Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I hope everyone had a Happy Easter and received lots of Easter Treats! I’ve got Sara Stinson here today and she’s sharing a summary and an excerpt from her book “Fingerbones” with us! Take it away Sara!
Finger Bones has been sending ghosts to their next destination for years. Now it’s Wendy’s turn.
The Bridgeville Clipper announces Finger Bones is dead at 122-years of age. Wendy is not upset. He will be back. Finger Bones and Wendy have unfinished business in this small town.
When ten-year-old Wendy Dee Winkelmann needs to do some serious thinking she likes to chew bubblegum. While sitting on a bench reading, she becomes friends with an old man the townspeople call, Finger Bones. Some locals consider him odd and spread rumors about the ghastly man who lives up a dirt road in an ramshackle cabin. Yet Wendy soon discovers this old man, who walks to town with a burlap bag tied to a stick, has a special job. He sends ghosts to their next destination, and the stick and burlap bag he carries are magical.
Now Wendy chases the lingering spirits. Soon she finds herself caught up in a devious plan of a dark sinister power, and if it means hurting someone, or worse, it will do whatever is necessary to succeed. It’s all up to Wendy to save Bridgeville before the evil power takes over the town.
An Old Friend
The locals called him Finger Bones.
His name was Charles P. Moody, and for 122 years, he had lived on a dirt road in an old, ramshackle cabin. The road was called Screaming Hollow Road, and it ran alongside part of Bone River which curled around the small town of Bridgeville.
No one ever went up Screaming Hollow Road at night, especially alone. Strange things happened up there, and quite frankly, it was a scary place. And as for Finger Bones’ cabin, no one dared to step near the front porch. Mr. Dugmore, a night watchman for the town, witnessed strange lights and eerie moaning noises coming from the cabin. Mr. Murkett, a railroad conductor, told of odd fogs that lingered and cold spots on the land that could chill the bones.
Mrs. Lottie swore when she was a young girl she saw ghosts that floated in and out of the windows. And Mr. Fickleburg, the oldest gentleman in Bridgeville, besides Finger Bones himself, blamed Finger Bones for all the happenings.
Finger Bones lived alone in his house. Every morning he walked to town wearing the same tattered clothes, overalls, and a black hat. His brown eyes looked gentle and his brown face, a grandpa face. The hair on top of his head spread downward into a full beard the color of every gray imaginable. Propped over his shoulder was a stick held by his dark, bony fingers. To the end of the stick a red, burlap sack was tied. No one ever saw him without it.
The street lights gave a dull yellow glow on the pavement as he ambled down Ann Street. Stores were lined together on his right. He casually passed the high school and then the elementary school on his left. Reaching the end of Ann Street, he crossed West Street and went straight to his favorite bench, which was located between the police station and the library.
From early dawn till dusk, he sat and watched nothing in particular. A few of the merchants and locals would pass Finger Bones avoiding his gaze. Some were afraid terrible things might happen if they ventured too close. When passing by, they would cross the street and turn their heads away from him.
But there were two sweet ladies, Mrs. Mimi Elsie Taylor and Mrs. Caroline Jean Harper, who treated Finger Bones with kindness and didn’t consider him odd. Mrs. Taylor was the town’s librarian and had been for as long as anyone could remember. Her sister, Mrs. Harper, owned the local jewelry store called, The Bridgeville Jewel Box. Both were considered upstanding citizens of the community. They had lived in Bridgeville all their lives. They had never met a stranger, or forgotten a name. Of course, a few of the locals felt the sisters, mingling with this strange old man, were as odd as Finger Bones himself. But the sisters didn’t seem to mind what they thought.
Most of Finger Bones’ family and friends had passed away between forty-five to fifty years before. Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. Harper were his family now. Although the community couldn’t understand why, the sisters doted on him. Mrs. Taylor could simply bake the best rum cake in Bridgeville. And Mrs. Harper grilled the best barbequed chicken. At least once a week, one of the ladies could be found sitting at the bench with Finger Bones. Each sat laughing, talking, and munching with an oversized napkin stuffed in their shirts.
It’s fair to say many of the children in Bridgeville were scared of Finger Bones. They were raised to believe he was a child snatcher. For generations, parents in this small town had told rumors of how the old man took children who didn’t obey their parents and stuffed them in his burlap sack. He then carried the children back to his cabin and kept them in a secret dungeon underneath his bed. However, there was one young girl who thought different from most kids.
Wendy Dee Winkelmann was her name. She was ten years old. She had known Finger Bones for a year and two months and now considered him a good friend. Wendy met him one afternoon sitting at his favorite bench. Along with the sisters, her parents liked Finger Bones. They told her he had a heart of gold, and not to be influenced by the gossip. They approved of her spending time with him. Wendy knew the horrid stories, but she also knew the rumors simply were not true and wouldn’t tolerate such nonsense prattled in front of her.
On Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, Wendy did volunteer work at the Bridgeville Public Library. She had worked there for as long as she had known Finger Bones. The pain and stiffness from arthritis hurt Mrs. Taylor’s hands, especially when holding heavy books. So Wendy was a big help placing books on the shelves, plus she liked helping Mrs. Taylor, and Mrs. Taylor seemed to adore her.
Mrs. Taylor was the reason she loved books and enjoyed reading. The sweet old lady had a way of telling just enough of a story to get her hooked. When Wendy finished her jobs, she would take the book and find a cozy spot in the library, or skip outside to the wooden bench.
She sat with Finger Bones as she read, and sometimes she would even read out loud to him. Wendy never saw him with a book, so she assumed he couldn’t read and he seemed to enjoy listening to the stories. She liked hearing his voice, which was deep and soothing. She spent many days on the bench reading and talking to her old friend. Finger Bones told old stories too. Wendy listened with increasing enthusiasm. But little did Wendy know then that the next visit with Finger Bones would be their last together on the old bench.
On that particular Thursday afternoon, Mrs. Taylor recommended a book called The Shadows by Jacqueline West. After Mrs. Taylor spun her magic, capturing Wendy’s interest in the plot, Wendy chose to go outside and read. She hurried out the doors to show Finger Bones the book.
Immediately she noticed her old friend wasn’t sitting at the bench. She came to an abrupt halt. How strange! He hardly ever leaves the bench during the day for anything. Wendy gazed all around, but she saw no one. Something in her stomach made a tiny flip-flop. I’m sure he’ll be back in a minute. He’s probably gone for a short walk to stretch his legs.
Sitting on her side of the bench, she began reading. She looked up every few seconds looking for her friend, but soon became captivated by the story. Suddenly, she heard someone sit beside her. Wendy lowered her book, turned her head to the right, and smiled with relief. It was Finger Bones.
Wendy wasted no time and started babbling. “Where have you been? I was getting worried, plus, I have the coolest book to read to you today.” She glanced over at him as she jabbered, but stopped when she noticed how quiet he was. “Finger Bones, have you been listening to a word I’ve said?”
Finger Bones sat gazing straight ahead with his hands resting in his lap. He blinked, lightly shook his head, and then looked at Wendy with a small smile. “Oh, yes, I’m listening and would love to hear about the book. Now, tell me more.”
A glint of something, something dark and red caught Wendy’s eyes. She looked down and noticed a trickle of fresh blood, running down the back of Finger Bones’ left hand.
“You’re bleeding!” she said, jumping from her seat, her eyes wide with fear. “Stay right here and I’ll go get my dad.” Wendy knew he could help.
His name was Odus Winkelmann and he was the Captain of the Bridgeville Police Department. He knew all kinds of stuff being the Captain. On one occasion, he helped Mrs. Lottie when her car wouldn’t crank. He even saved Lloyd Beck’s pet raccoon one time from T.R. Miller’s hound dogs.
“No, Wendy. It’s only a scratch.” Finger Bones pointed down to the bench with the one finger, which dripped with blood. “Please, sit down.”
“What? No! Your arm doesn’t look so good. If you don’t want Dad, then I’ll call Mom,” she said, seeing more blood dripping onto the bench.
Mrs. Flora Winkelmann stayed at home. Although she didn’t work, she was a member of many clubs in Bridgeville. She attended meetings quite frequently, both day and night. Thank goodness, Wendy knew today her mom happened to be at home.
“That’s the last thing I need at the moment. Now, sit down,” he commanded in a loud agitated tone. “I need to talk to you. It’s most important and cannot wait. The arm can wait.” He again focused his attention straight ahead.
Her old friend had never raised his voice to her, so she stood there a little startled.
When he finally spoke, he sounded slightly calmer. “After our talk, then all will be fine. It will all work out. It always does.”
“What are you talking about, Finger Bones?” Wendy took a step forward, confused. “I don’t understand.”
“Please, Wendy, sit down and I will explain,” he said, lightly patting the bench.
Wendy noticed the dark, red blood now covered the entire hand. She trusted him, but it didn’t mean she liked the idea of sitting back down. He was her friend and he was hurt. The blood oozed from his arm and he needed to go to the hospital. She reluctantly sat back down. “Okay, I’m listening.”
He wore a tattered, black suit jacket over his overalls. She watched as he reached inside one of the pockets, pulled out a handkerchief, and then maneuvered the jacket off. He tried to sound lighthearted when he spoke to her, but he didn’t do a very good job in her opinion. “Tell you what I’ll do. I’ll wrap my arm with this handkerchief. If you’ll tie the ends together it’ll be patched up.”
Wendy tied the ends.
“Now, the bleeding will stop and I’ll be as good as new.”
Goosebumps spread all over her body. Finger Bones acted very strange and something was clearly odd about the look in his eyes, and his voice. She had never seen him act so solemnly. He had always been a happy-go-lucky cheerful person. Nothing troubled him…until this day.
They sat quietly side-by-side on the bench, both in their own thoughts. Each stared straight ahead at the Bridgeville courthouse across the street. At the top of the courthouse, the clock tower ticked. The time was four thirty-three in the afternoon. A cold breeze swept Wendy’s face, causing her to shiver. Then another breeze blew. Eerily, this time it felt as though someone touched the back of her hand. Wendy grabbed her hand when a third breeze swept by blowing leaves between them. She looked at Finger Bones out the corner of her eye. He didn’t react to the chill. But she did.
The next breeze made her sit straight up, for this breeze also carried with it a voice of what sounded like a man. Wendy heard him say, “Finger Bones. We have cleared the area. We are armed and ready in case anything goes wrong.”
Wendy drew in a short breath.
At that point, Wendy watched Finger Bones twist to his right and pick up his stick, which was propped against the bench. The red, burlap bag swayed in the air as he grasped the stick with both hands. He held it horizontal. As he slowly turned to face her, she noticed his large bony knuckles bulging on top.
Those dark bony knuckles, fingers, and hands were famous in Bridgeville. That was the reason for his name, Finger Bones. His oversized bony hands were misfits for his body and were the first things the folks saw when he walked carrying the stick.
He gazed at the stick. “Can you believe I’ve carried this stick with the bindle on the end for one hundred years?”
Wendy’s eyes grew wide. “No way,” she whispered.
“I have. That’s a long time.” He twisted the stick back and forth. “This stick’s made of birch. It’s a good solid piece that’s strong and sturdy.” He gripped the stick tightly and gave it a shake. He then looked at Wendy. “Would you like to hold it?” Wendy stared at it. Her tummy made a flop. No one had ever held the stick except him.
This sounds like an excellent story Sara! It’s definitely on my TBR Pile. Now here’s a some information about Sara and where she can be found.
SARA IS THE YOUNGEST CHILD OF THREE CHILDREN. SHE GREW UP IN A SMALL TOWN IN ELBA, ALABAMA. SHE GREW UP READING “THE NANCY DREW” SERIES. SHE ALSO ENJOYED READING OVER AND OVER THE “13 ALABAMA GHOSTS AND JEFFREY” BY KATHRYN TUCKER WINDHAM AND MARGARET GILLIS FIGH.
AFTER RETIRING FROM TEACHING, HER CHILDREN ENCOURAGED HER TO START WRITING, SO “FINGER BONES” (VOLUME 1) WAS WRITTEN. SHE IS CURRENTLY WORKING ON (VOLUME 2) OF “THE FINGER BONES SERIES”.
SARA CONTINUES TO SUBSTITUTE AT NEARBY SCHOOLS. SHE ENJOYS SHARING HER CHARACTERS WITH HER STUDENTS. THEY HAVE BECOME HER CHEERING SQUAD ALONG WITH HER FAMILY.
You can find Sara here:
sarastinson.com (This site is about the author and the book. There is a fun fan page on here!)
stinsonsara.wordpress.com (This is my blog. My platform is encouraging students to read.)
Sara Stinson (Author page)
The Finger Bones Series (Book page)
Thanks for being a guest today Sara! It’s greatly appreciated!