A Tale of Marriage, Medicine and Murder

Chapter Twenty-Three

This is a preview to the chapter Chapter Twenty-Three from the book PERSONAL BAGGAGE by Margaret McMillion.
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Six blocks from the old mansion, Johnny drove onto a new four-lane bridge and they crossed the Tombigbee River.

“Look.” Penny pointed to a small restaurant on the bank. “If we eat here, we’ll be able to see the back of the house.”

Hanky Panky Bar and Grill served good hamburgers but the Cox house, on a high bluff across the water, was not visible through the screen of oak and pine.

After lunch, they returned to the other side of the river and explored the neighborhood. There were no streets between the Cox house and the water, so Johnny veered into the nearest cross street, bumped downhill, and parked beside an old one-lane bridge, closed to traffic. Leaving the car, they strolled down the pavement to the river’s edge, where a paved boat ramp extended into the water.

An unseasonably warm breeze rumpled their hair and the brilliant sky reflected in the rippling river making it shimmer like blue satin. It seemed to Penny that all the radiance stored up during the winter had been released and was flooding down upon them all at once. “What a perfect day,” she said, “not too hot and not too cold.”

Johnny put up his hand, “Yeah. Goldilocks would have flat-out loved it.” A fisherman on the bridge returned Johnny’s wave.

Penny gave Johnny an affected smile, then let her gaze wander out over the sunlit water. “This river probably looks about the same today as it did in the 1800s, but I’ll bet runaway slaves missed seeing its beauty. They were risking their lives, hiding and waiting for dark to come so they could escape along the bank.”

Johnny gestured for Penny to precede him along the narrow path beside the water. “After you.”
Penny turned to face him. “Wait, Johnny, I have something to say.... If the upstairs bedrooms look decent, let’s spend the night in the house. Please! I want...its almost a compulsion to stay in my great-grandparents’ house.”

“You want to sleep there? Have you lost your mind? How can you even suggest...”

Penny interrupted, her eyes wide and earnest. “This may sound crazy, but I want to experience it as much as I can. Listen, we could take them out to supper at Hanky Panky’s! Did you hear Uncle Buddy say he taught history? You might enjoy talking to him!”

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"In a story of evolving relationships, Margaret McMillion breathes life into her characters, especially Penny, who must find..."

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