Like Cats And Dogs – Episode 18


Truth was, it was three weeks since the quiz evening with Tim, and Cally hadn’t seen him since. Now she had the perfect excuse to call on him.

As she slicked on a fresh coat of lipgloss and thought back to that evening, she realised she’d forgotten all about the mystery of the bell-ringers.

She scribbled Sheila on a notepad; she would phone her later to catch up. Surely someone had heard by now who had locked them in.

She was peering into the scratched old mirror she kept in her desk drawer and fluffing up her hair as Marna rushed in, looking a bit bleary-eyed.

“Sorry I’m late, boss.”

“No worries. I’ve done all the breakfasts. Hey, you don’t look too well, Marna,” Cally commented with real concern. “Do you feel all right?”

Marna had slumped into the chair beside the desk, as though she didn’t have the energy to stand for one minute more.

“I feel a bit run-down, if I’m honest. Could hardly drag myself out of bed this morning.” She was resting her head wearily on her hand.

“I’m going to sound like your mum, but I’m sending you right back home,” Cally said. “I’ll manage here. Give me a minute to find my car keys and I’ll give you a lift.”

Cally grabbed her bag and Tim’s mail, and hustled Marna gently out to her car. The girl sat with her head tipped back on the head rest, her eyes closed until they drew up outside the cottage where she rented a room.

Her landlady, Mrs Taylor, a kindly widow, came to the door, nodding knowingly.

“Didn’t I say you weren’t fit for work this morning, love? But she wouldn’t listen,” she said in an aside to Cally. “All worried about those blessed cats, she was. But it’s bed for you, young lady,” she said, fussing maternally over the girl. “You leave her to me, Cally – I’ll look after her.”

“I know you will, Mrs Taylor. And don’t let her come back before she’s well again. I’ll manage.”

However, as she drove away again, heading for Tim’s kennels, she did wonder about that. The cattery was currently two-thirds full. That was a lot of cats to look after all by herself. Her visit to Tim had better be a flying one . . .

****

When Cally drove into the Retreat’s yard, the first thing she saw was Imogen’s dog Chap tied up outside the building where she knew Tim had his office. The dog was barking like crazy, and as she watched, Imogen came scurrying out to make a great fuss of him.

“Here I am! See – I always come back. Here’s your toy – now sit quietly like a good boy, won’t you, Chap?”

Cally jumped out of her car and gave Imogen a wave.

“I was hoping for a word with Tim, but if he’s busy . . .”

“Hi, Cally. I’m sure it’ll be all right. We’re just talking.”

Was this a social visit, then, Cally wondered, experiencing a spark of jealousy.

She followed the other girl into Tim’s office to find him reclining in his leather swivel chair, his feet up on the corner of the desk, but when he saw her he swiftly straightened up and dropped his feet to the floor. She saw him wince and guessed such sudden movements still caused his leg to ache.

“Hi!” he exclaimed.

His sudden activity woke a beautiful Alsatian drowsing on a blanket in the corner, and with an aggrieved sigh the animal nosed its way out of the office door.

“Lovely dog. Is she yours?” Cally asked.

“She is,” Tim agreed proudly. “Name’s Annie. So, what can I do for you?”

“Oh! Yes.” Her thoughts were suddenly so scattered at the sight of him, she’d almost forgotten why she was there. “Neville delivered some of your mail to me by mistake,” she said, drawing the bundle of envelopes out of her bag. “I thought I’d drop them in. I was passing anyway.”

He raised his eyebrows. He wasn’t exactly on her way to anywhere.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.