Magee Goes Trick or Treat – Chapter Five

Good morning! I am a couple days late posting, please forgive? Enjoy! You guys this gets curiouser and curiouser, and I am enjoying it much. Has anyone solved the mystery?

Stephen Halpert

 

Magee Goes Trick or Treat

Chapter 5

 

Anyway you look at it sniffing cold dusty floors is no fun. I swept my nose slowly over the cold stone.

“Let Sherlock do his thing,” Chief Mallory said. “I watched him work in that attic at the rest home. I like how he operates.”

Sippi smiled. “Coming from you Chief that’s quite a compliment.” 

It was late. We were in the basement of a deserted warehouse just outside town.  I smelled unfriendly rats scurrying into the dark. Too creepy! Sippi unhooked my leash. This was not what I wanted to be doing. 

I really don’t mean to complain but why can’t bodies like that be found during daylight hours? It’s no fun having to do this at night while other dogs are home asleep or curled up with a bone?

But I know, I’m a cop! That makes everything different. Cops understand that great responsibility goes with wearing the uniform. Police dogs are public servants first not house pets. 

Sippi sensed my lack of enthusiasm. She tossed me another smoked turkey strip. “I don’t blame you Magee; just go sniff and get it done.” I chewed my treat, yawned and started to pay attention.

Medics put the headless woman into a body bag. They nodded to Mallory and left. 

“Feels to me like the perpetrator’s someone from around here,” he told Sippi. Who’d even know about this place? It’s been deserted for years.”

“Decapitation’s not easy,” Sippi said. “Takes a lot of hate to chop off someone’s head.

Mallory mused. “Wasn’t some mafia hood decapitated in The Godfather?”

“Any of that Headless Horsemen gang still around?” Sippi asked.

Mallory shrugged. “That’s all ancient town history. I’ll check again with Charley Smiles but as I understand it, after the war they mostly drifted off to California.”

Something didn’t sniff right. I yipped, crouched down and stuck my nose as far as I could under an abandoned freezer. I wanted to come up with something. I knew that in big cases like this unearthing clues resulted in extra treats.  I wedged my paw underneath but whatever it was, was out of reach.

Mallory came over. “What’s under there Sherlock?” From his jacket he took a pointer, opened it up fully and swept it underneath the freezer. What rolled out was small gold ring.

 “Looks like a wedding ring,” Sippi said. “The plot thickens.”

Using his pointer he pushed it into an evidence bag. ” Nice work Magee.” He bent over and petted me. I looked expectantly at Sippi.

 “Later Magee. When we’re finished. You’ve already had two treats since supper and I don’t want you getting fat.”

 Mallory shined his light toward the back wall, and I could hear the rats scurrying.

He looked at Sippi.” Those things you give him smell like garbage.”

“It’s his treat,” Sippi sounded indignant. “I think they smell like cigars.”

He ignored that. “What if you didn’t? Isn’t sniffing part of his job?

“Chief Mallory, Treats are for dogs like pay raises are for people ” She smiled.”Maybe if everyone at the station got a pay raise, folks might work a little harder.”

Something scurried along the back wall. I scampered closer. It was what I had feared running into the most — a huge black rat with what looked like blood dripping from its mouth. I looked at it hard, got ready to scamper backward if necessary and barked. It hissed, darting at me. I barked louder. I could see something bloody clenched in its teeth.

“What is it Magee? What do you see?” Sippi aimed her flashlight into the black rat’s eyes. It made a piercing noise.  

“Pick up Magee, Bopp. Move back behind me,” Mallory’s voice was sharp.

She reached for me and backed up.  He aimed his pistol and fired once. The sound reverberated against the concrete walls. A gaping hole appeared in the rat’s body. It convulsed and died.

 Mallory put on his gloves, bent down and used his pointer to pry open its mouth. A blood drenched finger fell on the floor. Sippi got it all into the bag.

“Good work Sherlock. We’ll see if the finger fits the hand and if the ring fits the finger.”

Sippi frowned. “I wonder how that body got dumped here.”

“Don’t know. Our night paroles are efficient.”

I yawned, waiting patiently for my treat and to leave. Sippi picked me up and petted me. “Good job, Magee,” she said as she fed me another turkey strip. “Time to go back home.”

The next morning Dick Pride drove up Wild Witch Hill. Ahead were twisted brambles. Fallen tree branches were strewn across the narrowing dirt road making further driving impossible.  He got out and started climbing. After almost five minutes he wondered if he were wasting his time.

Then ahead maybe fifty yards  he saw the cabin. Could it belong to one of the gang? He remembered Charley mentioning some of them might still be here in town. The tumbledown structure surrounded with trash was practically obscured by overgrown foliage and rotted branches. Near it was a rusted truck. He wondered if it still ran. Beside that was a tarp underneath which was a motorcycle. To Pride it looked old. That’s when he first sensed he was being watched.

“Hello.  Anyone home? I’m from the newspaper and need your help. Can we talk.”

His request was greeted by two gunshots.

He cringed. “Please don’t shoot. I’m on your side. I just want to talk to Grace Divine if she’s still here, and show her a picture.”

He thought he saw a small man with a white ponytail disappear behind the cabin.

Again he yelled. “I’m unarmed, Charley Smiles said Grace Divine might still be here. He’s my boss. He told me to find her.”

A slender old woman in a faded plaid shirt, jeans and boots, holding onto a rifle came around the structure. She pointed the rifle at him.  “Go away,” she yelled.  “Private property. Go away or I’ll shoot.”

“Ok I promise I will but I need to show you a picture first. Please!”

“Picture of what?”

“A woman. Cops say she’s dead. I’m trying to find out more, help identify the body.”

She moved closer. She was small and wiry. Her squinty black eyes reflected hardship and pain. Her bright white hair was tied back in a straggly ponytail. “What picture?”

He held it out. She took it and stared. Tears formed in her eyes. “That’s Evie. Evie Comington. Haven’t seen her in these parts for longer than I can remember. But that’s her. A woman’s eyes remain the same for a lifetime. Who you?”

“Dick Pride, I work for Charley at the paper. He said to look for Grace Divine. Is that you?”

(to be continued)

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