The Eyes Of A Fetch 161-180

The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 180) Getting Nowhere

Marnie is acting very irrational as she leans close to Lyla’s face. Lyla believes her to be in some sort of dream state or very confused in some way for she is almost frightening in her actions.

“Okay, how about I drive you home then?” Lyla asks. “No! I don’t want to go home.” Replies Marnie. “Just leave me alone.”

“How about you sleep here in the sunroom, do you want to do that?” Lyla questions firmly. “No, no, no!” says Marnie like a little child.

Lyla is getting nowhere with her and decides to call Marnie’s brother, Robert, who lives very close by. He comes to pick her up and while there explains that the family is very worried. Apparently, for the past three days she has been acting odd and out of sorts. He believes she is obsessed with Penny’s death, which Lyla had already figured out. Finally, after a couple of hours of talking with Robert, Lyla is able to get her spare key from Marnie and she locks the house up for the night. The only person that still has access is Marcus, but she does not consider him a threat to her privacy.

Wearily, Lyla heads back upstairs to her bedroom where she finds the fire has almost gone out. The room feels cool and the red coals offer little light. She pokes at the burned wood and places another log in the hot coals. Soon the flames come back to life, quickly warming the space not only in temperature but in ambiance as well.

Excerpt 180

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 179) Penny Told Me

“Hello. Is someone here?” Lyla asks cautiously. The only one that may have access would be Marcus of course, but he is on a plane nowhere near here. “Hello?” says Lyla as she looks down the hall to the sunroom. “Are the back doors open?” she mumbles as she walks in that direction. Sure enough, they are both standing wide open. “Did I leave them like this when I went out to get firewood?” She asks herself as she closes the doors.

“No,” says a voice in the dark. “What?” says Lyla loudly as she jumps due to the sound of the female voice. Quickly, she turns toward the silhouette standing near the bookshelves. “Who’s there?” she questions.

“It’s me, Penny told me to come here.” Marnie says in a very calm tone. She steps away from the bookshelf and sits down on the settee. Lyla reaches over to a nearby lamp and turns the light on. “Why would Penny tell you to come here?” asks Lyla now thinking Marnie is sleepwalking or under the influence of her favorite liquid.

“To learn a lesson,” replies Marnie in a subdued tone. Lyla looks closely at Marnie’s eyes. They appear to have a glaze over them, as if she is in a self-induced trance. “Have you been drinking tonight Marnie?” Lyla asks as she sits down next to her. Marnie does not reply as she sits very still, staring at the wall across the room. “Do you want to go to a guest room to sleep?” Lyla asks politely.

“No!” says Marnie in a loud tone as she turns to look at Lyla. “I would never sleep here! I hate this place and I hate you!”

Excerpt 179

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 178) Switched On

Laying her hairbrush on the dresser, Lyla grabs the empty salad plate and fork and steps into the hall. She is instantly colder. Flipping the upstairs light on, it illuminates the top portion of the staircase. Looking down at the foyer it is as if the stairs slither away into a deep dark hole.

“Wow that is not at all an inviting look.” She says to herself as she descends the staircase. Coming out from the crack under the kitchen door is a beam of light. “Hum, did I leave the kitchen light on?”

She pushes the door open to the brightly lit room and walks over to the sink where she rinses her plate and leaves it there for the night. After glancing out the window to the darkened yard, she flips the light off and steps through the doorway. To her surprise, the foyer is aglow with the multicolored radiance of the chandelier.

“What in the world?” she questions. “I didn’t turn that on.”

There are two switches, one in the foyer and one at the top of the stairs and she knows she did not touch either one. How is it that this light has mysteriously switched on?

Excerpt 178

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 177) Irony

Lyla laughs as she thinks of the man who bumped into her on the sidewalk today. There she was in Madrid, one of the busiest cities in the world, where she shared the sidewalks with clusters of people. Yet, it is here in her quaint little hometown that she is practically knocked to the ground because one other person happened to be on the same path as her. She laughs again at the irony of it all.  

Her thoughts now go the moment she ran into the man outside the stained glass shop in Madrid. She knew the man today reminded her of someone and that is it! No wonder this felt familiar. Both men were of the same height and weight but the incident in Madrid was much more mysterious.

Lyla shivers as she starts to think about the disturbing things that happened to her while in Spain. She recalls the feelings of being followed, watched, and she felt taunted by bizarre shadows and strange flashes of cryptic images that entered her mind.

With the bedroom now toasty warm from the fire, she wants to avoid any spooky thoughts before bed. Therefore, with her salad eaten, she decides to wash up and get into her night-clothes. Once this is complete, she sits back on the bed, brushes her long hair and yawns, now realizing just how tired she really is.

“Oh rats, I need to run the plate to the kitchen,” she says as she yawns once again. 

Excerpt 177

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 176) Settle In

It takes Lyla two separate trips to run a good amount of wood from the pile outside, to the second floor fireplace. She gets things started and once the fire takes and is fairly settled, she pops downstairs to grab her laptop and the salad she prepared earlier.

This time Smokey follows her upstairs and perches herself at the foot of the bed, which happens to be her favorite spot in the entire house. Even though it is early evening, Lyla tries to settle in for the night by reviewing the information she has on Marcus’ site as well as catching up on local and national news events.

She did not have much of a breakfast and between the work she did at the art shop, loft, and then the walk all the way home from Marnie’s house, she did not find time for lunch. With the television playing low, she tunes it to an old movie as she sits on her bed and munches on her salad. She is half way through her meal when a text message comes in from Marcus and she reads it aloud.

“We are on our way home, should be in town by late tomorrow. I’ll contact you the next day.” Lyla looks over at her sleeping cat. “Oh wow, he said we, so that means Destry agreed to come with him. I cannot believe they are already heading back, good thing I did not procrastinate on getting his place organized. You agree Smokes?” She grins as she glances at the portly feline. 

Excerpt 176

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The Eyes OF A Fetch (Excerpt 175) Chilly Night

Lyla unlocks the front door of her house and steps inside. She is hit immediately with thoughts of Penny. Marnie said she saw Penny in the house. Was she merely in a drunken haze or did she actually see something? After all, Lyla herself has been frightened here in her own home several times lately. Smokey comes scurrying down the hall from the sunroom to greet her mistress with a hearty meow.

“Hey precious girl, how are you doing?” says Lyla as she squats down to pet her beautiful gray cat.

Smokey is purring loudly as she leans up rubbing her head against Lyla’s arm. She then walks over to the suitcase and acts as if she is going to rub against it but with a little sniff, she quickly runs off and meows as if complaining.

“Well that was short lived you fickle cat.” Says Lyla as she stands up and takes the case upstairs to her bedroom.

With a chilly night forecasted, she decides to light a fire once again. Since she plans to spend most of her time in her bedroom, she must get it stocked with fresh wood from the stack of logs and lumber near the back door. First, she stops at the kitchen to make a garden salad for dinner and to feed Smokey her evening meal.

Excerpt 175

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 174) His Features

Lyla watches the man for a moment as he makes his way down the sidewalk. What is it? There is something about his stature and the way he carries himself that reminds her of someone. As she looks down to grab her case she is unaware that the man turns to glance back at her.

Without slowing his step, his lip curls slightly at the corner as he looks forward again and his features slowly begin to change. His nose grows a little sharper and his face thins. With a determined yet light step, Crispin Duff is now passing in front of Lyla’s house as he slips a stocking cap on over his nearly shaved head of dark hair.

He looks up at the large old house smiling with a very wide grin. He would do anything to hold her again, even though his ploy gave him just a few seconds, she was in his arms. An interesting sparkle flickers in Crispin’s green eyes as he continues on his way.  

Excerpt 174

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 173) Embarrassment

The man keeps one arm around Lyla and his other hand on the small of her back. He does not let go until he is sure she has gained her footing. Finally, very slowly, he releases his grasp. Lyla, laughing and warm with embarrassment, responds to his apology.

“It’s okay, no harm done.” She reaches to pick up her suitcase but he grabs for it at the same time causing her hand to touch his. She feels a shock of energy, which surprises her, and she quickly pulls back.

“Oh wow! Did I shock you?” he laughs as he asks the question. “It’s this wool jacket, always does that to me. You have my apologies again.” He wipes off the small amount of mud that the suitcase fell into and says, “A good beginning is half the work done,” and he sets the case up next to her.

“Really, it’s okay, thank you.” Lyla says as she smiles. They stand there for a moment both looking at the case, neither making much eye contact, but then Lyla looks up at him. Something about this stranger appeals to her. He glances up, briefly looking her in the eyes, then immediately looks back down. Leaning over and looking up, Lyla tries to make eye contact. Something seems very familiar about him but before she can ask any questions, he steps to the side to continue down the street. 

“Again, sorry, have a good evening!” He quickly walks away as he speaks and after a few steps, slips his hands into his jacket pockets.

Excerpt 173

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 172) Fast Pace

Finally, Lyla reaches the far end of her street and this reminds her of when she was a kid. She likes the up-close views of the yards in bloom and the fact that she is walking the same path where day after day she would dream about living in the exact house she now calls home. The sweet smells of the flowers and damp earth floods her mind with youthful days and long summer vacations.

She is now several houses down from her own when she hears footsteps approaching from behind at a very fast pace. She turns her head to peek around her hood and sees a man, with his head down, rapidly approaching. She continues walking but steps much closer to the edge of the sidewalk to allow him to pass but this does not seem to help.

He bumps into her rather hard causing her to trip and begin to fall forward. She puts her arms out to keep from tumbling into a white picket fence but the man catches her before she hits anything at all.

“Oh I am so sorry,” He says in a southern accent, his arm wrapped tightly around her midsection. He holds her without much effort, in fact, Lyla feels as if he is holding her much longer than necessary. “I thought I was the only one on the sidewalk, I apologize,” says this stranger with shaggy light brown hair.

Excerpt 172

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 171) Winter’s Chill

Lyla still has the number in her phone from the taxi service that picked her up at the airport and she gives them a call. Within minutes, they dispatch a car to Lyla’s location where she helps Marnie into the back seat. Placing her belongings in the trunk, Lyla joins her drunken friend for the ride home. After directing the driver to Marnie’s house there is no other conversation between any of them as they make the trip.

Once they arrive, she assists her troubled friend to the sofa, covers her with a blanket making sure she is safe. Lyla notifies Marnie’s brother of the situation and he asks her to stay with Marnie until she is asleep, which happens almost immediately. To be safe, Lyla sits with her for half an hour longer, then locks the door and begins her walk home.

Even though it is mid-afternoon with intense sunshine, the temperature is still holding on to winter’s chill. Lyla zips her jacket up tight and pulls the hood up around her ears. She extends the handle on her suitcase and pulls it along behind her as she walks down the sidewalk toward her side of town. Marnie’s house is a good distance from Lyla’s and it takes her about an hour to pass through the various neighborhoods that divide their homes, but she is enjoying the exercise and beautiful weather.

Excerpt 171

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 170) Haunting You

In no way was Lyla belittling Marnie for her comment, she simply asked her to explain in more detail. Marnie tends to get confused but when more alcohol than blood is running through her veins, she exaggerates much more than usual. Unfortunately, this behavior has become the norm lately. Marnie steps up closer to Lyla, breathing that foul breath of hers in Lyla’s face, and points her finger at her nose.

“Penny came in the back door, from the garden where she was found dead!” says Marnie in a low grumble. “I saw her twice! She is haunting your house Lyla, she is haunting you and I don’t blame her one bit.” Marnie points and then staggers to the left as she leans on the glass window of the art shop. “You killed her you know.”

“Marnie, I think we need to get you home.” Lyla says trying to hide the shock she feels from what Marnie just said. Is it possible that Marnie truly believes she had something to do with Penny’s death? How could she believe such a thing? Holding Marnie by the arm, Lyla gently asks, “Where did you park your car?”

“I didn’t drive here, you dope!” Marnie says as she pulls her arm from Lyla’s gentle hold. She takes a step, then plops down on the bench outside the art shop. “How did you get here then? Taxi?” asks Lyla now determined to make sure Marnie gets home safely.

“I don’t know.” Marnie replies as she leans her head back and closes her eyes as if she is completely worn out.

Excerpt 170

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 169) Penny’s Ghost

Lyla grabs the handle of her rolling case and starts walking away. Glancing at the reflection in the shop window, she can see the dismay on Marnie’s face. Clearly, Marnie is stumped that the conversation quickly ended without having a chance to elaborate more on her so-called condition. Lyla cannot help but grin.

“I saw Penny’s ghost at your house!” Marnie squeals in her high-pitched squawky and irritating voice as if taunting Lyla. With this comment Lyla stops. She knows Penny’s death has been hard on Marnie as it has been for everyone else, but now she claims to have seen her ghost.

“What?” questions Lyla. She turns around for clarification and Marnie practically bumps into her as she moves in her direction. Lyla steps to the side to avoid being trampled.

“I saw her at your house.” She says with a hateful tone and a nasty smirk as she places her hand on her hip.

“When, when did you see her, Marnie?” asks Lyla in a calm manner not believing a word she says.

“Don’t patronize me!” Marnie says harshly as she looks away. Her head wobbles slightly as she gains her balance.

Excerpt 169

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The Eyes OF A Fetch (Excerpt 168) Performance

“Well now look at that, still not staying at your house I take it?” says Marnie in a sarcastic tone. It is obvious she has been drinking for the liquor smells strong on her breath and she is standing several feet away.

“Actually I am staying at my house, I just came over here to clean the loft and gather my things.” says Lyla as she smiles at Marnie glad she was able to correct her. “What are you up to today?”

“Oh, not much you know. I’ve had a bit of a bellyache and decided I might need to make an appointment with my doctor, but he can’t get me in until next week! Can you believe that?” Marnie staggers as she rubs her stomach and wrinkles her face. Lyla knows she is twisting and turning and rubbing her belly for attention. Most of all, as an attempt to get Lyla to ask more questions, which keeps Marnie at the center of attention where she likes it best. In spite of her outstanding performance, Lyla does not buy into Marnie’s game anymore and refuses to act at all interested.

“I’m sure if the doctor thought it was something serious they would work you in.” says Lyla without much emotion. “I hope you get to feeling better, I’ve got to go.”

Excerpt 168

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 167) A Capital D

Standing there, holding the paper in her hands, Lyla reads the description of the item sold, “Duplicate Painting” with one thousand dollars paid when the order was placed and another thousand paid when it was picked up. Other than that, it does not list any further details. She stares at the billing and business name for quite some time.

“I know I have heard this name before.” She says quietly to herself before giving up and filing it neatly away under the tab marked with a capital D. What she does not realize is Duff Industries is the name of the company Marcus spoke about during their call just last night. Nor does she recall working for the owner, Crispin Duff.  

It is now mid-afternoon and Lyla is putting the final touches on dusting the various sections of the art shop. After several more minutes of work, the entire place looks fresh and well tended to for Marcus’ return. Making sure all of her belongings are with her, she pulls the case along as she steps out onto the sidewalk. Turning her back to the street, she locks the door.   

Excerpt 167

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 166) Down To Three

Since Lyla and Smokey have been staying with Marcus for the past several months, she knows her way around pretty well. Starting with the bedroom that Marcus gave up to her for the couch, she strips the bed and stuffs the sheets and blankets in as the first load.

Next, she mops the wooden floors and scrubs the kitchen and bathroom until they are spotless. After grabbing all of her belongings as well as Smokey’s food and water bowls, she places them in a rolling suitcase and sets it near the top of the spiral staircase. By this time, the sheets are dry and she finishes placing them back on the bed.

“Let’s see, the bed is made, all the towels and washcloths are clean, floors look great and the kitchen is organized.” Lyla says to herself as she makes one last pass through the loft area. Coming down the stairs with suitcase in hand, she remembers the papers and storage boxes that she needs to sort before she leaves. Once in the storage room, she picks up the stack of invoices and starts flipping through them.

“Hum, looks like Marcus was on a mission to get all of his billing and payment information boxed up from last year.” The box is full of files in alphabetical order making it easy for Lyla to place the proper paper in the correct place. After nearly an hour, the stack has dwindled down to three final pieces and she comes across a familiar name.

“Duff Industries. . .” Lyla pauses. “Duff Industries, now where have I heard that name before?”

Excerpt 166

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 165) New Cycle

“Umm, it’s a beautiful day.” Lyla yawns as she stretches out in her bed. “I need to go to the loft today to grab the rest of my stuff and to tidy it up. If Marcus is on his way home with Destry, I’d better make sure it’s respectable over there.”

She gets out of bed and goes about her typical morning routine. With a bounce in her step, she heads down the staircase and out the veranda door to the garden gate. The ground is wet from the morning dew as it glistens in the sun and the leaves on the trees seem to get fuller by the minute as they begin their new cycle of life.  

With the turn of the key Lyla enters the art shop. Locking the door behind her, she walks past the empty gallery and enters the back storage room. Her goal is to make sure everything is secure on the ground floor before going upstairs to the loft.

She notices some papers and storage boxes on the back counter that she will need to deal with, but office work can wait until the end.

Excerpt 165

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 164) No Features

Gently he touches Lyla’s shoulders and slowly slides his hands down her arms as he pulls her towards him. In one fluid movement, together they lay down on the carpet of grass and neither speaks a word as they stare up at the wondrous moon and stars.

Mesmerized and intrigued, everything appears to be moving in slow motion around them. She wants to look at him but her eyes are fixed forward with no ability to turn her head. She sees his shadowy form moving next to her and is not frightened, not at first.

Soon the calmness she felt begins to fade as he slowly leans up even closer as if moving to overtake her. She begins to feel panicked as he comes into view. He has no face and no features that she can see. Darkness begins to lay a veil over her as it consumes the air she is breathing.

With a jolt and a gasp for air, Lyla awakes in her bed. The room is dark except for a mild glow being cast through the window from the streetlight below. Down near Lyla’s ankles, Smokey adjusts herself for a more comfortable spot. Lyla looks at the clock, 3:15 a.m.

“It was just a dream.” She mumbles to herself as she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. “It was just a dream.” She repeats again as she falls back to sleep. The house is still for the rest of the night and Lyla does not remember much of her dream upon awakening the next morning.

Excerpt 164

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 163) Coming Closer

Even with the windows shut, the frogs from the water garden pond are making their presence known by sounding off, one right after the other. Their loud peeps echo throughout the yard as they call to each other while the sun slips away for the night. Snuggly tucked under the sheets Lyla has drifted into a deep sleep and has begun to dream.

As she walks through a lush valley of deep green grass, she does not see him at first, but she knows he is there. The fertile carpet beneath her feet is thick and the tips of the grass tickle her ankles as she moves forward.

It is nighttime and the moon is enormous as it rises in the eastern sky. She feels that if she reaches out, she will be able to touch it. The stars, they too are brilliant and appear to be wonderfully magnified and detailed. She looks for constellations as she gazes upward.

There is a sense of contentment about her. She is neither hot nor cold as she stares up at the heavens. However, she knows he is coming closer and she believes she should fear him, yet she does not. He is now within inches of her as she feels the warmth from his body and his breath at her neck.

Excerpt 163

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 162) Worry In His Voice

With the time difference between them, Lyla places a call to Marcus, which is in the early morning hours in Spain. He has just returned to his hotel room after his current showing. “You my dear are flooding the art scene.” Lyla says gleefully as she walks from her bedroom to the bathroom. “The website is exploding! How is everything else going?”

“It’s great,” states Marcus as he sits on the bed in his room. “I’m starting to get the hang of this traveling thing but, well you know me, I wish I was home too.”

“How’s Destry?” ask Lyla as she leans over the bathtub and starts to fill it with warm water. “Are things going okay with her family?”

“She and her lawyer met with someone from the company that bought out her Grandmother’s vineyard, Duff Industries or something like that. The name sounds familiar for some reason.” He pauses. “Anyhow, I think they scared her, she has been extremely quiet and moody and I do not know what to do to help. I’m really worried about it all and feel like something bad is going to happen, I want her to drop the whole thing.” States Marcus, Lyla can hear the worry in his voice.

“Just be there for her, Marcus. I know you are in love with her, I saw that very clearly before I left.” Lyla replies as she lays out a clean towel and washcloth. “Love at first sight does exist you know.” She smiles as she sticks her hand under the running water to test its temperature.

“Yeah,” Marcus laughs. “I knew you were on to me. Hey, I think I will be home in a couple of days. Since my work is part of a traveling gallery, I just have to go to the opening of the last exhibit and then I am free to head back. I think I’ll ask Destry to join me.”

“You think?” questions Lyla. “Don’t waste your time thinking, just do it!” she laughs. “It would be great to see her again and she probably needs to get away. Well, that is if she can.”

“Yep, as usual you’re probably right. I’ll let you know the plans, love you!” says Marcus. “Love you too.” Replies Lyla.

They both say goodbye at the same time and then laugh before hanging up. Lyla finishes running a full tub of warm water then slides in for a tranquil soak. It is quiet and peaceful and exactly how she wanted to end this busy day.

Excerpt 162

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 161) Making Progress

In a dimly lit room, Crispin and Quinn are sitting across a table from each other discussing their latest endeavor. “I believe we are making progress.” Quinn states in a low voice. “Are we?” questions Crispin as he picks up a folder of paperwork. It is a few inches thick, full of various documents, with several pages that he must review and sign. He flips through them quickly before tossing the packet and all of its contents down on the table. Frustrated, he stands up and walks to the window where he pauses quietly for several minutes.  

“We need to be focused.” Says Quinn calmly as he pours tea from a pot into their cups. He then glances up at Crispin and waits for him to respond. “I know.” Replies Crispin as if he is exhausted. He continues to stand facing the window looking out at the green hills that surround the cottage.

“Ms. Boucher is in love and that is helping our case immensely as she is losing interest in the entire process.” Quinn smiles as he slides the cup and saucer to Crispin’s side of the table. Crispin slowly turns around and takes his seat as Quinn continues. “If she doesn’t comply then she will simply have to be dealt with.” He pauses for a moment. “Accidents happen every day.” He laughs, as Crispin continues to stay quiet.

“This one is very complicated, Quinn. It’s not that easy, not for me anyway.” says Crispin as he looks down at his reflection in the cup. While taking a sip of the warm liquid, Quinn looks up almost glaring at Crispin for saying such a thing.

“Then let me handle it.” Quinn says in a snide deep voice. “I have no reservations in this.”

Excerpt 161

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