The Eyes Of A Fetch 141-160

The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 160) Polished

“What is it Marnie?” Lyla asks with a laugh. “What are you staring at?” She turns around and looks behind her but does not see anything out of the ordinary. “Nothing, I have to go!” Says Marnie quickly as she snatches the scarf out of Lyla’s hands and practically runs down the steps to her car.

“What the hell?” says Lyla quietly as she watches Marnie bolt away from the house. Again, she turns but does not see anything unusual in the foyer, hall, or the adjacent rooms. “I do believe she has finally driven herself nuts.” Lyla says to herself about Marnie as she closes the front door. Now she notices it. A cool breeze passes by and it is strong enough to move the wispy strands of hair lining her face.

“What?” Lyla says in a whisper as she stands with her back against the hard wood of the front door. There is a constant movement of frigid air passing by her. It is not very strong but it is moving fast enough to be noticeable. “Where is this draft coming from?” she says to herself as she holds her hands out. She walks down the hall to the sunroom where she finds both veranda doors standing wide open. “How did these get unlocked?”

Walking out onto the veranda, she looks around the yard to see if anyone is there. Finding that she is completely alone, she walks back into the sunroom and closes both doors. Yes, this is odd and she has no explanation for it, but she quickly dismisses it thinking a gust of wind must have dislodged the lock. Then again, maybe suction from opening the front door pulled the backdoor loose. That is probably what scared Marnie off; she must have seen the doors opening.

Lyla goes on about her day just as she planned and by early nightfall, every inch of the place has been dusted, swept, shined and polished. It looks absolutely wonderful.

Excerpt 160

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 159) Sour Opinions

Lyla has no idea why Marnie is acting so strangely. She then glances at the door handle where the scarf she found in the upstairs bedroom is hanging. She knows it belongs to Marie because she has witnessed her wearing it many times. Lyla reaches over and pulls it off the knob.

“By the way Marnie, I found this upstairs in one of the guest rooms.” She holds the scarf out to Marnie hoping this will be cause for her to hurry up and end the discussion. “I thought you might want it back.”

With a flush of embarrassment crawling up Marnie’s neck to her face, it is now apparent that she spent more time in the house than she is revealing. She has always had a negative demeanor, but lately she seems to be getting more pessimistic with each passing day. Marnie is presenting an obvious bitterness about everything and everybody.

However, Lyla is not concerned enough to act on her impulses and ask what is wrong for this usually brings about an endless run of stories, feelings, and sour opinions. As Lyla is looking at Marnie, she notices her eyes have grown wide and her focus is on something behind her in the house.

Excerpt 159

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 158) Defensive

“You’re getting around a bit early aren’t you?” says Lyla as she motions for Marnie to come on into the house. “Oh, no,” Marnie backs up a step or two. “I don’t need to come in; I just wanted to drop this bag of food off. I forgot to give it to you yesterday and lord knows I don’t have a reason to have it in my way.”

“Great, thank you. Oh and I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you leaving the lights on for me. It was actually kind of nice not walking into a dark house.” Lyla says honestly thankful and smiling.

“The lights! What on earth are you talking about? I didn’t leave any lights on!” Says Marnie as if Lyla just insulted her. “I only came over here in the afternoon so why would I turn the lights on in the middle of the day?” she pauses for a second then in a blunt manner says; “I don’t even like this house.” She leans her head in and looks around as if she is disgusted.

“Plus, I only came in the front door, left your mail on that little table over there,” she points to the hall table, “and went right back out. So if any lights were running then it’s obvious you must have left them on, not me!” states Marnie in a snotty arrogant manner and far more defensive than is necessary for this conversation. She then stands there, in the doorway with her arms crossed, and not saying another word.

Excerpt 158

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 157) Nice And Bright

At this point in time, just twenty minutes after waking up, Lyla has clicked lights on in every room on the main floor of the house. The funny thing is that she does not even realize she is doing it. Subconsciously, she feels better about being in the house alone when the rooms are nice and bright.

Sitting at her desk, she signs onto her computer to check messages. She has one from Marcus explaining where he and Destry are staying, the hotel phone number, as well as the address of the exhibit. He goes on to explain that Destry has hired a lawyer and is pursuing talks with the company that bought her Grandmother’s vineyard.

More than once, he comments on how worried he is about Destry and wishes Lyla had stayed there with them. He has one other showing of his exhibit after this current one, and then he plans to be home soon thereafter. The last thing he writes is a question to Lyla, “Are you doing okay alone at the house or are you staying at my loft?”    

“I hope Destry isn’t getting in over her head.” Lyla says aloud to herself. “Plus I’d hate to see her so preoccupied with her personal affairs that she might neglect Marcus.” Lyla writes a quick note back to Marcus and explains things are going okay so far at the house. As soon as she hits send there is a loud rapping sound, someone is frantically knocking at the front door, Lyla gets up to investigate.

“Who is it?” she questions as she peeks out the little window onto the front porch. “It’s me!” says Marnie loudly as if Lyla should not need to ask such a ridiculous question. Lyla takes a deep breath as she opens the door.

Excerpt 157

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 156) A Little Uneasy

Smokey rushes in so fast for her breakfast that she slides past her bowl and bumps into the little door to the attic. The screwdriver Lyla placed in the lock dislodges and the pantry pops open. Smokey immediately runs away from it and hides behind the kitchen island.

“Well crazy girl, you need to slow down before you destroy the house.” Lyla says with a laugh as she walks over to push the short door closed. She grabs the screwdriver off the floor but waits before taking hold of the knob to the pantry. Squatting down she looks at the door and slowly reaches for it. As soon as her hand touches the knob, she quickly pushes the latch into the lock, but then turns right around and pulls it back out. Smokey begins a low growl, which causes Lyla to look at her.

 “It’s okay Smokes.” Lyla says to her cat as she pulls the door open and cowers inside the little space. She looks at the towering ladder and flips the light switch on the wall. This causes the area above her to brighten but she has no intention in climbing up. After looking toward the attic for several seconds, she flips the switch off and waddles back out of the small space. Pushing the door shut, she jams the screwdriver into the lock and wipes her sweaty hands on her pants.

“That made us both a little uneasy, didn’t it?” she poses her question to Smokey. Once the cat is comfortable and eating, Lyla steps out from the entrance at the back of the kitchen into the downstairs hall and flips the light on. As she strolls near the sunroom on her way to her home office, she flips that light switch on and does the same as she enters the office.

Excerpt 156

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 155) Morning Light

Morning comes and Lyla yawns as she stretches and sits up in bed. The smallest hint of light is filtering in through the window and she smiles to herself. With a sigh, she tips her head stretching the muscles in her neck followed by a large yawn. “Oh wow, I needed that so bad.” She says to herself as she looks at the clock, it is seven o’clock a.m.

The sun is just beginning to rise outside and the birds are singing happily this spring morning. Lyla slides out of bed and begins to straighten the covers and stack the pillows in a row against the headboard. “I feel great today.” She says as she pulls on a pair of pants and a long tunic top.

When she steps out into the hallway, the morning light is hitting the floor in such a way that it reveals how dusty it truly is. Right then she decides to spend the day deep cleaning until everything is tidy and in place as it should be. But first, she needs to confer with Marcus. He and Destry have moved on to the next city with the exhibit and she is dying to hear how things are going.

For some reason, even though the sun is up, it seems dreary in the house. As Lyla walks along the upstairs hall, she flips the lights on. Before heading downstairs, she flips the switch that lights the chandelier hanging high above the stairs in the foyer. She does the same with the dining room and living room before entering the kitchen to make coffee.

Excerpt 155

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 154) Dozing Off

Again, Lyla blinks trying to focus as her adrenaline level begins to increase. Very quickly, the door opens wide without making any sound but no one enters, or so she thinks. Suddenly there is a heavy thump at the foot of the bed and Smokey starts purring as she waddles to her.

“Oh my god, you scared me to death, Smokeums!” says Lyla in a whisper to her pudgy cat. “Do not do that again.” Smokey meows and nuzzles at Lyla’s hand begging for an ear scratch. Finally, convinced that all is well, Lyla lies back down with her cat by her side. She has decided the man’s voice was simply her dozing off and getting close to a dream state. Yes, that is what she decides happened, she was simply starting to dream.

Yet, something about the voice was different yet well known to her. She is not sure but she believes there was a recognizable accent to it. “Oh just go to bed.” Says Lyla, as she grows very tired of thinking. Once again, she curls up in bed in a comfortable manner. After half an hour of trying to make her thoughts stop reviewing the day, she closes her eyes and falls to sleep.

Excerpt 154

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 153) Hot Embers

Closing her eyes for just a second, Lyla focuses her hearing on the sounds in the room hoping this will keep her awake. The sheets are soft and she feels her body beginning to warm up. With one final look at the fire, her head sinks into the pillow and she begins to fall asleep.

“When I was young I would fall asleep watching the fire,” speaks a man’s voice very close to Lyla’s ear. She promptly opens her eyes and rolls onto her back in order to have a full view of her bedroom. It is almost completely black and the fire is nothing more than hot embers at the bottom of the grate. She has been asleep much longer than she thought.

Disoriented she slides up in bed to look around and finally realizes where she is. There is a definite stillness in the room yet it feels as if someone is there. She starts to get out of bed when she hears a noise coming from the hall that causes her to hesitate and stay put.

Like a kid that believes there is a monster in the closet, she stares at the door. There is a slight crack between it and the doorjamb and it appears the hall is much darker than her bedroom. She watches the door as it begins to move, or does it? She rubs her eyes and stares again at the door. Yes, it is slowly opening!

Excerpt 153

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 152) As Shadows

Quickly, Lyla walks from room to room turning off the lights for the night. Once she is back upstairs in her cozy bedroom, she starts a small fire in the fireplace and flips on the television. It takes only a few minutes for her to put all of her lotions, sprays, and shampoo back in their rightful place in the bathroom. As she works, she finds herself humming a tune and feeling very much at ease. Smokey has once again joined her and is sitting on the bed trying desperately to keep her yellow-green eyes open.

“I’m jumping in the shower little one.” Lyla says as she grabs her robe and a fresh towel. With the door to the bathroom open, she takes a nice long shower, which leaves her feeling very relaxed. Wrapping up in her thick robe, she combs the tangles out of her hair as she walks over to the fireplace. The flames are popping and cracking as they burn through the dry wood and it feels wonderfully warm and homey.

Turning off the television along with the lights in her bedroom, Lyla snuggles up in the white crisp sheets of her bed pulling the plush comforter up to her shoulders. She rolls over and lays her head on a thick pillow draping her damp hair across it behind her.

She watches the fire as the flames radiate their movement throughout the room. As shadows, they flicker and jump on the walls as if dancing. Now that this long day is ending, she is beginning to feel very tired. However, she knows she needs to stay awake just a little longer, at least until the fire burns down, but she is finding this to be difficult.

Excerpt 152

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 151) Off Kilter

There on the floor, near the front door, Lyla sees her toiletry bag and immediately goes to retrieve it. Pausing, she drapes Marnie’s scarf across the doorknob and then picks up her bag. As she turns to go back up stairs, her eyes look to the painting in the dining room. “What’s your story?” She questions as she walks toward the fireplace over which it hangs.

She is frustrated about her lost memories from six months ago and wonders if there is some significance to this piece of work. She feels there must be something to it because she finds herself mesmerized by it, but what secret does it hold? Due to the small light at the base of the painting, it practically glows in the dark and she decides to leave the little light on at all times. Thump, thump. Lyla hears a sound coming from the foyer and she turns around quickly. “Smokey?” she whispers.

Reaching over, she gently takes the poker from the fireplace stand. Carefully she walks over to the area where the dining room and foyer meet. Her eyes are diverted to the swinging door of the kitchen. It is moving, ever so slightly, and she knows it does make a slight sound when opened. As she approaches the door, she catches it as is begins to swing forward. Moving with its momentum she quickly pushes it open.  

“Meow,” cries Smokey sitting by her food bowl. “Oh, you scared the hell out of me!” Lyla says as she rubs Smokey’s ear. “You’re all off kilter too, aren’t you?” she lays the poker on the kitchen counter and pulls out a can of cat food. “Special treat for you tonight, but tomorrow we will be back on schedule, okay?” Smokey meows in response as if to agree to the terms stated.

Excerpt 151

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 150) Quite Tired

Flipping the light on, Lyla raises the wooden stick ready to swing if needed as she investigates the area. Again, she finds herself alone. The last room on this end of the house is across the hall. Slowly she takes her steps on the wooden floor as she peeks into the bedroom that sits mostly over the living room. It too is calm and without any uninvited guests.

By this time, Lyla deduces she is the only person in the house. After returning the wood candle holder to its place, she proceeds down the hall, passes by the staircase, and on to her bedroom where she finds Smokey asleep on the bed.

“Hey little one.” She says as she pets her cat. “You glad to be home?” she asks as she sits on the edge of the bed. Lyla’s bedroom is spacious yet cozy at the same time and she now realizes she is quite tired. It has been a long day of traveling and cleaning and she wants to get to bed very soon.

“Oh rats. My toiletry bag is still sitting downstairs in the foyer.” She says to herself as she stands up. “I’ll be right back Smokeums.” Taking Marnie’s scarf with her, Lyla walks from her room to the stairs and heads down to the first floor. Even though most of the lights are still on, the house seems to be growing darker and darker as the sun slips away for the night. Lyla’s anxiety level begins to increase slightly with each methodical step.

Excerpt 150

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 149) Rushes In

The first room Lyla stops at appears to be vacant of any person but she does find one of Marnie’s many scarves on the floor. It must have slipped off her while she was, as she stated earlier, checking the mail and stuff. Lyla picks the scarf up and drapes it over her shoulder as she cautiously enters the room.

At this moment, she realizes she has nothing to defend herself with if she were to encounter a person or even an animal. Looking around she walks over to the dresser where a large wooden stand is perched in the middle. Taking the candle from the top and quietly setting it on the table, she holds the piece of wood like a baseball bat.

Slowly turning the closet door handle she flings it open and rushes in ready to fight. Thankfully, the space is clean, smells of wonderful cedar, and is completely empty. She walks out of the closet, closes the door and continues on to the second room. The sun is beginning to settle lower in the sky and as she enters the next room from the hall, it appears to grow dark very fast.

Excerpt 149

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 148) Constant Stride

“I remember this piece.” Lyla says to herself as she steps up on the hearth of the fireplace to get a better look. “It’s gorgeous.” She touches it lightly with her fingers. There is a light at the bottom and when she turns it on it casts a golden glow upward as it delicately enhances the colors and brushstrokes. “Marcus, you are so very talented.” She whispers.

As she steps backward off the hearth, she immediately hears a sound coming from the floor above. It is a constant stride and sounds much like footsteps. Is someone walking around upstairs? Lyla’s eyes grow wide as she thinks about an intruder being in the house. After all, she has not stayed here for months and someone could very well be hiding inside. With a nervous tension, she decides to investigate.

Stepping out of the dining room she listens but the house is quiet. She stands at the foot of the staircase looking up listening again for any unusual noises. Slowly she tip toes up taking each step carefully as to not make a sound. Once on the second floor Lyla looks down the hallway to the right. There are three bedrooms, two of which would be somewhat over the dining room.

As is typical in many older homes, the floorboards tend to squeak at times and this hallway is no different. Lyla takes each step very diligently to avoid making any sound. Still, she does not hear anything out of the ordinary coming from the nearby rooms.

Excerpt 148

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 147) Now Exposed

She turns and looks into the massive mirror that takes in the entire wall between the hall entrance to the kitchen and the main kitchen door that opens to the foyer. Thankfully it was covered the majority of the time and is dust and streak free. Its cover fell the day she came to pack for the trip and the cloth is still lying crumpled on the floor.

As she begins to fold the sheet, she looks into the mirror at its reflection of the beautiful staircase. She just now realizes she has yet to step foot upstairs. After arriving by taxi, she unloaded all of her clothes in the laundry room, took a short walk through the garden, and immediately began working on her office and sunroom. Three hours have passed and she never stepped foot on the second floor.

Setting the folded cloth on the hall table, she slowly walks to the center of the foyer and looks up the stairs at the landing. While standing there, her right peripheral vision catches movement as the covering falls from above the fireplace in the dining room.

Now exposed, the large painting comes into view. She turns to look in the room and stares at the piece of art as she slowly approaches it. It is beautiful, much like the one that Marcus has on display in his exhibit.

Excerpt 147

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 146) Into Shape

Lyla spends the next couple of hours unpacking, doing laundry and reorganizing her home office. Each area she enters on the main floor is flooded with light for she has turned on every lamp and switch possible. Oddly enough, she does not shut any of them off as she moves from room to room. The stained glass lantern she purchased while in Madrid looks perfect sitting on the small table in the foyer near the front door. The colors match perfectly with the large chandelier hanging high above.

“Well, apparently the shop owner was right, it does look like it belongs here.” She says as she looks around the room. She knows it is time to pull down the cloth coverings she and Marcus put in place several months ago when the house was under repair. Her office is now complete and back to normal as is the kitchen, which did not need much attention to begin with.

Deciding to point her focus on the sunroom first, she pulls the large sheet off the settee. Next, she reveals the chairs, pictures and small tables, and sweeps the wooden floors as their natural shine begins to show through. After nearly an hour, she finds herself at the front end of the downstairs hall and she looks back at her work.

“Now that looks great.” She leans the broom up next to the hall table. “Yep, old house, it’s definitely the right time to get you back into shape.”

Excerpt 146

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 145) New Light

“Meow!” states Smokey in a loud cry as if she has had it with people ignoring her. Lyla laughs aloud. “Oh I’m sorry little girl,” she opens the pantry where the cat food is stored and pulls one can out. “Hum, tuna with cheese, now that sounds like a wonderful meal eh girl?”

Lyla wrinkles up her nose. Smokey jumps up on her hind legs to rub her head across Lyla’s knee then hops back down on her stubby front paws. “You are just too cute, Smokeums.” Says Lyla happily.

With her cat now content, Lyla walks along the hall to the veranda where she unlatches the door and steps out into the yard. The sun is bright as it illuminates the pastel colors of spring. The large iron gazebo is loaded with pale green vines as they climb their way up the scrollwork. She walks along the stepping-stones to the water garden pond and sees that it too looks better than when she left.

Maybe now that it is spring she sees it all in a fresh new light. There is still work to do and maybe now she is ready to do it. Taking in a deep relaxing breath, she smiles as she resumes her short tour. With one last glance at her beautiful landscape and garden, she steps into the sunroom shutting the door behind her.

Excerpt 145

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 144) Full Bloom

“Hey Smokey girl, we are home.” Lyla says happily. She sets the travel crate on the living room sofa leaving Smokey locked safely inside, She brings the rest of her bags in and sets them on the floor. Once the front door is securely shut she steps back into the living room, sits down on the sofa and lets her cat free. The fat fluffy feline comes out of the crate purring loudly and starts rubbing her head on Lyla’s arm and thigh.

“Oh you’re hair is all matted.” Says Lyla as she pulls the cat brush from the carrier. “She didn’t treat you very well, did she?” questions Lyla as she brushes Smokey’s long gray hair. The pudgy cat meows as if to agree and then jumps down from the sofa as she waddles toward the kitchen.

“Ah, you’re hungry hum?” Lyla laughs as she follows her cat. She pushes the swinging door open and reaches to flip the switch but the light is already on in the kitchen. “Hum, I guess Marnie forgot to turn off the lights the last time she was here.” Looking out the window, the back yard garden is an explosion of color. “Oh wow.” Lyla says in a breathy tone, “how wonderful.”

The ornamental trees are in full bloom as are the various shrubs and spring flowers. It looks as if someone manicured it while she was gone, but that could not be, no one would just do that on his or her own.

Excerpt 144

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 143) As If Begging

Lyla walks up the sidewalk to the porch steps and up to the front door of her large old house. The air smells of sweet blossoms and moist earth. It must have rained the night before because water is pooling in low areas of the sidewalk and the wooden porch steps are damp. At the front door, Lyla sets the cat crate on the ground and pulls her keys out of her purse.

“Here you go Ma’am,” says the taxi driver. He sets her two travel bags down next to her then steps back and looks up at the structure. “Awesome house.” He states as he holds out his hand for payment. “Thirty five fifty.”

“I appreciate your help and thank you for bringing my bags up, how about a cool fifty?” Lyla smiles as she pulls the bill from her pocket and snaps it open flat as she grins. “I’m real good with a fifty.” The man smiles as he takes the money. “Best tip I’ve had all week. You have a good day now.” He says graciously and heads back to his car and on to the next call.

With the turn of the key Lyla nudges the front door open and it swings wide as if begging someone to enter. Immediately her eyes look to the beautiful staircase and the stained glass chandelier that is radiant with bright bulbs. It looks dazzling with each piece of glass sparkling in various colors.  

Excerpt 143

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 142) Delicate Colors

Lyla smiles at Marnie but is thinking to herself that more than likely she was doing more snooping than making sure the house was secure. As Marnie rambles on about herself and all the things she has been doing while Lyla was away, Lyla is making her way out the door.

Completely turned off to the constant anguish about everything under the sun, Lyla just wants to get Smokey and herself out of there. She makes a bold move and heads out the front door while Marnie is still dribbling on. She hates to be rude but as she starts toward the taxi, she stops listening.

“Thanks again, I’ll touch base with you later.” says Lyla quickly so she can escape any further meaningless conversation. She carries Smokey in her crate to the waiting car and directs the driver to her house. During this ride, she notices the trees and spring flowers have emerged from the bleak grayness of winter. New buds and blossoms cover the landscape as it begins the beautiful transformation into the delicate colors of spring.

The driver takes the next turn and as they approach Lyla’s house she smiles. The redbud and tulip trees are in full bloom as grape hyacinth and yellow daffodils trim the edges of the sidewalk. Soft green hues in every color speckle the large old trees as tiny new leaves push themselves out of the thick gray branches.

“How pretty.” Lyla says happily. “Yep, sure looks nice this time of year.” The driver says as he pulls up to the front walk. “You’ve got your hands full; I’ll grab your luggage for you and set it on your porch.” He says kindly as he exits the car. “Oh that is very thoughtful, thank you.” She replies as she gets out of the car.

Excerpt 142

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 141) Go Home

Being very privy to Marnie’s schemes, Lyla does her best not to give in to her dismal self-absorbed stories or to inquire for more details. She has definitely found herself trapped in situations like this before so she backs off immediately. In actuality, Lyla has only spoken to Marnie three times in the past six months. Now all she wants to do is save her cat from this negative household and go home.

“Well it’s great to see you, Marnie. But it has been a very long day for me and I’d really like to get home, is Smokey ready to go?” Lyla asks as she and Marnie enter the house. There on the floor next to the front door is the cat crate and Smokey is already inside, which bothers Lyla. She squats down and looks in at her beautiful longhaired cat wondering how long she has been in there waiting.

“Hey Smokeums” Lyla says as she smiles. Smokey responds with a raspy meow but in a frantic tone. It is as if she is saying, “Get me out of here!” Lyla picks up the crate and sticks her finger through the grate in the little door to pet her nose. Smokey begins to purr immediately.

“She was mostly good,” Marnie says as she picks her dog Oliver up to hold him. “I had to discipline her a few times though. You know I’m just not a cat person I suppose. Plus they are fickle and picky.” She makes a funny face as she looks at the crate. “They are messy too.” Marnie looks down as if she is trying to find something to talk about, then she perks up and says, “Oh and just to let you know, I popped in at your house about every day, to check the mail and stuff you know. So you should find everything in its place, untouched and unmoved. Your mail is on the table in the hall.”

Excerpt 141

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