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Kitty Rain 10: Lost Scavenger Hunt

Kitty Rain 10: Lost Scavenger Hunt

~ Contents ~

{Front cover picture: On the hunt}
{Map: Jackgum detailed locations}
Chapter 1: Figuring Out the Phonecall
Chapter 2: Kitty Catches Jane
Chapter 3: Dreams of Glasses and Cases
Chapter 4: Before the Hunt
{Picture 1: Priscilla and her pink car}
Chapter 5: The Hunt Begins
Chapter 6: Getting to Know Shelly and Priscilla
Chapter 7: Fuming Priscilla
Chapter 8: Jane Helps Molly and Geoffrey
Chapter 9: An Engagement Ring and Confusion
{Picture 2: An engagement ring}
Chapter 10: Organising the Search
Chapter 11: Dealing With Priscilla
Chapter 12: Kitty's Idea to Speed the Search
Chapter 13: No-one's Perfect
{Back cover picture: Kitty and the rain}

~ Chapter 1 ~
~ Figuring Out the Phonecall ~

Kitty Rain West watched her sister.
Jane West was the most talkative of all the family. But even then, she was stunned into silence by her mother's words—or lack of them. Jane shook her head and her shoulder-length straight brown hair flicked about.
Penny was on the phone. And from the start Jane was trying to guess who had called and why because...any phonecall was exciting!
“Hi oh—”
“Hi O?” Jane queried. “O for Odie? O for Obadiah? O for Owen? Do we know anyone whose name starts with O?”
Penny waved Jane's question away.
“Yes thank you...Okay...Yes...He did?...He what?...Oh...He said that?...Well—oh yes, ah maybe—well yes actually...Of course! That would be wonderful...He did?...You did?...Really? Are you sure?”
Now Penny was walking around the lounge room and kitchen talking on the phone while Jane was following her trying to eavesdrop but not able to hear a thing on the other end of the line.
“Can we?...You will?...Oh wow! Um—Jane move please! Yes, yes that would be lovely.”
Kitty watched the whole conversation with amusement. Her sister Jane was so impatient—with everything. Even a simple phonecall turned into a demanding “I have to know who's calling Mama” which she made perfectly clear by bouncing around Penny like a clown on a pogo stick.
Kitty Rain grinned at her younger sister Jane. It was true Kitty was impatient at times. But Jane was a thousand times more so—and all the time.
While she watched her, Kitty ran her fingers through her sandy blonde hair. Jane's light brown hair bounced around as Jane herself bounced. She had so much energy.
“Jane, why don't you calm down and wait for Mum to finish her phonecall. She's obviously concentrating and she'll tell you all about the mysterious man when she hangs up.”
Jane huffed and plonked down next to Kitty.
“How do you know it's a man? It could be a woman,” Jane determined.
“No,” Kitty said, regarding her mother. “Look at Mum's eyes. She got that sparkle. It must be Charlie. Her lips are smiling at the corners—she's happy—she's...doing something really weird.”
Both Kitty and Jane cocked their heads as their mother started bending next to every window, one after the other, and put her arm out as if using her arm as a tape measure.
“What's Mama doing?” Jane whispered, quite enthralled by her mother's odd behaviour.
“I think she's measuring the windows,” Kitty answered. “I wonder why. We don't need curtains.”
“Some are about sixty, some ninety, and some are a hundred and twenty,” Penny said into the receiver.
“Definitely window measurements,” Kitty said.
“I like our curtains,” Jane complained. “I don't want new ones—unless they're pink.”
Kitty shook her head. “No. We're not getting pink curtains. One room is enough.”
But then their mother went down the hall and into her own bedroom, then Jane's, then Kitty's, then throughout all the house.
“Some look to be thirty centimetres like the toilet and laundry. But—”
Penny paused. The girls waited.
“It's too much...No...No...Yes...Well, um, thank you...Oh wow. This is wonderful.”
“It can't be curtains,” Kitty surmised. “We don't need curtains.”
“New fly screens?” Jane asked.
“I don't know,” Kitty said. “That would be expensive.”
“Mum doesn't have money ready for that. It took two weeks to get the flyscreen for my room after the burglary,” Jane said, agreeing with Kitty.
“Alright. Thank you,” Penny continued. “And thank Cade for his help. See you soon,” Penny said and then walked back to hang up the cordless house phone.
At the mention of Cade's name, both the girls were mystified. Even Kitty wanted to know what was going on now. But at least she maintained her composure. Jane on the other hand started blabbering about pink being the perfect colour for lounge room curtains.
“It's the first room visitors see. So it has to be pink,” Jane reasoned. “The dining room has to be pink too—so that it matches. Then the kitchen can be yellow and pink 'cause I know you like yellow Mama. Now you could have purple in your bedroom if you really must have something other than pink and—”
“Jane!” Kitty and Penny called.
“Oh. You want me to be quiet?”
“Yes,” Penny sighed loudly.
“Mum, Jane just wants to know what the phonecall was all about. And why were you thanking Cade? Is he still in Angusford City?”
“Yes Mum,” Jane whined. “What's going on? Is it curtains? I don't think Cade should pick the colour or the pattern.”
Penny laughed mildly. “No Jane. It's not curtains. It's security screens.”
“Oh,” Jane said. “And was it just Charlie?”
“Just Charlie?” Penny repeated.
“Yes Mama. I know, I know. He's your fiancé and so I guess I shouldn't say 'just Charlie'. But what's going on? And what's Cade got to do with it?”
“It is Cade Eastly?” Kitty asked her mother.
“Yes, yes, girls. So here's what's happened...”
And Penny explained. Cade was still in Angusford, still doing his security training. But he had taken some time to research the best security screens and had gotten the information to Charlie Stretton. Then Charlie, with a desire to protect Penny and the girls from any further break-ins, had arranged to have security screens fitted onto the whole house.
“Wow,” Jane said, lost for words.
“Wow what?” Kitty asked her.
“He must really love you Mama,” Jane explained. “That would cost a lot of money.”
“Yes Jane, to both your points.”
“Really?” Jane said, now bouncing up and down. “Does he say 'I love you' to you lots? What's it like? What's it like to have someone say 'I love you' all the time?”
“Jane,” Kitty said, shaking her head.
“What?” Jane asked, though continuing without ceasing to turn the sofa into a trampoline.
“I don't want you to break the chairs. Please stop!” Penny told Jane.
“Aw okay,” Jane said, sulking.
“Jane I love you,” Kitty said, reminding her sister that she loved her.
Penny followed suit. “I love you Jane.”
“Oh! Thanks Mama, Mum! Kitty! I love you too! And what do you love about me?”
“Ha!” Kitty said. “I love that you are able to turn the most mundane occurrence into a bubbling overflow of bounce and excitement.”
Penny smiled. “I love everything about you Jane. But especially your pretty eyes, your guitar-playing and your energy. Now how about we save some of that energy for all the chores we have to do. And don't forget, Charlie and I are going out as soon as school's over. So we have to get your lessons done super-quick. No slacking.”
“Yes Mama.”
Quack, quack.
Speckles, Freckles, Belle, and Misty were Jane's beautiful ducks. When she heard them quacking she remembered to go and let them out of the shed. She threw pellet food onto the ground. She filled up their little duck pond with fresh water. Then she went and collected the eggs they had laid in the shed.
There were three eggs that morning.
“Thank you for the eggs, my ducks,” she said and they quacked back at her.
She balanced the eggs in her hands and walked carefully back inside. It was Wednesday and she couldn't wait for the weekend. But she'd try to concentrate and learn all the stuff her mum taught her. At least this window-thing might help pass the time. She put the eggs carefully on the kitchen bench and then washed each one before putting them in the fridge.
“Are you going to tell us what these secret meetings every afternoon with Charlie are all about?” Jane asked her mother.
“All you need to know is that it's for the young people at church. You'll enjoy it—I hope,” Penny said, smiling.
“Mum, you're being too mysterious,” Jane complained. “What could you possibly be organising for us?”
“Jane, she already said. It's just some activity. We'll find out on Saturday,” Kitty reminded her. “I have to go to work. I'll see you this arvo.”
Kitty gave Penny and Jane a wave and rushed out the front door.
“Kitty's the one with all the mysteries. Why do you have to do it now?” Jane complained.
“It's a surprise. No-one is finding out until the day,” Penny said. “Let's talk about something else and let's head to the school room.”
“Okay,” Jane said, thinking. “Ah with these new security screens, can we get them in pink?”
Penny's eyebrows went up and Jane laughed happily.
“Mama wouldn't that be amazing!”

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