10. Harry Hogan – Circle of Stones

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Harry looked up as Bertie Blackett breezed in and quickly shut the door behind her. “Getting chilly out there,” she said.

“Well, it is early December, so I guess it isn’t unusual,” he said, sniffing as he detected a faint aroma in the air. “Is that molasses-raisin buns I smell?”

Bertie laughed. “Nose like a bloodhound,” she said. “Janet caught me as I was leaving. Fresh out of the oven.” She laid the bag on his desk.

“What did you get?”

“Multi-grain bread, of course.”

“Of course. Are you all ready for moving this Saturday?”

Bertie nodded. “Almost, and I never thought I’d be excited about moving. Just a few more days… and Janet said that her husband, Tom, will be on hand to help with the loading and unloading.” She hung her jacket on the back of her chair.

“Extra hands are always welcome,” Harry replied.

“That’s exactly what I thought. By the way,” she added, as he reached for the bag of buns, “Janet said you are to limit yourself to no more than two of those per day. Bad for your blood sugar. And too many could lead to extra pounds around the waist, which also isn’t good for you.”

“Cripes,” Harry grumbled, glancing down at his waist. “She doesn’t mince words, does she?” Still, he thought grudgingly, it might not be a bad idea to get back into some kind of exercise routine again.

Bertie laughed. “Good business practice to look out for her customers, I suppose.”

The sound of the doorknob turning caught their attention and they both looked up. The door opened and a slight, rather tall man peered in. Harry told him to come in and he did. Closing the door behind him, he sat down in a chair facing Harry’s desk. He removed his knitted hat, revealing a haircut so short that at first glance Bertie thought he was bald.

“Can we help you with something?” Harry asked.

“I hope so,” the man answered. “My name is Stanley Royal. I was scouting out some rabbit runs, getting ready to set a few snares and I came across something that has me puzzled.”

“Okay, what did you see?”

“A stone circle.” The man twisted his hat in his hands. “It didn’t look like a natural formation. It looked man-made… at least that was my impression.”

“Could be kids playing house and marked their ‘house’ with a stone wall,” Bertie suggested, handing him a clipboard with a form. “Just basic information,” she explained, “so we’ll know how to contact you.”

Stanley filled in the form and passed it back to her. “I don’t think it was young kids, ma’am. They’re fairly large stones and I doubt if kids young enough to be playing house would be able to move them.”

“Are these stones out in the open somewhere, like on a trail or something?” Harry asked.

“No, they’re just off the trail, sort of hidden in a small clearing among some very tall old trees. It’s fairly level but it doesn’t look like it’s been grubbed off or anything.”

“Any sign of a campfire, inside or outside the circle?”

“I walked around the outside of the circle but I didn’t see anything out of place… except the stones… they just don’t look as if they belong there.”

“Could it be something old or was it done recently?”

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Cup of coffee with raisin buns

Now retired, after 39 years as a Librarian, Fay Herridge is a voracious reader, avid family historian, and a love of writing. She also enjoys walking, gardening, knitting, crocheting and photography; and is active in church and community events. Her poems and stories have been published in newspapers and magazines. “Satisfaction comes when others enjoy my work while inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere.”
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