Chapter 22

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Alex stood off to the side trying to stay out of the way while waiting for Peggy to finish putting a stack of books back on their shelves. She moved slowly, picking out books filed in the wrong places and moving them to their proper locations, all the while carefully taking books off her stack and placing them carefully where they belong. Alex could tell she took pride in how her books were arranged and didn’t want to interrupt her, and Alex figured he had plenty of time anyways and was in no real hurry to get working. When she looked over and saw Alex waiting, he pointed at some chairs next to the computers and mouthed he’d be waiting there, she smiled at him and nodded before returning to what she was doing.

He stopped on the way to pick up a copy of the same newspaper Sarah Stowe had so casually ignored just a few miles away off of a small table next to the computer stations and plopped down onto one of the large chairs, sinking down halfway to the floor in the extra thick cushion. For once there was something besides high school sports on the front page, a currently unidentified body thought to be a college student from the area was found off one of the main hiking trails of Mt. Chocoura. The police refused to give many details except to say they thought it was an animal attack and are working closely with New Hampshire Fish and Game to determine what happened. The trails surrounding the area where the body was found would be closed off to the public until further notice, and police were asking the public to avoid going into the woods alone and to report any unusual animal behavior.

“Are you ready deah? I have the computer turned on and ready,” Peggy said quietly. Alex jumped a little in his chair, he had been too involved in the story to notice her standing over him. He smiled at her and folded the paper in half, stuffing it into his backpack before pushing himself up out of the deep chair, “yeah sorry, got too involved in the story and didn’t see you come over,” Alex said with a hint of embarrassment.

She looked at the folded paper sticking out of his pack and shook her head with a frown. “Terrible thing that happened to that boy. I’ve always known that mountain was cursed. If you want my opinion, I don’t think anybody should be up there at night alone, too many bad stories over the years.”

“What do you mean,” Alex asked, looking down at her curiously.

She looked up at him and gave him a serious look, “a lot of stories about that mountain, going all the way back to when they burned the top off to try to kill that Indian chief. Bad things happen up there at night. I don’t think you’ll find it in many of the newspapers, but I think I have a few books around here that tell the legends. I’ll try to find them and bring them over. Do you know how to use the program deah?”

Alex looked down to the computer screen and shook his head. “I’ve never used it before, but I’m sure I can figure it out. Do I have to know the names of the newspapers I’m looking for,” Alex asked.

Peggy shook her head, “all you have to do is type in a subject keyword and it’ll bring up an articles close to what you typed in. It’s like an internet search, but we had a young man from the historical society set this up so it only finds books and information we have around here.” She had obvious pride in her voice as she spoke, and that pride was confirmed by the large smile on her face, “my grandson taught me all that, I’ve never liked those computers but I guess they’re a necessary evil nowadays. Took him a week to get me to turn one on,” she said with a chuckle. 

Alex sat down in front of the computer, dropping his backpack down on the floor beside his seat. There was just enough room on the desk next to the computer to set his notebook down. He looked up at her and returned her smile, “thank you for your help. If you find any of those books, let me know, I could use all the help I can get.”

“OK deah, good luck and let me know if you need any more help. I’ll go find those books for you,” she said as she walked off quietly, pausing to pick another book off a table, shaking her head at it as she carried it off.

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