Friday, November 23, 2012

CWA: The Mysterious Old Mining Camp

The morning sun gently highlights the beautiful surroundings of the old town before you. The cruise ship had landed in a steep canyon an hour ago. It had been a welcomed sight to be lost in the middle of nowhere. Hopefully your tour guide today wasn't a spy or had any association with the law. You were done with having to be cautious with every word and move you made. Since Tasha hadn't suspected you for the thefts you decided to hide the evidence someone where in your room where no one would think of looking.

The long desert hike to your next location had given you plenty of time to get to know the other cruise ship passengers.  You had chosen ten families that would be perfect to pin the blame on for your crimes but you needed to know more about them, other than what you had been able to derive from your keen observational skills. The group halts before you. Dalton, dressed as if he was back working on his ranch, gathers your group together. You bet he is loving the surroundings. Dalton had been born and raised in the West Texas desert. He dreamed of becoming a professional bull rider. While other had complained of the heat and barren terrain, Dalton thrived.

"Ladies and gentlemen take a water break. We are going to meet our tour guide shortly. I don't need to remind you how important it is that we all stay well hydrated. Even if the sun doesn't beat down upon you, you can still become dehydrated."

You pull out your water bottle and begin to sip while peered at the ghost town laid before your eyes.

Grafton Ghost Town by ink_knife2000

“Hi folks, thanks for stopping by. My name is Ol’ Ralph and I own this here collection o’ building and such that you see. First of all, let me welcome you, this area used to be a miner’s camp, way, way back in my great, grand pappy’s day. The Second thing I want to tell you is to walk with a partner, and never leave the buildin’ after sunset. There are two reasons for this; first, there are lots of wild, dangerous animals roamin them woods around here and they would sure like to eat human, if they get the chance. Secondly, and even more scarily, is that there are some ghosts that haunt this camp, and they are even more dangerous and vicious than the wild animals.”
“Now, let me get you to where you are beddin down for the night and after supper and a shower, I’ll be glad to tell you all about the camp, around the fireplace.”
“Supper wasn’t what you was expectin’ now was it? Sorry about that, but I don’t get visitors up here that often and many a time, they are just lost, tired and needin a place to relax and recharge. Did the shower help you to feel better? Well I promised y’all a story so grab some hot chocolate and come sit around the fireplace and let me tell ya a story.”
“My pappy told me this story and it was told to him, by his pappy, who was there, when the events I’m about to tell ya about happened. Way back when, this area was first a small mountain town that turned into a miner settlement. People came here prospecting, after some locals found some silver and copper, while out looking for some food.  As the story goes, the town quickly grew and there was many stories of people striking it rich quickly after arriving. With that many people lookin to get rich quick, many issues arose over claims and such.” Naturally a few saloons opened, offering the prettiest girls, strongest drinks, cheapest prices, gambling, and all that.  A few romantic rivalries erupted but were usually quieted down quickly. The love triangle between, Michael, Billy and young lady named Elizabeth is the one that concerns us and this story. Billy came here in 1856 with his parents and very quickly proved that he had a talent for finding precious gems. He and his dad worked their claim and did so quite successfully. In 1863, Elizabeth came to town with her momma who was escaping a bad husband. Elizabeth’s dad was the kind of guy who did his talkin through fists and booze bottles. Everybody that ever met him disliked him or wanted him deader than a doornail. Problem was he was too well connected on many levels. The sheriff was his brother, the mayor was a cousin and his uncle was lieutenant governor of the territory. The story goes on to say that he died in gun battle not too long after his missus left town. Michael was a local boy, who saw the town go from very few to a whole lot in the space of a few years. These three were all teenagers, 15, 16, maybe 17 years old when all this happened.”
 Michael helped Elizabeth and her momma find a place to live and get setup on makin a life for themselves here. While Elizabeth and her momma made a name for themselves running the best and cleanest saloon in town, Michael was busy helpin his folks out and meeting with Elizabeth in secret. On occasion, Billy came in to town for supplies or for a brief rest from the mine. On one such trip, Billy spied Elizabeth and fell instantly and head over heels into love with her. While Elizabeth always denied doing so the rest of the town saw her playin the affections of both boys for her own gain. She was warned to stop toyin with them and to pick one.
After Billy had gone back into the hills, Elizabeth and Michael secretly married. Imagine Billy’s surprise on the next trip to town to find out that not only was Elizabeth married, but that she was several months pregnant. While Billy fumed and plotted, the happy couple settled into a life of their own. One day Billy came into running, saying that there was an accident and he needed all the help he could find. Somehow his daddy had slipped and fallen and had a busted back. The townsfolk rushed over to where Billy lead them and helped bring his daddy back to the local doctor. Michael and Elizabeth offered to help Billy out with some of the mine work.
For a brief time, Billy and Michael worked together and even became somewhat of friends. The peace was not to last too long though. On the night of October 17, 1864, Billy and Michael were in town celebrating their success in finding more gems. After a few drinks, Michael let slip that he and Elizabeth were married and he was the father of the baby. He also let slipped that a few other locals were pregnant by him. Billy was devastated and kept on drinkin’. Soon the town folks saw a strange man whisperin’ in Billy’s ear and quickly suspected that it was the devil. The events that followed proved them right. First Billy snuck in and killed the baby, slittin its throat, while Elizabeth was hangin out the wash to dry it. Next, he beat up and took Michael to the top of the mountain, that very cliff there that the moon is rising behind. That night he sent word to town that for Michael to be saved, Elizabeth had to come up to the ridge there and face him. Elizabeth was warned not to go but she went anyways, in order to confront the man who had murdered her baby and stolen her husband.
The next morning she left for the mountain top. When she got, there she found that Billy was Billy, only with an evil smile on his lips and his green eyes turned to dark red. When Elizabeth asked him why he was doing this, Billy replied “you made me do this; you didn’t love me, even though I loved you, while he was cheatin on ya.” ”I saw him kissin Juanita, the saloon owners daughter and I know that he has a child with her sister Rosie.” “All lies” mumbled Michael. Billy than went over to a heavily beaten Michael and punched him a couple more times. Billy turned to Elizabeth and asked, “Since he isn’t worthy of you, why don’t you give yourself over to a man who will love you for more than your worth.” Elizabeth was shocked at the statement and retorted “if I cannot be with the one man to whom God saw fit to partner me with, then even the devil won’t be able to have me.” Billy asked “what would you say if you was made a widow and allowed to be free once again?” Elizabeth told him “she would spend the rest of her life bein single and would never give her fancy to anyone, no matter how handsome, rich, or well-mannered he is.” Billy walked over to Michael and said Elizabeth “are you sure?” To which Billy than tossed Michael down the mine shaft. Elizabeth screamed in horror. Billy watched Michael fall down that shaft. But when he looked up he found that Elizabeth was pointing a revolver at him. Elizabeth smiling and said “Since you saw fit to take my life from me, you shall forfeit yours.” She shot him in the stomach, wounding Billy. Walking over to Billy, she whispered in his ear, “I knew about the affairs and the other children, knowing that Michael was a decent and patient man.” “Instead of letting me to deal with him and his affairs, you butted in where you did not belong.” “The worst is that we took you in and helped you when you most needed it and instead of being grateful you ripped apart this family with your selfishness.” “You can go rejoin your friend Satan in HELL and May GOD forgive me for my sins.” With that she pushed him down the shaft, which had just swallowed her husband. Thing was the fall was not a far one and so both men laid at the bottom groaning and begging for mercy. Elizabeth than produced several strands of dynamite and placed than all around the mineshaft. Begging for God’s forgiveness, she than detonated the dynamite and buried her husband and adversary. She came down the hill. She went to the claims office. Opening the door, she said “ that the mine and claim of Michael are no longer working and only a fool would attempt to reestablish them.” She left there and went over to the police station and announced to him what had happened and what she had done. The police chief told her “ ma’am in light of all the recent events that have happened to you and your family, justice was served in the best way possible.”
Elizabeth feeling remorse for all that transpired, went about constructing a church in the memory of her child and husband. Oddly enough, 5 months after the completion of the church a fire came through here and burned everything but the church down. The town was rebuilt but it was not the same. People started to talk of a ghost, coming down at night at kidnapping children. Also the mines that had produced so much wealth, just a few months previous, just dried up.  
Soon the town was emptied of all the prospectors and the only ones left was the locals. Elizabeth went stark, raving mad and was heard utterin’ many times “Soon all the children will be like my child.” Her words seemed to be written on the hills and rocks and the winds seemingly screamed them words. After she hadn’t appeared in town for a few days, some locals went up to discover her body hangin’ from a tree, back up that way, a little ways out of town. Soon after she died, that is when the strange happenin’s did begin. One little boy was dragged backwards and disappeared into the church without the doors openin’ or a window bein’ broke. A little girl was lifted 50-60 feet in the air and as rushed headfirst towards the ground only to vanish at the point she should of hit the ground. Wild critters are known to run through here as if the hounds of hell was chasin’ them.
Ralph turned to his companions and asked “Did you like the story?” One boy said it was a good story and fit perfectly with the being up in a spooky mountain town. Ralph looking down at the little boy and smiled, then he and the fire disappeared, leaving only the lost travelers in an old, abandoned building.

Bio: I was born in January of 1978. I grew up on a vegetable and plant farm in Hatch, NM. I was fascinated by the legends of the old west e.g. Billy the kid and Pat Garrett. As a child i really liked the campfire ghost stories type of things. I'm currently a college Student at New Mexico State University, studying Criminal Justice and should graduate in a year.
Contact info: I add the provision that if you contact without letting me know why(subject line) it will be discarded as i will think it is spam.

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