Me: Tell me again what happened.
Nell: I’ve been through it so many times now. With the police. With Richard Price on the phone. He didn’t have to come straight over, by the way.
Me: He was worried, Nell, and he brought you flowers.
Nell: What good are flowers when Harriet is still missing? I know he means well but I can’t see anyone at the moment. Did you explain?
Me: Yes. He understood. He said contact him any time if you need him.
Nell: I will.
Me: Let’s go through it again in case we’ve missed a vital clue.
Nell: David and Harriet were playing badminton over the fence with the farm dogs when a huge gang of cats appeared and leapt on Harriet. David rushed at them but there were too many. They were crawling all over him, biting and scratching.
Me: Poor Dave is in a bad way. He can’t forgive himself for not stopping them.
Nell: He was overpowered. The farm dogs jumped over the fence and tried to help but the cats’ claws were sharp and there were so many of them. That young farm dog with the floppy hair was hurt in the process.
Me: His name is Jim. He called round this morning asking for news. He was very upset. How did they capture Harriet?
Nell: The cats had a rope and a sack. Some of them held her down while the others tied her up and pushed her into the sack.
Me: And Mutley?
Nell: Mutley has a black eye. He fell out of the hammock when he heard the noise and rushed straight in to the fight with no thought for his own safety. He did some damage from what I hear.
Me: He’s such a brave old boy.
Nell: By the time Poppy and I realised what was happening Harriet had gone.
Me: Dave is distraught, Nell. He won’t stop crying. I don’t know how to comfort him.
Nell: It’s the puppies’ birthday tomorrow. They will be a year old. I was planning a party. It’s too much thinking of Harriet out there alone. She will be so frightened.
Me: She is stronger than we think. We will have a huge party when she comes home.
Nell: Yes. We have to think positively.
Me: Did you notice the Doberman?
Nell: Yes. It appears to be guarding our gate. I never thought I would say this, but it’s strangely comforting.
Me: I agree. We will find Harriet soon. There are so many people looking for her. Everyone is pulling together.
Nell: Yes. I just wish I knew why she has been taken.
Me: Have you heard anything from Charlie? Dave keeps asking for him.
Nell: Nothing since that phone call. It’s strange because I thought I saw him in the field.
Me: Surely he would tell you if he was here.
Nell: Yes. I was probably mistaken. We will just have to wait and hope the kidnappers get in touch. Stop crying. You are not helping. Harriet is a labrador and labradors don’t give in.
Me: Yes. Sorry.