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The chapter is very short, but it didn't feel right to continue this specific chapter.


A pair of familiar arms wrapped around Isadora’s small body to pull her into a comforting chest. Her dad stroked her hair as her mom knelt down next to them and grasped Isadora’s hand in her own. The small dog looped around them and sat on his hind legs, wagging his tail with his paws waving in the air.

The small action brought a weak smile to her face before she whimpered and clutched her dad’s shirt. The small black dog reminded her of Sebastian and how he was gone.

“Shh, sweetheart,” her dad whispered before turning to her mom. “Dear, why don’t you take that creature downstairs and let me talk to Isadora a minute?”

Isadora felt the brush of her dad’s chin on her head as he shook it, and heard his chuckle. The dog’s growl at being called a creature was pretty pitiful compared to Dobey’s. Oh, no. How was Dobey going to take Sebastian being gone? She should have gotten Dobey right away—he could have tracked Sebastian. In fact, he could probably still find the scent.

Her dad fell backwards onto his bum as she jumped to her feet. “We need Dobey.”

“Why?” Her dad cocked his head to the side before his eyes lit up. “I’ll go get him.”

“Wait, why do you need him?” Isadora’s mom paused by the door to look between both of them. “You two always keep things from me.”

“He’ll track him, darling.” Her dad kissed her mom’s head as he ran out the door.

“But what about this dog?” her mom called after him. “Dobey will eat it!”

The dog looked up at her mom and shrank back. Isadora couldn’t worry about the dogs fighting at that point. Her only concern was to get down the stairs and get ready to hunt down Sebastian. She grabbed a backpack from the store office and filled it with bottles of water and some snack bars.

Her stomach growled at the sight of the snack bar since she hadn’t eaten in hours. She tore open one of them and shoved it into her mouth. The straps set loosely on her shoulders so she tightened the backpack and walked out front at the same time her dad pulled up in the car with Dobey.

Dobey jumped through the open window of the SUV and wiggled as he ran over to her, until he picked up on her mood. He walked over and sat in front of her with his head cocked to the side.  She knelt down in front of him and met his eyes. Dobey’s muscles tensed and prepared for whatever she asked of him.

“Dobey.” His muscles quivered and he moved an inch forward at her serious tone. “Sebastian is missing.” Dobey whimpered and started shivering. “He was last here. Can you track him?”

He barked, jumped to his feet and stuck his nose to the ground. As soon as Isadora took off his leash, he sprinted down the sidewalk. She lost sight of him around a few street corners, but after five minutes of following him, they ended up on a side road where Dobey circled a spot on the ground.

“What is it, boy?” Isadora crouched down next to him. Dobey scratched the ground and sniffed before he barked and looked at her.

The reality of the situation suddenly dawned on her—someone in a car had taken Sebastian. It was the only thing that made sense, but why would someone want her cat? It didn’t make sense.

Dobey nuzzled her hand and whimpered. She idly scratched his ear while she pondered her next course of action. At least she knew what had happened to him thanks to Dobey. Where could she go from here?

Suddenly she felt like hitting herself in the head. Why hadn’t she thought of it sooner? A tracking spell. She had some of his fur at the house. It’d be easy enough and she’d figure out who had stolen her cat.

The next hour went by in a blur as she headed home with Dobey to cast the spell. After she cast the spell, a stationary spot on the map showed where Sebastian was. All she had to do was find where it was. Thankfully, the map showed the surrounding area so she knew which roads to take.

Her mom had brought the small dog home, and Dobey was less than happy when he got there. He kept growling lowly and refusing to be anywhere near the small dog. Isadora’s dad took over supervision, while she left to follow the map.

The map led her to the country roads heading out of town. By the time she got near the dot that was Sebastian on the paper, it was dusk out. The car lights landed on a high brick wall. She strained to look to the top and confusion washed over her at what she saw. Statues of cats stood on each post.

She loved Sebastian, but she’d never had the desire to put statues of him around her house. Sure, she had a few pictures, but who didn’t? What kind of crazy people lived here?

The road circled the wall, and she followed it until she reached the wrought iron gates. Something told her not to go through them, but she knew Sebastian was on the other side of those gates.

 The entire situation left her baffled and she didn’t think it was smart for her to handle it on her own. Plus, she sensed some magical energy coming from the wall and that concerned her. All she could hope was that he’d stay safe until she consulted her grandmother.

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