The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Kidnapped Kadoatie: Part Five
After receiving the threatening note, we visited Lance the
next morning. His eyes were red and glossy. He kept wringing his tail, the way
he did when we first showed up.
"Lance," Damien said softly, knowing that this
was a tough time for the Draik, "where did you find that note?"
"The windowsill," Lance meekly raised his arm
I scrambled over there, checking every inch
of it. It was the one over the kitchen sink. There appeared to be nothing on
"Let's check outside," Luna suggested.
Lance slid open the screen door and the three
of us stepped out (Charlie was still on my head). Damien checked over the area.
The backyard was bigger than the front yard-and there were more blossoming trees,
except it was muddy from the rain a few mornings ago. There were long tracks
that lead through his backyard and towards town.
Around the tracks there were several footprints
that had dried. They were small and narrow.
"The kidnapper," whispered Damien.
"He dropped the note in the window and tried
to cover his tracks," I mumbled. Luna gently pushed her paw into one.
"It's almost the same size," she observed.
"Someone was trying to cover them up," Charlie
spoke up, "that's why some are swiped."
Lance came out of the house and slid the door
"Something wrong?" he asked.
"The person who left you the threatening letter
also left us a trail of footprints behind," I informed him, "but they stop as
the grass gets thicker."
"These don't belong to the butler," Charlie
whispered to me, "his webbed feet wouldn't leave these kind of prints."
My eyes widened. He was right about that. Now
we could cross the butler off our list of suspects. That just left:
Tim and Tom.
There was only one set of footprints-it had
to have been one of them. I peeked over at Luna and Damien. They appeared to
be thinking the same; Damien even mouthed the word "Chias".
"Lance," I began, my voice suddenly tight, "we
have to go. But first, where do Tim and Tom live?"
"Tim and Tom?" Lance asked. "They… they live
on Chia Close, second house to the right.
Before he could ask what was going on, Damien
and Luna had already jumped on my back, and we raced through the sky.
Chia Close was a lot shabbier than Lance's street,
Winding Wood Drive. Most of the houses were made of wood and the grass was brown
But we weren't here to compare scenery.
It was down to this: either Tim or Tom took
Jasmine. Or both of them! They could be working together! My mind was filled
with thoughts. I didn't have much time to dwell on them, because we landed in
front of the second house on the right.
I took a very slow breath and said, "We have
to be very, very careful. Either Tim or Tom is very dangerous, and if they're
in on this together, they both will be very dangerous."
"We know," said Luna quietly.
We all had that feeling in our stomachs-anxiety
and excitement. Damien narrowed his eyes and I straightened my shoulders and
Luna knocked on the door.
It was answered almost instantly by one of the
"Thank Fyora you're here!" He exclaimed.
"Tom?" I guessed.
"Tim," he corrected. "Perfect timing. I discovered
something awful, you have to help me!"
"Calm down," I said, "Tim, what's going on?"
"It's Tom," Tim said, his voice shaky, "he kidnapped
"Tim," I put my paws on his shoulders and asked
very seriously, "Where is Tom?"
"In the basement," answered Tim, "I didn't know
what to do with him."
"Okay," Damien said, "we're going to go down
there and ask him some questions."
Tim nodded, his expression scared. He pointed
towards a wooden door in the back of the house. Luna opened it slowly, and I
went in first.
My heart was thudding in my chest. My paws were
sweating, and it was darker than the ocean floor. I gingerly felt my way down
the cold steps until I hit the floor. I groped around, feeling for a string
so a light would come on. I found one and tugged-
A yellow light snapped on revealing Tom-tied
to a chair, his arms pulled behind him. He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to
avoid the light.
Tom looked awful. There were dark circles under
his eyes, his fur was matted and he looked very hungry. Perhaps Tim had kept
him down here for days.
"I had to tie him up," Tim said shakily, "I…
I didn't know what to do."
"Watch out!" a hoarse cry broke from Tom, "he
My stomach dropped to my knees. I could feel
Charlie twitch. Damien gasped and Luna uttered a small scream.
"Tom," Luna began, trembling from head to toe,
"we found yellow hair in Lance's room, and you have a chunk missing on your
head. How do you explain that?"
"That's not my hair," Tom said, his voice raspy,
"I burnt my hair when I was a kid. And it never grew back."
"You liar!" Tim roared, "Don't try to hide it-you
stole Jasmine from Lance's bedroom!"
"I did not!" Tom protested.
"How can you sit there and lie like that?" Tim
shrieked at his brother. "You stole Jasmine to get Neopoints from Lance!"
"No…" Tom said weakly and then with all his
strength, "NO!" Tom struggled weakly against the ropes. He kicked his feet,
trying his hardest to break free.
That's when something caught my eye:
Tom's feet were clean… completely clean. Sure,
they were a little dusty from the basement floor, but for the most part, they
were clean. He must have spent a long time washing the mud out. Tom turned to
"Please," he begged, "I didn't do it, I didn't
"Don't deny it!" spat Tim, ignoring his brother's
pleas, "you broke into Lance's house, you left a tuft of hair behind, you wrote
the threat letter to Lance and you… stole… Jasmine!"
"Wait!" Charlie shouted. The room grew silent
at once. Charlie stood up nice and tall and said, "How did you know about the
threat letter Lance received, Tim?"
"It was him," Tom choked, "it was him-Tim knows
because HE wrote it!"
If it was possible, the room grew even more
Tim's face grew bright red. He opened his mouth
but no sound came out. His eyes lowered to the floor.
"You heard me!" Charlie roared, and I stifled
a laugh. It was funny to see Charlie, a pea Chia, to be yelling at something
twenty times his size, "How did you know about the threat letter? The only ones
that knew about that were ourselves and Lance."
"I've been trying to tell you," Tom said, sounding
weak, "the Kadoatie is in this house! I found her a couple of days ago!"
"No," Tim said softly, "NO!"
"Look at his feet!" Damien yelled.
In the blink of an eye, I jumped on Tim. I pinned
him to the floor with my massive white paws. He struggled vainly, but I had
an extremely firm grip.
Luna bent down and checked the bottom of Tim's
They were caked with dry mud.
Damien and Luna rushed to untie Tom. The Chia
slumped to the floor in relief. I kept the hold on Tim while Damien tied his
hands and feet with the rope used on Tom.
"That only leaves one question," I said, taking
my eyes off Tim and focusing them on the group. "Why'd he do it?"
"Jealousy," said Tom.
We simultaneously turned to look at him.
"Tim was jealous of all the times Lance's articles
had been accepted. So, in order to get Lance to quit writing, he had to do something
drastic-he broke into Lance's house at night and took Jasmine with him." Tom
smirked, "Tim knew the one thing that Lance loved more than writing."
"Jasmine," we chorused.
"Speaking of her," Luna said, "where did you
"She was in a cage under the kitchen sink when
I discovered her. From there, I knew it was Tim. Pieces of the puzzle started
to fit. When I confronted him, he tied me up and threw me in the basement."
"We have to find her," Damien said. Charlie
jumped off my head and ran to catch up with Damien and Luna. I hung back a bit.
"You're lucky to have that spot on your head,"
Tom laughed and ran his hand over the spot on
his hairline, "I guess so. I just…" he broke off, "I can't believe my brother
did this. I keep thinking I should have realized it sooner."
"Mysteries are like that. The person closest
to the thief is totally oblivious. It's not your fault for not realizing it…
he fooled us for a while, too." I paused, "You know… you would have made a good
detective, Tom," I said.
"Maybe," the Chia answered, "but journalism
is my first interest. I appreciate it, though."
"Looks like you've landed the story of the year,"
I congratulated him and we started up the stairs to find Jasmine.
To be continued...