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Ramsdell had boomed for a year, a hundred twenty years ago, when construction crews in tent cities had built the Appalachian Branch Railroad. Today, well, it wasn't booming. Main Street boasted a combination general store/post office and a government/office building housing Frank Highwater's clinic, an attorney, and the sheriff's office. A candy store on one corner housed a soda jerk who still mixed ice cream sodas the old way. That was it.

It was the sort of place where everyone knew everyone else's business. The old men who loitered in the general store, huddling around the stove even in the heat of summer to gossip and play cards, knew everything.

"It sure is a shame about that young doctor's wife, it is. Heard tell she was not quite dead when he cut out that baby boy."

"Hain't what I heard. Supposingly that doctor got mad and killt her."

"You shut that old nasty stuff up, you old goat." That was the old goat's wife Lottie, and not someone Frank would tangle with. He cleared his throat.

"Now, I think I'm one who ought to know the truth, don't y'all?" That got everyone's attention right quick. Frank cleared his throat again, making a show of it.
Stilling the Dead

A Helen Highwater Story
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