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       Moon Signs, p.7

           Helen Haught Fanick


  We were sitting by the fireplace in the lobby after napping and reading the afternoon away when Maggie rushed in to replace Ivy at the registration desk. Ivy, morose as always, strode away down the hallway that led in the opposite direction from our room. After spending the afternoon on the desk, she probably still had rooms to clean. I wondered where Asbury was. We hadn’t seen him since last night. And David. He should be home from school by now.

  I got up and started toward Maggie, determined to talk about the paintings, but the door opened and a young couple came in and started to register. Both were in black ski outfits, and I figured they came in to register after spending the day skiing. I sat down again.

  I was facing the alcove where the ice machine was located and the kitchen beyond, and through one of the windows at the back I saw a dilapidated truck drive up and park next to the hotel. Asbury and David got out and started to unload something from the back of the truck. I was curious, so I got up and strolled back to the window. It was firewood. They were stacking it in an orderly fashion on a narrow porch that ran across the back of the hotel, at least as far as I could see from the kitchen.

  When they finished, they moved the truck to a small house under the trees behind the hotel. It was a white frame structure, one story, with a chimney on the right side. Was this where the three of them lived? Asbury opened the door and they went in, and I could see lights coming on through the early dusk. I heard a sound behind me, and turned to see Ivy standing in the doorway.

  “Guests aren’t allowed in the kitchen.”

  I wasn’t about to argue with a woman who looked as stern as she did. “Sorry. I was just curious about what’s behind the hotel.”

  She stood aside, and her meaning was clear. I walked on past her and scurried to my seat by the fire.

  Andrea chuckled. “Don’t mess with Ivy. She may turn off the heat to our room.”

  I was feeling a bit huffy and embarrassed, and I didn’t answer. I sank deeper into the couch and looked at Maggie, who was checking in a man in a black and red plaid mackinaw. He leaned his skis against the desk and signed the registration form.

  “I don’t suppose we’ll get a chance to talk to Maggie this evening, with all these people checking in. Shall we go get something to eat?”

  Andrea looked at her watch. “I’m getting hungry, what with no lunch. Shall we go back to the Canaan Lodge? It probably gets crowded on Friday nights, but maybe we’ll be early enough that there won’t be a big crowd.”

  “Let’s do. The food was good last night.”

  Maggie had finished checking in the latest guest. “Are you going out to eat?”

  I walked over to the desk. “We have to get our parkas first. When can we get a chance to talk about Grandpa Flynn and the Monets?”

  “Come to my room at ten. I get off then. If anyone comes after that, they ring a bell outside the front door that Stefan hears in his room. We’ll be able to talk after ten.”

  “Where’s your room?” Andrea asked.

  “Upstairs. Turn left, and it’s the first door on the left. Number eleven. I’ll leave it unlocked.”

  “That’s not a good idea. We’ll knock, and you can let us in.” Andrea was clearly more worried about the murderer running loose among us than she had previously indicated.
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