Adventures of Cookie the Stray, Chapter 18

Updated on February 3, 2018
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Peg Cole is a self-published author who writes true and fiction stories and book reviews, along with nostalgia and how-to articles.

Storm clouds gathering
Storm clouds gathering | Source

Rusty followed the patrol cars to a road they told him would lead to Eleanor’s street. The patrolman in the first car slowed and pointed out his window before they continued on. He turned and followed the road for about ten miles until he reached a smattering of houses that soon multiplied into a maze of narrow streets.

Double checking the address, he pulled into a semi-circular driveway that stretched to the front of the two-story house. A sedan that might have been new in the sixties was parked head first on one side of the Victorian structure. Eleanor sat in her favorite chair at the bay window and stood up when she saw the car pull in.

Road to nowhere
Road to nowhere

“You guys wait right here for a minute,” he said to the dogs. “I need to ask if it’s okay before I let you out.” Queenie gave him an urgent stare and glanced back at the two pups in the box behind her seat. “I’ll be back as quick as I can.”

The wind was picking up speed, whipping the trees around as the clouds rolled in. Stretching across the west horizon, an ominous looking Cumulonimbus cloud threatened to drop a load of rain on the neighborhood within a short time. Rusty hopped out, jaunted up the stairs at the front of the wrap-around porch and rang the bell. Eleanor was already standing at the open door.

Clouds forming before a storm
Clouds forming before a storm | Source

“You’re Rusty, aren’t you?” He nodded and offered his hand as she pushed open the screen door. She took it, flipped it palm side up and studied his hand carefully. “I can see you’re used to hard work. Please, come on inside.”

“Ma’am, if you don’t mind too much, I’m caring for a friend’s dogs and they need to make a quick visit to the grass. I’ll clean up any of their messes,” he promised, making an X across his chest with a finger.

“Well, I don’t mind at all,” she told him. “My late husband, William, had a dog he absolutely adored.” Her face grew sad with the memory. “When that dog got lost it nearly killed him. He looked everywhere and never found it. I’m sure that’s what led to his heart attack and nobody can convince me otherwise.” She lifted her chin and gave a quick nod to affirm her stand, then, peeked across the porch and into the windows of his car.

“Let them take care of their needs, then, bring them on in. My daughter won’t mind. You certainly can’t leave them in the car with this storm heading our way.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said. She retreated inside as Rusty ran back to the car. After fumbling with Queenie’s leash and lifting the puppies out of their box, the group went to the grass at the side yard. Business done, he carried the pups up the porch steps with Queenie leading the way knowing exactly where she was headed. Eleanor heard a light tapping at the front door and called out.

“Come on in. I’m back here in the kitchen.”

He followed the sound of her voice through the living room with its vaulted ceiling and into the formal dining room. The antique mahogany table, covered in a crocheted white tablecloth, held six straight back chairs with captain’s chairs on either end of the oval. At the rear of the dining room was an arched opening leading to a cozy eat-in kitchen with a window seat. He noticed an open book face down on the cushion with a knitted Afghan next to it. Something in the oven filled the air with the scent of cinnamon and spices.

Coffee with Cream
Coffee with Cream

Eleanor was at the sink filling a kettle with fresh water. She set it on the stove and lit the burner with a match she struck on a holder hanging on the wall. The stenciling on the side of the match holder was a familiar design Rusty remembered from his childhood. He had a moment of déjà vu of his mother doing the same thing.

“Are you sure about bringing the dogs in here?” Rusty asked. She pulled a sturdy mug from the cabinet for Rusty and a delicate China cup for herself and set them on a tray that held a teapot, cream and sugar and two teaspoons.

“Of course,” she answered. “What’s a house without trusted companions? Please make yourself comfortable at the table.” She pointed to a chrome and Formica dinette set with four chairs and a yellow checked tablecloth with matching placemats. She took a chair in her customary place where she could see the stove.

Queenie immediately befriended the frail senior and curled up at Eleanor’s feet. The puppies settled down on a dog cushion in the corner that looked clean but faded.

“That belonged to Roscoe,” Eleanor told them. “I never had the heart to get rid of it after he disappeared.” The kettle whistled and she poured water into the teapot and returned to her place. As she spooned sugar into her cup she said, “Now, let’s talk about the farm, shall we?”

~~~~

At the precinct, Connie was taken to a small interrogation room. She glanced around at the battered walls noting the mirrored window through which she knew she was being watched. The detective left her sitting there after locking the door behind him. He returned a few minutes later with two steaming cups of coffee and sat down in the chair across from her.

“Ma’am,” he drawled, “I need you to tell me where you’ve been for the past three days.”

“Am I being charged with something?” she asked.

“Well, at the moment, you’ve been arrested for carrying a concealed weapon and for transporting merchandise that was reported stolen.” Her eyes grew wide.

She began telling him about leaving the house days earlier, taking the dogs and being on the road for several days.

“We stayed at a different motel every night since Saturday,” she said.

“Can anyone verify your whereabouts during the afternoon on Saturday?”

“Not unless the clerk at the convenience store remembers me.” Her head dropped remembering the vacant stare of the clerk where she filled up and bought snacks. “Wait a minute,” she said “I think I kept the receipts.” He passed her the purse which had already been searched. She sifted through the contents and pulled out a couple of crumpled receipts which she handed across the table.

“What about the gun?” the detective asked.

“That’s not mine,” she said. He restrained the urge to roll his eyes. He'd heard that same line from nearly every criminal he’d ever arrested.

“So whose gun is it? And how did you come to have it?” She squirmed in her chair for a moment hoping he would believe her story about finding it in her suitcase.

~~~~

The Beechcraft twin engine craft started with a turn of the switch, the propellers starting slowly at first, then, picking up speed. Jeb chose a seat closest to the pilot where he could watch out of the front of the cockpit or from the portal next to his chair. He felt the plane lurch forward as a man in overalls pulled the chocks from under the wheels.

The pilot taxied to the far end of the runway and turned the plane into the wind to make the run. The noise inside the plane grew louder as he revved the engines and the plane taxied faster and faster toward takeoff.

© 2018 Peg Cole

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    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 2 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thanks so much for saying that, Peggy. I hope you're right when it comes to the published version. :)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      Your story Peg certainly makes one wish to keep reading from one chapter to the next. So glad the dogs are safe inside the house with Rusty and Eleanor.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 4 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thank you, Gypsy. Nice to have you along for the journey. See you at the farm.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 weeks ago from Riga, Latvia

      Your stories always take me along on the journey. Looking forward to more.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Frank, Your kind words have really made my day. Thank you for saying that. I hope you will like the way it all turns out in the end. I do appreciate you coming by.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 5 weeks ago from Shelton

      Peg Cole... I really think that this is the most absorbing work of fiction I have read in a long time.. I can't believe that I am craving for more ...

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Dora, Thanks for thinking about Connie in the interrogation room and for liking Eleanor. She will do what it takes to help out the dogs along with Rusty. I'm always glad to see your name and know you've dropped by.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Mike, I must've been missing all those visits to the Emerald Wells Cafe with coffee and fresh pastries when I wrote this one. Thanks for noticing the contrast on the beverage offerings. Somehow I hadn't seen it. It often takes a pair of fresh eyes to observe things. :)

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Linda Crampton! Thanks for liking the chapters of Adventures of Cookie the Stray. I truly appreciate your kind words and ongoing visits. I do think that Eleanor is someone you would like to know. Thanks for saying that.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Based on Elenor's kindness to the dogs, she seems to be a kind person. God call to leave Connie in the interrogation room for a while. I'm not forgetting about her.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 5 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Peg - I see you continue to weave the tapestry of your characters lives. I liked the contrast of coffee in the kitchen and coffee at the precinct.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Vina, what a pleasant surprise to see your comment out here on HubPages. Thanks so much for taking the time to sign in and leave such a nice message. I'm glad you're enjoying the story!

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Dear Bill, I appreciate your thoughtful insight into writers and your visits to this series. Thank you so much.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Every chapter of your story—including this one—has been interesting, Peg. Eleanor sounds like a character that I'd like to meet. I'm looking forward to learning more about her.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello William, Nice of you to tell me. I don't mind if you say that many more times! It is always inspiring and encouraging to hear it. Thank you and thanks for sticking with the story.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Verlie, I love your recap of the kitchen and cinnamon buns is a good guess. I was thinking about apple pie or snickerdoodles but they all sound good to me. Baking makes the house smell so delightful. Eleanor is a kindly sort who will play a key role in future chapters so I'm truly glad you liked her.

      Loved your pun - up in the air...LOL

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      Vina Strayhorn 5 weeks ago

      Peggy I got so involved. I wanted to read more. Can't wait for more.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Shyron, Glad to know you're still following the story and care about the dogs and the characters. Thanks so much for your loyal readership. It's always nice to see you here. Blessings to you dear one.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Jackie, your words are always music to my ears. Thank you.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Oh Maria, I love it. "Throwing caution to the wind." Perfect way to describe it. He certainly is. And we'll soon see what the wind blows in.

      I'm glad you like Eleanor and her kitchen. I almost threw in some doilies. Hah hah. But the apple pie seemed like enough with the other vintage stuff.

      Thanks for coming by on this crisp Saturday morning to read this chapter. The tale is soon drawing to a close.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      This was a treat for the senses. As I've said often, there are many writers who just don't seem to understand the fact that we all share senses, and a writer can make a scene come alive by describing what the senses detect....you do this very well.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Flourish, Yes, I do, too. It's been a long journey for all involved. The dogs need a place to settle down and so do the people. Thanks for coming by.

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      William Kovacic 5 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I've probably said it before, but I'll say it again - your description is great. I can picture exactly what you're describing. Of course, that makes the story more real and draws me in. Thanks, Peg!

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 5 weeks ago from Canada

      Ah yes Peg. The warmth of Eleanora's kitchen, with the aroma of fresh baked (let me guess) cinnamon buns wafting from the oven, tea, and a bed for the puppies, what a shelter from the storm that is brewing. And coffee at the precinct. What a perfect early morning read. I'm not too worried about Connie. Jeb is in for the ride of his life. You've left us up in the air again, good work.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 5 weeks ago from Texas

      Beautiful story, I am with Jackie not wanting this to chapter to end I also want to know more.

      I am glad that Rusty came to the rescue of the dogs and the pups felt at home.

      I sure hope Jeb gets his just deserts.

      Blessings my dear friend, wonderful story.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 weeks ago from The Beautiful South

      I got to the bottom with a feeling of "More, more, more! I never like your stories coming to a stop!

      Just love this!

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 5 weeks ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Eleanor is a perfect name choice for this gracious, pooch-loving lady. Love how the pups went right to the dog bed.

      Jeb is literally throwing caution to the wind...here's hoping this trip helps him 'meet his match'.

      All caught up and officially impatient for the next chapter ;)

      Love you and have a peaceful weekend, Maria

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 5 weeks ago from USA

      She sure seems like a nice enough lady. I hope they’re on their way to safety.

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