“All taken care of,” the old man replied with a grin. “Young Felix is eager to help take care of him all the time. I spoke to his parents yesterday and they’re fine with it. Turns out they used to live on a farm before they moved here and he misses being around the animals.”
“That would explain the way he was talking to the horse. He seems like a good young lad.”
Smith laughed. “That he is. Talks to old Sam like they were best friends. He offered to help me gather the rest of the crops and get them in the root cellar too. But I can’t have him coming around here to work for nothing. I will pay him, but I want to work it out with his parents.”
“That’s very kind of you, sir. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.”
“I know he’s only 13, but… well, this flu has got me thinking about a few things but we’ll see how it goes. He does seem to have the heart of a farmer.” He stroked his beard as he looked at Harry. “You see, I never married, got no family in these parts and, well, I got no one to take over the place when I’m gone, so…”
“You take care, Mr. Smith.” Harry smiled and walked away, shaking his head. That kid could get lucky if he played his cards right.
“Well,” said Bruce when he dropped in the morning after Halloween to share a cup of coffee with his former partner, “did you find the hay thief?”
“Yes, I did,” Harry replied and proceeded to tell him the story.
“Glad it all worked out okay.” He paused to sip his coffee. “By the way, did you hear any ghost shots last night?” He never missed an opportunity to remind Harry of the famous ‘Ghost Shots’ he’d heard on a previous Halloween.
“Not a single shot,” Harry replied with a straight face. “But you know, I think I missed a party or something because there were ghost leaves all over the lawn this morning.”
Bruce frowned as he turned to look out the window. “What…? There’s nothing on your lawn.”
“Not now. I raked ’em up already.”
“There’s no such…” Bruce stopped in mid-sentence, grinned, and then continued. “You got pranked last night, didn’t you?”
“Nope, it was no prank,” said Harry.
His friend frowned. “You’re pulling my leg.”
“Maybe,” Harry conceded and then laughed. “They looked like the real thing though.”
“So what was it?” Bruce asked.
“Leaves from the trees on my lawn. They turn white on the underside before they fall. A lot of them fell last night, mostly bottom-up, and they really did look like ghost leaves.”
Bruce grinned and shook his head. “I can hardly wait to see what turns up next year.”
Harry leaned back in his chair. “It isn’t just Halloween, Bruce. Odd things happen all the time around here, as you well know. You’ve sent a few people my way.”
“Because I know you’re good at these unusual things and you have the patience to sort it out.” He stood up and placed his mug on Harry’s desk. “Break time’s over… time to get back to work. Be seeing you, Harry.” And he walked out the door, muttering, “Ghost leaves indeed.”
Harry just sat there and chuckled to himself.