Chapter Twenty Five
Napping on the old throw that smelled of loyalty, Lewis was jarred awake by a groan that sounded similar to the one Griffin made when he stepped on a chewed action figure. He hopped to the driver’s seat, put his front paws on the top of the door, and stuck his head out the window. A second grunt pulled his attention to the balcony on the second floor directly over the entry. Through the set of French doors he could catch glimpses of a lady carrying rolls of tape moving very swiftly back and forth in the doorway. She seemed agitated. There were a lot of tearing noises and more groans that sounded like Griffin. The lady reached up and grabbed some type of rope then disappeared from view. A moment later she was in the doorway again, pulling on the rope-thing with a great deal of effort. She hoisted a large shape into an upright position.
Lewis wagged his tail so vigorously it shook the back half of his body. He barked a loud hello at the dangling object. The object made some unintelligible noises in response. It was the best it could do since its mouth was sealed shut with zebra-striped duct tape.
Lewis leapt through the open window and dashed to the front door. He pawed at it a few times and waited to be let in. No one came. He pawed again, adding a curt little bark but still got the same results. He jumped from the porch and into the space in the landscaping between the manicured boxwoods and the picture window they underlined. He stood up on his hind legs and peered into the first floor. He caught a glimpse of the almost naked lady hurrying through the foyer.
The front door opened to a jingle of keys as she dashed down the steps to the El Camino. A crackle of tires and a small cloud of dust followed her as she pulled the truck around the rest of the circular drive and parked in an open bay in the multi-car garage. Lewis scurried through the open door and into the house. He followed Griffin’s scent into the solarium and paused at the spot where he smelled an overwhelming amount of anxiety. The trail then headed toward the hallway. A door opened and closed near the far end of the hallway as Martha re-entered the house from the garage. Lewis cautiously moved toward her keeping from her view.
Martha stood primping in front of the doors on the double oven, her reflection carrying across the glass panels and chrome handles. She put on a fresh coat of lipstick and straightened the seams in her stockings. She pulled a small silver atomizer from a nearby drawer, spritzed it into the air and walked through the wafting mist. Then she sprayed it again at hip level and did the same. Satisfied with her refreshed state she headed back into the hallway and up the curved staircase to the second floor.
Lewis shadowed her movements and followed her to the studio that held the two men cocooned in duct tape. He didn’t recognize the frightened one with the baby strapped to his torso, but he knew without a doubt that the one with his hands in the fuzzy pink handcuffs and dog collar dangling from a retractable extension cord mounted over the end of a handcrafted work table was indeed Griffin. He scuttled to the opposite side of the room and hid among a pile of wicker baskets.