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from Frienemies by Aleta Kay

Chapter Seventy-One

Another dead body? Dewey scratched his head. What in tarnation is going on around here? Who is behind all of this, and why? Dewey took out his list of dead bodies and the other list of people who could be involved. Who was this Chester fellow? How did he fit in? His name was on the list of possible people involved in the other two murders. Somebody was pulling strings that had other people dangling from them. It seemed that as people lost their usefulness to the string-holder, they ended up dead. Dewey crossed Bobby Sands and Chester ? off the list of suspects since they were both dead. That left Joel, Hank, Kyle and Angel. Which one was holding the strings that kept the other puppets jumping? What did the string-holder have on them that would incite them to commit crimes? Was the theft of the deeds office months ago connected somehow to the murders? What exactly was taken?

His trek to Deer Creek in Hinton hadn’t turned up anything helpful. There were so many footprints it was hard to tell one set from another and they had all been smudged from being trampled. There had been no pipe tobacco residue so if the guy with the pointed boots had been there, he didn’t empty his pipe at the creek bed or anywhere nearby.

Dewey scratched his head again as he looked back at the list of suspects. Which one of them would be the next to die?

###

The unsigned note he received ordered him to meet Angel at the Jackson farm. It said to bring ropes, a buckboard, and an old, large blanket. She knew it was Fawn’s weekend to be home.

###

Joel trudged into the sheriff’s office, his hat dangling from his right hand, his head bent toward the floor.

Clyde sat in his chair which tilted on two legs against the wall, the usual toothpick traveling from one side of his mouth to the other.

Without looking up from his whittling, he asked, “What can I do for you?”

Joel cleared his throat. “I came to confess to a crime.”

The sheriff’s chair slammed so hard on its front legs he nearly fell off of it. “Say again?”

Joel’s eyes finally looked up, though his head was still bent. “I came to confess to a crime.”

Clyde searched through the drawers of the desk in search of paper and something to write with. Dewey was still trying to solve the murders and somebody needed to stay in the office in case somebody came in needing something.

Joel shuffled his feet and twirled his hat as he waited. It seemed like an hour for the sheriff to find paper, an ink well and a pen.

“Alright, let’s hear it,” Clyde drawled. “What’s your name?”

“Joel Stephen Blackman, sir.”<...






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