Chapter Eight

There was no dilly-dallying around the gate this time.  After the confrontation with Nate, Mommy was determined to get to the bottom of this glowing orb thing, and let me tell you, I was not happy about it.

Don’t misunderstand me, I am just as curious as the next dog, but truthfully,  I wanted no part in unraveling some spooky mystery.  Nate had been right about one thing.  I am terrified of everything.  It has been that way my whole life.  I would like to say it all had to do with being abandoned as a puppy.  Maybe that was it, maybe it wasn’t.  I am not sure I will ever know for sure, but what I do know is that I don’t want to feel this way anymore.  The problem is, I just can’t help myself.  If they made a magic pill to cure me of my pantaphobia, I would take it in a heartbeat. 

While I was letting these thoughts ruminate in my head mommy had pushed forward, leaving Rapi and me no real choice but to follow her into what at one time was the garden. 

The place was already creepy, but after what we all saw last night, it was what Rapi and I considered horrifying.  If we were going to do this, I was going to make sure all the bases were covered, so I ran back to the gate and made sure that it was left propped open.  You never know when an unexpected escape will be necessary.

We had been living here for a little over a week and It was the first time either Rapi or I had been back here.  It’s not that we didn’t know this place existed.  No, we knew.  The thing is, we had no desire to be consumed by some dog or cat-eating plant that might dwell in here. 

Mommy waded into the jungle-like backyard cautiously. Each step was an adventure and felt treacherous.   With my stomach riding a roller coaster, I hugged Mommy’s backside as close as I could.  The way the limbs from the overgrown shrubs reached out and clutched at us like ghostly claws left my teeth chattering. Pictures began to form in my brain of monsters lurking inside, patiently waiting for some unsuspecting fool to pass close enough to grab.  Once we were in their clutches they would drag us inside the tall grass so that they could munch on our bones and feast on our brains.  I found myself gasping for breath thinking about it. 

The three of us wound our way along the narrowed stone pathway.  My nose scrunched up with each breath, trying to compensate for the stench of death in the air.  It wasn’t just the foliage that was putting out the rancid aroma either.  We had come across a couple of deceased rodents and the skeleton of what looked like a large crow.  Onward we crept through the maze of greenery until we reached a sharp bend in the overgrown stone walkway.  Mommy paused for a moment, so I took the opportunity to lean out and peek around her hip to see what lie ahead. 

A jolt of electricity shot through my body culminating in an ear-splitting shriek.  No wonder she had stopped, we had come face to face with a head rising from the bushes.

“Monster,” I howled, losing control of my bladder and tucking my tail between my legs.

Bile rose in my throat at the sight of the hideous creature.  It stood its ground.  Unwavering in its determination, it stared me down with its cold dead eyes.  Its smooth blue-white skin gleamed in the sunlight.  Most disturbing was the sinister grin on the monster’s face.


I had changed my mind.  Now that I had a better look at the beast, I was sure it was not a living monster.  No, the pale of death about it spoke to me saying … living dead.

Mommy spun around to face me. She wore a look on her face that I was all too familiar with. I opened my mouth to say something but thought better of it when I caught sight of her eyes.

“Calm down, Cindee, it’s only a statue,” she admonished me with a scowl.

I glanced around then returned my gaze to the creature. Upon further examination, I concluded she was right.  No zombie, only a statue.  My face began to flush with the heat of embarrassment.

“Sorry,” I mumbled.

She reached down and lovingly mussed my hair, then turned and led us deeper into the endless backyard.

“It could have been a monster,” the big orange cat whispered from behind me.

The sound of compassion in his voice began to work its magic, soothing my frayed nerves. It felt good that we were talking again, but I still needed to find some time to apologize to him. I wanted things to be completely right between us again.

Mommy halted our march to look back towards the house through squinted eyes. Curious as I am, I did my best to follow her sightline.  It wasn’t easy because the sun was peeking at us from just over the rise of the roof.  I tried my best to ignore the burning sensation in my retinas but couldn’t.  Turning away, I blinked away the tears until my furry orange friend came into focus. 

“What is she looking at, Cindee?“

“I’m not sure, Rapi.“

This was puzzling indeed. She would look towards the bedroom window and then scour what she could see of the yard before turning her head to look back at the house again. This happened a couple of times before I caught on to what she was up to.

“Hey Rapi, I think she is looking for the place where the light disappeared,” I whispered excitedly to the cat, who smiled back, fully appreciative of my insight.

After mumbling a few calculations to herself, Mommy had us on the move again.  Soon, the cobblestone walkway came to an end and opened into a large circular sitting area that was empty except for a rusted-out wrought iron bistro set.  The outer perimeter was hidden beneath years of neglected growth.  What was odd was that by some miracle no weeds had grown between the crevices that separated the stones.

“I think this is the place,” Mommy said, moving carefully in a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree turn while letting her eyes sweep across the landscape.

I followed suit and began to turn, but nowhere near as gracefully as Mommy had. I had just completed a full circuit when I began to stumble around.  Somehow, I had not taken into consideration just how dizzy this was going to make me.

I was about to flop over when the idea to sit down popped into my little doggy brain.  The world went screaming past my vision as if it had someplace pressing that it needed to be.  The urge to toss my cookies was growing stronger until Rapi came into view and planted his fluffy orange tush down in front of me.

“You don’t look so good.  Are you okay Cindee?”

I tried to answer but thinking about speaking made my tummy feel even worse, so instead, I focused on his face and followed it closely each time it flew past me.  Why did I spin in that circle so fast? 

“Cindee,” the cat asked again.  This time I could make out the look of concern on his face.

“Cindee!  Answer me!”

“Sorry, Rapi!  I am okay, just a little dizzy,” I giggled now that the world was standing still, and my nausea has passed.

With my composure and dignity both intact, I peered over the cat’s shoulder and spotted Mommy stooping down to get a better look at the stones. 

“What is she looking for?“ the cat asked, with a furrowed forehead and his head tilted slightly to the side.

“I don’t know Rapi.  Let’s help her look.  I am sure we will know what it is when we see it.“

“Sounds like a plan, Cindee!“

Having decided to lend a helping nose, we each headed off in different directions.  My search led me around a batch of dried-out bushes and beneath the iron table.  I couldn’t wrap my mind around how at one time this place could be so beautiful that people would want to come out here and enjoy coffee.  Not only was everything decaying, but there was also no sign of life either, no birds singing or butterflies flitting about … nothing.   

After coming up empty, I popped my head up to find that both Rapi and Mommy had taken to crawling around in the shrubbery with their heads down and attention focused intently on the ground.

“Oh! Oh! I found something!”

The excitement in the large tabby’s voice was unmistakable. He poked his head up through the foliage and peered in my direction. I knew in an instant he had indeed found something important by the way his yellow-green eyes lit up.

 “I’m coming Rapi!”

We made enough noise that we managed to draw Mommy’s attention.  In two shakes of a Labrador’s tail, we were all surrounding Rapi’s discovery.

I stuck my face inside the wild bush and then pulled it out again. Disappointment lined my face.

“It’s a stone, Rapi.”

“A big stone,” the tabby countered.

“But still a stone,” I reminded him.

His only rebuttal to that was to harumpf at me and storm away.

“Nossa,” mommy cried out excitedly.

“Did she say nossa?” I asked tipping my head in confusion.

“She did,” the cat replied wide-eyed.

If this truly was a nossa, then that meant something spectacular was happening. 

Mommy reached into her back pocket and pulled out a small pair of handheld garden shears and began hacking away at the overgrowth, pulling it out and tossing it aside as it came free. 

Rapi and I stood in place, staring intently at Mommy giving the shrub what amounted to a poor haircut.  It wasn’t long before my heart had begun to thud in my chest and reverberate throughout my entire body.  Time seemed to stand still waiting to see what the mysterious object was. 

I couldn’t help but wonder, was it a small obelisk left by some ancient alien visitor to help guide future generations to this place?  My tongue unrolled and fell out of my mouth.  Rapi sat breathless next to me, his face frozen into an expression of awe. 

“Oh my gosh,” Mommy muttered, tossing the last of the greenery on top of the growing pile of brush.

“What is that Cindee?”

“Don’t be silly Rapi.  That’s a … well it’s a …”

Mommy tossed a glance over her shoulder to see what we were babbling on about then refocused her attention on the object in front of her.

“That’s pretty wild.  A tombstone in our backyard,” she said, with a shake of her head.

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About THe Author

H. Scott Moore, a native of Western New York State, grew up enjoying the rhythm of life in the changing seasons. One day, he became intrigued by his dog, Cindee, and what she might be thinking and feeling.

Inspired, he set out to create a world that combines his passion for animals and his curiosity about the natural and supernatural worlds. The result is a space where we can travel with Cindee and her friends and enjoy their adventures too!

When he is not working or creating, H. Scott likes to spend his time on the trails with Cindee, Mylo, and his wife Simone.


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