Author Topic: A Stormy Night in Prospector's Ridge  (Read 3921 times)

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Offline Thorgrimm

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A Stormy Night in Prospector's Ridge
« on: March 29, 2016, 10:17:56 AM »
This has nothing to do with Banished, or any other game. It is just a short story I wrote, and like to share with others.

It is quite small, just a hair over 2600 words. I hope you folks like it.  :)


Part One

Robert walked into the saloon to wash off some of the trail dust on his insides before finding a hotel to wash it off of his outside. Ryder glanced around the saloon as he tried to dust himself off.

Almost immediately Robert noticed the rebel sitting in the corner. The Reb must have noticed his blue tunic too, since he got up and approached him with a sneer on his face. At once Robert headed for the furthest corner, knowing that the only reason that he was in the saloon was his in desire to acquire the bounty offered on ‘Killer’ Johnson.
 
“I heard you Bluebellies got yer butts kicked by the savages up north,” The Reb said with a sneer. “Seein’ as how you boys cannot even beat the savages, it’s a wonder how you boys ever beat the Confederacy.”
 
Robert just smiled and pushed his glasses back up the bridge of his nose before answering. “We did it because they had scum like you fighting for them. By the way you look, and murder the English language, I will bet a sawbuck, that you were a part of ‘Bloody’ Bill Anderson’s cutthroats.”

“Bluebelly, you would lose that bet. I were with General Forrest hisself,” The Rebel said, beaming with pride about that fact. “There weren’t none of you boys ole’ Nathan couldn’t whup, nor ride circles around.”

“I beg to differ, my odious friend. Two names that disprove your false statement are Newton’s Station and Baton Rouge. I was at both places and we had no problems outfoxing Forrest.”

“You was with Grierson at Newton’s Station?” The man said with evident shock as the sneer left his face.

“I commanded the 1st Iowa Cavalry,” Robert shot back.

“I heard tell of the 1st Iowa,” The man said with awe. “It were commanded by the only man that ever outrode General Forrest hisself. You can’t be that man.”

“You see this scar over, and below, my right eye? That was given to me by General Forrest himself, as I rode by him and his command into Baton Rouge.”

The rebel broke out into a wide smile. “General Forrest often spoke of the one man who he couldn't catch, and often mentioned that he had gotten away, even though he had slashed the Yankee in the face with his saber. General Forrest called him the ‘Ghost Ryder’.”

“I had heard that was the name that Nathan had given me,” Robert said with a big smile plastered on his face.

“Put it there Colonel!” The Rebel suddenly said as he extended his hand out for Robert to shake. “The General told us that if we ever came across the ‘Ghost Ryder’ that we were to shake his hand and buy him a drink.” With that both men sat down at the table and began to reminisce about old times.

Eventually Robert had to change the subject and ask Johnny Reb a few questions. “I am looking for a man, ‘Killer’ Johnson. Have you heard anything about his where abouts?”

Johnny quickly grabbed his shot of whiskey and downed it in one gulp. He fearfully glanced around the saloon before continuing. “Last I heard tell was that ‘Killer’ Johnson was heading west, hoping to hole up in Prospector’s Ridge.”

Robert was disturbed by this revelation. “Now why in the name of the almighty would Johnson want to hole up in that God forsaken town?”

“Who the hell knows? But, since I’m a bettin’ man, and I would bet that Johnson is hoping that the town’s reputation would scare off any Bounty Killers.” Johnny said with a saw-toothed grin, before he continued. “I would also bet a  sawbuck that them there stories, and that town’s reputation, won’t scare off the likes of the ‘Ghost’ Ryder, would they Colonel?”

Robert broke out into a smile. “That would be a safe bet for you to make, my friend.”

Robert downed his shot of whiskey and headed for the entrance of the saloon. “See you in hell Johnny Reb!”

Johnny just raised his shot glass in a salute. “See you in hell Billy Yank!”


***


The sudden peal of thunder caused Robert to glance at the sky. What he saw filled him with dread.

Robert idly wondered if it was wise to continue to track Johnson, in the hope of getting the drop on him, or whether he should find shelter. A sudden bolt of lightning made his decision for him: Shelter it was!

The moisture-laden clouds were getting closer to the ground, and they were ‘going green’. Moreover, and as anyone experienced with the outdoors will tell you, a rain-filled sky going green was very bad news.

Even ‘Ole Bill, his trusty horse and companion ever since the War Between the States, was getting spooked. Bill was snorting and becoming evermore skittish.

Instinctively, both man and horse realized that it was going to be a gully washer of a storm. Moreover, they also knew that if they were going to survive, they needed to find shelter in which to ride the storm out.

With a heavy sigh Robert turned his gaze from the sky to the western horizon. He knew that the only place where he would be able to find refuge from the swiftly approaching storm was where Johnson was supposed to be heading, the abandoned mining town of Prospector’s Ridge, Oklahoma.

However, the name that the town was most famous for was just a bit more disconcerting than the off chance that Johnson would get the drop on him. Prospector’s Ridge was also known as the Town of the Dead. The stories of folks who have tried to find refuge from the storms of Central Oklahoma, and abandoning the attempt, were legendary.

The stories were told by many different people, of just as many different professions, yet they all ended the same way. To a man every single person said that by midnight they would rather brave the storm than spend another moment in that accursed town.

Ghost stories did not bother the ‘Ghost Ryder’. However, the tales of the people who were known to have been heading for Prospector’s Ridge, and were never seen again, was disconcertingly large, and in the extreme.


Cheers, Thor
The Mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be lit - Plutarch

Offline A Nonny Moose

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Re: A Stormy Night in Prospector's Ridge
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2016, 04:02:08 PM »
Nice lead in.  Could go anywhere from a full-on post-revolution novel, to a fantasy complete with aliens kidnapping the missing folks.  Happy imagination.
Go not to the oracle, for it will say both yea and nay.

Offline Thorgrimm

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Re: A Stormy Night in Prospector's Ridge
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2016, 05:24:59 PM »
@ A Nonny Moose, this story was just a weak attempt by myself to combine two genres in one story. I hope it works for you folks!  :)


Cheers, Thor

The Mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be lit - Plutarch

Offline A Nonny Moose

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Re: A Stormy Night in Prospector's Ridge
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2016, 07:50:25 AM »
@Thorgrimm : Well, I like the western genre, and the idea of something untoward happening to people who go to Prospector's Ridge.  Now you've got a nice story going, so what happens to "our hero" either during or after the storm?  I rather like cliff hangers too, but now you need to follow through.
Go not to the oracle, for it will say both yea and nay.

Offline Thorgrimm

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Re: A Stormy Night in Prospector's Ridge
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2016, 07:51:16 AM »

Part Two


‘Ole Bill’s reins were rattling in the wind and thunder as Robert approached the town limits of Prospector’s Ridge. He did not know what bothered him the most, the raven’s caw which, instinctively, he felt was directed at him, or the slowly squeaking windmill as the wind, ever so slowly, rotated the rust-coated vanes in the rising storm.

Robert scanned the Ghost town and decided to hole up at the abandoned saloon. When he arrived Ryder tied 'Ole Bill to the hitching post out front. As he walked up to the entrance he could have sworn that he heard the faint sound of laughter, accompanied by a festive melody played on an out of tune piano.

Yet when he opened the squeaky door to the saloon all Robert could hear was the rain beginning to fall, along with the rising number of peals of thunder as the storm approached. Ryder went back to the hitching post and grabbed Bill’s reins, to lead him into the saloon.

After tying Bill off at the bar Robert glanced around the main room of the saloon. Along with the cobwebs, dust, and decay, he noticed a few things that stood out. On one of the tables he noticed five hands of cards, coated with years of dust, lying on the table, as if a game of poker had been stopped suddenly.

Wondering why he had not noticed it earlier, Robert spotted a few shot glasses that had a brownish tar-like residue in the bottom of the glasses. Like all of the water in the whiskey had evaporated after the drinkers had left them, in a hurry. “What the hell happened here? When does a drunk leave a shot glass full?”

Robert glanced up at the bottles that lined the shelves, next to the center mirror that ran nearly the length of the bar. Most of the bottles were still full! While others had cracked and their contents had evaporated away.

As far as Robert was concerned, if ‘Killer’ Johnson, or anyone else for that matter, had been here in the last ten years they had left no trace of their presence.

The old Bounty Killer glanced up at the mirror just as a bolt of lightning struck. Out of instinct Robert spun on the balls of his feet and pulled his pistol! What he saw was...