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Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Five: Case File No. 18-226

AMBER LOVE 13-SEP-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:

We had such an unexpected situation that the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency called in back up from Animal Control.

Out of the Past:

July was a fine month full of creatures visiting the Winchester-Nabu estate. We didn’t have to travel to the tourist mountains of the Delaware Water Gap or the Catskills to see so many majestic beasts. That’s good for Oliver and Gus who hate traveling.

black cat Gus

I believe word has spread through our volkolak community that Governor Murphy and the commission in charge of the annual bear hunt stalled the management plan successfully. Without an approved management plan, there can be no hunt. The bears get a stay of execution on death row courtesy of the governor.

It’s been a hell of a hot summer. The weather alerts keep warning of extreme temperatures. Flash flood and tornado warnings come through too. Of all the natural disasters going on, New Jersey seems to be avoiding the wildfires. The west coast fires in the US seem to be a constant. The week of writing this case file I read that Greece is on fire too — completely devastating an already economically failing country. Meanwhile, the pandemic has variants and people who are super liberal or conservative agree for once that they don’t care anymore and they don’t want to wear masks or get vaccinated. Is this the first time the polar opposite constituents have agreed on something?

oliver on balcony

My friend Neliza Drew has talked about the wilding — a resurgence where Mother Nature takes back the earth by sprawling flora over the ruins of man-made structures and entire towns. If Gaia is working on the land, then Oshun is about to get revenge for the oceans. The actual freaking ocean was on fire. That should only happen during a volcanic eruption, but no, it was oil drilling again. I may not be using the proper nobility rules of how to refer to someone, but here goes: The Baron Randal Plunket, Lord Dunsany inherited a 650-hectare (1,600-acre) estate with castle when his father died. He’s leaving only a small portion of the estate as is and letting nature rewild all the rest. His land has seen the return of mammals, birds, and insects that hadn’t been there in who knows how long. Rarely seen woodpeckers, barn owls, red kites and sparrowhawks are back; he also spoke of corncrake, stoats, and red squirrels.

Is this what we’re seeing a tiny glimpse of in New Jersey simply by pausing one species hunt? Sure, the meat can feed families for an entire winter. I’m not oblivious to that. But the costs of licenses and permits is so incredibly low even though the state claims the money goes towards conservation and education programs. The real money: the supplies. And that stuff is commercial gain not conservation. Bass Pro Shops bought out Cabela’s and that was legend around here even though it was a long drive to get there in Pennsylvania.

We would rarely see extra large bears — the big daddies of the dens. Unless they roll over showing off dangly bits, the size is really the only way to tell a male (boar) from female (sow). The heads of these daddy bears are described as being so massive that their ears look too small and out of place. Our one local volkolak, Silly, is now a young adult and looking buff (unless it’s his one of his siblings). But I knew it wasn’t him on July 20th when someone bigger came lumbering through the yard.

This enormous beast went to the bird feeding tree looking for one of the seed cakes. We still haven’t replaced it since the momma bear, Ainsley and her cub Val, Silly’s sister, smashed it and stole the last of the brick shaped seed. The July 20th visitor was definitely bigger than Ainsley. I think he’s the one that my friend has reported seeing by his pond. It’s still breathtaking to see such a giant animal move silently. I wonder if this bear is Arthur who was visiting in 2020!

Sightings of Arthur were of a young volkolak, not much tan on his nose unlike Arkadi who had a long tan snout. It looks like the three members of the current family who stole the bird seed: Ainsley, Val, and Silly also have long tan snouts. Maybe they’re all related!

black bear mother and cubs

Since there have been more visits by wildlife (honestly since the pandemic) and Gus and I have sometimes gotten out on patrol extra early in the morning, we have a lot more photographic evidence of creatures now than we used to get. It was time to mull over those photos with Gus and Oliver and see what they thought about identifying the extra large visitor.

Case Findings:

Oliver and Gus looked through all the photos of the organisms (technical term for animal subjects), tracks, and poop. They agreed that the July 20th volkolak was Arthur. We’re so happy to have him back in the neighborhood. We don’t know if he’s the father to Silly and Val or if Arkadi is, but the lighter snout could be an indication that it’s Arkadi unless that trait solely came from their mom Ainsley. At least one mystery is solved. Arthur is back!

Case Status: Closed

black cat Gus

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