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by Aleta Kay

When seventeen-year-old Fawn Jackson receives a telegram at the finishing school announcing the death of her mother, she must leave immediately. Upon her arrival at home, she discovers her mother's death was not an accident. Why was she killed? How will she take care of her arthritic grandmother? Who is behind the repeated attacks on their home? Why are her Native American ancestors not answering her prayers? It seems everyone she trusts is a possible suspect. How will she learn the truth? The story is set in post-Civil War West Virginia, the youngest state in the country.

Chapter Twenty-Seven

“What do you mean, she’s missing?” Nana demanded.

Jason approached until he was close enough to take the older woman’s hands in his own. “There were three sets of hoof prints. She’s probably with Joel and Angel. You know wha...

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Joel visited Fawn every day while her house was being rebuilt. Jason, his dad, the men from Pipestem, and a few other men from Lerona gathered together to get the job done. Trees were cut down,logs split and notched. Joel saw none of this. His focus was one Fawn.

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....

Chapter Thirty

Jason arrived and found Fawn still asleep lying on the straw in the barn. He had ridden over with the buckboard which was piled with blankets and pillows to try to keep her comfortable.

He gently lifted

her and carried her to the buckboard, thankful fo...

Chapter Thirty-One

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 gri...

Chapter Thirty-Two

Dewey arrived back at the sheriff’s office, jerked on the reins to bring the horse to an abrupt halt. He jumped from the wagon and ran into the office. The sheriff wasn’t there. Great. What was he supposed to do with the body? He took off his hat and scr...

Chapter Thirty-Three

Work was progressing steadily on the Jackson property. The trusses were in place and the exterior walls were being built.

Hank showed up on his buckskin gelding, jerking the animal to a sudden halt. Dan Gardner, Jason’s father, laid his hammer down on a ...

Chapter Thirty-Four

Nana hobbled around the room with her cane. The Gardners were nice folks, good friends, but the house seemed to be closing in on her. Was she ever going to be able to go to her own home?

The rain was coming down in drops as big as doe eyes and hard enough to ...

Chapter Thirty-Five

Fawn paced the living room. Deep sighs repeatedly escaped her lips, although she was unaware of them. She crossed and uncrossed her arms across her chest. It had been almost two weeks since her interview and there had been no word since then. Her brow furrowed with ...

Chapter Thirty-Six
A Gloom Reflected

Rain had stopped progress on the Jackson house for three days. The relentless deluge took its toll in a landslide that blocked Route 20 between Lerona and Pipestem. Work on the railroad between Athens and Hinton had come to a screeching halt. Tempers flared and fist...

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Fawn still sat by the river with Arctic Sun drinking from the water’s edge. Memories assaulted her spirit. When she was ten years old the year was 1868. She, her mother, and Nana visited the graves of their fallen men. The journey had been arduous. The roads w...

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Fawn took Arctic Sun out for a ride. It had been three days, or had it been longer? She had lost track of time. They both needed exercise. Melanie and Sarah Beth had wanted to join her but she really needed to be alone. Two weeks crowded in a house with five other p...

Chapter Thirty-Nine

“This has got to stop,” Nana shouted. “She can’t keep running off like this.”

Ellen hugged her friend. “I know you’re worried, but she probably just needs some peace and quiet. Fawn isn’t used to all of this comm...

Chapter Forty

Sheriff Clyde and Deputy Dewey had been busy investigating the events at the Jackson property as well as trying to find the identity of the body Dewey had recovered. The two men sat in the sheriff’s office, a sparse room with no decoration, two solid oak chair...

Chapter Forty-One

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Jason was worried. The Jackson house was nearly finished. Nana was antsy, irritable, and ready to go back to her own house. Watching her fidget was making Jason more edgy. And where had Fawn disappeared to? She had been gone too long and no...

Chapter Forty-Two
The First Skirmish For Fawn's Soul

Fawn awakened to the sound of thunder. She arose and stretched out the kinks in her legs and back. Sleeping on the ground with nothing but pine needles and leaves from the previous autumn did not create a comfortable bed. She brushed the dirt and debris from her clo...

Chapter Forty-Three
Joel's Troubles, Jason's Worry

Joel sat at the bar drinking his sarsaparilla and watching the men at the poker table. Toby, the undertaker, sat next to him.

“Ain’t seen you around much lately.” Toby sipped his beer.

“Nope. Been busy visiting a young lady.&rdquo...

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