Mystery Solved

Mystery Solved

Chapter 10

     After eating a light supper of cornbread and milk, Miss Georgia and Abigail went upstairs. Since Miss Georgia’s room was where the tunnel was, surely if the ghost started haunting again, it’d be in here. They turned out lights in the bedrooms, then both of them sat in chairs on the opposite side of the fireplace from the tunnel.

     “I don’t think my ghost knows you’re here, Georgia,” Abigail whispered, or it wouldn’t be so brave as to keep making noises. Let’s let it keep thinking that.”

    Miss Georgia nodded. Her nerves felt like tightly wound springs. Would Miss Dodson come through that old tunnel or something else?

     “I’m going to my room,” Abigail said loudly. “I hope those strange noises don’t keep me awake. Maybe I’m just imagining them. Maybe I actually lose the things I can’t find.” She whimpered. “Oh, maybe I’m losing my mind. I’m even talking to myself. I’ll go to my bedroom and put my head under the pillow. I hope I can sleep.”

     She walked to the door, opened and closed it, then tiptoed back to her chair.

     As Miss Georgia mused on the whys of Abby’s neighbor, she found herself becoming drowsy. She closed her eyes only to have Abigail grasp her arm. The room had grown dark and chilly. But, all thought of sleep fled as Miss Georgia heard what Abigail heard. Soft footsteps came from the other side of the wall.

     Both women stood up, Miss Georgia with her electric torch in her hand. Closer and closer came the steps, then the narrow wall panel slid back.

     Miss Georgia tensed, her flashlight ready. A shadowy figure crept into the room. It, too,  carried a light, the beam wavering into the dark bedroom.

     Miss Georgia put her hand over her mouth to stifle her gasp; the glow from the dim light revealed the face of the woman on the other side of the tunnel—Miss Dodson.

     The intruder flashed the beam around the room, missing the two women pressed against the wall, and started toward the door. She didn’t see Elmira, who was truly a curious cat, following her. Thinking maybe she had another friend, Elmira twined around Miss Dodson’s ankles.

     Miss Dodson’s screamed as her flashlight hit the floor and Elmira dashed for the bed. Miss Georgia switched on her flashlight and turned it full on Miss Dodson’s face. Miss Dodson tried to run out the door.

     “Stop!” Miss Georgia yelled. “I’ve got a gun and I’ll shoot.”

     Abigail hurried to the door and stood in front of it. “She means it,” she said.

     Miss Dodson screeched some words that no lady should ever let pass her lips. Miss Georgia had no idea what some of them meant, but that was all right with her.

     Abigail faced her neighbor, her hands on her hips. “What in the world are you doing, creeping around my house?” 

     But Miss Dodson wasn’t talking.  

     “Get something to tie her up with,” Miss Georgia said, “while I hold a gun on her.”

Abigail scurried to the closet and got two leather belts. She motioned for Miss Dodson to sit. With a lot of huffing and puffing, she secured her neighbor’s hands and feet.

Miss Georgia  was amazed that anyone would believe she had a weapon, but, after all, the room was dark.  

 “Why, Miss Dodson?” Abigail cried. “Why in the world are you prowling through tunnels into my house? Did you steal my things? Did you make those awful noises?”

     Miss Georgia’s flashlight glinted on pure hatred in Miss Dodson’s eyes as she glared at Abigail.

     “Why? Because your husband is dead now and I can’t do anything to him, but I can try to get my revenge on you!”

     Abigail gasped. “What are you talking about? Revenge for what?”

     Miss Dodson laughed. It wasn’t a joyous laugh; it was the kind that made chills chase each other down Miss Georgia’s spine. “My man, Earl Toombs, died in prison last year. He was put there by your husband. He was innocent, I tell you. Never would he have shot anybody. But, innocent or not, he was dead. I believe in an eye for an eye. I got a lot of pleasure out of trying to make you think you were losing your mind.” Again, Miss Dodson laughed.

     Miss Georgia and Abigail sat in shocked silence. At last, Miss Georgia took a deep breath.

     “Be that as it may, I don’t think you’ve made anything a bit better,” she said to the venomous woman. “Abby, hurry and get the sheriff.”

     “In the dark?” Abigail said, her voice shaking.

     “Take Miss Dodson’s torch,” Miss Georgia said. “One of us has to stay here and watch this woman.”

     It was a measure of Abigail’s courage that she actually picked up the dropped flashlight and bustled from the room. Miss Georgia knew that the sheriff’s office was only a block away. The town was so small and usually so peaceful, that the sheriff did double duty for it and the county.

     Miss Georgia made sure Miss Dodson couldn’t see that she had nothing at all in her other hand. She hoped Abigail would hurry. Her arm that held the light was getting mighty tired.



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