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The Gravedigger

The Cold Case Chronicles: Book Four

Kacie Clement


Shadowbank, Mississippi


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

About the Author

Also by Kacie Clement

All Copyright Reserved ©

2020 by Kacie Clement

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission.

Kacie Clement 42936 State Highway 210 Aitkin, Minnesota 56431

Publisher's Note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author's imagination: localities and public names are used for atmospheric purposes. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, or businesses, companies, events, institutions, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The Gravedigger was written by Kacie Clement. –

1st ed. ASIN: B092TQGJSK

Kacie Clement is a fiscal year 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota States Art Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature, and by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Shadowbank, Mississippi


The gravedigger was out in the cemetery late at night, digging the grave for the pastor’s wife. Hard work kept the gravedigger’s mind at ease. Faye Chestfield, the pastor’s wife, had been good to him since he arrived in Shadowbank. She was the one who had found him sleeping behind the library and had taken him to Clara’s Café to buy him some breakfast. When he met her husband, Pastor Charles Chestfield, and his brother Father Adam Chestfield, the priest at the Catholic church, he found it odd that the two brothers both preached God’s word but in different religions. By the time breakfast was over, Faye and the two brothers had arranged a place for him to stay in the Shadowbank Baptist church, and Pastor Chestfield had given him a job. Grave digging.

 It was hard work, and he did it only at night. It kept the nightmares at bay.

He remembered that fateful morning on March 16, 1968. Charlie Company had moved into My Lai in Vietnam.

Their initial orders were to find the Vietcong Battalion. Still, by the end of the next hour, groups of women, children, and older men were rounded up and shot at close range. His fellow soldiers, thirsty with blood, committed many rapes. The buildings were destroyed, and any remaining survivors were shot and killed. Over 500 Vietnamese civilians died that morning.

When he closed his eyes at night, he smelled the blood in the air. He heard the screams. Daniel watched as civilians were led into a trench and killed by his commanding officer with a machine gun in his dreams. He found solace in digging the graves at night. Of laying those who had perished to rest in forever peace. Something he knew he would never experience.

Tonight was hard. Faye had taken good care of him over the last years. She made him cookies, bought him clothes whenever she thought he needed them, and she took him to the vet’s hospital when he had his panic attacks or hadn’t slept in days.

Faye was the only other person he told of the reason for his nightmares and who he was. First Lieutenant Daniel Billings. Everyone else only knew him as Danny the Gravedigger.

It was 1:00 a.m. Danny had just finished digging Faye’s grave. This one was personal. Looking up, he saw the pastor’s office light on in his office at that church. He thought, maybe I should let Pastor Chestfield know that I have finished.

He wiped his brow with the dirty bandana in his back pocket. His mind clear. He felt deep in his soul that Faye didn’t take all those sleeping pills. She wouldn’t do that to her two daughters.

He remembered she had been edgy the past month, but when he asked if she was okay, she told him she was fine. He figured if she wanted him to know something, Faye would talk to him when she was ready. He was going to miss her.

Walking back to the toolshed, he put his tools away. His thoughts drifted. Maybe now was a good time to move on. Faye Chestfield was dead. There was no reason to stay any longer.

Quietly entering the church not to disturb Pastor Chestfield, he heard a noise in the sanctuary. Moving to the closed door of the chapel, he opened it.

Surprised, he saw Pastor Chestfield and a woman from the church having intercourse in front of the church’s altar. Stunned, he stepped back and knocked over a vase of flowers from the tall table.

Daniel watched as the pastor and the lady sat up, staring at him, breathing heavily. The woman screamed, her face becoming a deep red. She stood, grabbed her clothes, and ran out the side door of the church.

Daniel could hear a car start and race out of the church’s parking lot. Turning, he went down the stairs to his room, not saying a word to the pastor. He bypassed the construction debris going on outside his room. The construction crew was replacing the drywall the past week because of the mold building up from the damp basement.

 Sitting down hard on his bed, he realized that his friend Faye didn’t take all those sleeping pills. Her husband, the pastor, had killed her. He pulled his duffle bag out from under the bed and threw his few belongings into the bag. He was right. It was time to move on.

 Daniel didn’t hear the pastor come into his room. Daniel heard nothing again, except the hanging of the sheetrock closing him into the wall.

Chapter 1

Kamira turned to look in the full-length mirror in the Sunday school room of the Shadowbank Baptist Church as Keisha finished spreading her veil down the length of her wedding gown.


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