Old bones show up in the Barclay field while diamonds go missing in Washington Spring. Where did the diamonds come from and the sixty-year old diary that tells of lost love? Will the identity of the bones be determined and solve a longstanding disappearance? Two boys from Africa become the unlikely link connecting these two tales that move Washington Spring residents from suspicion to discovery in

Here Lies.

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Excerpt from Here Lies

"Shhh. He'll hear us."

"What if he finds us?"

"He won't if you keep quiet."

Nmumba gripped his younger brother's hands pulling them close to himself. He could feel both their hearts pounding.

"I think I hear him," Yusuf whimpered.

"Have faith."

Both boys winced hearing gravel underfoot. The smell of a cigarette penetrated the canvas under which they were hiding.

"Limey, get this truck moving!" a man's voice commanded.

"Right," a blonde-haired, middle-aged man named Liam replied.

Liam turned the ignition key. The engine sputtered. Both boys cringed.

When the motor started the boys blew out their breath into each other's faces. Neither opened his eyes. They remained cocooned in the bed of a pickup truck, soon to be miles away from their recently deceased mother, miles away from their grief and men they did not like. The boys knew they did not have the same father. They did not know specifically which man was their father and did not care to know. They cared only about each other and getting out of Sierra Leone.

For hours, the ten and twelve year old boys held onto each other feeling every ditch in the road. They longed to see the scenery. The truck bounced along washboard roads, the ribbed truck bed hemming them in and irritating their arms, hips and legs.

"Inspection!" shouted a voice as the truck came to a stop and rumbled in place.

"I have to poop," Yusuf whispered.

Nmumba sighed. "There's nothing we can do."

"How will we know when we can come out?"

"When we start to smell the sea. Then, when the truck stops in a very busy place, we can---"

Men's voices sounded close.

"I have orders from Vanderveld," Liam said.

The voices retreated. The boys said silent prayers.

Moments turned into minutes. Fumes leaked in under the canvas. Nmumba started to cough. Now it was Yusuf's turn.

"Shhh-" Yusuf whispered.

"I can't help it."

"And I've got to poop."

Just then the truck door slammed shut. The driver shifted into first gear and the vehicle resumed shaking down the road.

"I have to get some air," Yusuf the younger mumbled.

The heat under the canvas was nearly unbearable. Nmumba, normally chiding said nothing. Yusuf unlocked his sweaty hand from his brother's and turned on his other side. He felt for the edge of the tarp and lifted it gently. A welcome breeze flowed in. Both breathed deeply as Yusuf continued to hold up the heavy material. Now longing for more than fresh air he moved his head to see beyond the truck.

"It's the sea!"

"Do you see it?"

"It sparkles! Oh Nmumba. It sparkles, like diamonds."

What do you know of diamonds, thought Nmumba. Neither had ever seen finished, cut stones that radiated brilliant light.

The boys had been born in Falaba into a loose confederacy of men who mined in alluvial pools for diamonds. Before they were ever conceived, their mother would walk from a neighboring town to bring food to her brother and collect the money he made from his mining efforts. It would have been more customary for a brother or a male family member to make these trips but there was no other male relative. The day her brother died she came to the mine pools unaware of her brother's death. The other miners trapped her and since no one came looking for her, they were able to keep her in their possession. They used her to cook their meals and bed down with them and she was powerless to stop their abuse. In time she bore two sons. She prayed her young boys would grow into men better than those who used her. But what other examples did the boys have? So their mother sang to them and told stories of good men who had respect for women. She also shared her dream that they would one day be free from Falaba.

"It's beautiful!"

The truck slammed to a stop. Yusuf fell back toward his brother. Their eyes searched each other wondering what could be the cause. They heard the truck door open.

"Git!" Liam shouted. "Git on, you goats!"

"How far are we?" Nmumba, the older asked.

"To the sea? Half a day's walk. Do you think we should go now?"

"Not yet. Wait until we're closer."

As the day began to wane they felt relief from the heat and hope build in their hearts that their plan would actually work.

Liam stopped the truck and shut off the engine. The boys heard the truck door open and shut. They could hear distant voices and friendly shouting.

"I want to look," Yusuf said.

"No. People might be watching."

Yusuf sighed.

Time went by. A damp coolness began to seep into their hideout.

"I think Mr. Liam has left for good. Maybe he left for the night."

"Maybe," Nmumba replied.

"Can we leave?"

Nmumba stretched his cramped body and made a decision. "Yes, carefully."

Yusuf the younger, slid to the very edge of the truck bed and slowly lifted the canvas. It was dark, but not impossible to see. They were outside of a town, pulled off in a remote area. The voices had been coming from a cluster of stalls now closed, some distance away.

"It's just us," Yusuf said.

"Go slow," Nmumba warned.

Yusuf undid his side of the canvas, slid out and rolled on top of it. He rose to his knees then stood. The sea was still in view. A few boats bobbed. And then he saw the ship. It was so massive his eyes almost didn't register it.

"Nmumba! A ship!"

"Shhh!" Nmumba scolded.

Yusuf folded back the tarp to free his brother.

"Look!" Yusuf pointed.

"What's this?" Liam's big voice and even bigger body appeared. He held a long-blade knife and a dower expression. "What are you two doing here?"

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