Note: We've had so much fun with serialized stories that I'm trying my hand at one again! Here's the next installment of a new adventure for Cara Mia Delgatto and her friends. To read Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 scroll to the bottom of the blog where it says OLDER POSTS.
"Aren't you forgetting something?" MJ glared at me.
"You gave this bird to Skye. You can't suddenly up and decide that you're taking the bird away after telling her Kookie belongs to her."
A slow stain crept up my neck. I turned to my friend and said, "Skye, I apologize. MJ's right. What do you want to do?"
Skye gave a long, low sigh. "I'm not sure what to do, but I don't want to own a dead bird, so maybe it's best that we find a way to reunite Kookie and Helen."
Honora had been curiously silent throughout Pete's exam. Now she patted Skye's arm and said, "You're an old soul, Skye. You've made a brave decision."
With that decided, I thanked Pete and asked for a bill. "MJ's already promised to go with me to a concert at the Kravis Center, so you're paid up."
"MJ, can I impose on you for one more favor? Can you handle the store by yourself while Skye and I take a ride? I can't just put the bird in the car and drive over to the assisted living facility."
"Why not?" MJ raised perfectly plucked eyebrows at me. "Even if you have to get turned away and you have to take him back into the car, at least he might start eating again. Isn't that the goal?"
I bit my lower lip. Having a big bird in the store made me nervous, but the thought of having that same bird in my car while I was driving nearly put me over the edge. I wanted to scream, "But I hate birds!" As I dithered, trying to find the right words, another white feather drifted off of Kookie and fell to the tile directly in front of me. What was it Kiki Lowenstein always said? Time to pull up my big girl panties and do what needed to be done. "All right. Fine. Let's do this."
After I pulled Black Beauty, my Camry, around front, Skye walked out with Kookie on her shoulder. Although I shivered as she climbed in and adjusted her seatbelt, what really bothered me was the churning of my tummy as Kookie climbed off of Skye's shoulder and onto the back of the passenger seat.
"Do you know where this place is?" My voice sounded like a frog's croaking.
"I think so." Skye issued directions, and we were off, winding our way over the railroad tracks, turning south on Dixie Highway, and heading toward Hobe Sound.
A few more turns along the way and we pulled up at a sign, "Martin Gardens: Senior Living Facility." The name brought a smirk to my face. "Evidently the owner played a lot of Monopoly as a kid."
Skye didn't get that. Instead, she pointed to our right. "Look."
As I turned my head, my jaw dropped. Plunked down in the middle of a mud puddle was a residential building, a place that reminded me of a school without one spec of landscaping. Not even a stray weed. I'd never seen such a barren spot in all my life.
"Oh, my gosh," said Skye. "That's plug ugly. It's awful! Can you imagine? What if you lived there and your window opened out on...on that? Yard after yard of ugly, dirty mud? How could they do that? Is it even legal?"
I pointed the nose of the Camry toward the sliding glass doors under a green fabric canopy. As we moved closer, a sign became obvious: ENTRANCE.
"Wow. What a totally cheerless, desolate place," I said.
And to that Kookie let out a loud, angry squawk.
~To Be Continued~Okay, kids! Show me some love! If you are liking this serialized short story, go to my Facebook page and hit "Like" the little blue thumb in a tiny white box under the big picture of me. (My toes point to the right. There are three boxes. "Like" is the second box.) Or tell a friend about the Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series. Here are the links: Tear Down and Die http://tinyurl.com/TearDD and Kicked to the Curb http://tinyurl.com/KickedTTCurb the blog post and click on OLDER POST.