To Hell and Back by Adam James Bagnall - HTML preview
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It was breathtaking.
Peter stared about him in utter amazement. It was an old Indian settlement, maybe thousands of years old.
Tee- pees and long houses scattered the area amid the tangle of weed, grass and large western red cedars.
Joseph had rushed forward to examine the nearest tee- pee and Peter hurried after him.
Upon closer inspection it appeared to be made from some animal hide, but Joseph couldn't believe that not only was it still intact but it was in remarkable condition.
The intricate patterns on the hide brought him back to the cave they had found earlier.
Peter ran his fingers over the rough surface, like a child with a new toy who is not sure how it works, excited, yet cautious.
Joseph cautiously entered from the small opening and gazed about him. There were a number of thick branches leaning on one very sturdy central branch, all stripped of their bark and smooth.
The exterior animal hide had been cut into layers and draped over the whole structure.
Gingerly he nudged one of the branches but it didn't budge.
“Amazing” he murmured as Peter joined him and together they took in their surrounds.
The air had the same scent as the cave they had visited earlier.
They returned to the bright sunshine and it was then that Peter noticed something peculiar poking out from the rough soil at his feet. Bending down, he clumsily tugged at it but it didn't budge. He started scraping away at the soil and was able to get some leverage underneath the curious object.
He finally managed to dislodge it, and he went sprawling backwards in surprise.
An Indian arrowhead, buried by a few centimeters of dirt, waiting to be discovered.
Excitedly, he called Peter over.
“Well I'll be” he exclaimed, peering closer, like a scientist who has just had a breakthrough, after years of painstaking research.
“What are the odds of discovering one of these in perfect condition” Joseph enthused, as he turned the object over in his hands.
It was a little heavier than he expected and quite cool, ice cold in fact.
“My father often told me of a lost tribe of people in these parts that existed long ago,”
Peter revealed, as he took a closer look.
“Wha....?” Joseph had no idea Peter knew about this sort of thing.
“The legend goes that these tribes lived somewhere on Vancouver Island, completely isolated, hidden from the advancements of modern man. They never saw anyone else and lived a very primitive lifestyle, or so the story goes. I didn't believe the story at first but now having seen all this I can't help but wonder.”
“Perhaps they were experimenting with stone tools and decided that this type of implement was not useful to them and just left it,” Joseph supposed, peering over Peter,s shoulder.
He had seen a news story not long ago about a tribe that raced out of the bush in South America when a plane flew overhead, perhaps thinking it was a giant bird.
The mystery of the arrowhead had them both pondering its origins.
Later that day, they were checking out one of the long houses when they discovered a small bone protruding from the earthen floor of the one room shelter.
A foot bone.
A foot, bone intact. Joseph picked it up, brushed the dirt off, and studied it.
He was always curious about archaeology, and in fact had often harbored dreams of one day becoming a treasure hunter, scouring the globe for lost gold, artifacts and ancient trinkets.
“I can't believe these old buildings are still standing,” Joseph said, looking around.
The walls seemed to be of cedar but he couldn't be sure. The walls were layers of logs held together by some mysterious material, possibly tree sap judging by their look and texture. The roof was of a similar build although it was in a poorer condition.
A distant howl pierced the night air and reminded Peter of the bizarre incident earlier in the day when the cougar rushed at them but didn't attack and as he stared into the flames, he wondered what made it act that way. It didn’t chase them, simply rushed at them and then it seemed to vanish.
Wierd, he thought.
Joseph was fast asleep and Peter threw dirt on the fire, thinking once more of their narrow escape.
Soon after, they had found the cave, and then this place. There was certainly a lot more to this place than meets the eye.
Glancing over at Joseph, he realized there was a lot more to him as well.
He snuggled down into his sleeping bag and dreamed of Indians hunting cougars in a time long ago, where they would celebrate a successful hunt by feasting on their kill, and showcasing their efforts with a pictorial display on the cave walls, and songs and dancing.
He was smiling when he drifted off to sleep.