Chapter no 10 – Just Grass in the Wind

Where the Crawdads Sing


Sand keeps secrets better than mud. The sheriff parked his rig at the beginning of the fire tower lane so they wouldn’t drive

over any evidence of someone driving the night of the alleged murder. But as they walked along the track, looking for vehicle treads other than their own, sand grains shifted into formless dimples with every step.

Then, at the mud holes and swampy areas near the tower, a profusion of detailed stories revealed themselves: a raccoon with her four young had trailed in and out of the muck; a snail had woven a lacy pattern interrupted by the arrival of a bear; and a small turtle had lain in the cool mud, its belly forming a smooth shallow bowl.

“Clear as a picture, but besides our rigs, not a thing man-made.”

“I dunno,” Joe said. “See this straight edge, then a little triangle. That could be a tread.”



“No, I think that’s a bit of turkey print, where a deer stepped on top, made it look geometrical like that.”

After another quarter hour, the sheriff said, “Let’s hike out to that little bay. See if somebody boated over here instead of coming by truck.” Pushing pungent myrtle from their faces, they walked to the tiny inlet. The damp sand revealed prints of crabs, herons, and pipers, but no humans.

“Well, but look at this.” Joe pointed to a large pattern of disturbed sand crystals that fanned into an almost perfect half

circle. “Could be the imprint of a round-bowed boat that was pulled on shore.”

“No. See where the wind blew this broken grass stalk back and forth through the sand. Drawing this half circle. That’s just grass in the wind.”

They stood looking around. The rest of the small half-moon beach was covered in a thick layer of broken shells, a jumble of crustacean parts, and crab claws. Shells the best secret-keepers of all.

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