Corrie Taylor, the Crone of Lake Cowichan and her neighbour, Jack Fortin waited patiently on the front porch of the old ladies house for the RCMP to arrive. Her crumpled body still laid on her living room floor, untouched.
Jack had taken control of the situation by calling the police, and ushering Corrie back out the front door.
“I’m sure this is a perfectly natural death but just in case we better not touch anything,” he explained to his neighbour.
The authorities arrived within ten minutes. First the RCMP and then an ambulance to remove the body. Corrie and Jack gave an account of how they came to be at the old ladies house and how Jack discovered her lying face down on her living room floor. Constable Jarvis seemed confident that the women succumbed to old age and expired of natural causes. The investigation seemed to wrap up fairly quickly.
As the ambulance attendants brought the covered body out on a stretcher they passed by the constable, paused and handed him something. Corrie, having her intuitive radar on full power, felt the pull of the object and needed to find out what it was.
“Is that something important?” nodding to the item in the constables hand.
“It’s just a pet tag the EMT’s found clutched in Mrs. O’Connor’s hand.” He opened his hand and showed Corrie the tag.
“Is that her name? We didn’t know. Isn’t that sad. Here we find her and we didn’t even know her name”, Corrie lamented.
Looking sympathetic the officer nodded, “Evelyn O’Connor, she moved to Lake Cowichan several years ago from Vancouver. She was pretty reclusive. I only knew her because she called us several times over the years with reports of break in attempts but no evidence was ever found. I think she was a little paranoid being all alone and all. This is a pretty safe and quiet town.”
Corrie pointed to the pet tag the constable was still holding, “That tag is from her pet cat, Celo. He is in that box by the front door. That was the reason we came here in the first place. The cat took a liking to my grand daughter and found it’s way to my house several kilometres down the road. My grand daughter was too scared of Mrs. O’Connor to bring him back herself. What’s going to happen to the cat now?”
“I guess we will have to call the SPCA to come and get him until we can locate a next of kin, unless you’d be willing to look after him for the time being.” At that, the constable smiled a mega watt smile.
Corrie felt that Constable Jarvis sensed that she was an animal lover or maybe just a sucker. Either way she couldn’t bare to see Celo confined to a cage, his future now so uncertain.
The Crone looked over at her neighbour Jack and by the look on his face, she knew he thought she was being suckered.
“I think we can look after Celo for a while, just until family is located and then they can decide his fate. My grand daughter will be here for another week, she and Celo have already become fast friends.”
“I’m sure the family would appreciate your generosity,” the officer expounded, “I’ll be finished up here in a few minutes and then we can go back inside the house and get the cat’s food and stuff for you to take home.”
A shiver ran down Corrie’s back. Going back inside that house was something she really didn’t want to do. The energy in there creeped her out. There was something sinister about it. The events of the night had drained her and all she wanted to do was go home, have a stiff drink and forget the whole incident.
Jack sensed Corrie’s apprehension. He sided up to her, put his arm around her and gave her a gentle squeeze. “How about you take the cat and just go and sit in the car. I’ll go in with constable Jarvis and get Celo’s things.”
Relieved, the Crone smiled up him, “Thanks.”
Corrie and her friend Daisy Charlie sat drinking iced tea on the Crone’s deck. Her grand daughter Layla was upstairs with her newest love, Celo the cat. It had been almost a week since Evelyn O’Connor’s death.
Layla’s parents were scheduled to pick her up in two days and take her back home to Victoria to get ready for the new school year. It had been an eventful summer here at Crone cottage. New friends, rekindled love, her grand daughter’s psychic skills were maturing nicely and now she would be better equipped to handle the cruelties that teenagers inflict on each other, these where wonderful developments.
There were other occurrences as well, her new spirit messenger, Two Toes the raven for one, sent to her from her late husband David, and then there was Jack Fortin. What was he to her? A friend? Most definitely, but there had been that kiss, and what a kiss! Jack had not attempted another one since. Had he just been curious and nothing more? And now Evelyn O’Connor’s death and then there was Celo the cat. How would this episode pan out?
“So the old lady died of natural causes?”
“That’s what constable Jarvis says.”
Daisy watched her friend absently tear tiny pieces off her paper napkin. Her mind obviously on distant thoughts.
“But that’s not what you think, is it?”
Corrie raised her eyes to look directly into her friends, “No……. that’s not at all what I think.
To read previous excerpts from this storyline click on the “Crone of Lake Cowichan” tag on the topic side bar.