It all started when my friend Patches, the Boston terrier and best friend of Yolanda Renee, the author of the romantic mystery / thriller novels Murder, Madness & Love and Memories of Murder, sent me an urgent email. Apparently, her Mistress was headed out for a scheduled interview with the diabolical villain of her recent release, Memories of Murder. Patches, concerned for her safety, asked me to fly to Pennsylvania to accompany her Mistress. Some urgent matters here at home in England had made that trip impossible. Then things escalated as Renée didn't come home as scheduled. I flew out immediately on the blogger's favourite airline, "Blog Air", to resolve what looked like a possible disappearance. This is what transpired.
It was 11:00 AM on October 30th when I arrived at Patches' lovely home in Pennsylvania. Patches was trembling with the worry of the situation. I noted that she was the worse for wear. Poor doggy friend hadn't been taking care of herself. I encouraged her to eat, drink and tell me as calmly as she could, what had ensued since our first communication.
Patches: My Mistress flew to California for her scheduled interview with Chrys Fey and that Beast. I expected her home on Monday and now, it's Wednesday! Something terrible's happened! I just know it!
Patches: Because he believes he's the devil incarnate. He's one sandwich short of a picnic.
Penny: Then why would your Mistress go there?
Patches: I told you it was an interview for a blogger friend. Mistress will do almost anything for her blogger friends.
Penny: Yes, I know what you mean. My human, Gary, the human I so kindly allow to live with me, is the same way. He's caught up in some crazy blogfest right now. Something titled the The Grisly Grizzly & How to Defeat the Misspelling Monster, or some such nonsense. Such silliness, but it makes him happy. Now tell me where does this Beast fellow reside?
Patches: Death Valley, California.
Penny: Then come, my plane is ready. I'm a "pawlet" on Blog Air. We'll be in Death Valley in a few hours.
By 8:00 PM that same evening, we were standing at the entrance to Lucifer's cave. Death Valley is a dry, desolate place that is, putting it mildly, hotter than hell! We stand at the entrance to his cave and are overwhelmed by the smell of sulphur and death. Cautiously, we make our way down the long tunnel. A short distance in we hear voices, and Patches recognizes his Mistress. She takes off running. I follow.
We arrive at a massive cavern to find her Mistress sitting on comfortable cushions. Her laptop's open as she types frantically. Lucifer, the Beast is pacing around the massive fire in the centre of the room and dictating. They look up as we enter and Patches makes a beeline for her mistress. I stand back observing. Lucifer. We make eye contact, he grins and I growl. His smile soon fades and he steps back.
Renée: Patchy, oh Patchy I knew you'd find me. What took you so long?
Renée looks at me, and smiles.
Renée: Thank you Penny, I knew if I were ever in trouble, you'd be the one to call. And Patchy, dear Patchy, you always know what to do!
Penny: I don't understand, Mistress. Why are you still here? Where is Chrys, your blogger friend?
Renée: She's home safe and sound. I would've been too, but Lucifer had other ideas. He's been needling me for a while now to tell his story. After I brought Chrys here, Lucifer became overblown with ego and demanded I get started, immediately!
She hugged Patches close, as Patches licked her face like a lollipop made of bacon. My heart swelled at such an expression of love.
Renée: I'm sorry, Patches, you know how I'm sometimes so wrapped up in my writing I forget the rest of the world exists. I'm so proud of you for calling Penny, but I'm ready to go home. I have the draft; I can finish the rest of the story at home.
She glared at Lucifer.
Renée: We're done! Come ladies, let's go home!
Lucifer: Oh no you don't. I'm in command here!
He takes a threatening stance. I eye the beast; I'm between him and my friends when I make my stand.
Penny: I don't think so – Beast!
Lucifer: So you're the famous Penny, the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar?
Penny: Among my many talents, yes.
Lucifer: Your reputation precedes you. What makes you think you can walk into my home, and interrupt my life's work?
Penny: I'm here to take the Mistress home.
Lucifer: And what if I won't allow it?
He steps closer, throws his cape back from his shoulders in a display of power. I look to the Mistress. Renée nods, finishes gathering her belongings and gives me a smile.
Penny: Because I can do this.
I smack my paws and like that, the fire in the centre of the room becomes a fountain of frozen water. The temperature changes dramatically as cool almost frigid air fills the cavern. Lucifer's throne crumbles to dust, and ice cycles begin to form on the cavern walls. The smell of sulphur and death disappears, replaced by a cool mint. I look at Mistress Renée and wink.
Lucifer pulls his cape close about his naked body and gets down on his knees.
Lucifer: You've won. I understand. Please Mistress, I'll cooperate. Just give back my sanctuary.
We prepare to walk out, and mistress Renée turns back to look at the cowering Lucifer still on his knees.
Renée: You forget I created you. Your punishment for trying to control my writing timeline and me, is the cold. Contemplate that, and be thankful I don't end you completely for your insolence.
So there you have it, my friend. A Halloween story of adventure. Concluding with the triumphant rescue of a writer from her own dark character and his quest for glory in the world of fiction.
Thus, I would soon return to England, Sherlock Hound, my magical powers, a force for good. My dear Patches, until next time, I must now depart your shores.