Angel drove the Browning brougham, pulled by a pair of matching chestnut Morgan horses, to Fawn’s house. Today was Fawn’s birthday and Angel was determined to make it memorable.
She carefully alighted from the conveyance, smoothed her dress and made sure her hat was still on straight. Reaching into the seat of the buggy, she picked up the package and swung it jauntily from her hand as she approached the front door.
Fawn was drying her hands after putting the clean dishes away. “I’ll get it, Nana. I’m finished in here,” she called.
“Angel, what a pleasant surprise.” She hugged her friend hello. “What brings you here today?”
“I brought your birthday present. I have been so busy there has not been much time to visit as I would like.”
Fawn invited her in and the two sat on the couch with Nana at the end facing the kitchen.
Angel removed her hat and with a white-gloved hand gently wiped her brow. “Whew. It is hot out there today. We need a good rain. May I have some lemonade?”
“Certainly.” Fawn turned to Nana to ask if she also would like some refreshment. Nana declined.
“Let’s go to the kitchen and chat over lemonade and cookies,” Fawn said.
Angel’s chocolate colored eyes fairly danced as she said, “You have to open the package first.”
“What is it?”
“Just open it and see,” Angel replied.
Fawn untied the ribbon and gently peeled the wrapping away from the box. She carefully lifted the woven blanket and opened it to its full size. Tears sprang to her eyes.
The blanket appeared to be hand-woven with images of Shawnee women making pottery while children played with a dog. Fawn hugged it to her for a few moments, then hugged her friend again. “How did you happen to get this? It is beautiful.” She held it up for Nana to see.
“I was out shopping one day and saw a woman sitting outside of her cabin, working as she rocked on her porch. There was a sign on the post that said there were Indian wares for sale. I bargained with her and bought this for you.”
“Thank you hardly seems enough, Angel. I’m sure this was quite costly. It no doubt took the woman months to make it. Let me take it upstairs to my room. Then I’ll come back down and we will have our lemonade and cookies.” The places in the blanket that were a little thicker than the rest escaped Fawn’s attention.
At the home of Tommy and Joey, their dad read the newspaper he had purchased on his way home from work. After supper his habit was to peruse the weekly paper and find out what was happening in the surrounding towns and villages.
Page three contained a brief story about a man who had disappeared about three weeks prior. No one had seen or heard from him. His name was Terrence Hilliard.
Leonard Sizemore read the short article again. The subject’s name sounded familiar. He read it out loud to his wife.
“Do you remember hearing this name?” he asked her.
“Sure. Remember the church supper we went to two months ago? Wasn’t he that tall,skinny fellow that couldn’t find work?”
Leonard slapped his knee. “That’s the man,” he said. “Guess he must have found work somewhere, though if he had, it doesn’t make sense for his name to be in the paper as missing.” He rubbed his chin in thought.
Joel was riding all over town, looking for his friend, Bobby. He was not at the tavern, the town hall, the library, or the courthouse. He was not at the livery stable where he worked either. It was the middle of the day. Nevertheless Joel went to Bobby’s house. There was no answer when he knocked on the door. He peeked through the curtainless windows. Bobby lived alone and was not much interested in keeping things neat and clean. Yet there was no sign of any mess, or anything out of place.
“Help you?” a voice said behind him.
“Just looking for Bobby. Haven’t seen him in a couple of days and he isn’t at work.”
“Nope. He won’t be back neither. Took off on his horse last night, full saddle bags and bed roll. Looked like he planned on being gone quite a spell.”
“Thanks,” Joel said. He mounted his horse and rode away.
He rode to the place where they had buried the body. The hole was empty. He rode back to town, went to his office and finished up the day’s work. Then he went home and waited for darkness to fall. Once the sun had set he hitched the horse to the buckboard, threw the shovel in the back, and went back to cover up the hole again.He kept looking behind him to make sure he wasn’t being followed.