Bones On Black Spruce Mountain

Bones On Black Spruce Mountain by David Budbill Read Free Book Online

Book: Bones On Black Spruce Mountain by David Budbill Read Free Book Online
Authors: David Budbill
here. When we get up there, we'll be able to see the whole world. Let's get going." Now they had to descend into the high, shallow basin that lay between Eagle Ledge and Black Spruce Mountain. When they reached the bottom of the basin, they found a small rivulet.
    "I'm getting hungry," Daniel said. "Let's follow this stream up a little ways. Maybe we can find the spring that starts it and have lunch there. It must be almost noon."
    A few hundred feet farther up the tiny brook, the rivulet disappeared completely. Daniel began shuffling around in the leaves with his feet looking for the wet place that meant the spring. Suddenly one leg dropped a full two feet, well above his knee, into a deep hole filled with water.
    "Ugh, I found the spring!" Daniel said.
    "Guess you did," Seth said, laughing, as Daniel pulled his dripping leg out of the water. "Let's clean it out and have lunch. By the time we finish eating, the water will be clear enough to make tea."
    "Something's funny here," Daniel said.
    "What do you mean?"
    "In a place like this a spring always makes a big soggy area where it comes out of the ground, not just one deep hole."
    The boys began cleaning the spring, raking away leaves with their hands and scooping out twigs and muck.
    "Hey, wait a minute!" Seth exclaimed. "Feel the sides. This spring's been dug out and stoned up!"
    The boys felt, through the water, the carefully placed, circular stone wall of a small well.
    "Who would go to all the trouble of digging out • this spring and stoning up a well?" Seth asked.
    "Maybe some hunter."
    "That's an awful lot of work just to get a drink."
    "Maybe there were some campers here Gist, That's possible," Daniel said.
    "I guess."
    The boys unpacked lunch and ate. By the time lunch was over, the water in the small well had cleared and the boys dipped a pail into the well and made tea. It had been a hard morning's climb, and they needed a cup of tea and a short rest before beginning their assault on the mountain.
    Near the well, stuck like a wart on the side of the basin wall, was a small bulge in the earth about eight feet broad and eight feet high. Daniel settled himself against it while Seth puttered with the last of the fire. As Daniel scrunched around to get comfortable, he suddenly fell backward into a room, a cave inside the bulge. He rolled over quickly and backed out.
    "Seth! Get the flashlight!"
    "Get the flashlight!"
    Hurriedly the boys cleared away the debris from the opening and crawled in. They turned on the light. They were in a small room, maybe six feet wide by six feet long by four feet high. They could see the old logs that had been laid against the basin wall to make the room. This thing was no accident. It was man-made. Or maybe boy-made.
    The flashlight scanned the ceiling, the walls, then the floor. There in the corner was an old shovel and next to it, covered with dust, an old glass canning jar.
    "Daniel, how did . . ."
    Both boys were stunned. They crouched in the center of the dark barrow while the realization of where they were swept through them like a chilling wind.
    The first year, in the fall, some canning jars of vegetables and meat disappeared from the cellar and a couple of horse blankets and an old pair of woolen pants disappeared from the barn. . . . Then the second year no food or clothing disappeared, but a shovel and a hoe came up missing.
    "I'll get the candles," Seth said.
    With the candles lighted and set around the barrow in the loose dirt of the floor, the boys, without saying a word, began searching every inch of the now well-lighted room. The remains of an old horse blanket, the blade of a hoe, a few more canning jars, a small can of nails.
    The story was true!
    Although they had found almost all the things they'd ever heard about in the story, the boys kept searching, looking for that final, absolute confirmation that it was true. Carefully their fingers raked through the dust of generations. Here and there they came upon

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