Entry for 15 for 15 Contest
|I sure never thought I'd see something like this under the Arbuckles. While south central Oklahoma has its own rugged beauty, it doesn't baost anything like this. Or at least I thought it didn't.
I had heard the stories. The ones about outlaws like Belle Starr passing through, sometimes hiding out and some even leaving some of their spoils. You can still find trees here with stars carved in them where ol' Belle marked her trail.
My uncles had long told me stories about Belle hiding treasures in the caves of the Arbuckle Mountains. While I loved hearing their stories I had never really believed them, that is until now.
Belle had been a horse thief and liquor runner. This cave held evidence that she was holding out on those who pursued her. Sure there were heavy wooden boxes filled with bottles of strong drink but other things were stashed her too. Boxes of old paper and coin money, some jewerly, even a human skeleton occupied the corner.
A small living area had been set up in a corner near the underground water. Oil lamps, a sofa and small bed. How had she managed to get them here? Mayhaps the skeleton could answer that if he could.
Had she hidden here while the lawmen searched for her? It was certainly pretty. A woman could get used to this kind of beauty.
A crunch sounded from the stone entrance, my only means of escape. A shadow appeared.
"I told you to stay away from here,'" my Uncle Dale said.
"I wanted to see Belle's cave for myself," I replied. "She was into so mcuh more than runnin' and thievin."
A harsh laugh came from his throat. "You think ol' Belle did all this? Did you look at the money closely?"
Now as I glanced at the money, I realized that I easily recognized the bills as well as the coins. It was recent.
"Have a look at the jewelry too while you're at it," he taunted.
Granny's brooch, my aunt's emerald necklace, long missing family heirlooms among them.
"You remember when your cousin, Jake went missing, don'tcha?"
The pile of bones grinned at me from the corner. I closed my eyes. The tight rise of fear coming over me all at once.
"Now what to do with a nosy neice?"
I turned as a scraping metallic sound came. My uncle had unsheathed a large Bowie knife. His eyes held a maniacal glaze.
"This is mine and Belle's cave. No one else is allowed."