I posted this on Facebook, but thought I would share it here as well:
I won a writing prompt contest with this short little story last week. Writing to prompts, especially ones with limited word counts, is a real challenge. This one wanted the story to start with five and end with zero, and limited to 250 words.
(The picture is not of the fort, but is in the same county. I took it in 2007 when we were looking for the Smoke Holes.)
Behind her two Indians struggled with a large iron kettle they’d taken from the fort. She had seen them throwing things into the pot and now knives, silver and other items clanked in the kettle. The two men looked like they were having trouble; they soon dropped behind the others. The group stopped and the two Indians who had dropped behind reappeared, empty-handed. No one mentioned the kettle. They seemed to be arguing about what to do with their captives. Nancy’s heart thumped with fear for her little son.
At that moment gunfire burst from the trees. Men rushed from the forest, yelling and whooping. The Shawnee ran swiftly into the gathering dark as soldiers appeared like avenging angels. Tears coursed down Nancy’s cheeks. “We are saved! Hallelujah! We are saved!”
This story is based on a Shawnee raid on a small settlement in Pendleton County, West Virginia, in 1758. For years people have searched for the lost kettle and its treasure. At the annual Treasure Mountain Festival there is a treasure hunt as part of the activities. But of the kettle and its contents, the number of items found to date: zero.
I took the photo on the road to Smoke Hole, WV, named that because legend has it that natives would smoke meat in caves there and the smoke would come up out of natural chimneys in the rocks.
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.