Edgewood and his friends escaped the sirens and drove the van towards the estate of their unconscious professor, Otis. Along the way they they turned down the radio and drove slowly past the scene of an accident that made them all draw a deep breath and hold it.
In the center divider of the street, a motorcycle teetered like a see-saw on a branch of a great old pepper tree. They were all but blinded by the many flashing lights of police cars and fire trucks. A ring of yellow tape surrounded the tree. Only officer Winterbottom was sullen and looking down. His fellow officers we looking up at the bike and laughing.
Edgewood shuddered from the memory of driving off the road up the hill and landing in that tree down the hill. He still had some leaves and peppercorns in his hair. Just as they were almost clearing the scene, Winterbottom looked up and saw them. Winterbottom turned purple, lunged but was held back by several firemen.
A loud crackling sound filled the night. Police officers on the other side of the tree urged the boys to move along quickly. Winterbottom was unable to get around the tree fast enough to have the van stopped. All vehicals were waved to pass out of the immediate area as a great limb of the tree began to split from the tree. The limb split slowly and gracefully lowered the motorcycle to the ground unharmed. The laughter of the firemen and police officers grew louder.
When the boys arrived at the professor's home, there were fire trucks there as well. They tried to drag Otis to the gardner's shed in an upright position so as not to attract attention.
Euma, the gardener, was sitting on the steps talking to Otis's son, Telly.
"Everything is going to be ok. Your daddy is coming home and he is going to make the bad men go away."
"Otis is here!" Edgewood told Euma. Euma was so relieved that he threw his arms around Otis and hugged him. Otis slid through his arms and hit the ground with a thud.
Euma dragged Otis inside the shed and began trying to revive him. Edgewood shifted his weight from one foot to the other and said, "He's asleep. He had a long day." Edgewood's friends apologized and said they had to run while they shoved Edgewood outside before he could say anything incriminating.
Polutropos worked his way out of Otis's jacket and scampered inside the house. Penny's cry for joy echoed from the kitchen out across the backyard.
Euma was able to get Otis to sit up and gave him a drink of water. The first thing Otis saw was the sight of the play house he had built for Telly burning to the ground. Otis had built it from railroad ties so it would last a lifetime for his autistic son.
"That man set the fire on purpose! I saw him!" Euma pointed at professor Antonio.
In the kitchen, Penny kissed Polutropos and reached for her cell phone to post a tweet on twitter saying the search could be called off, that her puppy was home safe and sound. She couldn't find her phone.
"Melanie, please bring these hors d' oeuvres out to the guests. I've got to take Polutropos up to Telly!" Penny declared.
"I just checked on him. He's sound asleep." Melanie lied.
"Oh, what a night!" Penny glanced out the window at the firemen as they got the flames under control. She reached for the house phone so she could call her cell and find it when it rang. Melanie had ducked into the pantry and quickly took the battery out of Penny's phone so that it would not ring. Antonio would be pleased. He didn't want Penny to see that what was trending on twitter, that Otis was headed home.
- To Be Continued -