Welcome to PART TWO of a 3-part homage to Alfred Hitchcock, the King of Suspense
Jemma and All Hallows Eve
This warm-hearted story for cold nights about an English Bulldog and a murderess continues and will conclude on October 21. Please see October 19 for PART ONE.
Happy Halloween from me to you!!
Almost lost in the reverie of tasty leather, the dog heard her mistress’s voice. “Jemma! Come on, girl. Come on down. I have to go to work, sweetie.”
Jemma froze momentarily with the tassel in her mouth. She let go of the morsel and turned away, following the sound of her mistress’s voice.
A finger was removed from the trigger of a German pistol aimed directly at Jemma’s head.
“Jemma! Jemma,” came a sterner command. “Come down here this minute.”
Jemma grunted with disappointment and took a step or two toward the voice.
The pistol lowered.
With a sad snort, Jemma glanced back at the loafer and then dashed down the hill to her waiting owner.
Mrs. Rappaport, pistol in hand and perspiring profusely, stepped out from behind the thick pine tree some thirty feet away. She looked at Mr. Rappaport, half hidden in the brush, and wiped the sweat from her burning eyes.
“Where did that animal come from? I’ve been watching this place for weeks. I thought it was inaccessible except from our yard.” She looked up at the sky. “Oh, God, it’s getting too light,” she said, already exhausted from her ordeal of murder.
“I’ve got to hide you better,” she muttered, as she pocketed the pistol and began to drag the body deeper into the brush. “I’ll be back tonight, when it gets dark. I’ll bury you and finally be rid of you! And I’d better not see that stupid mutt again, either.”
On the evening of October 30th, Jemma sat by the front door eyeing her leash. Yes, she had been let out into the small backyard to relieve herself when her owners came home but it wasn’t the same. After dinner and before everyone settled in for the night, Jemma would be taken out.
She heard the lower, male voice talking to her. “Ready to go for your walk, Jemma?”
As her limited vocabulary did include the word “walk,” she leapt up, snorted and sneezed in her excitement as bulldogs often do, and nuzzled her leash. Off they went and the familiar ritual continued until she got to the bottom of the small hill and scooted up the side. Naturally, Jemma ran immediately to the ex-human and the tasseled shoes, as she had smelled him half way up the hill. He was a little further back in the brush but his smell was riper now, which made the shoes all the more alluring. Without hesitation, Jemma grabbed the heel of one and gave it a pull.
“Drop that shoe, you disgusting animal!” the woman growled with a fierceness that made Jemma freeze. She didn’t recognize the woman’s voice but she did know the three words “drop that shoe,” so she obeyed. Like any dog, she could hear the difference in vocal tones and this voice was filled with rage, an emotion previously unknown to Jemma.
Her bulldog ears raised, she stared at the woman coming forward out of the gloom carrying something unfamiliar in her hands. It was a shovel and the woman was holding it like a baseball bat.
“Jemma! Come on, Girl. Time to go home. Time for bed,” the voice of her master sang out, warm and loving. Jemma turned and dashed toward the familiar voice and so intent was she, she did not see or sense the swinging piece of metal that missed her hindquarters by mere inches.
Mrs. Rappaport stood on the hill furious and determined. She had no intention of letting a dog interfere with her plans. She had worked too hard and there was too much at stake. She tried to contain her panic by telling herself that once she buried Mr. Rappaport, the dog would either lose interest or wouldn’t be able to find the body.
Needless to say, Mrs. Rappaport had never owned a dog in her life. Thus, content in her temporary ignorance, she began to dig. She found the ground much harder than she thought, due to a lack of rain for the past several weeks, so even though she worked through much of the night, the grave was shallower than she originally planned. But then nothing was going quite the way Mrs. Rappaport had originally planned.
6:30 a.m., Halloween morning, Jemma raced up the hill and could not believe her good fortune. She found the ever-ripening body instantly and was thrilled that it was under a foot or so of earth. This was one of Jemma’s favorite games; Find the Buried Treasure. Grunting and rumbling, she dug with her sturdy forepaws, dirt flying everywhere. In less than a minute she had uncovered half of the body and the feet completely. She jerked at the shoe nearest her. What fun, she thought. The hill had never been as much fun as it had been for the past two days.
Jemma was so elated to have found her quarry again, that chewing on the shoe became secondary. From her point of view, she had dug a hole, found her delicious, prized possession and, as an extra bonus, covered herself with dirt. And she hadn’t even minded losing her pink bow, for she was a dog of great courage and strength. A descendant of warriors that had brought bulls to their knees, was our Jemma.
Mrs. Rappaport was stunned almost to paralysis of motion, standing at her kitchen window, straining at the binoculars in an effort to see why earth was being flung through the air right where she knew Mr. Rappaport to be buried. Her head began to ache from eyestrain, until she saw the dog come out from the brush into the small clearing, running in circles and tossing a shoe into the air.
“You disgusting, flea bitten canine,” Mrs. Rappaport said aloud from her kitchen. Her face contorted with fury. “There’s only one solution for you. It’s time for you to join Mr. Rappaport. Tonight.”
TO BE CONTINUED
Heather Haven is the author of the upcoming MuseItUp releases: