Welcome to Fiction Friday, my opportunity each week to post an excerpt from one of my own books or those of my friends and colleagues.
Kylie Logan agreed to return this week after I begged. Her newest Button Box mystery, Buttoned Up, just came out, and with all the quilters who read my blog, I was pret–ty sure buttons are a special love of many of us. Personally I love this series, the buttons, the characters, the setting. I even love our sleuth’s crazy ex, because, well, we’ve all know guys like this one. If nothing else we can be thrilled that we didn’t marry him.
You can read more about my friend Kylie in previous blogs, but here’s what she has to say about Buttoned Up.
Josie Giancola is one of the country’s leading experts on antique and vintage buttons so it’s no surprise when she’s called to provide one last button for artist Forbis Parmenter’s new show. Forbis is an outsider artist who covers everyday objects with buttons. Thousands and thousands of buttons. This new show of his is focused on vudon, the type of voodoo practiced on the Atlantic Barrier islands where Forbis lives, and the artist has covered vudon ceremonial pieces (drums and altars and even a gigantic–and scary–statue) with buttons.
Josie joins in the opening ceremony. But as Forbis approaches the art installation, something odd happens. He catches sight of something, screams, “Le button!” and races out of the art gallery.
What Josie doesn’t know is that the next day, something even weirder is going to take place . . .
And now the excerpt. Please enjoy.
Within half an hour, I was back at the church. I found Laverne behind her desk in the office next to Reverend Truman’s and as best I could, I explained why I was there.
“If I could just look around a little,” I suggested. “Maybe I could–”
“No worries!” She popped out of her chair and led the way down the corridor and to the side door that led into the church. She unlocked the door, opened it, and stepped back to let me walk in first. “I don’t think you’ll find anything,” she said. “Richard and I, we looked around last night before we locked up, but I can see how you’d be worried, about the buttons and about sweet little Forbis. That was mighty peculiar, wasn’t it, the way he took off out of here like the devil himself was on his heels?”
“Exactly what I was thinking.” Maybe it was some sort of subliminal suggestion, but the moment Laverne mentioned the devil, I found myself drifting toward the Congo Savanne exhibit. The red button I’d brought to finish the work, the one Forbis had dropped when he bolted, was on the floor and I bent to retrieve it, and groaned.
It had landed back side down, and the contact cement Richard had applied to had it stuck to the floor.
I stood up. “No sign of the broken champagne glass.”
Laverne nodded. “Had Bob, our maintenance guy, clean that up before we turned off the lights and locked up last night. Didn’t want to worry about somebody forgetting the glass was here and maybe stepping on it this morning.” She looked over the area and shook her head. “It was mighty odd what went on here last night. You think it has something to do with all these buttons?”
“I wish I knew.” I looked over the exhibit. The sign that said Press the Button was a little crooked, and I reached to straighten it. When I did, I hit the shell button and the whirring started up from inside the box. “Dang,” I mumbled.
Laverne and I were on the same wavelength. “Oh, we’re going to have to look at that nasty statue again!” she moaned.
And though neither of us wanted to, we couldn’t help ourselves. We stood side by side, listening to the whoosh of the hydraulic lift inside the box, waiting for Congo Savanne to make his appearance.
We saw the button hair first, dark and springy.
Then the opalescent sheen of the buttons that covered the statue’s forehead.
Then . . .
Laverne grabbed my arm and held on so tight, I was pretty sure I was going to have a bruise. Her voice was high, and choked with panic. “Is that . . ?”
As the statue rose, we saw that the petro loa was not alone. There was something tied to the statue.
Gray suit. Blue high-top sneakers with neon orange laces.
Forbis’s skin was pale and glazed, like the mother of pearl buttons on Congo Savanne’s face. That is, except for his eyes and his mouth.
Those had been glued shut with buttons.