Frienemies Chapter Thirty

Dewey climbed down from the wagon and pulled the needed tools from its bed. He swiped his forehead with his shirt sleeve and looked up at the sun. It was nearing one-o’-clock he figured. By the time this job was over he might need two baths: one to get the grit and grime off, the other to refresh him. Blast. Every time he’d tried to set up a date with Molly something came up. If he didn’t make it this time, she might give up on him altogether. Well, he’d better hurry up if he had any chance of making this one.

It had taken him two hours of driving to find the old well. There was a spring up the hill and an abandoned shed with the roof falling in. The door on the shed hung lopsided from the hinges. There were no houses nearby, only a square perimeter of rotting logs where a house or cabin had been.

The burial site was easy to find. The grass was too short to have been there very long, and it was sparse. The mound was only about eight inches high, Dewey guessed. He put his shovel at the edge of the mound, placed his foot on its rim next to the handle, and pushed. It sunk into the clay earth about four inches and hit rock.

Dewey swiped his brow with his shirt sleeve and moved the shovel another two inches inward and pushed again. The shovel sunk deeper this time without hitting rock. Now he was digging in earnest. The fourth plunge of the shovel snagged a piece of burlap. The deputy moved the shovel over, moving all the way around the mound.

#

Doc Henry took Fawn’s pulse and temperature. Then he listened to her heart and lungs. His smile was weak as he looked at Nana, Ellen, and Jason.

“She’ll be fine. She’s exhausted, dehydrated, and probably very hungry. When she comes to she’ll no doubt want to eat everything in sight. Let her rest until she wakes up on her own. When she does waken, give her plenty of water. She needs broth and liquids for one full day, then gradually let her eat soft foods like boiled potatoes and pudding, nothing too sweet. She may be nauseated for a day or two. If it lasts longer than that or if she throws up blood, send for me. I think she’s going to fine, though.”

He placed his instruments back in his bag and rose to leave. Ellen and Jason followed him down the hallway, Jason out of propriety, Ellen to pay for his services.

Nana stayed by Fawn’s side.

Joel arrived as the doctor was leaving. Jason walked with Doc Henry to his horse. “You’re sure she’s going to be alright?”

An understanding smile spread across the doctor’s unlined sixty-year-old face. His brown eyes twinkled, showing the only creases at their corners.

“Yes, Jason. I will be very surprised if she doesn’t make a full recovery within forty-eight hours.”

Jason shook the doctor’s hand. “Thanks, doc. I really appreciate. . .” He stopped when he saw Joel.

“What are you doing here?” Jason demanded.

Joel smirked, tilted his head to one side and said, “I should think that would be obvious. I came to see Fawn.”

“Well you can. . .”

Doc Henry interrupted. “I’m afraid that’s impossible. She needs complete bed rest for the next two days. No excitement.”

“Why? What’s wrong?” Joel’s stance turned rigid. He looked at the doctor and glared at Jason.

“Nothing you need to know about.” Jason’s tone was even. His lips barely moved.

Joel ignored Jason and continued to look at the doctor.

“Miss Jackson has been malnourished and dehydrated. The best thing you can do for her is let her rest.” He hung his doctor bag on the saddle horn and prepared to mount.

Joel turned on Jason. “Why is she malnourished and dehydrated?” His voice was tense.

Chapter Twenty-Nine

To Sheriff Clyde Bonnell:

There is a dead body buried on Foggy Lane next to the abandoned well. It’s been there a while so it’s liable to stink. Might not be much left of it.

The unsigned note had been tacked to the outside of the door. Deputy Dewey asked the shop owners around town if they had seen who had put it there. They all shook or scratched their heads in wonder and said they had not. It must have been done after dark when the shops were closed. Well, there was nothing he could do but go check it out. He went to the livery, borrowed a shovel from Gus, and hitched his horse to a buckboard.

“Here,” Gus said. “Might need this here burlap sack if’n you’re goin’ after a dead body.” He dusted his right hand on his leg to clean it off a little and handed him an extra kerchief. “Might need this, too.” He grinned around a toothpick.

Dewey climbed into the seat of the wagon and started off.

“Have fun,” Gus laughed, waving him off.

“You can come with,” Dewey said. “Might improve your disposition.” Might ruin both of our days.

The livery was across the road from the sheriff’s office on a nameless road that made a loop off of Hinton Road. He would have to drive a mile and a half back to Pine Grove Road and another mile and a half from there to Foggy Lane. Then he would have to hunt for that abandoned well and start digging. No telling how deep the body was buried. And what if it was a hoax and there was no body? A whole afternoon wasted for nothing. He pushed his hat down hard on his head and snapped the reins. “Get up,” he shouted to the horse.

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