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Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Five: Case File No. 12-220

AMBER LOVE 02-AUG-2021 This work is supported by the generous backers who adore my cat stories at and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast.

Where We Left Off:

Gus uncovered a plot by a vole who wanted to hire an assassin in a revenge plot.

The Great Seed Robbery:

On June 2, 2021, Gus and I were gifted with a surprise visit from three bears or more specifically, volkolaks (shapeshifters). They had been spotted by other human residents before. This visit was peculiar because it was mid-morning, a time when humans are active and dangerous to wildlife.

Gus was milling around in the lower parking lot. I did have the camera out and ready in case chipmunks showed up. Gus was enjoying lying in the shadow of a car after he climbed around the rocks. I saw something black move in my peripheral vision. I expected to see a bird when I looked up. It’s funny because I had a millisecond thinking I should just ignore the movement. What a great thing that I didn’t.

I tried getting the camera ready while looking around to make sure Gus was okay by the car. He doesn’t always react well to visitors. I don’t think his Super Smeller could have missed three large beasts even if they were far across the yard and he was behind the rock wall. He was fine so I tried to take the first bear photos with my new camera and you can see, I still didn’t improve my quality. I was worried about Gus and worried about scaring the bears at the same time.

Then Gus started to walk away and not towards home either. He slowly started walking up the driveway like he didn’t have a care in the world. The bears were far away, but — if you didn’t know — bears are actually fast moving and quiet. That momma bear could have been on us in a few seconds. She came up from the road with her cubs. I had heard that there were three cubs during a previous visit, but this time, there were only two. One stayed next to momma the whole time while the other ignored them, ignored us, and ignored the full bird feeder. That cub went straight into the woods at the north corner entrance.

The blue jays immediately flew out of the small red maple when the momma and cub stood tall against the trunk to investigate the bird feeder. The blue jay named Johnny Stool Pigeon has always been a great source of information for our cases. I put out two peanuts on the top of the rock wall before I had to catch up with Gus. Johnny cautiously dropped out of the big maple to snatch up the peanuts. He tucked them in the fork of a branch and swooped over towards us. He observed Gus before speaking up. Gus finally noticed the volkolaks and stood still watching them while Johnny talked.

“That’s Ainsley and her cubs are called Val and Silly,” the jay said from his perch on an overhead utility wire.

Ainsley, Val and Silly? Seriously?” Gus never believed Johnny Stool Pigeon without a secondary source confirming.

“Yea yea yea. That’s what I heard. They’re volkolaks for sure but almost never shift, ya see. You know me. Don’t I always got good intel for ya?” Johnny shook out his whole body fluffing up his feathers.

“Human, alert Oliver to this intel and see what he can verify.” Gus left me standing there taking photos while he walked to the upper parking area and took shelter under a truck. It isn’t a jacked up monster truck so it didn’t leave enough room for something shaped like a bear to reach him. Luckily, we don’t live in Florida with the alligators.

I made sure Gus looked safe then thanked Johnny for his information. I sent an email to Oliver. Through deductive reasoning, he said the third volkolak’s name sounds like silly, but is most likely Silny which sounds like “shill-na.” It’s Polish for strong. I’m fine calling our new friend Silly. I doubt they would find it offensive.

Ainsley and Val easily snapped the bird feeder and pulled it apart. They sampled the brick of seeds to see if they wanted it. It looked like they were enjoying it while Silly went off doing his own thing. Maybe he wasn’t hungry. As cute as it was watching Ainsley and Val eating under the tree, it was equally as adorable when Ainsley picked up the seed cake in her mouth and galloped towards the trails. With her size, it was only a couple of steps before she was gone, Val following as closely as possible.

In other bear news:

New Jersey cannot conduct a black bear hunt this year, but the Fish and Game Council hasn’t approved the Comprehensive Black Bear Management Plan. This is being criticized as political games since the head of the council is an appointed position from the governor. Governor Murphy had already curtailed the bear hunts by closing public lands to them. Now that the time to approve a new plan has expired (haha), there can’t be a bear hunt for 2021 winter season.

Case Findings:

We were visited by three creatures and confirmed that they are volkolaks with black bear preference. They rarely have the desire for appearing human. Since we heard that there were originally three cubs, we aren’t sure if this is the same family that other residents witnessed. Gus and human personally witnessed Ainsley and Val vandalizing the bird feeder and stealing the whole brick of seeds. We hope that these native creatures aren’t victims of bear hunting season in winter.

Case: Closed

jake peralta

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