A Prairie Tale

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Chapter 16: To Pursue a Treasure

Within the comfort of his family, Irwin Withers warmed up by the fireplace and discussed about the ‘Indian Saviour’ that emerged from the darkness to save his life. He had this story to tell for a lifetime to come, and the face of that treasure hunter taking his land.

He couldn’t stay around for long, and they discussed Irwin’s plans to leave Faith’s Freedom. “You can’t leave us!” Melissa said.

“Look what happened when you were left alone for a few hours!” Irwin then thought carefully, then responded,

“I left because it was for the right of the family, and I will be leaving for Bankbrook.”

“But you won’t find mines there! It is all wildernesses!” Virginia exclaimed.

“Yeah Pa, what things will you find there?” Colin added.

“Trust me; before I met your mother, I visited there often to shovel up coal. It hasn’t changed I’m sure, and there are some good ores to dig up.”

“Didn’t you strike gold at the mine just across the farm?” Melissa said, but Irwin just lightly chuckled and replied,

“We can’t do anything without a smelter, so this is merely work to earn it. I knew a friend a long time ago to help me.

“Bruce Bennett?” Colin adds. After a pause, Irwin slowly nods. Colin then continues,

“What you doin’ hanging round that man, dad? Those so called treasure huntin’ days were over 5 years ago!”

“Well when you get this age, you have to return to the past. Those days, we actually got somewhere, and he sent me a telegram a few weeks ago…”

“What did it say?” Melissa asked.

“Found a golden vulture, I mean, an actual lead to a treasure hunt I’ve been working on. Come back to the days, help our families and friends get back on track. That was what he said I think, and I know where he lives, never changed areas. I’ll have to come back to him…”

“No!” Virginia quietly murmured through her middle-aged lips. Irwin then hugged her, stationary to the floor. He then slowly backed away and turned towards the oak door and left once more. The door was then hastily slammed shut.

After a few minutes of silence in the Withers’ household, they all looked at each other intently, before the silence was broken with a horse whimper and the sound of crashing reins and galloping hooves.

Meanwhile a few hours later, Bruce Bennett, still recovering after the vulture attack, started counting up his cash after his deals with innkeepers across the prairie, whist lying back in his chair.

Bruce Bennett’s house looked rather expensive. The living room was connected straight to his porch, which was full of spurred boots organised on the shelves. Gloves and chewing tobacco was also present on these shelves, and the porch remained tidy.

His living room was quite cosy; a fireplace and glazed windows were the main features, complete with a brown bear skin rug. There were 3 sofas, each padded with cotton. The one Bennett sat on was the only single one, proving his single ownership of his house. The others could easily seat 3 or 4 people.

After Bennett counted a quite impressive $75 from multiple visits, he then placed it into his metal strongbox on a table next to him, and started to read the weekly paper, ‘The Southern Press’ which was clearly marked in large text. The headline was about the bandit raid in Serenity, and began to read the article.

Suddenly, a loud knock was heard on the door. Creasing the newspaper, he put it flat down on the table beside him next to his strongbox and approached the door. After seeing a middle aged worn face with auburn balding hair, he immediately knew who it was.

“Irwin! I thought that you old fool wouldn’t make it!”

“Now why wouldn’t I? There’s clearly a crisis sweeping the country, and I don’t wanna rot in the gutter!” After a warm, firm handshake the two men sat down and began to talk. Bennett offers Irwin some scotch, but Irwin refuses and begins the conversation.

“So I was considering the telegram you sent me a few weeks ago, about the vulture-”

“Hold on a sec partner, that vulture was stolen off me a few days ago, heck it’s all down the drain.” Previously worked up, and now slightly agitated, Irwin responds,

“I came here all the way for nothing?!” But before he could continue, Bennett begins to defend himself.

“Now just hold on here! There is a way! You see, the vulture isn’t the treasure, it’s what it leads to is what counts!”

“Excuse me, sir?”

“When placed in the sprit temple, the key shall open the doors of future fortune! That’s the quote from what I’ve heard!”

“But we still need the vulture…”

“Well, yes. But, relax! Originally it was meant to be a gift for an innkeeper, but of course it was stolen. A sheriff by the name of Judge is coming to sort out the problem, but at the moment we are screwed over. But I may be the only one in these lands who knows where the temple is!”

“But everyone knows the value…”

“Yes, but another catch! Not everything is supposed to be taken. You see, the Aztecs weren’t a fan of greed, no, no sir! If too much gold is taken, say around less than 5kg left over then the temple will fall apart!”

“So what do we do for the time being then? I mean, no vulture, we can’t just go to the temple empty handed!”

“Well…” Bennett picks his newspaper back up and begins to read. He then continues,

“Just wait it out, once the vulture is here, we are bound to reach the temple, simple as that! The innkeeper himself said the sheriff would get the vulture in no time!”

“I guess…”

“Tell you what; I know you travelled miles on end to come see me, so I’ll make it worth your while! Just give me a moment…”

Bennett dashed off to his bedroom while Irwin looked at his pocket watch and waiting patiently. After a few minutes, Bennett dragged in a contraption with a black screen, atop massive wooden task with 2 radio antennas sticking up on top of the screen. Amazed, Irwin said,

“What, is that lug?”

“I don’t really know, but it could pass the time. I haven’t really tested it out with someone so I thought we’d give it a go. Some Scottish chap invented this, and I have one of the only models in America.”

“Yes, but what exactly is it?”

“It’s called a ‘television’.”

“Sounds daft if you ask me, I mean, if covers a good chunk of this room up!”

“Just watch and see!” Bennett started to tinker around with the device before turning it on. It was nothing but static, and made a loud indescribable noise.

“Looks interesting!” Irwin said sarcastically.

Annoyed, Bennett gave it a little kick on the side. It turned on properly, and both men saw radiant red bars floating in motion across the screen repetitively, before showing a plain black and white curtain for a few seconds. The connection then burnt out, and the television turned off.

“Amazing, isn’t it? Like a cinema in our own house!” With a grin, Irwin added,

“Hmm, may come in useful in the future. Now I guess the law enforcement may be a while, so pass me that scotch buddy, I do need a drink after all.”

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