Arf was hoping grandma human would either slow down enough so that he could jump into the back of the pickup where Annie was, or stop. Either would have to be soon because a dog can only run so far and he didn’t want to lose them.
On the other hand, Annie didn’t know what to do, either. Now that the old woman was no longer a threat to the kids, did it even matter if they stayed with her?
Soon the pickup started to sputter and grandma human stopped and got out. Annie was hiding under the tarp so the woman didn’t see her when she reached into the truck bed to grab a tool. She lifted up the hood of the truck and began to work on something. While she couldn’t see him, Arf jumped in and hid under the tarp with Annie.
Soon they were on their way again.
When Steve and Clark got to the house where the old woman had taken the kids, Steve intended to show Clark the picnic basket he and Tom had found when they were there earlier. “It’s right inside the front door, he said. “They must have forgotten it, or at least the kids were hoping it would be left behind or Katie wouldn’t have put her hair ribbon in the bottom of it. I know she put it there so we would find it and know that they were here.”
“Or maybe the old woman put it there and purposely left the basket here,” Clark suggested.
When Steve was there earlier, he had been able to get inside the house through the back door, which is how he and Clark came in this time. On the way to the living room, they stopped to look the kitchen over.
They started looking through empty cupboards and then Clark opened the refrigerator door. Inside they found eggs, bacon, butter, a can of biscuits, and some jam. Clark took a second look at the jam and then put it back where he had found it.
When they got to the living room they found the picnic basket right where it was when Steve and Tom had been there.
“We looked through it earlier,” Steve said. “There is plenty of food in there to feed three people a couple of meals. It does tell us one thing, though. It doesn’t look like she’s come back here…at least not yet.”
They went out the front door, walked around to the truck, and headed back to the ranch.
Just as Arf and Annie were considering giving up, the grandma human pulled over and shut the pickup off.
Arf: She’s getting out of the pickup again, and it’s not even making a noise. Where do you think she’s going?
Annie: I don’t know but I think we should follow her. Maybe she’ll lead us to where she lives and we can show Steve and Brad, later
Arf: Ten four!
Arf: Ten four… That’s detective speak for okay. But if we want her to take us to where she lives, we still can’t let her see us.
Annie: Ten four!
The woman human got her cane and a small bag out of the backseat of the truck and proceeded to walk along a path that, judging from the way it was overgrown, hadn’t been used in a while.
Arf: How did we get back here? She drove off from town and she didn’t take the turn that takes us here.
Annie: This is the same house we came to when we were following her this morning. But look! There must be a back way. That’s the back of the house.
The old woman went in the back door and up the stairs. She put her bag on a table in one of the bedrooms and then she went back down the stairs and walked back to the pickup. When she got there, she reached in the truck bed and grabbed the tool box that Arf and Annie had seen. Both dogs were hiding close by in the grass. They followed her back to the house but that’s as far as they could go.
Arf: Who is this grandma human and why is she here?
Annie: Hide Arf she’s coming out onto the porch.
They watched as the grandma human sat down in a rocking chair and put her tool box beside her. She opened it and reached inside to get a pair of binoculars. She began to look through them in the direction of the road. After watching for a while, she reached inside the tool box again and pulled out a piece of wood and some sort of wood carving tool. She began to work on the wood as she rocked.
Back at the ranch Jamie and Dina were hovering over the children while they were feeding them dinner. They had decided since the woman who took them was still out there somewhere, the moms and dads would take turns watching over Katie and Jake in their rooms all during the night.
When Steve was saying goodnight to Katie, he casually asked her a couple of questions.
“What did the woman that said she was your grandma look like, Katie? You said that she was old.”
“I don’t know what she looked like. I never saw her face. I know she was old because she used a cane.”