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from Scathed Bones by Leah Lindeman

Copyright © 2020–2021 Leah Lindeman

Chapter 3

“What do you mean? How many people have gone missing? This morning?” Rose asked.

Joe shook his head. “Over the last few months, there’s been a few instances of men, even a couple of women, who’ve gone missing. Even then, we don’t know for sure.” 

“How is no one sure?”

He huffed, debating whether she should be told or not.

Suddenly, the front door opened and Dave stepped in, running a hand through his hair. “Joe, what happened?”

Joe’s mouth turned into a thin line, and he shook his head.

Dave twisted toward Rose and fiercely secured her in his arms. He whispered into her hair, “I’m so…I’m relieved it wasn’t you. I mean…not that I wanted this to be happen to Agnes.”

As he slightly released his hold on Rose, she laid her palm placatingly upon his cheek. “I understand. Don’t feel guilty. We’ll try to find her.”

Dave mumbled, “It’s not just her.”

“Joe,” she turned to give him a stern look, “is having a hard time telling me what’s going on. Walk with me and tell me all about it.”

Dave looked to Joe and stated, “She needs to know, and you know she won’t let it go.”

Joe peered at his boots as he waved them off.

Rose had no intended destination only an intended answer to her burning questions. “Well, tell me.”

Dave began once they stepped outside, “There’s been rumours that a good number of miners have gone missing.”

Rose countered, “We have only to base her disappearance on rumours?”

“Thing is, most of these men don’t have family in the area. They were all part of a miner’s company. The only relationships they kept were the ones that brought them closer to gold. Only one of them made friends with a fellow miner. So far as we can count, there’s been seven men missing beginning four and a half months ago. The two women who were taken, well, one of them was a daughter of a local family. She was known for running away. So already her disappearance isn’t being taken seriou...

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