I reached the front door just as Trudy was unlocking it. There was a bright yellow business sized-envelope taped to it. I grabbed the envelope and handed it to Trudy as I walked inside. The house is small but tidy. I hadn’t been in anything other than the living room, but I could see the kitchen from where I was standing and a hallway that appeared to led to a couple of bedrooms. All the furniture was old, and the house could use a fresh coat of paint, but everything was neat and clean.
“So where was Molly when you last saw her?” I asked.
“She was sitting on her stand,” Trudy said pointing to a bird stand near the window. “I let her out when I get up in the morning. She usually spends most of the day on her stand. About eight I went for my usual walk, and when I got back she wasn’t here. I don’t know how she could have gotten out. I clipped her wings just last week. She can’t fly far.”
Her voice was starting to quiver, and her breathing picked up. I glanced at her. She was pale and swaying just a little. She was holding the yellow envelope in her hands, and they were trembling.
“Let me just look around a little. See if I can find any clues in here. Then Hero and I will go outside to search.”
With Hero at my side, I started a methodical search of the room. We looked behind the couch and under the chairs, desk, and coffee table. I had Hero sniff around Molly’s cage before we started on the rest of the house.
As I was headed down the hallway, there was a sound behind me. I turned to see Trudy standing near the front door. She had opened the envelope. She held a single sheet of paper in her hand. The left side of her face drooped, and her arm fell to her side causing her to drop the paper.
Her swaying increased. I rushed over and caught her just before she tumbled to the floor. Gently I laid her down and reached for my phone to call 911.
“Stay with me, Trudy.”
Her color was awful. She was sweating and breathing shallowly. I had some first aid training and believed she was having a stroke. As I spoke with the emergency operator, I grabbed a pillow from the couch and placed it under her head.
Trudy was mumbling, trying to speak, but I couldn’t make out the words. Her speech was slurred and disjointed. She looked old and scared. My own breathing was labored. Heart pounding, I tried to be positive.
“Just try to relax, Trudy. Help is on the way.”
The next fifteen minutes were some of the longest of my life. Trudy’s breathing got worse. She vomited once. She kept mumbling about Molly. I tried to reassure her that I would continue to look for the bird, but I’m not sure she understood anything I said. By the time the paramedics arrived, she was unconscious and barely breathing. I was just about to start CPR when they burst through the door.
The Lost Macaw is the fourth novella in the Lost and Found Pets series. Alexandra Prescott is a licensed private investigator specializing in finding missing animals. Reuniting pet and owner is more than just a job.
A former client hires Alex to find her lost parrot. The bright colored bird has flown away before, but this time there is evidence that Molly was kidnapped. The demand is simple—the bird for the pictures.
When her client suffers a stroke, Alex is left with a ransom note, a missing bird, and some very incriminating photos. She is in a race against time to solve the mystery of the lost Macaw.