The following morning…
The grapevine—namely our best friend Lucy at the Hashtag Nailed It Salon—had told us that Cassidy, our prime suspect, stayed just off Gooseberry Avenue along Caramel Street. And the word around Muffin was that Cassidy had been released from police custody and dropped off at her home.
That was good for us. We could bring her a few cupcakes and scratch the itch that had started up last night. Heavens, how was a woman not supposed to be intrigued.
Usually, I’d have advised that we stay out of it—but a dog had turned up with a human bone in it’s mouth. How were we going to ignore that?
In the rush of everything that had happened last night, I’d nearly forgotten about the strange call I’d received, but it had all come rushing back this morning.
“Are you sure they said Daniel?” Bee asked.
I pottered down the road in the food truck, stopping at the intersection and eying out Caramel Street. Good heavens, even the names of the streets made me hungry.
“It sounded like the person on the other end of the line said his name, but I can’t be sure.” I parked outside Cassidy’s house—a white clapboard with a tiny front porch and plenty of flowers in the front garden. “Honestly, I don’t even want to think about whether it was him or not. I’d rather just focus on the food truck and now… this.”
We both squinted up at the house. A lacy curtain twitched in the front window. Cassidy was definitely home, and, from the looks of it, hiding out from everyone in Muffin. I didn’t blame her. People were curious and suspicious now that a corpse had been discovered. A skeleton, rather.
Bee and I hurried up the garden path and knocked on the front door.
A few minutes passed and then the latch clicked, and Cassidy appeared. She had dark half-moons under her eyes, and she was still in her running clothes from last night.
“What do you want?” she asked. “Come to stick your nose where it doesn’t belong?”
Bee thrust the box of treats at her. “Come to give you food, but you can stick it where the sun doesn’t shine if you’re going to have an attitude like that.”
Cassidy’s jaw dropped.
I tamped down on a laugh. Bee really did have a problem with rude people.
“We came to check on you,” I said. “You seemed upset last night.”
“Upset,” Cassidy stammered. “Well, yes, yes, I was. Of course, I was.” She took the box. “Thanks for this, by the way. Sorry for snapping at you. I’m exhausted. The police only let me go about an hour ago.” Still, she didn’t invite us inside.
“Was it because you lied about the dog?” Bee asked.
Cassidy’s fingers tightened on the box. “Look, that was just because I was afraid.”
“Afraid of what?” I asked.
“I ran past Greta’s house last night, and something bad was happening there. They had this tent up in the back yard, and I heard someone scream. So I climbed into her garden to check it out and that’s when I saw it.”
Cassidy pursed her lips together. “I really shouldn’t say.”
“You should.” Bee folded her arms. “Everyone in town thinks you had something to do with this. They’ll want to know the truth.”
“That’s the police’s business.” Cassidy glanced over her shoulder. “Look, I have to go. Just… thanks for the food, but I just want to be left alone.” She closed the door and it nearly bumped into my nose.
I backpedaled and Bee caught me before I tripped.
“And suspicious,” Bee whispered. “Let’s find out if what she was saying was true.”
“The tent at Greta’s house,” I agreed. “Why on earth would she have a tent set up?”
Bee led the way back to the truck, tapping her chin, her sharp gaze sweeping up and down the street. “Well, the insinuation is that she’s excavating something, though that might be because Cassidy wants to throw us off her trail.”
It was food for thought. Oof, food. I was totally ready for lunch or a baked treat, but we had to stay focused on this case.
How often did a human bone fall into one’s lap? Never was the answer to that question—unless it was Halloween and you were in the middle of a decorating crisis.
In the food truck, Bee took out her phone and texted Lucy for Greta’s address. We got the reply almost instantly—Lucy was always connected to her phone for gossip purposes—and headed over to Greta’s place to investigate.
The drive was pleasant, the sky blue, and the suburbs of Muffin relatively quiet, bar the occasional car driving off. The occupants would always wave at us as we passed, and that filled my chest with warmth.
“Oh, you know what? We’ll get to check on Frankie too,” I said, as we pulled up in front of a double story clapboard home that was just around the corner from Cassidy’s. “Poor puppy dog must’ve been stressed out by all the excitement last night.”
“Sheesh, so was I. Police and women tussling. What absurd behavior.”
“Makes me think there’s something deeper going on between them,” I said.
“I still don’t buy Cassidy’s excuse. She was afraid? Then why pretend she didn’t know the dog?” Bee shook her head. “That doesn’t make sense to me.”
We got out of the food truck and strolled up to the picket fence guarding the front yard from the sidewalk. The house was cheery, with lacy curtains in its windows and a garden that bloomed with flowers and had freshly clipped green grass. Clearly, Greta cared for her things.
Was she the type of woman who would dig a hole in her back yard?
“She isn’t home, you know,” Bee said, nodding to the open garage and the empty drive. “We could check it out.”
“Should we?” I dreaded the answer to that question. As inquisitive as I was, the thought of breaking and entering again…
Bee hopped over the picket fence, agile even in her sixties, and I followed her. We traipsed around the side of the house, careful to avoid the moist soil in the flowerbeds, and entered the back yard.
It was just as neat as the front, but the focus was a pool—now guarded from the leaves of nearby oak by a netted green safety cover.
There was no construction in sight. No police line. No nothing.
“She lied,” Bee said, and balled up her fists.
“Then where did the bone come from? Where’s Frankie? And why did… wait a second.” I pointed to the fence line, my heartrate picking up a little. “What’s that?”