“Well!” Margaret, Jane Darcy’s chum, sighed with relief. “We’re finished!”
Jane Darcy, after several intense minutes of concentration and focus on piecing the wrinkled papers back together, sat back in her chair.
“Whoever owned this newspaper clipping, certainly didn’t want anyone to see it.” she said thoughtfully, “Now what is that written in the corner of it?”
Margaret smoothed a few of the wrinkles around the writing, and read it aloud:
“Sadie, 117 Candlewood Lane, I wonder who they could be?”
“Is Candlewood Lane still over by the old candy store?” Jane inquired.
Margaret nodded with a smile, thinking back to the times they would go down to the local candy store, and buy their favorite sweets after swimming in the lake.
“Why not go and find out who lives at 117 Candlewood Lane, and see if they know anything about these strange disappearances, or Trooper’s dognapping!” Jane Darcy said excitedly.
This was a mystery that Jane Darcy wasn’t going to give up on; even if it took her entire vacation to solve. They lost no time in dashing out to the garage, and steering the old sedan back onto the rocky dirt road. The whole situation seemed odd to Jane, why would someone shred a piece of paper outside the museum? Could it be a clue, or was it nothing but trash? Or could it potentially lead them to Trooper’s abductor?
Jane Darcy enjoyed the picturesque landscape as it flew swiftly by the car on both sides. With Virginia Bluebells and Forget-Me-Nots flourishing amongst the piney and leafy trees, and bushy plants growing right up next to the road; it brought back happy memories from the past. She cranked down the window, when suddenly her eyes were drawn to an old cabin, with boarded up openings and greenery growing up to the roof.
“Look at that old place,” she remarked, “It stands out for some reason, almost like someone has recently cut back some of the trees around it.”
Margaret glanced over at it and shrugged.
“Looks the same to me. Candlewood should be up here to the right if I’m not mistaken; it’s been a while since I’ve traveled over to these parts.”
As they pulled onto the sleepy passage, they counted the addresses as they passed the houses until they came up to 117. It was a quaint house, with red trim and curtains pulled over the windows. The garden had seen better days; well-loved perennials were being choked out by weeds and uncut grass. There were the remains of a fence along the front of the yard, and frequently trodden stepping stones lined the pathway to the front door.
A rusty Ford Cabriolet was parked alongside the house under a covering. By the looks of it, someone was definitely inside; and Jane was about to find out who.
“I’ll go knock on the door and see who’s home; could you get the license number on that ford while I’m gone?” Jane asked her chum.
Margaret was already taking out her binoculars from her purse,
“You go in, and if for some reason you get kidnapped like Trooper, I’ll come in after you in fifteen minutes!” she teased.
Once out of the car, Jane Darcy walked up to the front steps and rung the doorbell. No one answered. She knocked a few times, and the curtains were pulled back slightly near the door. Someone was looking out; but they weren’t willing to come to the door. Jane took this opportunity to wave at the spectator in the window, and the curtains fell suddenly back into position.
“That’s odd.” she said to herself.
She took a few steps back to look at the porch surroundings, when she heard the sound of the door unlocking. It opened with a creak, and a frail woman stood within, her straight brown hair looked as if it had never been combed.
“What do you want?” the woman asked curtly.
“I wanted to ask you about a few things, if you don’t mind, Sadie.” Jane began, “It has to do with Trooper.”
The woman had a quick change of attitude, and opened the door a little wider.
“How do you know my name?” she asked hastily. “And besides, I don’t know anything about that museum dog.”
Jane Darcy could tell the woman was hiding something; by the way she nervously bit her lip and smoothed the wrinkles out of her plaid wool skirt.
“Trooper was stolen a few nights ago, and I found your address written on a piece of paper near the museum grounds. I thought you might know something about it?”
“Know about it? I don’t know anything about it. And for that matter, I’ve never been to the museum.”
The woman’s annoyance was apparent, and Jane didn’t wish to bother her to the point of being threatened off of her property. She decided to end the conversation, but before she did; she couldn’t help but notice a picture sitting in the background, on a side table just barely visible through the opening of the door. It was of the same woman, perhaps a little younger, standing next to a gentleman around the same height, in front of an elaborate storefront.
“I must have been mistaken then. Thank you for your time, and have a nice day!” Jane said cheerily, before the woman quickly shut the door and left the knocker rattling.
Jane Darcy returned to the sedan, puzzled and more intrigued than ever. After she recapped the whole encounter to her chum, she said:
“She’s obviously hiding something, Jane, but what?”
“Whatever it is, I have a hunch that if we wait around here after dark; we might just be led to the next clue. Sadie seems to be afraid of some thing, or some one.”
…To be continued, next week on Sunday, May 16th! Jane Darcy needs your help to solve the hair-raising mystery surrounding Pinecrest; keep your magnifying glass handy, and don’t miss the next exciting chapter!