It seemed pretty obvious to continue the saga of the missing bobcat from last week.
Catch that Cat – Part 2
By the time we'd thoroughly searched my grandparents' farmstead and concluded their cat was nowhere to be found, I was really beginning to regret having agreed to help these people find their cat. Not just my growing discomfort about their reassurances that it was in fact a domestic cat bred to look like a bobcat, but the feeling that I had gotten suckered into a fool's errand, and couldn't figure out any polite way to bow out.
We'd stopped at the Morris place, but no one was home. I could tell the Morrises were still living there because the greenhouse was still there. Their son had been an avid gardener and even had a little side business selling plants.
I looked around a little, but I felt uncomfortable about making too extensive a search on someone else's property without their permission. Looking around my grandparents' farmstead was different, because that was family. Even if the Daltons had already moved in, being friends with their daughter wasn't the same.
Since there was no obvious evidence that their missing cat had been there, there was nothing to do but head on down Jamesburg Road. One of the things I really noticed was just how many more houses there were, compared to the last time I'd driven by for old time's sake. Some of them brought back memories of the bus stopping to pick up kids, but others must've been torn down when I was so young that I had no memories of them.
However, I recognized the Pangborne place as soon as I saw it. Mr. and Mrs. Pangborne had been friends of my grandparents for years, and while Mr. Pangborne had his hobby-horses about certain subjects, his family had certainly helped mine out many times.
Their place had always had a cluttered look, mostly because Mr. Pangborne had a tendency to start projects and never go anywhere with them, like the brick building he'd built when he thought he was going to start a blacksmith shop. As if all the neighbors were going to come out here to get their stuff fixed instead of going in to the established blacksmith shop in Henning.
Still, it made sense to at least ask them if they'd seen the missing cat. Especially one as distinctive in appearance, and with all the potential hiding place.
Except as soon as I got out of the car, I knew I'd managed to step right into a mess. A couple of men in overalls were in the midst of installing a door on one of the outbuildings, and Mrs. Pangborne was yelling at them. Something about there not being a door there for years, and what in Heaven's name were they doing putting one there now?
The older of the two workmen spread his hands in a placatory gesture. "Hey, lady, we're just doing what the boss told us."
"What boss? Who told you to come on our property and go installing a door without so much as a by-your-leave? We're not paying for it, that's for certain."
The workmen kept insisting they'd been sent here to put in the door. Yes, they had a work order. It was in their truck, right over there, and if she'd just come over with them, they'd show her.
For an uneasy moment I wondered if Mr. Pangborne would come roaring out of the house and jump into the fray. This was just the sort of situation that was pretty much guaranteed to get him going on about certain groups of people that he had a real animus toward, and right now I really didn't want to get a ringside seat on that rant.
On the other hand, that door had me really curious. The work truck had no company logo on it, which made me even more curious. Just who had sent them here, and why?
The door looked ordinary enough at first glance. Nothing fancy like you'd use as the front door of a house. Just an ordinary wooden door that you might put on a barn or other outbuilding.
My curiosity got the better of me, and I opened it. To my astonishment, it opened onto the wall, as if the workmen had just nailed the entire doorframe onto the building without even cutting an opening.
Yet there was none of the weirdness that I'd sensed when I'd encountered a secret door leading into the hidden world beneath the mundane world. Unless it was supposed to be some other kind of portal, or would only activate when their mysterious boss was ready.
I also got a flash fiction story written for this week's Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Writing Challenge. My effort was one of my less inspired ones, another look at the early years of the Chongu Empire on Earth.
As usual, you can participate in next week's Odd Prompts writing challenge by sending your prompt to email@example.com, or just checking out the spare prompts to see if anything strikes your fancy.
And there'll be a new picture and word prompt on Saturday for Indies Unlimited.
In the meantime, keep writing!