growled and I tried to sit up again. This time Will assisted me and I made it to a sitting position. I ate slowly, nibbling at the food and trying to assess the situation; from the light level peeking in from behind the curtain, I figured it was after noon. I tried to ask but found my throat parched. I took a long refreshing drink.

When I could talk I asked, “What time is it?”

          “It is two o’clock on Friday,” Will whispered and took a step backwards. I closed my eyes and nodded. Then the realization hit me and my eyelids flapped open.

          “Friday!” I said sitting up fully, spilling my drink on the tray. Lovely gladly cleaned it up.

          “Katherine, please calm down you had a traumatic experience,” Will tried to reassure me. He took the tray and set it on the nightstand, knowing I was about to explode.

          “I have been asleep for three days!” I shouted and threw back the covers. I stormed over to the window and looked out; the light hurt my eyes so I spun back around to face Will again. When I did, I noticed for the first time what I was wearing. I had on one blue sock, one red sock, my purple pajama top and my yellow pajama bottoms. I looked as if I had dressed myself in the dark. I let out a frustrated scream and shushed the boys out of the room. Later when I had showered and dressed properly I went out into the living room where I found my men sleeping on the couch. I covered them with a blanket and went into my office. I opened my filing cabinet and took out the file on the Ghost Hunting Case.


 

Katherine Pig Case 1 – Haunted House Thieves

-Interview Wolf and Mouse, found out they were not the thieves

-Real thieves were a coyote and a rat looked like a mouse and wolf from a distance

-Traced criminals to a building where I was taken hostage.

Just then, I realized I had no idea how this ended. I peeked out the office door but Will and Lovely were still sound asleep. I closed the door and went back to my desk. I dialled my teacher’s number and braced myself for a stern lecture. When he finally answered, he sounded tired.

          “Hello,” was all he said.

          “Hello, Sir, this is –” I began

          “Oh, Katherine!” he said, sounding a little bit more awake. “Are you feeling any better? You had us all worried sick.”

I smiled at his concern. “Yes, Sir, I am much better now. In fact I was just trying to wrap up my notes on this case and realized I have no idea what happened after I was rescued.”

He laughed. “There is my Katherine, always on duty. Ok I will tell you. First of all, that dog of yours is crazy. He nearly pulled me all the way to the warehouse by my pant cuff. If Will had not driven by just as we were leaving the building he might have. Secondly, I do not know what you said to those thieves but they confessed to everything they had ever done, they kept babbling on about some curse. They both warned us to give up our wealth and heed the warning of the Pig. I assume they meant you.” I laughed but said nothing so he sighed and said, “Needless to say you passed my class. The ceremony is at noon tomorrow at the courthouse .I hope to see you three there.”

          “Three?” I questioned.

          “Yes, that dog of yours is going to be awarded a medal of valour by the mayor. He is also going to be named an official police dog so that he can be your partner in Pumpkin Ville. You got the job, by the way. Professor De hippo said you are more than qualified for it.” My heart did a little flip flop and I stared sadly at the closed door. “Well I better let you get some rest.  Bye for now, see you tomorrow at the ceremony.”

The line clicked and I put the receiver on the cradle.  I heard Will and Lovely getting up so I finished up my report and put it back into the file cabinet.


 

Chapter 5  

When I exited my office Will rose and crossed the room toward me. He wrapped me in a big hug. After a moment, he released me enough to give me a long deep kiss. I was so happy. I wished I could remain there in that moment forever but Will reluctantly pulled away.

          “I better get home.”

I pulled his face to mine again and gave him a quick kiss.” I am so sorry for what I said to you before. Thank you for rescuing me.”

Will looked at me like he was about to cry but he just swallowed hard and said. “I love you Katherine. I will pick you up to go to the ceremony tomorrow.” With that, he was gone. I felt a foreboding feeling fall over me and I shivered. After Lovely was fed and walked, we went to bed.

           The next day Lovely and I dressed in matching outfits and we were ready to go when Will rang our bell. He ignored me and started gushing over Lovely.

          “What do we have here?” He asked. Squatting down he scratched Lovely under the chin and said, “What a handsome gentlemen you are in the little bowtie.”

I cleared my throat. “Should I leave you two alone?”

Will stood to his full height and towered over me. I had almost forgotten how imposing he could be when he wanted to. He looked me over from head to tail and said. “I guess you will do!”

I got mad and decked him in the shoulder. He did not flinch but I thought I saw him exchange a wink with Lovely before he produced something from out of nowhere. There in a little box was a purple Iris corsage. I squealed and he could not help himself. He wrapped me in his arms and whispered in my ear, “You look absolutely beautiful.”

He released me and pinned the flower on my lapel. Then arm in arm we left the building. The first thing I noticed was that he had washed his car and cleaned the interior until it glistened. We drove in silence to the courthouse. He parked the car and we walked around back to where the ceremony was being held. The crowd that had been a buzz of noise suddenly went silent as we approached. Will and I stopped and Lovely looked from us to the crowed expectantly. As if on cue the entire crowd started clapping, steadily getting louder as Will put his arm around my waist and led us toward our seats. I giggled, feeling a little like a princess being paraded under a bridge of swords. The applause continued until my teacher rapped on the podium and asked everyone to please be seated.

          After that, the ceremony continued at a slow but steady pace. My class all filed one at a time across the platform to receive our diplomas. Then the mayor lumbered to the stage and began her speech.

        


  “I, mayor Meow Kittae Atari, am humbled and honoured to welcome a group of fine detectives to this noble profession. It is not every day valour is rewarded. Most of the time your good deeds go unnoticed by the public. I stand before you today to honour a group of individuals who went beyond the call of duty and brought two ruthless criminals to justice.” A large cheer from the crowd interrupted her. She waited patiently until it was quiet again before continuing.

          “I would now like William Von Piggy, Katherine Pig and Lovely the Chihuahua to come forward.” Will lead the way as we proceeded down the aisle toward the front. We all stood facing the audience and the mayor came over and hung medals around each of our necks. She then went back to the podium and said, “By the power granted to me by this great town I hereby declare Lovely an official Police Dog.” Lovely sat on his haunches so the medal hung down his chest and grinned proudly at the audience.

Once more, they roared into a thunderous applause and with that the festivities were over. Will drove me to his house where there was a small family graduation party. After dinner, we took our dessert in the drawing room.

Will turned to me took a deep breath and said, “Katherine Anne Pig--” Then the phone rang and Mrs. Von Piggy rose to answer it. After a period of eerie silence there was a loud shriek and then a crash. We all rushed to see what had happened. Mrs. Von Piggy lay sprawled on the floor in a mess of an overturned flower vase. I quickly bent down and felt for her pulse.

I turned to Will. “She is alive! I think she just fainted.” We were suddenly startled by the receiver, which started talking as it swung on the end of its cord.

          “Hello is anyone still there? Are you OK?” Will snatched it up and spoke into it. He went pale and I was sure he was going to join his mother on the floor. He thanked the caller and slammed down the receiver and then rushed out of the room and I trailed behind. He hurried down the hallway to his bedroom and started throwing random clothes into a duffel bag. Then he went into the bathroom and came out clad head to toe in leather, carrying a toothbrush. I stepped between him and the bed blocking his path, but he just stepped wide and went around me.

I put my hand on my hip and demanded. “Will, what is going on?”

He ignored me, threw the toothbrush in his bag then zipped it up and ran out of the room at top speed. Lovely joined me and we continued to blindly follow him. He went into the garage where he threw the clothes into the saddlebag of his motorcycle and started looking for his helmet. I spotted it on a workbench not far from us and I snatched it before he could, holding it for ransom. For the first time since he hung up the phone, he really looked at me. To my surprise, he burst into tears. I held him in my arms.

When he was able to speak, he spoke in a voice barely above a whisper. “Oh, Katherine!” was all he could say before he choked up. I just stood there holding him tightly. Finally, he stopped crying. He took me by the shoulders and said sternly, “Take that job in Pumpkin Ville!” I blinked at him but said nothing. He continued, his sadness now replaced with anger. “My brother is an undercover cop in the city and he has been investigating a biker gang there. Last night he failed to report in. The local precinct fears the worst. I am going to go and see if I can rescue him.” He stopped talking and reached for his helmet. I was so stunned that I gave it to him without protest. He took it over to his bike then turned and looked at me standing there with my mouth hanging open. He rushed over to me and swooped me up in his strong arms. He kissed me like I have never been kissed before.

          “I love you, Katherine,” he growled into my ear. Then he broke off and went back to his bike. I was stunned again until I realized I had no way of getting home.

          “Hey wait a minute,” I demanded “If you ride off like a handsome knight in black leather, how am I going to get home?” He grinned and patted the seat of his motorcycle. I rolled my eyes and grabbed an extra helmet off the bench. Lovely jumped up on the gas tank and put his front paws on the handlebars. Just then, Sasha Sarah came running out. She hugged Will tightly around one of his legs. I left them alone and went inside to get my purse. I passed the master bedroom where Mrs. Von Piggy laid on the big bed, Mr. Von Piggy pacing back and forth at the foot. I grabbed my purse off the table by the phone and fixed the still dishevelled vase. Then I went back to the garage where I heard Will saying to his sister:

          “I am counting on you to be a big brave girl. It is up to you to take care of Ma and Pa for me. Can you do that?” Sasha nodded, wiped away her tears, and rushed back into the house. I got Lovely’s little helmet out of my purse then put on my own. We mounted the bike and the three of us rode out of the garage into the sunset. Later that night I cried myself to sleep knowing that I may never see Will again. I knew that tomorrow I would accept the job in Pumpkin Ville and drown my sorrows in new adventures.


Acknowledgments

 

I want to thank my husband for being who you are, my lovable

“idea man,” and putting up with my writing even when it gets in the way.

 

I want to thank my children for always wanting me to write more. You are my biggest fans.

 

My editor, Krista Walsh AKA The Ravens Quill, who takes time away from her own writing to whip my work into shape. I thank you so much; without you, this would never have been possible!

 

To the members of my online writer’s groups you are a lifeline. I thank you for pulling me out when I was drowning.

 

To Devin O'Branagan, owner of the www.devinwrites.com writer's forum and my friend, thank you for giving me the courage to write again.

 

To Milton Burton for believing in me when no one else did and for defending my honor like a good southern gentlemen. You will be missed forever!

To my illustrator, thank you for breathing color and life into my creation.



* Copyright © 2012 by Sally A. Wolf

All rights reserved. No part of this book shall be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means: electronic, mechanical, magnetic, photographic, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, or otherwise be copied for public or private use without prior written permission.

 

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