Dust to Dust

Dust to Dust by Beverly Connor Read Free Book Online

Book: Dust to Dust by Beverly Connor Read Free Book Online
Authors: Beverly Connor
“I’ve never heard of that name before. What is it, do you think?”
    “I’m not sure. There’s a picture of her and her family upstairs. Her husband looks American Indian. Could be a Navajo or Zuni name, maybe. Anyway, I’m going to put them up in a hotel, but she’s going to want to see the house. I’d like there not to be a bloodstain on the floor. Call the cleaners when you finish.”
    “Sure,” said Neva.
    “Mrs. Tsosie is allowing me to take Marcella’s work to her museum office, so I’m going to pack it up. Do we have boxes in the van or do I need to go get some?”
    “We have a few in the van. They need to be put together,” said Neva.
    “I’ll pack up her work . . . ,” began Diane.
    “Not her whole office?” exclaimed Neva. She had seen the overflowing shelves.
    “No. Just her computer and the pottery she was working on. I don’t think I could tackle all those books.”
    Diane left Neva with the enigmatic desk and went out to the van to find the packing boxes and foam peanuts they kept for occasions when they needed to transport fragile objects. She carried them up to Marcella’s workroom and surveyed the task. Even without packing all the books and journals, the job looked daunting.
    A little searching in the office revealed more boxes of various sizes stored under the tables. She located a linen closet outside the bathroom and took several pillowcases and towels.
    Diane carefully packed many of the loose sherds in the various smaller boxes and labeled them. There were seven whole pots, some reconstructed from sherds and some never broken. She wrapped them in towels and packed each in a separate box.
    She gathered only the paperwork on the tables, ignoring all the papers stuffed in the bookcases, and packed it in a single box. She started to leave the microscope because it would be more easily replaced, but it was small, so she packed it and the slides amid a cushion of towels.
    Then there was the mask. It would be harder to pack. She experimented first by gently testing to see if the pieces were glued fast. They were. Diane wrapped the larger reconstructed piece in a pillowcase and packed it in the middle of the peanuts. She did the same to the smaller section of glued-together sherds.
    The single sherds, presumably more pieces to the puzzle yet to be fitted together, lay on the table next to the mask. They presented a bit of a challenge because she thought she might need to keep the integrity of their position in respect to one another. When she began to pick them up, she discovered that each one was outlined on the paper underneath. She put the paper with the pottery pieces in place in a box and filled the box with folded towels over the sherds. There were four boxes she had to pack this way to accommodate all the single sherds in this set. It was in one of the transfers that she noticed another page under the paper holding the sherds. It contained drawings Marcella had made of the mask. From the drawings it appeared not to be a mask at all, but the front of a pitcher of some kind. An odd pitcher. Water, or whatever liquid it might have held, would have been poured out through the eyes. Not practical. It must have been simply an art piece, or as archaeologists often categorized puzzling things, a vessel meant for religious ritual. Interesting. Diane had never seen anything like it.
    She was taping the last box closed when David and Izzy came in. David Goldstein was a good friend of Diane’s. She had known and worked with him for many years and they shared a common tragedy. While they were working as human rights investigators in South America, many of their friends were massacred. It had made her and David close. Other than Frank, the man Diane lived with, David was the man she trusted most. He was in his forties, balding except for a fringe of dark hair around his head. He had dark eyes and an interesting, paranoid view of the world.
    Izzy Wallace had been a policeman on the Rosewood

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