“Do you think he’s going to be disappointed?” Shelby locked arms with Edgar as they made their way to the cemetery to share the surprising results of their online research with St. Edmund Cemetery’s new curator, Amos Jones.
“Who knows?” Edgar said. “My money was on it being some kind of ritualistic trowel. Good thing our Facebook friends set us straight.”
“I kind of thought it might be a shoe horn,” Shelby said. “Or an old, wooden spear maybe. I just can’t believe anyone ever needed this kind of tool to perform such an easy task.”
“Never underestimate laziness,” Edgar said. “Anyway, at least now he’ll know what it is.”
“Edgah Wilde,” Amos hooted as they approached. The curator was arm-deep in a little pond at the northeast corner of the cemetery. Beside him lay a pile of soggy weeds. “Would ye just look at this! Don’t think Harknell evah took much pride in his landscapin’. Got a dang mess in heah. And — I’m sorry, miss, but I never did catch your name.”
“Shelby Emerson, sir.”
“I’d shake ye hand but I got all this nasty muck on me. So, I suppose ye got some kinda answer as to the object’s true identity? It’s the Spear of Destiny, right? I knew I’d found me a real museum piece.”
“It’s not the Spear of Destiny,” Edgar replied, not sure if the old man was joking or serious about the object being the spear reputed to have stabbed Jesus Christ during his crucifixion. “I’m afraid you’ll be let down a bit, actually. It’s not very exciting.”
Amos shot Edgar a cold eye as he began wiping his arms with an oily towel. “I’ll be judgin’ that, if ye don’t mind. So, whatcha find out, then?”
“It’s a Victorian-era page turner. It was used to turn book pages.”
“Page turner, eh?” A painfully wide grimace revealed the few surviving teeth still clinging to his gums. “Hard to imagine anyone strainin’ so much they needed a tool to do the work for ‘em. Makes ye wondah…”
Edgar and Shelby watched the man trail off into his own thoughts. Finally the cemetery curator’s head jerked back as if he’d been smacked on the forehead. “Pardon me, just filin’ it all away. When yer my age ya gotta keep track of every scrap, otherwise it just goes blowin’ down the road like a tumbleweed.”
“I’ll remember that,” Edgar started. “Anyway, I guess we’ll be going.”
“Not so fast,” Amos said. “Wouldn’t mind ye using your talents again, if’n ye can stay for a spell.”
“You have another artifact?” Edgar said.
“Sure do,” Amos said. “Found it jest yesterday.”
“Really? Let’s see it, then.”
Amos propped himself slowly into some semblance of an upright, standing position. Edgar And Shelby followed patiently as one foot shuffled past another, inching their way toward the little shed where they’d first met him.
“Yer kind to indulge an old man,” Amos said as he reached to the back of a shelf. Edgar and Shelby drew close. “Now whatcha make of this wicked-lookin’ thing?”
“Looks like a torture device,” Shelby said, memories of her recent experience at the top of Heaven’s Garden flooding back to her. “For fingers or something.”
“Don’t it, though?” Amos said. “Hate to think why this metal contraption was made. Edgah, ye evah seen one a’ these before?”
“I have no idea what this is,” Edgar said. “But I know who might. Shelby, can you get a picture?”
Shelby backed up, her arms wrapped tight around her. Noticing her discomfort, Edgar stood and held her tight.
“Don’t worry. It’s not what you’re thinking.”
“You’re sure?” Shelby whispered. “Cause that look just like what I think it looks like!”
“I promise you, it’s not for fingers.”
“It’s not for torture,” Edgar soothed. “I guarantee you it has some mundane purpose.”
“Don’t let yer heart thump ovah it,” Amos laughed. “Nobody in a cemetery needs torturin’ anyway! Too late for ‘em.”
“Nice. That’s comforting, Amos,” Shelby scowled.
“Anyway, best be runnin’ along, then,” Amos chuckled. “See whatcha come up with. Thanks again!”