Hay Loft Horror
By W.A. Perry
The beautiful little face was so serious as she asked me. “Miss Anne, why is that cat carrying her kitten in her mouth? I looked up to see what she was talking about. One of the barn cats must have decided that her hiding place for her kittens wasn’t good enough and she was moving them to the hay loft. Of course our big old dog Duke was following close on her heels. He loved the kittens almost as much as their mothers. That was probably the reason the cat was relocating them. Duke liked to lick them until they were wet.
I looked down at my little neighbor girl Lizzy and smiled. She was so interested in everything that went on here on the farm. She was here as much as her mother would allow her to be. “Well Lizzy, I bet Duke wouldn’t let the kittens alone so their mother is trying to hide them from him in the hay loft.”
We owned a tenant house that we rented to Lizzy’s mother and because she was a single mother I watched Lizzy whenever she needed me to. At 8 years old she was full of energy and questions. She reminded me of myself when I was her age. I loved having her follow me around the farm like a little puppy.
“Do you think we could go and see where she is hiding them Ms. Ann?” Lizzy asked. I was in a hurry to get chores done so I could do some baking so I told her we would go and look for them later. She seemed to accept that and we went on and finished the chores and then Lizzy’s mom came over to take her home.
I was busy doing my baking when I heard a knock at the back door. Opening it I found Lizzy’s mom Lisa standing there with an annoyed look on her face. “Is something wrong Lisa? I asked her.
I told Lizzy not to come over and bother you anymore today but I assume she is here with you anyway right?” She replied stepping into the kitchen looking around for Lizzy.
“Why no Lisa, I haven’t seen Lizzy since you came and got her earlier.” Seeing the look of alarm come over her face I added. “I am sure she is around the farm somewhere, let’s go look in the barn with the new calves, she had been spending a lot of time with them.”
We entered the barn and I led Lisa over to the pen of new calves, fully expecting to find Lizzy in the pen petting the calves. When we didn’t see her I called out her name. “Lizzy, where are you? Come out so your mom and I can see you.” When she didn’t answer both Lisa and I became more alarmed.
Turning to Lisa I asked. “Did you check your house to make sure she wasn’t there? Lisa said she hadn’t checked the whole house and would do so immediately. I assured her I would search the barn and also make sure she wasn’t in my house. I didn’t want to alarm her mother but something just didn’t seem right.
Stepping outside after checking the house I headed to the barn, I search the whole lower section and then stepped to the hay loft area to see if she was there. I noticed Duke sitting up on a bale of hay looking into a hole. I hollered to him. “Come on Duke, leave those kittens alone and help me find Lizzy.” When he heard Lizzy’s name he began to bark. “Come on duke stop fooling around, get down here.” With a look back toward the kittens he came down off the hay and followed me around as I checked around the outside of the barn.
A few minutes later Lisa came running across the yard. “Ann, I can’t find her anywhere. Did you have any luck over here?” Lisa was definitely beginning to panic and I didn’t blame her. I was beginning to panic myself.
“Lisa, let’s call 911 and get some help to search for Lizzy ok?” The look that passed over her face tore at my heart. We both remembered the incident 2 years ago when a little girl from our town had been abducted and murdered. “Let’s not let our imaginations run wild Lisa, we will find her and we can give her a serious talking too then about scaring us. Go into my house and call 911 and Duke and I will continue to look around out here.”
Lisa ran to the house and I returned to the barn hoping I would find Lizzy curled up sleeping beside some little animal. But Duke and I looked everywhere. Duke kept trying to return to the hay loft and I had to continually call him back to my side.
A few short minutes later the rescue squad showed up at the farm followed by about a dozen individual vehicles. Our rescue squad was all volunteers out here in the country and every member carried a radio. They had all heard the call go out for a lost child and the cars were streaming toward the farm from town. Our community was a close knit one and we all pulled together in emergencies.
Lisa and I told the searchers what we knew and several went with Lisa back to her house to search and look for any sign that she had been taken. Several others went out to the fields to see if she had wandered off in that direction. Then several went to the barn to search there again. I noticed that Duke had disappeared again. Of all the times for him to be obsessed with those darn kittens I thought.
We searched every nook and corner in the lower barn without any results. The search crew that had been over to Lisa’s had come back to assist at the farm having found nothing definitive there that indicated that she had been removed from the house against her will.
We then decided to add additional search teams to the fields and creek area. One of the men spoke softly to me. “I sure hope she didn’t fall into the creek this time of year.” Then he moved off in the direction of the creek.
Several of the searchers were looking in the hay loft area. I headed into there to help them. Immediately I noticed Duke up on the hay digging furiously into the hole where the kittens were probably hiding. Then when I looked closely above Duke I saw a doll lying on a bale of hay. Dear God I thought, don’t let Lizzy be in that hole with those kittens.
I hollered for someone to help me and we scrambled up the hay mow to where Duke was digging for all he was worth. I pulled Duke back and saw a small white book sticking out of the hole where he had been digging. We immediately began to throw bales of hay off of Lizzy. When we reached her she was not breathing. She had apparently crawled down into that hole to see the kittens and couldn’t get back out. The air wouldn’t have lasted down there in the hole in the hay for very long.
We handed Lizzy down to the squad members on the ground and they immediately began CPR. Just when it seemed like we had lost that sweet angel she took a big breath and began gasping. Lisa entered the barn just then and ran to Lizzy crying. I just kept thinking that thank god she hadn’t seen her when they were giving her CPR. No parent should ever have to see that.
Everyone gathered around and someone carried Lizzy to the waiting ambulance. They were going to take her to the hospital to have her checked out and Lisa climbed in with her. As they drove away everyone gave each other hugs and slaps on the back that we had found her before it was too late. Me, I knelt down beside Duke and wrapped my arms around his neck and thanked him for being the one who had really saved Lizzy. Had I only paid more attention to what he was trying to tell me from the beginning we would have found her sooner.
Lizzy fully recovered from her ordeal and Duke got a huge steak dinner for his part in saving her. Thank god for loving animals. Duke is back following Lizzy and the kittens around the farm. All’s well in our world again.
© Wanda Perry, 2019. All rights reserved.