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Frienemies
by Aleta Kay

Fawn Jackson lives in post-Civil War West Virginia in a holler where most of the property is owned by a local state senator. The mineral rights have been graciously granted to the tenants. Someone is after the mineral rights to her property. Someone caused the accident that killed her mother and her favorite horse. Who wants the mineral rights and why? Who can she trust? Is it a stranger or is it a friend?

Chapter One
The Funeral

Fawn Jackson stood as straight and tall as her five foot, five and a half inch frame would allow and tried hard not to look as if her black mourning clothes were swallowing her alive. She would not allow her sobs to break forth. If she had learned anything at the fi...





Prologue

The snare was set. Now he just had to be patient and wait. He had the clear fishing twine looped around the hornets’ nest. It wasn’t tight yet. That would come later. He trailed the trip on the ground and across the dirt road, then tied it to a sapling. ...





Chapter Two
A Visit to the Neighbors

Fawn looked at the wagon tracks that had sent her favorite horse and her mother to their deaths in the creek. Arctic Sun’s leg had been broken and his neck twisted as his head apparently hit the rocks. Nana had said Lottie (her native name had been Laughing Ey...





Chapter Three

The scent of pine and juniper mingled with the new blossoms of rhododendron as Fawn approached the embankment. This would have been a lovely day of solitude and reminiscence had it not been for the nagging feeling that something was amiss. There had to be a reason w...





Chapter Four
Subterfuge

After the doctor left Fawn closed and bolted the door. She fixed Nana a cup of tea, then went upstairs to put things back in order.

The upstairs was also the attic. Two bedrooms were divided by the stairs. Each room had a curtain that ran the length of ...





Chapter Six

It had been three days since Jason Gardner had been to the Jackson residence. It was planting and branding season. He had helped his dad get the livestock chores done, and had planted the seedlings of sunflowers around the perimeter of the vegetable garden. His mom ...





Chapter Seven

Fawn heard the commotion in the barn. She looked over her shoulder at Nana as she grabbed the lantern and shotgun, and headed out the door toward the barn. "I'll be back in a minute, Nana," she called. Midnight Sun never acts like this unless somethin...





Two Scenes Of Unknown Placement

The crescent moon floated in and out of the gray clouds dotting the late night sky. Two owls called to each other, punctuating the chinks of the shovel's digs at the rocky soil. The lantern beside the fresh pit under the season-old pine straw was the only steady lig...





Chapter Fourteen

While the Gardners were visiting Fawn and Nana, Joel Taney was in an alley between the mercantile and the bank. Bobby Lilly was with him, a toothpick stuck between his teeth. Bobby was twenty-one and cocky. His thick brown hair was wavy and unkempt. His sideburns ra...





Chapter Fifteen

Fawn was in her room. It looked so much better since Jason and his dad had repaired the walls and furniture. Ellen Gardner had even brought a new wash basin and pitcher. She sat on her bed, reading Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.” What did it mean? ...





Chapter Sixteen
Senator's Home Office Ransacked

The office was a mess. Lanterns were knocked over. The fabric on the chairs had been ripped. Desk drawers were open and their contents strewn around the room. A note was left on the senator’s desk.

“Your daughter owes me money, two thousand, on...





Chapter Seventeen
A Rock Through The Window

Nana was asleep in her room. Fawn was still rummaging around, trying to find that newspaper clipping. She had looked everywhere and it had not turned up. Where could she have put it? Why do I have to be so absent minded? She thought. She found her owl fetish, claspe...





Chapter Eighteen

Fawn hated Sunday mornings. Nana always wanted to go to church. Fawn’s church was outdoors on horseback. Now that her mother was gone, she didn’t want to let Nana make the walk by herself.

It was a white clap-board building with a gabled edifice to...





Chapter Nineteen

It was an hour before supper time when two young boys played kick-the-can along the dirt road outside their house, and about a quarter of a mile across from a large open field. They had been kicking it back and forth down and across the street. The last kick had it ...





Chapter Twenty

It would have to be a rainy day, wouldn’t it? Fawn thought.

Thunder awakened her, followed by silver flashes of lightning that had Midnight Sun stomping and snorting in the barn. She dressed hurriedly and threw on a mackintosh and galoshes. There wa...





Chapter Twenty-One

Tommy and Joey finally had a chance to go back to the mound of dirt they had discovered a few days earlier. There was no mound there now, only a deep empty hole. "Somebody stole our treasure," Tommy wailed. "It wasn't our treasure," his older brother replied. "Well," Tommy sniffed, "it would have been. What …




Chapter 22

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 mad...





Chapter Twenty-Three

Nana and Fawn had an early breakfast of bacon, eggs, and grits. As soon as breakfast was finished Nana bustled about, as well as she could with her cane, going through her wardrobe. There had to be something that wasn’t threadbare. Her bed was littered with di...





Chapter Twenty-Four

Angel sat with Joel as he drove the matched chestnut geldings while Fawn and Nana sat inside the carriage.

Nana fluttered the lace ruffle on her blouse front. Then she tapped her cane on the floor of the carriage and patted her hair with her free hand. “...





Chapter Twenty-Five

The conversation swirled between the three occupants as they drove back to the Jackson residence. Joel was driving the team pulling the carriage.

Angel’s eyes danced with glee. “Fawn, I’m sure you are going to love those people. They already ...





ChapterTwenty-Six

Jason rode back to the Jackson residence the next morning. His mother was taking care of Nana, making sure she was comfortable. She sent some freshly made biscuits with a jar of honey and another jar of homemade blackberry jelly from the previous autumn.

He k...





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 F...





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...










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