Six miles north across the city and slightly west, Ozrin backed his Camry out of his garage and eased onto Barham Boulevard. Usually the thoroughfare that slices between the valley and the Hollywood hills was busy. But it was late, almost midnight. Ozrin opened his window to a mist that muted the late night sounds of the city’s Christmas Eve. He didn’t mind Christmas. The lights were nice and he had a party to go to tomorrow, an un-Christmas breakfast for those away from their families. He was bringing bagels from Sam’s on Larchmont, and a bottle of Trader Joes champagne.
Ozrin eased the Camry up Barham, careful to follow the speed limit. He stopped at the yellow light, he did not rush it. He waited for the left turn arrow to turn green then turned on Lake Hollywood Drive. He followed it up through the eclectic Estates to a ridge overlooking the Hollywood reservoir. It was deep blue and as still as glass under the sliver of a moon that barely shone down. There was a walking path around its three mile circumference but it closed at dusk. Now No one was there – not a car, not a soul, not a witness. That was good. Ozrin followed the road down to the reservoir. Three coyotes darted out from the fields on either side and jaunted alongside the Camry before crossing over in front of him, on their way to the woods that surrounded the water and crept up a hill toward the Hollywood sign. He smiled; they were skinny and looked hungry. That was good.
About halfway down the half mile stretch of road that ran alongside the water, there was a ramp. It was closed off by the chain link fence that ran around the water but there was enough room for the Camry to pull over. He backed up as close to the fence as he could get. Moving fast for someone out of shape, Ozrin got out, popped the trunk open and lifted out a thirty-five pound bundle wrapped in a dark green towel. He heaved it over that fence into the brush and drove away.
Aggie landed face-up on a bed of leaves and moss. She thought about Poo and the Christmas cookies she hoped to eat soon, as she waited for Rhea to find her. It was cold lying there; wearing only her green jacket with kittens embroidered on the pockets.
Aggie looked up and whispered her prayer, “Please God, help Rhea find me. I want to go home.”
Soon enough, she heard the rustle of footsteps on leaves. “Rhea!” she called out, as loud as she could but she could barely hear her voice, “I’m over here!”
Aggie tried to get up but she couldn’t move. As the footsteps got closer, she looked up to see Rhea’s face through the trees, hoping she’d have something sweet to eat. Instead she saw the glitter of grey eyes. And she knew. Coyotes had come to eat her.
To Be Continued…