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Mystery May
Plantation Mystery, Part 3



Plantation Mystery, Part 3
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.78

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    knothole, moonlit, muscadine, open-walled, poker, trapdoor, arrival, matches, slave, crowed, harm, meager, quarry, ducked, wine, working
     content words:    George Saunders


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Plantation Mystery, Part 3
By Mary Lynn Bushong
  

1     The rest of the afternoon, Mama and the girls swept and mopped floors, washed windows, and put their meager belongings away. Todd helped Papa and Grandpa move furniture around and even helped bring things from the attic.
 
2     Supper was in the dining room. Grandpa said it was a night to celebrate their arrival. Mama and Papa shared some of Grandpa's muscadine wine. The fried chicken and rice with gravy were delicious.
 
3     Soon Abby, Bea, and Todd, were nodding in their chairs. Mama sent them all to bed. The last thought Abby remembered as she closed her eyes was the rumble of her parents' voices downstairs.

* * *

 
4     A faint creak of the floor board was all that betrayed the shadow as it moved from a doorway. The curtains were all closed in the room, save one. The form looked out at the moonlit yard which illuminated the face gazing out the window. It was the image of a face that had looked out that same window a hundred years before.
 
5     Shadowed hands picked up two silver candlesticks and a box of matches. The figure heard the faint click of dog claws coming down the stairs. He ducked back into the doorway and closed the paneled door before the dog reached the bottom step.
 
6     Bart came into the room with his hackles up. He sniffed the air. Then he traced footsteps with his nose. He stopped at the doorway, his nose pressed firmly on the bottom of it. He took several deep breaths. After a few minutes, he went back upstairs to Abby's room.

* * *

 
7     Bridie arrived at the summer kitchen well before dawn. She'd had an idea or two about the lost ham. She'd sprinkled some corn meal on the floor in front of the stove.
 
8     She used a lantern to look at the floor and smiled. Her teeth gleamed in the darkness. She knew where her quarry was. Now all she had to do was wait for him to come back.
 
9     She made herself comfortable in a dark corner near the stove and waited. She watched the darkness that wrapped around the open-walled kitchen. The cool iron poker handle was just getting warm in her hands when she saw the movement of a figure in the trees by the old slave row. It came closer, and Bridie was soon sure the man was a stranger. Even so, there was something familiar about him.

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