Brad was not only extremely worried, he was furious with Gloria and she knew it. Immediately upon learning that Gloria had let Annie go out the front door and then chased her, he left to go look for the poor dog, himself. Jamie was already out there looking for Annie.
First, Brad walked around the neighborhood, and then he took his truck and combed a wider area. He described Jamie and Annie to everyone he saw, but had no luck finding anyone who had seen them. Twice, he went back to Barbie’s house hoping one or both had come back.
“This just doesn’t make sense, Gloria.” Brad had just returned from his 2nd search. ” Annie is just not the type of dog who would run from someone like you. She’s not the type who would run from anyone, and I can’t imagine where Jamie would have gone. The police won’t look for them until they’ve been missing for at least 24 hours, but I think I’ll call them, anyway. If they see anything nefarious involving a young woman and or a dog, they might remember my call.”
Next, Brad called the ranch to let them know what was going on. He wanted to tell them he would call again when everyone was safe and sound and they were headed back to the ranch. Miss Bessie answered the phone.
“Oh, Brad, that is just the most awful thing. What if they wound up in a bad neighborhood or maybe someone kidnapped them. There are a million bad things that could happen to a poor innocent girl like Jamie and a sweet loving dog like Annie. Why I just heard on the news…”
“Miss Bessie,” Brad felt compelled to interrupt. “Is Steve there? I need him to check out a couple of things for me.”
“As a matter of fact, Dina took Katie and Arf to the river and when it started getting dark, he got concerned so he left to go find them. He hadn’t been gone five minutes when I heard Arf barking at the door. He looked all over for Steve, but like I said, he wasn’t here. I think Arf went to see if Mark is at the Bunkhouse. Land sake, there must be a full moon.”
“Mark isn’t there,” Brad said. “He went out of town to a quarter horse sale. Look, Miss Bessie, I need to get off the phone. Write down Barbie’s number and call us if you hear anything from anyone.”
Jamie had gone several blocks when she saw a man dragging a limp Annie towards a car. She was horrified as the man lifted the poor dog onto the backseat. There was another man in the driver’s seat who kept telling the other man to hurry.
Jamie ran to the car and as the man who put Annie in the backseat got into the front with the driver, she jumped into the back with Annie and quickly fell to the floor of the car before anyone even noticed she was in there.
The first thing she did was to check and make sure Annie was alive. Thank God she was breathing peacefully. Jamie’s veterinarian training came into play and she determined Annie had been sedated and would probably be unconscious for another hour. The next thing she was forced to ask herself is why? Why would someone sedate Annie and put her in their car? Jamie decided she would try to go unnoticed for as long as she could. She had no idea what the men’s motives were. Where could they be going and what kind of danger would she be in when they found out she had come along for the ride?
Soon the men began to talk.
“That Gloria is a little on the strange side, but she has never stiffed me. She knows she can trust me, that’s why. ”
“Why does she want you to get rid of a dog?” The other man asked. “She seems like a nice dog to me?”
“As of yesterday, that wasn’t part of her plan. The dog had gone back to where she came from. I guess the brother brought her back again, today. Gloria called me a couple of hours ago and changed things up. She’s having some sort of trouble with that blind lady she takes care of. She’s taking her somewhere else to live and she doesn’t like the dog and the dog hates Gloria. As a matter of fact, Gloria thinks the dog is what do you call it…intuitive, and knows things Gloria doesn’t want her to know.”
“So what are we gonna do, boss? We’re not really going to get rid of the poor intuitive mutt are we?”
Jamie chose that time to pop up in the back seat. Annie was waking up and it was time these fools took them back to where they found them.
“Excuse me,” she said. “I need you to turn this taxi around and take us back to Gloria..I mean Barbie’s house. There are people there who will be worried sick about us and you don’t want to make Brad Humbolt angry.”
For a moment the two flunkies were too surprised to say anything. The “Boss” finally found his voice. “I’m afraid we can’t do that, whoever you are.”
“We’ll take them to that abandoned cabin and leave them until I can figure something out,” he instructed the driver. “It shouldn’t take more than a couple of days.”
When they arrived at the very remote cabin, Jamie tried her best to convince the men not to leave Annie and her there, but they weren’t listening and Annie was still too sedated to do anything but sit there.
“You’ll find bottled water and some dried food in a box. There might even be some potato chips.” With that, the two men got back in the car and left. Jamie was stunned to say the least.