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โ€œLost in the Wildโ€

A Cozy Mystery


Lost in Alaska Series

Volume Six




Leigh Mayberry

ยฉ 2021

Leigh Mayberry

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.

This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are the products of the authorโ€™s imagination or used in a fictitious manner & are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Products or brand names mentioned are trademarks of their respective holders or companies. The cover uses licensed images & are shown for illustrative purposes only. Any person(s) that may be depicted on the cover are simply models.

Edition v1.00 (2021.05.10)

Special thanks to the following volunteer readers who helped with proofreading: Kari Wellborn, Dick B, RB, Big Kidd and those who assisted but wished to be anonymous. Thank you so much for your support.

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Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter One

Memorial Day in Alaska was a big deal. In Kinguyakkii, a bustling rural community thirty-three miles above the Arctic Circle, it was the kind of celebration time that many villagers appreciated. It was a national holiday, which meant the post office, schools, and government closed. It was a time for many Alaskans to honor not only their fallen heroes from military service but to honor their fallen community members. In all matters culturally significant, they celebrated the anniversary of a personโ€™s death for years following their lost friends and family. No one put a label on the holiday or branded it for a single purpose. For people in the City of Northern Lights, it was a reason to get together, and party like it was the end times.

The local grocery and goods store, Alaska Merchandise Store, had pallets of plastic floral arrangements shipped into the village. People bought the plastic graveside flower wreaths to fill the Kinguyakkii Memorial Cemetery. For a brief, beautiful moment on the weekend for the last Monday in May, the disorganized and poorly arranged gravesites for the local people have pretty flowers and wreaths that pepper the wintery ground like the first flowers of spring determined to break through the snow and reach for the light.

The plastic memorial wreaths didnโ€™t need sunlight. The overseas suppliers that sold the merchandise to the Alaskan rural grocery chain didnโ€™t care what happened to the product. Alaska Merchandise Store management anticipated a spike in projected sales and counted on selling out all their drop-shipped pallets of wire, plastic, and cardboard containers. But like most things shipped to Alaska, the memorial arrangements never left.

If the Arctic winds caught the floral arrangements at the gravesites, the memorial wreaths usually swept out of the cemetery. They eventually made their way to Kinguyakkii Bay, where they floated in open water fissures between the drifting slabs of ice. No one considered their honoring the dead also congested the living. Merchandise sellers in Alaska never worried about environmental concerns or about how they polluted the tundra; they only cared about the bottom line.

Meghan Sheppard started a new community service program that got a lot of attention from the local media. It wasnโ€™t popular with a lot of the residents who frequently came in contact with the Kinguyakkii Police Department. They quickly pointed out that Meghan and her Village Public Safety Officers used their undo authority to make people work as a form of punishment. They often suggested, usually at the moment of contact with the police, that Meghan and her officers harassed and profiled their suspects. Meghan quickly pointed out that knowing people by name upon the point of contact meant the police knew who they were because they committed crimes. If they stopped committing crimes, Meghan pointed out; sheโ€™d happily forget their names.

โ€œWhat about the memorial wreaths?โ€ Dana Wyatt asked as she stared at the rugged white landscape with the tired and broken fence that surrounded the overused graveyard.

She looked from the passenger seat of the cumbersome beat-up midnight blue Chevrolet Suburban. It had more rust and duct tape than pieces and parts. It was the official Kinguyakkii police vehicle. Meghan drove it most of the time, but willingly traded for snowmachines and four-wheelers when her officers needed something to transport suspects.

โ€œTheyโ€™ll stay up for the weekend.โ€ Meghan looked through the passenger window, past her visiting friend. โ€œIf they survive the winds, sometimes people go back to pick up the leftovers. The rest blow away, and all of them end up in the trash or water, or somewhere on the tundra.

The wind picked up overnight before Danaโ€™s flight. After she landed, gusts averaged around 15 mph while the temperature hovered around 34ยฐF.

The ground had an unreal pale gray quality with the springtime artificial colors over the harsh Alaskan dirty reality. Winter clung to the ground, but fresh falling snow

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