Kath Rutledge, here, from the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries. Did I tell you I’m volunteering out at the Holston Homeplace Living History Farm for their “Hands On History” program this month? Some of the TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Fiber) volunteers and I are doing a unit on crazy quilts. Fun, right? I mean, really, what could go wrong? Heh. There might be the small matter of human bones turning up . . . Here’s an excerpt from Plagued by Quilt that will give you an idea how my crazy volunteer gig turns out.
“Bones?” Geneva sat up straighter.
“‘The Bones in the Barnyard,’” Ardis mused. “It has a definite ring to it. Kath, you’re wearing your surprised and puzzling-something-out face, and if you ask me, that’s one of the reasons you’re such a natural-born amateur sleuth. You’re always puzzling things out. Even when you give me that less-than-attractive slitty-eyed look you’re wearing now.”
I kept the slitty-eyed look for Ardis’ benefit and held up an index finger for Geneva’s. In the human-to-haunt sign-language system Geneva and I were constantly working to refine, a raised index finger was supposed to mean hold on or please be patient.
“Are you scolding me?” Ardis drew back, looking and sounding hurt. “Why so touchy?”
At the same time, Geneva waved her arms wildly and shouted, “Read my arms! I want to hear about the bones!” Her contributions to our system sometimes gave me a headache.
“Sorry, sorry, there really isn’t much to tell yet.” I massaged my forehead.
“Oh, hon, no,” Ardis said, picking up on that sign immediately. “There’s nothing in the world to be sorry for. The heat of the day and unexpected human remains? They’d be enough to send anybody off-kilter.”
“Kilt her?” Geneva said. “That does not sound like ‘not much to tell.’ Perhaps Ardis is right and the shock and the heat were too much for you.” She left the mannequin and floated closer. “Would you like me to hold your hand?”
“Do you need to sit down?” Ardis asked.
I looked at Geneva, then at Ardis. Two unlikely peas in a pod, both sweetly concerned.
“I’m okay, but I’ve got three sleuth-type questions for you, Ardis. Who, when, and how?”
“Did I hear about the bones? Oh ye of little faith in the Blue Plum jungle drums and texting service. You had two dozen teenagers, on the spot, with phones and itchy fingers. By now it might be quicker to guess who hasn’t heard about the bones.”
“I haven’t,” Geneva said.
“Good point,” I said, covering both of them, “and no telling what embellished information is flying around out there because of that. So here are the bare bones.” I paused for Ardis to groan. She sounded uncannily like Geneva. “One of the students, Zach Aikens, found an elbow joint. It might be a whole arm. It might be a whole skeleton. They won’t know until they excavate, but they can’t do that until they get the okay from the medical examiner and the sheriff’s department. That’s according to the archaeologist, Jerry Hicks.”
“How deep did he find it?” Ardis asked.
It was Geneva’s turn to groan. “Please do not turn this into a philosophical discussion, deep or otherwise. Death and bones go together quite naturally, and that is the end of the story.” She paused. “Although, as in my case, it is not always the end of the story, because here I am. Don’t you find that fascinating and worth pondering at greater length? But here are my naturally occurring super-amateur-sleuth questions. Who is this Zach and where did he find these bones?”
“I’ll run and get you a glass of water,” Ardis said. “I don’t like the way you’re standing there staring at nothing.”
“I am insulted,” Geneva said.
So that’s how my volunteer gig is shaping up. And did you notice what hasn’t occurred to Geneva yet? The bones – could they be hers? I think I might need something stronger than that glass of water Ardis went to get. Or maybe some distracting and cheerful stories. How did you spend your summer vacation?
Watch for Kath, Ardis, and Geneva in PLAGUED BY QUILT, coming in November 2014, and available now for pre-order. The award-winning, national-bestselling Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries are available in mass market, e-book, large print, and audio wherever books are sold.
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