A few minutes later, true to Harlan’s word, a police vehicle showed up and pulled into the driveway behind her car. She waved to the officer, but he waved her away, signaling for her to stay by the tree. He drew his weapon before cautiously approaching her front door.
Dixie could take a hint, and she stayed hidden behind the tree until he came back out of the house and approached her.
“Are you the owner of the house?” he asked.
“Yes,” Dixie replied.
“No one is in the house, but I found something kind of odd inside. Can you come with me?” he asked.
Dixie glanced at his nametag, noting his last name was Greenlea. He appeared to be in his mid-thirties and had a no-nonsense way about him.
The officer walked back toward the house and Dixie followed. Once she crossed the threshold, she immediately saw what was wrong. There was orange fur everywhere. It was in the living room, the dining room and on the kitchen counter. It was Louie’s hair, and it had been shaved off.
“What in the world happened?” Dixie asked, her voice going up at least two octaves. “Louie… Louie!” she called out, afraid of what she might find.
The officer followed her from room to room. When they reached her bedroom, Dixie looked under the bed and then in the closet, which was still open. There, on top of her shoes, was Louie. He was sitting in the far corner of the closet, facing the wall. It was a horrible sight. Louie was shaved almost completely bald.
“Lou Lou, come here baby. Mama’s here. You poor thing,” Dixie cooed to the frightened cat. Dixie got down on her hands and knees and continued to talk soothingly to the terrified animal. Once she gathered him up in her arms, the officer helped her stand up and exit the closet.
He was stunned when he saw the cat.
“I guess your cat didn’t look like that before,” he said, frowning. He reached out to pet the cat, but Louie gave him a sad look and then buried his face in Dixie’s shirt.
“Who would do such a thing to a poor creature?” Dixie asked. Tears welled up in her eyes when she thought about how terrified he must have been. Now, she worried, he would be afraid of people when they came into her home. He had always greeted her friends and customers before.
“Miss Carver, this looks personal. Do you have any enemies, or know someone who doesn’t like you and has told you so? It could be someone who has been trolling you on social media,” he suggested.
Dixie shook her head and hugged her cat. “I have no idea why someone would do this, and all I do on social media is promote my business and answer a few beauty or makeup questions from customers.”
The officer looked at her and shook his head. It made Dixie feel like she had done something wrong.
“In the meantime, do you know someone who could fix your door? Promise me that you will get a deadbolt and a chain when you do,” Officer Greenlea said. “That old lock of yours didn’t do you much good.”
“I promise, but what should I do for now about the door?” she asked. “The hardware store is closed now.”
Officer Greenlea showed her how to force the back of a chair under the doorknob to keep it from being opened.
“I’m going to have patrol cars hang out in this neighborhood tonight for safety’s sake. Keep your front porch light on for us. If it goes out, we’ll be knocking at your door, okay?” the officer said. “I’m going to take some photos, and then I’ll see myself out.”
Dixie offered her hand, and he shook it. “Thank you for coming. Is it okay to clean after you leave?” she asked.
“Yes. I’m sorry about what happened to your kitty,” he said. “I hope he is doing better soon. Maybe a dog sweater would help him until his fur grows back in.”
“That is an interesting idea,” Dixie said, wondering if Louie would allow her to put a sweater on him. He didn’t even like to wear a collar.
After Officer Greenlea had taken his photos and left, she jammed the chair under her front doorknob and locked her back door. She also checked the windows to make sure they were locked. Then she pulled out the vacuum cleaner and cleaned up the trail of cat hair throughout the downstairs of her house.
When she had finished cleaning, she put the vacuum cleaner away, grabbed a tissue, and wiped the tears from her face.