Author Topic: Abandoned - Westward Ho - part 6 - Ghost Town - Story 30  (Read 1124 times)

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Online Abandoned

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Re: Abandoned - Westward Ho - part 6 - Ghost Town - Story 30
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2018, 10:16:20 AM »
Chapter 6 


    We called a town meeting after the 1st of the year.  It was hard to believe it was the start of year 5 already.  At the meeting we asked the town's people if they wanted to build a new mine hoping it would produce more gold than the old reopened mine.  After some deliberation they agreed they wanted a new mine.  We held the meeting in the large building at the end of Main Street.  It must have been a Claims Office or Town Hall.  I found some old records while I was cleaning up a bit prior to the meeting.  The old records were faded and hard to read but were much like the ones Dom and I kept in the Wagon Master's Wagon except there were no numbers.  There were lists of what seemed to be marriage, birth, and death records. Some merely said occupation and cause of death, 3 miners died in a cave in for example.  Most other records were first names only.  One caught my eye "Old Zeek + Sara".  It was in bolder print and seemed to me that Old Zeek may have been someone of importance in this town who married Sara, interesting.

  The main topic of discussion at that first town meeting was the restoration of the town itself.  Several buildings were mere ruins and would be removed, we would salvage what we could.  The others, including the church, could be restored to their former glory. The town's people agreed they liked the colors of some of the old buildings and wanted the colors restored too.  We had no idea how that could be done, no one knew.  We would start restoring buildings that were natural wood like the one next to the town hall.

  Most of the town's people, though educated in certain skills, could not read or write.  When builders found old records in the building next door, they brought the records to me.  It seemed to me the building must have been a special storage unit or a bank.  Most transactions were merely signed with an X but the record books did have some names and numbers.   The most prominent name was Old Zeek:  Old Zeek 3, Old Zeek 2, Old Zeek 4 and so on.  Dom thought in all likelihood those were the numbers of gold nuggets Zeek found and deposited in the bank for safe keeping.  We suggested to the town's people that they do the same when the bank was restored.

  Our restoration efforts stopped when more families arrived in town. They were prospectors from the north who had had no luck finding gold, only a few small fragments that had wash up on shore.  They would be happy to stay, we needed to build more houses.  In spring of year 5 a riverboat was spotted coming down the river.

Online kid1293

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Re: Abandoned - Westward Ho - part 6 - Ghost Town - Story 30
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2018, 10:21:09 AM »
The plot thickens!
Now you got me curious. Who is Zeek?

I know, I know, I will keep reading... :)

Online Abandoned

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Re: Abandoned - Westward Ho - part 6 - Ghost Town - Story 30
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2018, 09:23:56 AM »
 :)

Chapter 7


  Ernice, the seed merchant, was surprise to see this old abandoned town being inhabited again.  He'd been traveling down this river for a lot of years and has seen the town slowly deteriorate.  It was once a thriving mining town but that was before his time. He could confirmed what we suspected though, this was Zeek's claim, he struck it rich in the gold mine, and the town grow because of it.   Ernice had no idea what they used to color the buildings. 

 There wasn't much on this river, only a few small mining claims upriver, and a short distance downriver was an old trading port and a Native settlement called Cedar Creek.  It was a long way down to Riverboat Junction past a prairie, a couple of desert areas and a long stretch of forest land.  We shouldn't expect many merchants coming down this river.  Ernice took our order for corn seeds but could not say how long it would be before he returned.  Were we sure we didn't want the cherry seedlings?  There was a good sized valley just to the south.

  After Ernice left we made our way south of town.  There was an animal trail leading through the narrow mountain canyon almost all the way to the valley.  We would have to clear a lot of trees and rocks to use that valley for orchards or cropland but indeed it was a nice size valley.

  Meanwhile back in town, one of the derelict ruins was demolished, and restoration of the small wood building with the barred windows had begun.  The builders brought a small crate of records to me.  It seems the building indeed had been a jail.  There must have been a saloon somewhere in town, maybe the lower level of one of the rooming houses.  There was a list of who spent the night in jail to sleep it off, who spent the night for fighting in barroom brawls, and Young Tom spent many nights in jail for window peeping one summer.  It seems like the jail was a busy place.  I did not have time to go through all the records, merely glanced at most of them but for safe keeping I took the crate to the bank where I also put the old Town Hall records.  The jail was not a large building so it did not take long to restore.

  The wood chapel was almost done being rebuilt but there was not much more that could be done if the town's people insisted on retaining the building colors.  We were planning to call a town meeting to discuss the subject again when out of nowhere a painted wagon appeared one morning at the south end of Main Street. 

Online Gatherer

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Re: Abandoned - Westward Ho - part 6 - Ghost Town - Story 30
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2018, 11:21:34 AM »
Looking at these pics I keep expecting John Wayne or Clint Eastwood to ride into town. 8)
Fiat panis

Offline Goblin Girl

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Re: Abandoned - Westward Ho - part 6 - Ghost Town - Story 30
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2018, 01:16:36 PM »
Looking at these pics I keep expecting John Wayne or Clint Eastwood to ride into town. 8)
What's that music I hear?  Is it the theme music to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFa1-kciCb4

Online Abandoned

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Re: Abandoned - Westward Ho - part 6 - Ghost Town - Story 30
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2018, 02:27:45 PM »
 :) Great song, love mood music  :) thanks for posting link @Goblin Girl

Offline galensgranny

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Re: Abandoned - Westward Ho - part 6 - Ghost Town - Story 30
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2018, 02:21:02 AM »
I have been enjoying your story and seeing all the new buildings.  They are looking good!

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Re: Abandoned - Westward Ho - part 6 - Ghost Town - Story 30
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2018, 06:10:29 AM »
 :) thanks @galensgranny that is nice to hear

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Re: Abandoned - Westward Ho - part 6 - Ghost Town - Story 30
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2018, 12:13:57 PM »
Chapter 8


  Several town's people came to our wagon at the crack of dawn to tell us of the appearance of the colorful painted wagon.  They did not approach the wagon, again matters were being left up to us, but a small group gathered behind us as we went up main street.  The wooden wagon was colorful, very nice indeed, like nothing we had ever seen.  It had colored flowers painted on the side, the colors matched some of the colors of the cracked weathered houses. There was a small donkey standing along side.  We knock on the wood door and an unhappy looking vendor answered.  He looked strangely familiar to me but I couldn't place from where.  He didn't say much even when asked.  He would not say where he came from, but finally said his name was Fred.  He had a deal for us.  He had paint in all the original colors of the town buildings, he even told us how many barrels of paint each building would need.  He would give us 2 or 3 barrels of paint for every gold nugget we brought him.  He said if we wanted paint just bring the gold and with that he closed the door.

  We had other urgent matters to attend to.  It was late summer and our food supply was again low.  We took to the woods to gather wild foods and assigned extra farmers to the pumpkin fields but still we lost a small portion of our harvest.  It was after the first snow that we finally found time to check how our gold mines were doing.  We would have enough gold to buy paint for some of the houses, at least for the ones with the youngest children.  The restored houses would be quite a bit warmer and more comfortable for those families. 

  I went with Dom to pick up the paint.  The gold was delivered to the wagon and Fred asked us what buildings and then set barrels of the colors we needed outside the wagon. Without another word he went back inside and shut the door.  Again he looked vaguely familiar to me.

  The house next to the rooming house had a newborn so it was first to be restored.  It looked fantastic.  The old farmhouse had 2 very young children so it was restored next, it was completed by spring of year 6 and it too looked fantastic.  The rooming house next to the jail still had a few families living it so it was decided a new house would be built on the corner of Main Street and Old Tunnel Road where the ruin used to be.  Yes, weary traveler, the paint was the same bright sunny color that would be used on your house.  We would need a lot more gold to buy a lot more paint.


Offline Goblin Girl

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Re: Abandoned - Westward Ho - part 6 - Ghost Town - Story 30
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2018, 04:59:07 PM »
I'm deeply suspicious of this paint wagon vendor.  >:(

Online Abandoned

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Re: Abandoned - Westward Ho - part 6 - Ghost Town - Story 30
« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2018, 08:55:33 PM »
 :) Glad to hear that, then I have succeeded in creating a little intrigue.  :)

Online Abandoned

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Re: Abandoned - Westward Ho - part 6 - Ghost Town - Story 30
« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2018, 09:13:41 AM »
Chapter 9


  The previous winter, Xandry the livestock merchant, came to port with chickens.  We ordered sheep.  In summer of year 6, Ernice the seed merchant, returned with our corn seeds.  Anything ordered cost considerably more trade goods to purchase.  We told Ernice about the paint, he was not impressed.  There was no market for the stuff, he sure wouldn't give us much, certainly not as much as we were paying for it at the painted wagon.  We would bring a barrel to the trading post anyways, just to find out what the trade value would be but we needed all the paint we could get. We did not think to ask what trade value our gold would have.  There were a few nuggets left in the bank, we would bring one of them to the trading post also before the next merchant arrived. 

  This year, instead of adding extra farmers to the fields, we began the harvests early.  Next year 2 of the 4 fields would be planted with corn.  Hopefully, our overall health would improve with more grain in our diets.  We did not miss a chance to gather wild oats.  We found a number of walnut tree seedling and thought south of the farm fields would be a good spot to plant an orchard of walnut trees. 

  While land was being cleared for the orchard, restoration began on the tall house behind yours, weary traveler.  It was almost finished when it began to snow, work on your house had just begun.  Both houses were completed by early spring of year 7 and they both looked fantastic.  The run-down Ghost Town was looking pretty good. The bank, jail, and 4 single-family houses had been restored.  That left the 2 barns, the 2 rooming houses, the town hall, and the building next to the town hall.

  In spring the sheep we ordered arrived so building a fenced in pasture took precedence over other building projects.  There was just enough room in town not far from the 2 tailors.  We did ask the merchant what our gold and paint were worth and he said he would give us 10 units in trade for a sizeable gold nugget but the paint only 3 if there was something we really needed, he really didn't want the paint.  There was no market for it.  Who would want it?  We would, we still had buildings to restore.


Offline Goblin Girl

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Re: Abandoned - Westward Ho - part 6 - Ghost Town - Story 30
« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2018, 09:30:17 AM »
I think I know why the last town died out.  They spend all their gold on that darn paint, and as a result they starved to death.

Painted houses are a helluva drug.

Online Abandoned

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Re: Abandoned - Westward Ho - part 6 - Ghost Town - Story 30
« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2018, 09:35:51 AM »
 ;D ;D ;D Yes, that is probably it, time and money on pretty houses.  We can only hope history does not repeat itself  ;D

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Re: Abandoned - Westward Ho - part 6 - Ghost Town - Story 30
« Reply #29 on: August 09, 2018, 11:06:12 AM »
Chapter 10


  In late spring of year 7,  9 members of 3 families came to town.  They were headed north, they had enough of the heat and drought and trouble with Natives.  They did not want to stay and did not want to wait for wagons to be built to take them east.  But there were some folks in the small port town south of here that might want to go east.  After the families left Dom said we might need to build more wagons.  We might want to start thinking about when we would get those wagons rolling.  Afterall, the restorations were almost finished.  The small barn was freshly painted and had a nice new roof and work on the building next to the bank had begun. 

 The building next to the bank proved to be a doctor's house and office, something like a small hospital even.  According to the records found there was an outbreak of some fever and patients stayed upstairs.  Later records showed that Doc referred may patients to see Rebecca.  Perhaps she was an herbalist or maybe a midwife.  Among the earliest records there was an entry that Sara died in childbirth.  Was that Old Zeek's Sarah?  What of the child?  Maybe I could compare this with the other old records when I had more time. 

  With Doc's house restored, only the 2 rooming houses, the big barn, and the claims office were left to restore.  We would need more paint.  Dom was right, we could be moving on soon.  He began building a storage wagon.  It could be used to empty the large barn when it came time to restore it.

  I helped gather wild foods before the first snow, then I had some spare time to go through old records stored now in the bank.  In the lists from the claims office I found the matching death record for Sara.  The entry above it was "a child named Rebecca was born to Old Zeek + Sara".  I thought it rather sad but was left wondering if the child was the same Rebecca the doctor later referred patients to.  It was then I notice one of the small crates from the jail had been knocked over and several papers were scattered on the floor.  Image my surprise, weary traveler, when I picked up a sheet of paper only to find the wagon vendor's face starring back at me, how was it possible?  I must have briefly glance at this paper when the crate was first brought to me, that's why he looked vaguely familiar, perhaps a descendant.  The paper was an old "wanted" poster.  Fred Farkus, whereabouts unknown, was wanted for stealing gold from Old Zeek.

  The next morning a group of town's people woke us up at the crack of dawn to say the paint vendor and his wagon were gone.