July 29, 2016-I turned around and saw that Hannah was still following us. The tall, thin woman and Edgardo had returned to their car and were trying to start it…soon they became just a speck in the distance. We all huddled close to Grandpa as we continued at top speed on the main road.
“We need to get to a police station!” Grandpa said, “As soon as I tell them what happened, they’ll help us!” I hoped that his statement was true but I couldn’t help but wonder if showing up in a stolen vehicle would have any bearing on the outcome of our fate. It was a crime of necessity-rare but true in this case. The sound of sirens gaining on us split through my ears…this could be our lucky break.
I had a strange feeling about this, I knew that we should pull over but something told me to keep going. Grandpa pulled the truck to a stop at the side of the road and jumped out of the truck-he went to tell the policeman everything that had happened. As he walked toward the cruiser the knot in my stomach pulled tighter and I hoped my eyes were deceiving me…the officer looked a lot like Henri. I watched as Grandpa stopped dead in his tracks; he must’ve thought the same thing because he turned on his heels and ran to the truck in a full out sprint.
Henri followed suit; he tried to tackle Grandpa but missed by a hair. Grandpa just made it back to the truck with Henri hot on his heels, just as he reached for the door, Henri made contact. Grandpa fell to the ground with a tremendous THUMP and the dust flew. I watched in horror as their bodies twisted in a thundering heap and I knew that I needed to take action.
July 28, 2016-My guts churned as I realized that we were on a crash course with the black car. I looked behind us and Hannah was in another car and she was gaining on us-we were about to be sandwiched between the two. The black car was parked horizontally and blocked the end of the lane way; there was no where to go but straight through it! Grandpa opened the sliding rear window of the pick up truck, “Get in the cab!” he yelled and one by one we climbed into the front of the truck.
There was just enough room for all of us. Grandpa slid the back window shut and stepped on the gas, “Everybody HANG ON!” He stepped down on the gas and the truck reached top speed; I could see that the tall, thin human and Edgardo were standing in front of the car and that they were holding a gun.Shots rang out and I could hear the bullets hit the metal bumper and the side of the truck and we all ducked-Grandpa veered to the left and we made contact with the front of the black getaway car.
We hit the car with so much force that it shifted from it’s position and we made it through the barrier! Smoke was pouring from the truck engine so badly that we could barely see out the windshield. Grandpa rolled down his window and stuck his head out of the driver’s side door to gain visibility. We made it to the main road continued down it at a harrowing pace. He looked behind us and there was Hannah, still hot on our trail. “Dammit,” he said, “I knew the second I met her that she couldn’t be trusted-she’s working for the bad guys!”At that moment it all made sense…or did it?
July 27, 2016-Grandpa shook his head, “I don’t understand? What do you mean?” Hannah looked at him and whispered, “She was just here…and she’ll be back within the hour.” The colour drained from grandpa’s face and he stood still for a beat before he sprang into action. “We need to get the animals out of here NOW!” he said. Something deep inside of me said that we should not trust Hannah, it was a nagging feeling that wouldn’t stop.
Grandpa started to corral the animals and help them into the back of the truck and within minutes we finally loaded in. “I’ll take you to a safe place in town, it won’t take long to get there,” Hannah said. “I just need to get something from inside of the house,” she said. I caught the slightest look of anxiety as it flashed across on her face-she was lying. Grandpa looked uneasy but agreed,”Please hurry-we don’t have much time.” Hannah ran towards the abandoned farm house and grandpa slid into the driver’s seat of the truck-there were no keys in the ignition. As Hannah disappeared from view, grandpa slid the panel off of the steering column. He grabbed two wires, stripped them and twisted them together and the truck roared to life.
He put his foot on the gas and the truck burst out of the barn. We flew down the bumpy, gravel driveway at top speed and I looked behind me to see Hannah in the distance, waving her arms and running after us. The truck twisted around every corner and dust filled the air-we were almost to the road. At the end of the lane way I saw it…the same black car that had been used as the getaway car in the diamond heist.
July 25, 2016-Grandpa motioned for us to hide. The sound of the vehicle became so close that we could hear the engine running outside of the barn door. We hid behind bales of straw and machinery; Grandpa hid with Simba and I and we had a pretty good vantage point of the barn door.
It was so quiet inside of the barn that you could hear a pin drop. The animals collectively held their breath as the massive door swung open with force. A short, pretty human with dark hair and glasses jumped out of her truck and moved a few bales of straw.She climbed back into the vehicle slowly backed it into the barn and shut off the engine; she flipped down the tailgate and began to load the back with bales.
We were in quite a quandary; if we revealed ourselves to the human she would be startled and besides, what if she was a bad one? But if we stayed put and did nothing, the tall, thin human might find us and we would be in an even worse situation. Grandpa must’ve had the same thoughts running through his mind as I did, because when I looked over-he was gone.
I caught a glimpse of him crawling out the hole that we had originally entered in at the side of the barn. What in the world was he doing? Just as I was about to follow him, Simba grabbed me by the paw and restrained me. “He has a plan, don’t compromise it!” he whispered. I decided to heed his advice and I watched as Grandpa walked through the front of the barn. He had his hands out to his sides and said,”Excuse me Miss?” The small human was startled and she turned to face him. She had a pitchfork in her hand and I noticed she gripped it tighter when she saw him; “I need your help,” Grandpa said calmly.
July 22, 2016- Grandpa picked up both Simba and I and hugged us, “I’m so glad you’re ok! We’ll be out of this mess very soon I promise!” he said and we followed Simba up a very steep hill. When we finally reached the top there was a tiny glow of light from about a mile away. “There,” he said and pointed to a small farm in the distance. We ran the rest of the way and when we arrived at our destination we were out of breath.
We followed Simba to the abandoned farm and he led us around the back of a dilapidated barn. He crawled through a large hole in the side of the building and we did the same. As my eyes adjusted to the firelight, I saw the animals! They were all there-Caleb, Callisto and all of the others! We were finally re-united! “Sebastien! You’re here!” Caleb said as he grabbed me and pulled me into a tight embrace. “Yes dear friend, you knew I would come,” I said. “Thank you for saving Simba from the hotel…it means more to me than you’ll ever know,” I said.
Caleb smiled and I hugged Callisto, “Thank you,” I repeated. The animals were gathered around us and Grandpa spoke,”We need to get everyone back to their homes and we need to move quickly,” he said. “I have a feeling that those horrible people won’t give up on finding us…this is a very dangerous situation.” I shuddered at the thought that the tall, thin human could still be stalking us. “Shhh…” Grandpa said as he put his finger to his lips and the animals became quiet. In the dead of the night we could hear what sounded like a car, coming up the lane way…
July 21, 2016-The tall, thin human ran towards me with the torch. I released Edgardo and circled around the fire. I was cold and calculated in my steps. I scanned the area and looked for something that I could use to immobilize the human but there was nothing that would give me an advantage; I would have to fight her without anything but my brute strength and cunning wit.
The tall, thin human and I stood across from eachother, the campfire was the only thing that separated us. Flames and ash licked at the air as the wind changed direction; that’s when I caught a familiar scent…It smelled like Simba. I heard a whistle come from behind me and there was only one other person in the world who knew that whistle…he was here. The very next moment, before I could even gather what was happening, Simba lunged from the bushes and pounced onto the tall, thin human’s shoulders. He started biting her and she screamed in pain so I sprang into action to finish Edgardo!
The tall, thin human flailed wildly as she tried to remove Simba from her neck but he would not release her. Edgardo and I twisted and crashed in a magnificent heap of fur and I delivered one devastating blow after another to his jaw. I looked over at Simba and he had the tall, thin woman on the ground-she was rolling in the dirt to try and get him to release her from his teeth. Then I saw it. A can of pepper spray reflected in the moon light. It had jostled free from the human’s utility vest! I ran over, picked up the can and said, “Run Simba!”
He obeyed my orders and ran wildly into the bushes. I pressed down on the nozzle and sprayed the human in the face with her own weapon! She screamed and writhed in terror as she tried to remove the substance from her eye. She got on all fours and tried to stand up but it was no use-I had temporarily blinded her. I ran over to Grandpa and untied him when he finally came to-“Seabass!” He said groggily and stood up. I led him to the bushes where Simba was laying in wait, “Come-I’ll lead you to the animals,” Simba said and we followed him into the darkness.
July 20, 2016-We heard another sound coming from behind us. Twigs snapped under the weight of whatever was coming our way. Grandpa motioned for me to hide so I concealed myself deep in the bushes and watched in fear as Grandpa confronted the noise.
It was the tall, thin human and Edgardo; they had found us by the light of our tiny fire. “What do you want?” Grandpa yelled as he lit the tip of a large branch on fire and used it as a torch. The tall, thin human took a step toward him but he waved the torch at her as a warning to keep her distance. “I’m here for the black cat,” she snarled, “He didn’t think that he would get away with the diamond did he?” Edgardo bared his teeth and started to growl. “He doesn’t have the diamond! It’s been turned over to the authorities and it’s only a matter of time before they find and arrest YOU!” Grandpa said. The fire that burned on the torch was no match for the anger that burned in his eyes.
I needed to do something! I lunged from the bushes and caught Edgardo completely by surprise; we grappled with each other and I bit him as hard as I could. He would not retreat so I bit him again; he yelped out in pain and finally I pinned him. I loomed over top of him, my chest heaved from the exertion of our fight and I said, “You will NEVER defeat me!” He looked into my eyes and said with a smirk, “Oh…but I already have.” I looked to Grandpa; he was lying in the dirt face down. The tall, thin human dragged him to the base of a tree and started tying him up. She bound his hands and legs and put him into a sitting position against the trunk and then grabbed the burning torch.
July 18, 2016-My heart started to beat faster as I remembered the blinking lights on the collars of the animals. I didn’t think anything of it at the time but now it all made sense. I knew that it was urgent for us to reach the animals before anyone else did…I prayed that no one else had. “We need to get to higher ground,” Grandpa said, “before we lose visibility.” The night was encroaching on us and the sky had turned a sort of purple velvet; we had an hour at most before nightfall and with each passing second, our chances of finding Simba and the animals grew smaller.
Grandpa led us to the top of a hill and crouched down, “Dog and cat tracks,” he said with a smile, “Lots of them!” We followed the tracks down the slope of the hill and looked for more clues. “This way!” Grandpa said and started running. I followed him to a barely visible, muddy path that was littered with broken sticks and moss; I immediately noticed a large pile of stones and so did Grandpa.
“They’ve been here for sure,” Grandpa said, “I can tell by the way the grass has been trampled down.” He pointed to a flat spot in the field and then directed my attention back to the rubble pile. “This looks like a marker of some sort…or a sign…” He paused. I felt an overwhelming urge to dig through the rocks so I followed my gut and began dismantling the pile. Grandpa was quick to help me dig; we threw big and small rocks to the side in order to get a look at what was underneath. I had a feeling that we were going to uncover something-perhaps something that would lead us to Simba and the animals…little did we know that the rock pile was hiding a secret.
July 15, 2016- I scanned the empty cave once over to make sure that my eyes were not deceiving me. I wished they had been because it would’ve been easier to take. A million thoughts ran through my mind and some worst case scenarios came into focus in my mind’s eye; What if the tall, thin human had captured them? What if she harmed them in some way? What if Simba had wandered out into the darkness to look for me and had gotten lost? What if….what if…what if?
I felt as though I was going to jump out of my skin at any moment. What I wouldn’t give to be back at the prison with Simba and the stupid humans. I snapped back to reality and did not let my mind wander anymore, it was of no use-I had a job to do! I swore that my promise to the animals and Simba would be fulfilled. Grandpa looked around the cave that was becoming darker by the minute and said, “I know why you led me here…this is where the animals and Simba were hiding. You’re a smart fish…I knew you would save them as soon as I saw it on the news.” He picked me up and petted my fur, “Let’s take this vest off.” He pulled the zipper down on my vest and noticed a green, blinking light in the darkness. “What in the…?” He said as he reached for the light and studied it. “It’s a GPS tracking device…no wonder they found your location…they were tracking you!” I swallowed hard and remembered something that chilled me to the bone…each of the animals at the pet hotel were wearing a collar…that had the same blinking, green light.
July 13, 2016- It was Grandpa!I was so thankful that he had come to rescue us! He held me close to him and I hugged him as hard as I could. I was soaking wet so he cuddled me close to his chest and dried me off with his shirt. I wanted to tell him that danger was imminent but I sensed that he already knew. A wave of peace washed over me and I knew that everything was going to be ok.
A shot rang off in the distance and we both turned to look to see where it was coming from. Henri was running towards us and I knew that he was after the diamond which meant that the only thing that stood between him getting what he wanted, was me and Grandpa. I knew that I needed to show Grandpa the diamond…I hoped he wouldn’t be angry with me. I pulled the diamond out of my vest and showed him-his eyes grew wide with surprise, “Don’t worry Sebastien, you’re safe with me and we will get the diamond back to the right people,” Grandpa said as he gently stroked my fur. We hurried off into the forest and came to a clearing when Grandpa pulled out his cell phone and called the police. He gave them our location and within minutes they were standing before us.
“We’ll take it from here,” the officer said to Grandpa. Grandpa nodded and said, “What about the animals that were on the news? The reporters said that the pet hotel was full of animals that were stolen from their families.” Grandpa handed over the diamond and the police put it in a special bag. “We’ll look into that too-don’t worry,” the officer assured him. I knew I needed to do something or else they would never find the animals hidden in the cave! I jumped out of Grandpa’s arms and prayed that he would follow me.