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Bones by K. J. Dahlen
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Max squatted near the opening in the rocky outcrop and took off his sunglasses. He was hot and tired and had just about given up finding this place. He wasn’t eager to go inside since the inside of the opening was dark and uninviting. But Max knew he had to go in there. The small hole in the side of the cliff was barely big enough for a child to scramble into let alone a full size man, but he knew he didn’t have a choice. God, I hate small places, he thought as he crawled inside. The hole was small and cramped and Max had to bend over to get through. I really hate small places, he emphasized as he struggled to get through the cramped opening. The hole in the cliff had been harder to find than he expected. The directions given to him by two young boys hadn’t been all that clear.
The boys said the opening was straight up from the dam below and a little left of the big oak tree. What they failed to tell him was which big oak tree. The whole hill was littered with oak trees right up to the base of the cliff.
It had taken him the better part of an hour to find the opening. There had been a lot of hillside to search. The boys had told him they left an old t-shirt to mark the opening, but Max hadn’t found the t-shirt. Some small animal or the wind must have carried it away. He hoped he had the right entrance this time.
He’d found a couple of other openings in the rock face that had led him nowhere. This opening appeared to be the one the boys had described. According to the boys, this small cave led to a cavern with the treasure. Max hoped it led somewhere.
His hands and face were scratched up from pushing brambles and brush out of his way. The thought had also occurred to him that the seldom visited, rocky part of the side of a cliff just a little ways north of the town Max was sheriff of, might be just the spot to run into a snoozing wolf or worse yet a rattlesnake. He heard something scramble out of his way a couple of times, but he hadn’t heard the symbolic rattle of the snake so whatever remained hidden from his sight wasn’t a snake. He’d tried to make enough noise to ward off unexpected company and hoped he hadn’t sounded like a complete idiot in the process. If anyone had spotted him, they would have thought he was drunk in the middle of the morning and that would never do for a sheriff.
The flashlight he held in his hand did little to penetrate the utter darkness that surrounded him. The cave walls and floor were slimy with what Max didn’t even want to hazard a guess and it smelled even worse. It smelled like something crawled in this narrow opening and died. The boys who found the cave might think this little venture was "neat", but Max didn’t. He’d lost his sense of adventure for little games like this a long time ago. He couldn’t believe he was here now.
The boys had been in this cave a couple of days before and had found what they thought was an Indian burial place. They had been reluctant at first to tell anyone of their find but eventually told their dads. As a result, Richard Crabtree had brought his son, Timmy, to see him. Max could tell that Timmy hadn’t wanted to tell anyone about his secret place and Max hadn’t been all that interested in the boy’s tale. Most of it was just the imagination of a ten year old. It wasn’t until Timmy mentioned the skeletons that Max became interested.
Max knew enough about the local tribes in Wisconsin to know they didn’t bury their dead above ground in forgotten caves. The boys told him that they hadn’t seen or found any other Indian artifacts and Timmy was positive someone else had robbed the cave of all its treasure. As sheriff, Max felt bound to check out their story. If there were skeletons in there, he had to find out why.
All-in-all, this is an enjoyable mystery that kept my interest from beginning to end.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More