There, on the front page, in all his antique mystery, was the sensation that had brought in American archaeologists by the droves, and even a few Frenchmen. Actually, it had been a team from Ohio that had brought him to light, following a tip from a local peat cutter. They had been poking about the ruins southwest of Hadrian's Wall for several summers now, unearthing a few beads, shards, and trinkets, mostly in the category of the very unspectacular. The cadaver, though, had raised their activities from a desultory, if disciplined, poking around to a delirious pitch of spade swinging. The find had been wrapped in a cloak, most of which had disintegrated in the eighteen hundred years that had intervened from his burial in the bog to his recent disinterment. Outside of this, the Roman legionary was amazingly intact, from the rawhide fringe on his leather boots to the tiny veins that laced his eyelids as if he had just closed them in gruesome repose. Whatever he had seen in his final moments had twisted his lips into a terrified grimace.
“This one, set K-350.” She swung the catalog around and jabbed at the photo of the gilded living room with rhinestone-studded grand piano. She wore expensive gloves, grey satin, with all the fingers filled. Perhaps she was concealing the three little claws in her palm. Then again, the New Comer females were rumored to be splurging on cosmetic surgery, impatient at having to wait for more organic changes to their appearance.
“That’s it. The Liberace Ensemble. Lib-er-AH-che. You have to hit that AH part. AH. Correctomundo?”
“I believe so, yes.” I put on my glasses. “Let’s see... You ordered the Mansion Set Deluxe, master bedroom with Sistine Chapel ceiling murals and Liberace smiling amid cherubs au-dessus the bathtub, respectively, foyer adorned with slot machines, the Moroccan room including stuffed peacock. As for the pool: the large signature L, piano key tiles, tented gazebo. The Hall of Mirrors, lion-claw rococo furniture, more mirrors—”
She waved a gloved hand irritably. “We have all that.”
"Peat" is now published by Mystery Weekly Magazine
A disturbing discovery from a peat bog near Hadrian's Wall has innkeeper Adrian Seefeldt quite unnerved: