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from Frienemies by Aleta Kay

Chapter Seventy-Six
The Truth is Revealed

Toby wiped the sweat from his brow with his shirt sleeve. “Reckon how long we been a-lookin’ for this feller?”

Dewey raised his hat in order to see the position of the sun. “Considering where the sun was when we got here and where it is now, I’d say right about two hours, give or take.”

Toby pointed at something in a copse of trees. “I think I saw somethin’ move on the ground over there.”

“This guy’s supposed to be dead. Probably not what we’re looking for.”

Toby scratched his beard. “Cain’t hurt ta look. All I’m sayin’.”

Chester’s groaning put hurry in the advance of the undertaker and the deputy. Toby pulled his horse up short and set the brake on the wagon.

Dewey dismounted and stood by the groaning man on the ground. “Shot in the back, right at the base of the spine,” he said as he knelt by the injured man.

“Can you hear me?”

“Mmhm.” Another groan as the man tried to raise his head.

“Lie still,” Dewey directed. “We were led to believe there was a dead body here. Guess the shooter didn’t intend for you to live. Maybe when you can talk you can tell us who it was that shot you.”

Another groan.

Toby stood beside Dewey and bent toward the injured man. Looking at Dewey he said, “Help me get him into the wagon.” He talked to Chester as they carried him. “Hate ta do this to ya, mister. We wasn’t expectin’ a live person so I didn’t bring no blankets, cushions, or nothin’ to make the trip easy for ya. Sorry it’s gonna be a bumpy, hard ride.” He looked toward heaven. “Lord, it’d be a mercy if this poor feller could be unconscious ‘til we get back ta town.”

“Drop him off at Doc Henry’s place. I got to get to the sheriff’s office and tell Clyde about this.”

##

The carriage was not headed to their usual picnic spot by Deer Lick Creek.

“Where are we going?” Fawn’s eyes danced as her eyebrows arched.

“I discovered a new place. You’re going to love it. I promise.” Angel winked. “I have a game for us to play.”

Was that a smug look or teasing? Fawn gave her shoulders a slight shrug. Don’t be a ninny. Just because you don’t like change doesn’t mean anything is wrong. This is your best friend, for goodness sake.

“What kind of game?” Fawn asked. “Surely not something as childish as hide-and-go-seek.” She giggled.

“Of course not, silly. This is a guessing game. You’ll see. It will be fun.” Angel tossed her head, loosening her dark curls.

Fawn clapped her hands. “That does sound like fun.” She took a deep breath and relaxed. After all, Angel was always full of new and fun ideas.

When Angel stopped the carriage in a grassy knoll beside what appeared to be a small cave near Pipestem, Fawn alighted, taking in her surroundings. A serene and peaceful place. Why had she never come here before?

“Angel, can we explore the cave?”

“You’re not supposed to ask questions. This day is going to be full of surprises. But this isn’t just a cave. It’s a cavern. It may look small on the outside but it has many paths or trails on the inside.”

They busied themselves spreading out the picn...






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