Quilt As You Go
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by Arlene Sachitano
Description: When the dust settles after the Foggy Point Civil War re-enactment, one casualty turns out to be really dead, and his identity sends shockwaves through the community.
Does a long-lost quilt that suddenly re-appears hold a clue? Harriet and the Loose Threads must unravel the mystery before the killer strikes again. And who is the mysterious young man with the military bearing who's drawn the admiration of Carla, the young woman the Threads have taken under their wing? Is he what he claims to be, or something much more sinister?
eBook Publisher: Zumaya Publications/Zumaya Enigma, 2009 2009
eBookwise Release Date: March 2010
7 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [353 KB]
Reading time: 226-317 min.
The Union soldiers took the field, complete with drum-and-bugle corp. Ranks of soldiers marched stiffly past in precise rows. While all attention was focused on them, a thin ribbon of Confederates began winding through the forest, just becoming visible as they reached the tree line.
When they had a line of soldiers that reached from one end of the field to the other, one of the "invaders" gave a rebel yell, and the rest jumped out of their concealed locations. Just as it seemed the Union soldiers were getting the upper hand, a troop of Confederate cavalry came thundering out from the middle trail and momentum shifted.
"Wow, that Confederate bunch is sneaky," Harriet said. "Look, they have men on the other trails waiting for an opportune moment to join the fray."
At the end of one path, about a dozen men were lining up, waiting their turn. On the trail closest to the broadcast booth, a lone man lay partially concealed by a tree stump.
"Where?" Mavis asked, and Harriet pointed to the two locations.
"I'm not sure that single guy is a Confederate. He doesn't look like he's wearing a uniform."
"Maybe he's supposed to be a farmer or something," Harriet suggested.
"Or maybe he's just an observer who wanted a better view."
They turned their attention back to the field, where the battle was heating up. The action shifted to the edges of the field, isolating a quartet of mounted soldiers who proceeded to put on a display of swordsmanship and riding, finally ending with the mock death of the Confederate riders, who made dramatic falls from their mounts.
When the "bodies" had been carried away, several cannons were wheeled onto the field by the Union Army. These were fired with a great deal of noise and an even greater amount of smoke. As the smoke cleared, the audience could see that the battleground was now filled with the prone bodies of gray-clad soldiers. The Union had carried the day.
After a few moments, the northern army organized back into their marching units and retreated to the soccer field, followed by the mounted soldiers. The audience clapped enthusiastically.
When the victors were gone, the defeated rose from the dead to take their bows. The crowd cheered even louder.
Mavis and Harriet stood and cheered along with the rest of the audience.
"Look," Harriet said, and pointed to the path where the lone farmer had been earlier. "It looks like the farmer got caught in the crossfire."
"That's kind of harsh," Mavis said. "I mean, we know farmers probably got killed, but this guy didn't look like the homegrown farmer-soldiers you see in history books, going to battle with their pitchfork as a weapon."
"You're right--he doesn't look like he even has a weapon. He's sure playing it for all it's worth, too. Look, he hasn't gotten up yet."
"Maybe he fell asleep while he was playing dead."
The two women sat back down and waited for the people below them to exit the bleachers. Mavis chewed on a piece of johnnycake.
"Do you have any honey, Honey," she said with a smile at her own pun.
Harriet pulled a small plastic honey dispenser in the shape of a bear from her lunch bag.
"Don't tell Aunt Beth," she said and handed it to her friend. "I couldn't figure out how they carried their honey around in those days, so I smuggled the bear this morning."
"Come on," Mavis said after a few bites. "I think the crowd has thinned enough that I can make it down the stairs without tripping on my skirt or someone else's. We need to find something to drink with these bricks."
Harriet stood up, and her gaze wandered to the forest edge.
"It looks like something's wrong with our farmer," she said. "He's still lying there. Having a dramatic moment is one thing, but the rest of the people have left that side of the field and he's still in the same spot." She watched intently for a few moments. "He's not moving." She started to go down then glanced back at Mavis.
"You go ahead," Mavis said. "I'll catch up,"
Harriet hiked her skirt up and held it bunched in her fists as she hustled down the risers then continued toward the stage and the forest beyond.
"Where are you going in such a hurry?" Carlton asked as she brushed past him.
"One of the re-enactors looks like he's been injured at the edge of the forest," she said without stopping.
"I'll come with you," Carlton said and glanced at Bebe, who was standing in the shade of the stage, fanning herself with an ornate plastic-ribbed ladies fan.
"I'm not wearing this into the forest," she said and glanced down at her pink satin confection.
Carlton was obviously torn for a moment.
"You go ahead, baby," she said. "I'll keep your spot cool."
Harriet was already crouched over the man when Carlton arrived.
"He doesn't look too good," he said. "How is he?"
The man hadn't moved. He was wearing jeans and a plaid flannel shirt and was lying on his side, his back toward her. She reached out to feel for a pulse in his neck, and when she touched him he flopped onto his back, startling her and making Carlton jump back a few steps.
The quantity of blood soaking the front of the man's shirt seemed to be more than a person should be able to lose and still be alive, but Harriet checked for a pulse anyway. He was dead.