Saturday, November 4, 2017

Treasure Mountain: A Story

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.)

Treasure Mountain

Five of them. Out of the settlers huddled at the fort during the Shawnee raid, only five were taken prisoner. Nancy struggled through the deep snow, gripping her son’s hand. She, her son, and three men were shoved along the trail by their captors. She tried not to think why only these few were selected.

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.


Mac n' Janet said...

Great little story and I like that it's based on fact. Having it start and end with a number was an interesting touch.

Jenny said...

I missed seeing this on Facebook...what a great story! And it fit so perfectly with the writing prompt.

How did you find out about the contest?

Granny Sue said...

Jenny, I posted it on my Granny Sue page. The contest is sponsored by Jan Carol Publishing--I am one of their authors, I guess, since they've published several of my stories in various anthologies. The contest is only open to "their" authors. They post a new one every two weeks. I've entered three and won two, was runner-up in the other one.

Brig said...

Thanks for reposting here, I missed it on FB.
Congrats on a well earned winner.

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