Chapter Ten

The sun had dipped below the horizon and darkness had crept in over the houses on Autumn Lane. I used to love this time of day when we lived in New York, but it never really felt the same here.  Somehow, there seemed to be a cold uneasiness in our home.  Also, knowing that there was a body buried in the backyard only served to add to the creep factor.

A breath of air floated across my face igniting my nerves. I was too afraid to look so I did the next best thing, I peeked out the corner of my left eye.  A sigh escaped my lips in the form of an involuntary gust of air.

“You scared the heck out of me Rapi.”

“Sorry,” the cat said looking back at me sheepishly.

“It’s not your fault.  This whole body in the yard thing has me so jumpy.”

“Francie.  Mommy says it’s disrespectful to call it a body.”

“You are right.  Francie.  Sorry.”

They had a good point. The more I thought about it the more I realized that once I was gone and at the Rainbow Bridge, I would want to be remembered for who I was too.

“You know Cindee, after you left, Mommy found a picture of Francie online.”


“Really.  She was very pretty when she was alive.  Mommy wants to find some of her music too.”

“That would be pawsome!”

The thought of putting a voice to the body, um, I mean Francie, seemed intriguing.  Images of a smoke-filled bar began to emerge in my thoughts.  I could see a band playing but I couldn’t hear the music over all the chatter. The room broke out into applause, and everyone focused their collective attention on the stage. There are too many people. I shifted around in my spot and stood on my tiptoes, but no luck. Nothing I did would allow me to see or hear Francie.


“What’s wrong Cindee?”

The cat’s brows were knitted together. I let my imagination get the better of me again. I couldn’t very well tell him that I was frustrated that my daydreams were not cooperating with me the way I hoped they would, so I did the next best thing.

“Nothing.  What’s Mommy doing?”

The timely sounds of laughter filtering in from the dining room had saved me from what most certainly would have become an embarrassing conversation.

“Oh, she is doing one of those video chat things with Chester’s mom.”

“Oh,” I said settling back in to watch the moon and stars.

They seemed to twinkle and dance more brightly here.  Yehudi had said it was because there was so much less light pollution in Buffalo than there was in New York. The black and white cat had tried to explain it to us that first night, but I had no idea what she was talking about.  All I know is that Yehudi is studious and intelligent.  If she said it was the pollution, then I believed her.

“Right in the backyard Nadine, can you believe it?”

“Stop pulling my leg Sarai,” came the familiar nasally response.

“She was kind of famous too!  Francie Thomas”

Rapi and I were silent, eavesdropping on their conversation. We listened intently as Mommy told the story again,

“The latest story I was reading said that the police had been speculating mafia involvement!”

“Oh, Sarai, those magazines are always saying the police suspect that the mafia was involved in one way or another.”

“You know, now that you mention it, they do, don’t they?”

Both women erupted in laughter. Rapi looked questioningly at me, but the only response I had for him was a shrug.  Having grown bored with the night sky, I nodded in the direction of the dining room to indicate that I wanted to go and watch this conversation play out. The tabby grinned at me and then climbed to his feet. We padded into the room and found a spot on the floor right as the laughter was dying down.

“What are you going to do about the grave, Sarai?”

Mommy sat in silence for a moment, thinking about it.

“You know, I honestly have not thought about it yet.  I mean, I am in no hurry to get rid of it, and really, I would like to know what happened to her. People just don’t disappear only to turn up a hundred years later in a marked grave in someone’s backyard.”

“I hear you, Sarai, but doesn’t it bother you knowing that she is out there?”

“I haven’t thought about that either. I guess I have not thought about much have I?”

Again, with the laughter, which had become annoying.  How could somebody be laughing when there was a body lying in the backyard waiting to rise from the grave?  I looked towards Rapi and found him staring back at me with a sickly expression on his face.

“Seriously Nadine, I don’t know what to do or where to begin.”

“C’mon Sarai, you are a bestselling mystery writer.  Tell me what your protagonist would do?”

“Hmmm, let’s see. She would do some research on the house’s history, check the library for stories in old newspapers …”

“It sounds like you have a good place to start!”

“You’re right.  I do!  Oh, you will never guess who came to visit me this morning!”

I rose to my feet and started to trudge towards the living room with Rapi in tow behind me.  Apparently, he did not want to relive the confrontation with Nate again either. 

“I’m worried Rapi.”


“Mommy is getting too involved in this grave thing.”

“She is, isn’t she,” the cat answered with a glance over his shoulder into the dining room.

“You know what that means don’t you?”

“No. What?”

The orange tabby has stretched out on the sofa and focused his attention on me.  Seeing him relaxing spoke to me, convincing me that I too should curl up into a comfy ball.

“It means she is going to drag us into it with her,”

I was upset by this turn of events. I just wanted a calm relaxing life and a bunch of good friends to spend it with. It was not fair that she was the one who got to make all the decisions. Just once I wanted to have a say about my own life.

“I’m scared Cindee!”

“Me too Rapi, me too.”

The theme song from Gilligan’s Island began to pour from the television. Both our heads snapped in the direction of the set. Finally, something we could celebrate.  There is nothing better for helping you to leave your troubles behind than those crazy castaways.

The scene shifted to Skipper and Gilligan at the lagoon. I could feel my cheeks rising to accommodate my growing smile.  Skipper was about to swat Gilligan with his hat when the television switched off.

“Why did you do that Rapi, that is my favorite part of the show?”

“It wasn’t me,” he answered with a shrug.

“Yehudi?” we both wondered aloud together.

That didn’t seem right.  I mean, the little black and white cat was not a fan of the television … or pranks for that matter.

“It couldn’t be her.  She isn’t even here, plus the remote is right there on the end table,” the cat grumbled, more aggravated than ever.

Armed with all this information, I did the most obvious thing I could do.  I turned to Mommy and began to complain. 

“Guy’s can’t you see I am talking to Nadine?”

“But Mommy the tv went off!”

Mommy came stomping into the room perturbed that we interrupted her conversation, but what else was a dog to do when Gilligan was on and the tv was on the fritz? She grabbed the remote and flipped the set back on before dropping it gently on the sofa.

“Better,” she asked.


She turned to walk back to the dining room and Nadine, but the television shut off again before she even had a chance to take two steps.

“Okay guys, quit playing …”

She stopped short at the sight of the remote still sitting in the same spot she had left it.  She leaned down and snatched it up off the sofa, a fierce look of determination began to form on her face. Her thumb pressed down on the power button then let up. The television sprang to life with Ginger and Mary Ann chatting over a coconut cream pie. The image brought a triumphant smile to Mommy’s face.

Zap.  The image disappeared, the voices evaporated, and the screen went black. The only sound in the room was Mommy’s agitated voice…

“What the heck!”

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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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