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Default The Foundling - Fiction - Short Story

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The Foundling
By: Josiah

WARNING: Content not intended for minors

Carden’s right eye opened slightly and he looked at the grass in his face as memories of the night before filled his thoughts: the man’s attack, blood, hatred and pain. His face hurt, it was difficult to breath and his left eye would not open at all. The breaths that he was taking had a smoky smell to it on the early Spring morning air. He pulled himself up to his elbows and he looked around trying to find the house.

Blackness. Every thing that was good about the house was blackness. Gone was its strong walls, windows, doors and roof. A pile of black smoking wood some one hundred feet away was all that remained.

He put his hand to his eye and felt the puffiness of the skin. The skin was also dirty and caked with something sticky. Looking at his hand Carden identified the substance as dried blood. He pulled himself to his feet and staggered to the remains of the house.

The body laid just inside the pile of blackened debris that was the main bedroom. Its forearm’s bones on the left arm were broken and sticking through the skin. He recognized his mother’s chain about the neck of the remains and immediately threw up. He spat the acidic taste out of his mouth, and looked around the debris again for the other. Carden remembered the other’s face and remembered the pain the other dealt him from the night before. He remembered being thrown into the tree in front of the house which ended the worst fight he had ever been in. His foot twisted on something beneath him and he fell into the debris while making his way to the front of the house.

It was there that he saw the other dead body lying next to the knocked over stove. He didn’t realize what he did until after it was done. The blackened steel pipe in his 14 year old hands and the crushed skull of the man, called Pol, lying on the floor in front of him snapped him back to reality. It was then that he noticed his mother’s Chef’s knife still sticking in the ribs of Pol’s body. Carden retrieved the knife and made his way to the stream near the house.

~ ~ ~ ~

Carden sat in thought for the longest time trying to focus. One thing he had was the teachings of his mother. She had pestered Carden since he could walk in the lessons of the outdoors as well as how to read and write. How to read the weather, treat water to make it safer to drink, make camp in the woods and trap small game. He had his mind and the teachings of his mother. “The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground,” her words came to his mind.

He looked around the remains of the house. There were a few things that he could use. The knife’s handle had melted in the flame, but the blade was still good. Carden slid it into his belt. The wood stove was still good and there were all kinds of metal pieces left in the debris. He also found the two Dutch ovens, lids, the lid wrench and the grain mill. He found other small items and put them in a pile outside the house. Not to mention the nails were there all around being freed from the wood by the flames. Nails were hard to come by now and might fetch a price at the market in Buffalo Valley.

There was a two wheeled cart out at the large “lean to” that acted as the barn. It was basically a wooden supersized double wheeled wheel barrel. There were several tools there as well as some rope. He piled everything into the cart so it would be easy to leave.

They had been arguing about something. Something his mother would not tell the man. Something he thought she was hiding. He always to everything from her even the shotgun she had always carried for hunting and defense. The only exception were the things she gave to Carden. THAT was something she stood up against. It all belonged to the man, but since Pol had taken his mother, Carden was going to take everything else from the man that was left.

He used the shovel in the barn to dig a grave in the woods nearby. It did not take long for the remains of his mother were not much. He gathered what he could of the remains into a larger box that the man grew herbs in some times. He washed the dirt out of the box and placed the remains inside. Carden placed the box into the ground then covered it as he cried.

He awoke hours later with the sun near the horizon. Carden had sat by the gave side and cried till he had passed out. Tired of the work, hungry and still suffering from his wounds he made his way again to the stream. Splashing the cold water in his face he cleaned his wounds again and tried to think about food sources.

The small smoke house had the wild deer meat still smoking in it. Carden gingerly made his way to the small wooden shack and stoked the fire a little then gathered some of the meat and ate. His ribs were feeling better and his eye had opened a little but he still felt tired. He went back to the lean to and prepared a bed in the hay. Once again slept took him and his body rested.

The next morning Carden remember in the man’s closet was the box. He had never let Carden even look at the box, but Carden had seen it a couple of times in the past five months they had lived there. He went straight to it now digging through the ashes to find it. The box had a strange symbol of flames with a line drawn through it on the top of the lid. Carden tried to open it, but it required a key. He retrieved the bar he had used earlier and wedged one of the sides into the crack of the lid. Using it as a lever Carden pried the lid loose.

Inside the box were some smutty papers, a map of the surrounding area, a metal bodied compass, a ring and several coins, about 10 total. Carden had never seen coins like this. There was a walking lady with the sun at her feet on one side and a bird on the other spreading its wings. Carden read some of the words on the coins, “States of America. That is what this land had been called before. He was told that was its name in the time before he was born.” He put everything in his pockets but the ring which he placed on his finger.

He cleaned the Dutch ovens with water from the stream and started a fire to boil the water. He ate more of the deer jerky and a few radish buds that were in the young garden. The jerky had now gotten hard and he collected a pile into one of the ovens. He sat down beside the fire to wait for the water to boil and cool back down. While he waited he looked at the map and used the compass to figure the way around the hills to the valley. The map was good; marking water sources, a few local hunting spots and a few little red circles with a red dot in the middle were found around in different locations.

Buffalo Valley was one full days walk from the house. Carden was only allowed to go once, before the winter had set in about 4 months ago. He remembered the long walk through the hills, but the stores there seemed to have everything someone could ever want. After a little water Carden used the cart to pack everything he could and started down the path through the woods.

~ ~ ~ ~

Just over an hour later Carden had made it to “the road”. The pavement was pitted and in one or two points had washed away. Gravel from the hills had fallen on some spots of the road as well. The cart went smoother on the road than it had on the trail and Carden was thankful for that. He took out the map to locate a good stopping point.

About a third of the way toward Buffalo Valley near a bend in the road to the west the map showed one of the red circle symbols a little way off of the path to the south. He thought that it would be a good of spot as any and the blue line running nearby representing a stream was a good enough reason to stop there.

Thankfully the way was more down hill than up. He was so tired he had to stop every so often for a few minutes. Now that Carden was breathing harder his chest was hurting again. At the first stream he passed he stopped for several minutes running water over his still puffy eye. It was doing better and he was able to catch his breath. At least he could now see out of his eye and most of the swelling had gone down. He thought for a moment that there would be no way he could make it to the valley. He would have to stop at some point. Maybe if he could reach the stopping point with the red circle he could set up camp.

While resting he used the axe and his mother’s knife to fashion a trident looking spear from a small oak sapling nearby. The trident/spear was about 6 feet tall and would give him a better reach should an animal or worse attack him while on the road. Quickly he also made a large rabbit stick that he could keep nearby as well.

Carden started back down the road. To get his mind off of the walk, he started running down some of the things he had salvaged from the ashes and around the house. The tarp he had taken off of the lean to would be a good makeshift tent. He used it to cover the contents of the cart. The dutch ovens would handle the cooking needs till he could find something better. One current held previously boiled water for drinking and the other held some radish sprouts and jerky. There were several tools: a shovel, axe, two saws, hoe, a hammer, a pile of nails, level, two good lengths of rop, measuring tape, plane, square, several wrenches, screw drivers, square and hand drill. He also had the papers, map, compass, the 10 coins and his mother’s chain.

The road passed underneath him. He fell into a slow but steady pace and three hours later the elbow in the road heading west was found. Looking down the road he saw the road running over a small bridge and stream. “This is it,” he said to no one. Carden knew he could not take the cart into the woods. So he moved the cart off of the road and pulled it behind a bush covering most of it from sight. Carden took out the compass and his trident then headed due south.

After heading south for about 150 feet he found nothing but a small open area. In the center of the opening was only an old shallow depression where a fire had been at one time. Carden dug down into the fire pit thinking there might be some secret treasure of Pol’s buried here, but there was nothing. The charred wood was the only thing pulled from the bottom. There was nothing here, just a small open area about 10 feet round.

Carden looked around but saw nothing but trees. It was then he noticed the symbols on the trees. Three of them had the circle symbol with the small dot in the center. They weren’t red only the shape was carved into the trees. Carden looked and looked but could find nothing else. He could only surmise that the symbols meant a good place for a small open area camp site that was off of the beaten path.

He then heard a bell clank back and forth. He ran back through the woods toward the road to find the source of the odd noise. At first he noticed the older boy looking at the cart, he then noticed the several nearby sheep and a ram with the clanking bell. The boy only held in his hand a stick that was about four foot long. Carden assumed it was to help guide the sheep. He could see nothing else from his vantage point, but a makeshift backpack wrapped in a tarp that the boy carried on his back.

Before Carden thought he was yelling, “Hey!” at the older boy. At a start the boy swung a small single shot shotgun off his shoulder and brought it to aim at the noise. Carden brought his wooden trident up and the boy stepped back a little.

“I wasn’t gonna steal it. Just wondering what it was doing here,” the boy spoke.

Carden lowered his trident a little. “It’s mine. Just stopped to rest.”

The boy lowered the gun. “My name is Holt. I promise I didn’t steal anything.” There was an odd pause. “You on your way to the valley?”

Carden walked a little closer but kept the cart between them. His eyes never left the boy. The last person he trusted turned out to be a monster. This one was gonna be treated with more caution. “Yeah. I have some tools to sell and some things to buy.”

“Are you ok? Your eye looks horrible,” Holt said squinting slightly

“Fell down a ways back. I’m ok.”

Holt snickered, “It looks like you fell off a mountain. Let me get the sheep up here next to the stream and I can get it cleaned up if you want. It would be a good place to camp for the night too if you want to take a break.”

Carden still didn’t trust him. He didn’t know if he could ever trust anyone again. However, Holt had lowered his weapon which he could have just fired and ended the whole conflict. However, the older boy was offering to help for free. Carden would take any help he could.

The boys made there way over the bridge and got the sheep onto the small pasture of grass on the other side. The sheep nibbled on the grass and Holt motioned for Carden to sit. Holt unwrapped a portion of his pack and took out a clean cloth and a small bottle. He poured water out of a larger plastic bottle onto the cloth and held it up to Carden’s face. “Now this is gonna hurt a little.”

Over the next few minutes Holt cleaned the younger boys cut on the side of his face and then placed the cool rag over the bruised area. “Now this is medicine and it is gonna hurt a lot.” Holt took the small bottle of yellowish liquid and put a few drops on the cloth and once again placed it on Carden’s cut. The cut burned for several seconds then Carden pulled the cloth away unable to stand the pain any longer.

“Told you it would hurt, but it will kill the infection,” said Holt pausing for a moment. “Tell you what, keep the rag. Keep cool water on the swollen part. You got food?” Carden nodded and showed him the radish leaves and jerky. “Oh man, all I got is some hardtack, some raisins and a few pecans left. Not horrible, but this is the second day I have been eating it. Want to trade a little of yours?”

Basically the boys just halved the food between the two. As they ate they talked more. “Why are you heading to the valley?” asked Carden.

“The sheep. Selling these. Should be able to get 2 silver ounces each for the 10 sheep and 4 for the ram. Mr. Archard promised 3 small calves from is farm for 5 silvers each. Gonna buy a few other supplies and take the rest back home to raise then slaughter for next year’s winter. We sort of ran low on meat this year, well except for the sheep and you can only eat so much lamb,” said Holt.

Carden smiled. It was the first time he had smiled since the fire. “Can I tag along?”

“Sure but why don’t we rest the rest of the day. I can make the rest of the way pretty easy in one day. I can sell the sheep and then settle in for the night.” The boys made camp. Holt gathered some wood and with something called a firesteel made sparks into a abandoned bird’s nest. The fire was roaring to life in no time. With limited equipment Carden thought for a second back to his Mother’s words, “Make the best that you can.” With that Carden fashioned a tent from the tarp and rope. Then he pulled his cart close to the tent and laid down next to the fire.

That night he dreamed of the fire, his mother and seeing her dead. He awoke with a start more than once during the night. It was a restless sleep.

The next day the boys had slept late and hurried toward the valley. He walked behind Holt and the sheep all the way to the valley. However, it proved to be more difficult than Holt had said earlier. They mostly followed the ram, but the sheep were just plain dumb and would wonder. The sheep would stray and the boys would have to chase them back on the road. It was slow progress, which Carden was thankful for, but it was already night time when they arrived at the green road sign saying, “Buffalo Valley Town Limits” and the gate blocking the road beyond.

To the left of the road were two men prepping horses and a wagon with a riding horse tied to the back of the wagon. Holt raised his hand to pound on the gate until the sound of a shotgun chambering a round froze the boys in their skins. “Boy, don’t do that. You will wake the whole town.” The voice had come from the man in the watch tower to the side of the gate.

Holt swallowed, “Sorry, sir. I just wanted to get in.”

“No one enters the valley after night fall. You boys are welcome to camp right over there, but the gate is closed till morning. Now move along.” He motioned to the area on the right side of the road across from the man in the wagon. There was even a pin for animals to be stored temporarily.

There was no further discussion. Holt knew there was no negotiation, but just being this close to the valley was safety enough. “Well, let’s camp over here.” Once again the boys put up camp.

The man from the wagon walked over toward them. Carden tapped Holt and reached for his trident. “Excuse me fellows. The name’s Harding. I got here too late for the gate too. I was needing to sell these three pigs, but my neighbor just gave me word that I am needed back at home. I have to leave. Either of you wouldn’t want to buy them would you?” He looked at both of them, “Only 2 and a half silvers each. They are good pigs. I raised them over the winter. You should be able to fetch 3 in the morning at the market.”

Carden thought for a second. Holt answered, “Sorry mister. I don’t have any coin. I am here to sell too.” The man nodded and started to walk away.

Carden thought of another phrase his mother used to say. “When in life you wish to reach your goal, keep your eye upon the doughnut and not upon the hole.”

“Two,” said Carden.

The man turned back, “Excuse me?”

Carden cleared his throat, “Two each. Take it or leave it.”

The man looked over the boy for a second. “Deal,” and shook hands with the boy. Carden reached into his pocket and counted the coins in his fingers without withdrawing the other 4 coins from his pocket. He then placed 6 of the silver eagles into the man’s hand.

The man examined the coins, “Ah, good coins!” Very quickly the 3 pigs were wrestled out of the back of the wagon, placed in the pin with the sheep and tied up with Carden’s rope. The men left and the boys finished setting up the camp as Holt shook his head slightly unbelieving the boy he had been traveling with had money of his own.

The next morning the sheep sold quickly, but for slightly less than planned. They had a pretty good cotton crop from the year before and the wool from the sheep was not in high demand. Holt only made 22 silver ounces for them. Holt said that he would have to meet with Mr. Archard for the calves that afternoon.

Carden was having trouble selling the pigs until Holt helped. They were good sized pigs, in good health and ready to be slaughtered; but Carden just couldn’t find the right buyers. In the end Carden had made 9 and 3 quarter ounces for the pigs. The coins bore the seal of a Buffalo on the front and back signifying that they were Buffalo Valley mint’s silver rounds.

Carden rewarded Holt with the 3 extra quarter ounce coins for helping. At first he refused, but then took the coins with a thank you. Carden now had 4 of the silver eagles left as well as the 9 silver ounce rounds he had been given for the pigs, 13 silvers total. Both boys were proud with themselves. It was then off to buy some real food and more talking.

The place was called a hotel and Carden had never seen anything like it. Holt explained that there were rooms for the rent by night and by the week for a price. There was a restaurant where the two boys could buy a good meal for quarter ounce silver and eat they did. The lady served them roast beef, new potatoes, green beans, a bread roll and as much tea as they wanted. There was even a bit of sweet cake for dessert.

The boys talked of their next plans. Holt began, “Well, I thought that I would leave after picking up the calves. I don’t have enough for room and board tonight and sleeping outside the gates is just as safe as inside really. Mr. Archard and his men don’t put up with any funny business in the Valley. Then I can start heading home tomorrow. It will be two more days from there and I will be coming home a day late, but not too bad at all. How about you?”

“Well, I don’t really have anywhere to go,” answered Carden. Over the next several minutes Carden told his story. Holt sat still with the same potato on his spoon for the length of the tale frozen in his attention to the story.

Holt swallowed, “I am sorry Carden.” He ate the potato and a few bites more then said, “You have to tell Mr. Archard. He will want to know.” Several minutes later the boys found themselves sitting in the waiting room of what the town folks called the “Town Hall.” Although nothing looked like a “hall” to Carden. It was just a bunch of rooms.

A woman came out, “Mr. Archard will see you now.” She showed them into the office lit by the sun light from several windows and several large oil lanterns. Behind the desk was one of the largest men Carden had ever seen. Not large as in fat, but large as in built like a bull.

“Holt? What is this about a fire?” Mr. Archard asked the boy.

“Sir, this is Carden. He can tell the story best.” Holt turned to Carden, “Tell him everything and tell him the truth.” Carden sat silent for a few moments.

Mr. Archard thought then said, “Come on little foundling. We can’t help if we don’t know what is going on. Just speak the truth.”

Carden thought for a few moments, then started the story again. This time he told everything even showing him the map, papers, coins, ring and everything.

Mr. Archard considered the boy for a few moments. “I knew Pol and I know that ring that you are wearing. I also know that he had a hard temper and was the type of man known to hit women. By the looks of your face it looks like he didn’t care about children either. However, the ring that you’re wearing …. Well, there isn’t anyway in the world he would give that up willingly. Nor would he allow someone to steal it from him for it is pure gold and worth almost as much as a horse. You would have to have gotten it after he was dead that is for sure.”

He picked up the paper. “As to this paper here, it is a deed to 100 acres that I wrote him 5 years ago paid in full. I tried to get him to make it a stopping point on the road for travelers. How long did you say your mother and you lived with him?”

“Over the winter sir. About 5 months.” Carden answered.

Mr. Archard cleared his throat and called for the lady who had walked the boys in. “Carden, I will send out a few men to confirm what you have told me and if it proves true then I will consider that a common law marriage and since I know that Pol didn’t have any other family. Well, I will deed this to you. We have a scout party out that way now. Stay with us till we wrap this up. You are not under arrest, but I think this is a better way to deal with this.” Mr. Archard straightened in his seat a bit a look of concern covering his face. “You got any other kin or friends?”

“Beg your pardon sir, but I don’t know anyone but Holt here. My mother and I were new to the area and we only got to town once or twice.”

Holt spoke up, “I am sure my father would not mind taking care of him. After this gets straightened out.”

The man smiled. “Holt’s father is a good man and will take you in, if you promise to work hard and learn from him while you are on the farm. The farm he runs is a good one with good people. If you don’t like it, come back here and we will figure something else out.” He then turned to Holt. “And I will see you out at the cattle pin in a few hours.”

It was all happening so fast, but for some reason it was all falling into place. Holt helped Carden sell the ring quickly at the goldsmith. He received a ¼ and 1/10 ounce gold pieces in trade. Not quite the cost of a horse, but it was enough to trade for several things. Between the coins and the nails and other things for trade Carden had been able by the end of the day to outfit himself pretty well.

Carden had a couple of weeks worth of food (mostly dehydrated or canned food), several rabbits and chickens in pins on the cart (some would be a gift to Holt’s father for putting him up) and 50 pounds of corn to feed the chickens The next to be purchased was his own firesteel, 1 gallon water bladder, an old Kabar knife, a couple of wool blankets, two lengths of a nylon rope, a good watch cap style hat that would cover his ears, a small roll of brass wire, whistle and a small mirror. Carden picked up two changes of clothes from the only clothing store in town. While he could not afford an actual fire arm, he was able to pick up a machete. He kept his wooden trident though. It was still good to keep the bad things at bay.

The boys met Mr. Archard again and made the transaction for the calves. The large man complimented Carden on his purchases as they walked through the barn. “A few rabbits and chickens will be a welcomed addition out there.”

The large man shook his head, “Tell you what. Camp out here in the barn. I got a hammock right here for you. Well, at least one of you. It will be a lot safer and more comfortable. There is even a fire place for my blacksmithing that will keep you warm tonight. Just burn a few piece of wood in there instead of the ore. Then, in the morning join us for breakfast and yall can leave when we get word from the scout party. We should know something by noon. I will send for you after breakfast some time.”

It was Carden who then spoke, “Thank you sir. That would be great.”

They cleaned themselves up with water from the well at the house. Carden washed his change of clothes and placed them on the stall walls near the blacksmith’s fire to dry. He then put on his newly purchased clothes and for the first time realized how truly dirty he was. Looking in his pocket signaling mirror he looked at the eye and the cut over his eye. The swelling had gone down dramatically and he tried to clean the scabbed cut again as best as he could.

The sun was still a little bit in the sky when Carden got restless and had an idea. He had to do something and the hammock gave him the reason he needed. He took the rope out of his cart and began to tie it up between two pillars in the barn.

Carden was hard in thought as he said, “So are you sure that your father will take me in? I mean all I have to offer is some rabbit and chickens and another mouth to feed?” Asked Carden.

“Of course, he will. You will have to work your share, but my father is a good man.”

Carden was still worried, “And then what? I can’t stay there forever.”

“He will teach you what you needed to know. You can make it. Look at you now. Your making a hammock from scratch. I can’t do that.”

Holt stood back in amazement as Carden copied the simply made hammock and by the time the sun was setting Carden had his own hammock to sleep in. With one wool blanket as a pillow and the other for warmth the young boy drifted off to sleep.

The next morning they awoke to a clanging noise from a triangle dinner bell calling the farm hands into breakfast. The boys packed there things quickly including the newly made hammock and made their way up to the large mess hall. There must have been 25 people there. Some were serving food, but most stood in line quietly waiting to get a portion. A thin man stepped forward, “You boys must be our guests in the barn. Go get in line. We were told to expect two more mouths to feed.”

After waiting in line each boy received: a bowl of oat meal, a piece of sausage, a piece of bread, milk and a small bit of berries. Every person in the place was well disciplined. All of them either finished every bit of food on their plate or traded with someone else who finished it. The trays that the servers had being serving out of were almost entirely empty. Each bit of food had been prepared exactly for the portion the amount of people would eat. Only a few bits of food remained. These were offered to the boys as they were the guests of Mr. Archard. The boys finished off the extra oat meal, sausage and bread with a sincere “Thank you” from them both.

The thin man walked over as the boys finished. “Gentlemen we have received word. I am take you to Mr. Archard’s office immediately.”

The two boys sat in Mr. Archard’s office and waited for a while. “Well, boys we have received word from the scout party,” came a voice from the door. “Come in.” After a few moments the boys sat in the office waiting for the rest of the information.

“The scouts say they found everything as you described. Pol’s body was damaged to the head as you said. They even examined the body and found the knife wound. Unfortunately some kind of animal had been at the body so some of it is missing. I am sorry to say, but they dug up your mother and confirmed the broken bones as well. They are reburying the remains now and performing a small ceremony too. Sorry about that, but they had to be sure.” Mr. Archard ruffled some papers and then said, “Son I am considering this an act of self defense on your mother’s part as well as a sad death. May she rest in peace. As far as Pol, good riddens to bad rubbish.”

He handed Carden an envelope then said, “This is the deed. Pol owed nothing on the land so it is yours free and clear. You might want to offer to Holt’s father the right to farm the land in return for your room and board for a while. Just a thought. Well, good luck.” Everyone shook hands and just like that the death of one was mourned and the death of another was simply forgotten.

Carden and Holt picked up the calves and the cart. They were back on the road and fell back into the conversation of Carden’s events before the night of the fire. They surely thought that they were lucky that everything turned out the way it had. Holt didn’t know what exactly he would say to his father, but sure that he would understand.

The day past quickly and they managed to make it all the way to the camp that they had made that first night. The calves were thankful for the rest and they were tied to a tree to keep them from wandering. Carden’s setup was munch more comfortable with the hammock and he showed Holt how to make one as well. Each boy slept in his hammock that night with their tarps draped over their hammocks for cover.

The next morning the boys feasted on some fresh bread and a small amount of sweet butter that was picked up in town. That broke camp quickly enough and made their way across the bridge and on down the road. It was when they passed the area that Carden had been guided to on the map that he turned to Holt, “Hey want to see something?”

Holt pulled at the calves, “Sure.” After getting the calves settled and stashing the cart better than before so no one would find them, the two headed into the woods to the campsite marked on his map by the circles. It only took them a few minutes to reach the opening and look around again.

“This is the place. Pol had a map that marked this place,” said Carden as he showed him the symbols on the trees.

Holt looked at the symbols. “Hmmm, looks like wheels.” Holt snickered, “…or doughnuts.”

Carden’s head spun to the older boy and seized his collar, “What did you say?”

Holt snickered again, but seeing the seriousness in Carden’s eyes repeated, “Doughnuts. . . They look like doughnuts.”

All of a sudden Carden was running through the woods back to the cart to retrieve the shovel. Pictures of times in the past ran through his head. His mother’s saying played out again and again. “When in life you wish to reach your goal,….” He grabbed the shovel and hoe out of the cart and turned back into the woods. “… keep your eye upon the doughnut…” Small trees blurred by as he weaved his way back to the opening, “… and NOT UPON THE HOLE.”

Carden reached the opening and tossed the hoe to Holt. “Dig here.” He plunged the shovel into the ground between two of the three trees with the markings. The ground was kind of soft and progress was easy. About two feet down the shovel hit something metallic. After a few more minutes work a large metal ammo box was pulled to the surface.

The other two locations between the symbols revealed two other ammo boxes. The boxes were opened and inside he did find wondrous treasure. But it was clear that it was not from Pol. There was a hatchet, knife, sharpening stone, file, a titanium cooking kit, utensils, a hurricane lantern and two containers of lamp oil. In one was a broken down Remington 870 express compact pump shotgun with several dozen boxes of shells and a cleaning kit. Below the long gun were several jars containing envelopes of seed. In the other box were books on raising a farm, surviving in the wild and doctoring yourself. It was a small library of knowledge carefully secured in plastic bags and tucked away for safe keeping.

No, this was not a stash from Pol. This was the last gift from a mother to a son. Something that she had put together over time, and prepared to provide for her son in her absence. Carden cried as he remembered the map he dare not show anyone else. It was HER map, not HIS. He remembered the map in his pocket and the dozen or so red doughnuts that scattered the map waiting to be needed by a young orphaned boy.

A hand patted the young boy’s back. “It is ok Carden. You are gonna be fine now. Let’s pack this stuff up and go home.”

~ ~ ~

The End
"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" - We all need Jesus

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Last edited by Josiah922; 11-12-2009 at 03:11 PM..
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Old 11-12-2009, 02:57 PM
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Default Very good story!

One of the absolute best story's I have read in a very long time. Thank you.
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Old 11-12-2009, 05:35 PM
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thank you very much i enjoyed the story.
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Old 11-12-2009, 06:34 PM
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That story was thoroughly sweet and sentimental. I would surely hope that the kindness of strangers would still exist once the spit hits the proverbial fan.

Thanks, Josiah.
A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

Proverbs 27:12 New Living Translation

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Old 11-12-2009, 07:53 PM
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Thank you for a great story! But must the last line read "The End"? This story is certainly worthy of more chapters. Please?

Last edited by SteveB; 11-12-2009 at 10:58 PM..
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Old 11-12-2009, 10:04 PM
Ramona M. Faunce Ramona M. Faunce is offline
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It was a very good story. Thanks.
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Old 11-12-2009, 10:42 PM
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I very much appreciated the story. Our family is either our greatest asset or our greatest burden, sometimes both.

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Old 11-14-2009, 05:02 AM
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Enjoyed this immensely. Well put together. More please..........
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Old 11-14-2009, 06:37 AM
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That was a very good tale. I think you should pick up where you left off though. :o)
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Old 11-14-2009, 05:47 PM
TREY57 TREY57 is offline
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Thanks for the story. I enjoyed it.
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:20 PM
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great story Thanks
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:14 PM
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What a truly great story. Thank you . Very much as I see the P.A.W. actually happening.
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:24 PM
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MOAR PLEASE there seems to be a lot of room for add ons to this story
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Old 01-26-2011, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mrbeer View Post
MOAR PLEASE there seems to be a lot of room for add ons to this story
There is more to this story. Here are the links. Thanks. Enjoy.

The Foundling’s Lesson,

The Foundling Finding His Way,

The Foundling - Succeeding With Grace
"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" - We all need Jesus

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Old 07-28-2013, 07:35 PM
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this is one of my favorite stories. I've read it several times. And the "other" parts. Just wanted to say thank you again!
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by kaijafon View Post
this is one of my favorite stories. I've read it several times. And the "other" parts. Just wanted to say thank you again!
One of my favorites too. Thank you for your time.
"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" - We all need Jesus

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Old 04-15-2015, 10:42 PM
Crikey bat poo! Crikey bat poo! is offline
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This story is damn good, I can't wait to read the rest
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Old 04-17-2015, 04:20 PM
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Looking good so far. Please keep it up.
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Old 04-17-2015, 05:58 PM
old disturbed guy old disturbed guy is offline
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Great story. MOAR please
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Old 04-17-2015, 11:05 PM
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Enjoyed the story. Hope you write more -- like the short stories.
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