After The Winter Snow

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic


In 1868, a band of travellers are venturing to Washington State when a snow-storm hits them, but there may be something waiting for them, hidden in the snow.

Submitted: July 27, 2018

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Submitted: July 27, 2018

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After The Winter Snow
By Joshua D. Webster
 
Prologue
The tents had been set up and a huge fire was being prepared, the group had positioned it on top of a great mountain, they felt it was their duty to look-after passers-by in that area, for sometimes; the old Oregon woods would hold more horrors than just brutal animal attacks.
 
Part I
The winter was biting and harsh, it was coming, the storm was arriving. The frozen wasteland was baron. Rarrely, a few bison would be visible, migrating. Winter had come and the land was not prepared.
Ranchers would have to immediatly guide all of their cattle into a warm barn with lanterns hewn over every possible surface to keep them warm. They would then have to go on patrols early in the morning and late at night in case of predators that may attempt to break-into the barns such as wolves, bears and coyotes. Not just the cattle would be made safe and cozy, the chickens would be placed inside their toasty coops, sheep in large barns, pigs in warmly-lit shacks etc.
Some people however did not have the warm accessories that the land's ranchers had. Some were stranded out in the forest. If it was winter and you weren't home; you'd pretty much be presumed dead.
At night travellers would listen to the howl of the wind, the creeks and moanings of the ice, as if something was permenantly trapped inside of it.
Within the wizened woods, around the lakes of creeking ice and somewhere near a warm ranch was a band of travellers, using a stagecoach for passage to the Washington State border. The stagecoach was made of thick, varnished wood. The kind that kept out the violent blasts of winter. The coach had no idea what it would be soon witness to.
 
Part II
The huge horses charged through the snow. Their hooves landed with heavy thuds into the eventual ground that was covered by the collection of snow.
The horses were huge, and there were 6 of them. Their colours ranged from black to brown to dark grey. They had lengthy hair that was deliberatly not cut during that time of the year due to the horrific circumstances of the snow.
The horses pulled the huge, clanking chains of iron, wrapped with plentiful slithers of leather so that they would not stiffen during the winter time.
The reins attached to the horses was held by the locally famed journeyman; Harold Nearsworth. Nearsworth was born to wealthy parents who lived on a cattle ranch in Texas, since he lived on a ranch he learnt from a young age how to properly ride a horse. He would later go around the country offering transportation to the citizens he ran into.
Harold Nearsworth had his long brown hair blown backwards as a result of the high-speed travelling. His rough-leather coat was placed over many layers of scarves, jackets and shirts and over that lay a blanket created from many animal furs and pelts.
Within the coach rested four-other people. They were enjoying the luxorious warmth that the interior of the stagecoach produced. It produced it's warmth through the use of thick silk curtains that would go-up against the doors when the storm became bad, various quilts, bedsheets, food items, bottled drinks, coats, frocks, dresses, blazers, hats and perfumes.
One of the people inside the coach was the famed Robert Butch, known for bringing-n the outlaw Jake Jimson to the settlement of White Hollow in California. His hair was damp and combed-back, his moustache was twirled at the ends and his beard almost always seemed to have a curly, moist quality. He grew up in California and was famed to be an incredible bounty hunter, he was also known for being incredibly violent when it came to killing a bounty, one of his "bounties" was found to be pierced on a dead pine tree in northern Wyoming.
Cassie Cotton was a thespian who orginated from Boston, she always wore something exotic and colourful. She was never seen not wafting her fan that her mother bought her from an expedition her father went on in Egypt.
Another passenger of the coach was named Monsieur J. Kommia. He was born in Italy, he moved over to America to go to Yale and study medicine. Inside the stagecoach he was wearing a fur overcoat and underneath it was a three-piece suit made of tweed with a golden pocket watch almost constantly in his hand. His neatly-shaven face was a peculiar contrast to the facial hair belonging to Nearsworth and Butch.
Last but not least (by any means) was Aimee Pettigrew. She was the daughter of a famous rancher in Oregon and she was using the coach as means to search for new land in Washington State. She wore a leather waistcoat over denim trousers and a denim shirt.
The party travelled-on through the snow, the snow that was getting thicker by every minute. The snow that hid sinister beings during the day and let them be free during the hours of darkness; night had quickly fallen upon them.
 
Part III
The stagecoach had entered what appeared to be a vast wintry valley, and within; darkness fell even quicker. Nearsworth lit the various lanterns that dangled from the roof of the coach.
The chill paired with the general macabre tone that the valley let-off put the passengers on edge, Nearsworth and the horses were beyond terrified, especially when howls of wolves became louder and louder.
Inside the coach:
"Where the hell are we?" Asked Cotton
"Who exactly were you asking?" Asked Monsieur J. Kommia
"We are in the heart of Black Valley. We'll be lucky if we make it out alive." Said Butch, in a low gutteral voice.
"Howcome?" Asked Pettigrew, in a panicked tone.
"This place missie, it's got hsitory. Lot's of history."
"Such as?"
"Well, 5 years ago a coach came through here, just like ours to meet the U.S Army at the other side, you see the valley used to be an old trading-route."
"And?"
"Well to get to the end of the valley is roughly a 30 minute job, so 5 hours later the Army went in. They found the coach ripped apart, bodies with inards hanging out, snow sprayed with dark near-dry blood and footprints; great big footprints leading in the opposite direction, they were all found brutally slaughtered by the following day."
"Well, thats cheered the mood." Added Kommia.
"They still say that the "monster" or whatever it was patrols through this valley, in search for more coaches to prey-upon."
"Can you stop with this "ghost story" shit please, Butch. The journeys already been long and I don't think any of us want to panicked about getting killed by some animal." Asked Pettigrew.
A scream was heard outside. Butch poked his head out to, expecting to see Nearsworth. He did see him, well parts of him. For he was missing a head and was spewing blood from the deep gash that had formed where a head once was. The horses sped up, all on their own accord. The snow-storm had become deadly and there was now a beast lurking in the darkness around them.
Part IV
Butch took-down the silken curtain that hung over the door, opened the door and proceeded to climb onto the coaches' roof, while holding onto either side of the roof. He saw the beast, it was close behind them.
"ALL OF YOU DOWN THERE, SOMETHINGS BEHIND US! GRAB YOU'RE GUNS AND SHOOT THE BASTARD TO HIGH-HEAVEN!"
Butch sat-down beside the corpse of Nearsworth. He picked-up the horses' reins and began to steer them in the right direction.
The passengers below him armed-up, Pettigrew had two pistols, Cotton had one pistol and Kommia had a double-barrel shotgun. They swung open both coach doors and open-fired on the thing that pursued them.
It appeared to be lanky and had black shaggy hair. It's teeth were huge and it seemed oddly human.
The valley was creaking and shaking as the storm attacked the sides of the valley, causing one boulder to loosen and fall. It fell for a while until landing, crushing and killing all six-horses it landed on.
The three passengers got to the roof of the coach.
"Shit!"
"I know."
Butch grabbed the rifle that was in Nearsworth's holster, they all fired at the creature, but that did not stop it.
The thing leapt-up to the roof and brutally attacked Butch, who was caught off-guard when he went to reload his rifle.
The three jumped-off the coach and all fired at the beast, nothing affected it.
The beast then slashed Kommia's stomach and killed him, Kommia's organs leaked-out of his now-open stomach, looking like a grotesque kind of water-feature.
The creature proceeded to take-off in the opposite direction.
"Kommia!" Cotton shouted.
"Yeah you run off you hairy bastard!" Shouted Butch.
"Listen, Cotton honey. I'm sorry but... he's dead. It happens all the time, it's just the way of life I guess."
"Are you ok Butch? It seemed to hurt you real bad."
"Honestly, it was just a couple scratches and a lot of blood, I'm fine."
"We should bury him." Pettigrew said.
Soon, Butch began making a kind-of holy cross via some twigs and some twine from inside the coach, the hole was dug and his body was placed in there. The cross was added.
"We should leaved now." Butch suggested.
"Yeah, I guess so." Said Cotton.
"How far away are we from Washington?" Asked Pettigrew.
"A long way-away." Butch said.
 
Part V
The mountain-top was cold, the tents were constructed from pelts and skins, but they were furnished to a professional look.
The members all sat around one great blazing fire. The chieftan gained the attention of the others.
"Do you feel that friends? The monster from a long-time-ago has returned. He has returned."
"What do you mean, sir?" Walks-Through-Ash asked.
"I mean that the one with the Talisman is here, once he is slain the beast will go away, for now at least."
"Did you see the travellers, they were headed through the canyon?"
"Yes I did, but one had the Talisman, once he is killed, the beast will go and he will stay away, until he comes to feed again in another five-years."
"Are we safe, sir?"
"Do you believe in the spirits?"
"Yes."
"Then they will keep us safe and out of harm's way."
 
Epilogue
 
ROBERT BUTCH
Robert made it Washington, were he met with his family and lived a happy life. He stopped hunting bounties and purchased a ranch. He died peacefully in his sleep in the summer of 1914.
 
CASSIE COTTON
After arriving in Washington, Cotton left and returned to Boston, where she opened her own saloon. She never married or had any children. She shot herself in 1923.
 
MONSIEUR J. KOMMIA
He never made it to Washington due to his "incident" with the monster, it is widely speculated that he planned to use the Talisman to attract the monster and conduct a mass-murder in the valley. However, the beast killed him and Nearsworth, he died and was buried in the valley in 1868.
 
AIMEE PETTIGREW
After arriving in Washington, she ventured north into Canada, where she lived in Faire, a settlement in northern Canada where she raised a family. She died in 1932 of natural causes.
 
HAROLD NEARSWORTH
After agreeing to take the coach through to Washington, he was killed by the monster, he was taken to a small ranch that was postioned in northern Oregon, he was buried there in 1868.
 
The End


© Copyright 2018 Joshua D. Webster. All rights reserved.

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