Sunday Snippet: PANTHER CREEK MOUNTAIN by Clyde McCulley

Today’s Sunday Snippet is from the children’s book PANTHER CREEK MOUNTAIN by Clyde McCulley. It was published on the 1st of July 2018 by Story Night Press and has 155 pages.

Sunday Snippet: PANTHER CREEK MOUNTAIN by Clyde McCulley book extract

Synopsis – ADVENTURES ON PANTHER CREEK MOUNTAIN

On a dark night on the ridge of Panther Creek Mountain, Clay, 11, and Luke, 9, watched their room light up as lightning flashed through the window of their attic bedroom in their little cabin home. The driving rain hammered the tin roof with a sound that was deafening. It was magical. Clay and Luke snuggled beneath the covers as the thunder crashed, then silence. The boys heard a panther scream somewhere in the mountain, answered by the scream of a second panther. They thought that it sounded like the blood-curdling screams of a woman.

Last spring, the boys’ cousin, Sally Jane, moved into a cabin just up the road from the boys with her mama, Aunt Olive. Sally Jane is the same age as Luke. She also watched the lightning in her bedroom and heard the panthers scream. Just like the boys, Sally Jane thought the sound of the panther’s scream was an exciting part of mountain life.

World War II was over and things had settled down across the nation as well as up on the ridge. Times were improving for everyone. The ridge on Panther Creek Mountain was a community of half a dozen families of modest means. They did not have electricity or running water in their homes. In the evenings the kids read by the light of oil lamps and used outhouses when they had to go to the bathroom.

Once a week everyone in the family took baths in a big galvanized laundry tub near the woodburning stove in the kitchen. The water came from the spring up on the hill behind the cabin.

The kids were on their own during the summers. They spent the days in their tree house, exploring the woods, streams, caves and the ponds, as well as river rafting. They discovered a cave that they were sure had been the hiding place for Bank Robbers in years past. They were sometimes in danger when they found wild animals in the woods. 

Every day was an adventure for Clay, Luke and Sally Jane as they experienced the wonders of living on an Appalachian Mountain Ridge in 1951. Come along and join them as school ends and summer begins for the kids on Panther Creek  Mountain.

 

Chapter 25 – The Mound in the Woods

The boys and Sally Jane jumped on their bikes to head up Panther Creek road to explore in the woods. Sally Jane had made every one sandwiches, Clay and Luke had made sweet tea and got momma to contribute some sugar cookies she had just baked, hot out of the oven. They were excited about another a new adventure, although no one yet knew what the adventure might be.

Suddenly, Clay yelled for every one to stop. “I have an idea, lets go see if we can find that old mound in the woods that Luke and I found last year, before you moved here, Sally Jane.”  Luke agreed and Sally Jane wanted to know more.

“What do you mean by a mound?” said Sally Jane.  Clay answered that he and Luke thought it might be an old Indian mound where the dead are buried, or perhaps an Indian camp from years ago.

Soon they came to the place where the creek ran under the road. They hid their bikes in the bushes and started hiking down the creek.

In about fifteen minutes Clay said, “I think this it, it is over that way about 100 feet.”

The under brush was very thick and the kids had to push their way through it. Soon they came to an opening where the trees grew in a circle around a dirt mound covered with grass. It seemed almost spooky as though they were on a sacred ceremonial space, but nevertheless, it did not seem as though anyone had been there for years.

 

They all stopped walking.  They climbed to the top of the mound where they decided to have lunch. They sat on the grassy knoll and started to eat their sandwiches and cookies.

“What do you think the Indians did here?” asked Sally Jane.

“Well this is probably an Indian burial ground.” Said Clay, “There may be a hundred Indians buried here!”

Luke’s eyes got as big as a new moon. “WHAT?” He said, “You mean we might be eating right on top of where someone is buried!”  

Just as he said this, they heard a huge, loud scream from a hawk sitting up above them. The sound scared all three of them half to death, but Clay tried to act brave and said, “Don’t be frightened. It is only a hawk sitting up there on that high branch over there.” “AND I BET HE IS SUSPOSED TO BE WATCHING OVER THIS BURIAL SITE AND DOES NOT WANT US HERE! I BET HE IS A SPIRIT OF THE DEAD!” said Luke with a nervous sound in his voice.

Sally Jane looked stunned and just sat there.  

“Let’s leave here, NOW!” said Luke, “Before something bad happens.”

 

“Now kids,” said Clay, “I think we are over-reacting to this. Are you two superstitious?”  They all agreed that they were over-reacting so they decided that they would stay and explore the area.

As they were finishing their sandwiches, Clay caught a glimpse of something half buried in the grass. He looked closer and realized that it was an arrowhead. This excited everyone.

Clay suggested that they get on their knees and crawl around and look closely in the grass to find anything that looked like it had belonged to the Indians.  

In a few minutes, Luke yelled, “Hey, I just found another arrowhead, and it is beautiful!”

Clay and Sally Jane ran over to see. They were overjoyed, because finding two arrowheads meant that there were probably more around here. As they crawled around, they dug with their fingers, scratching into the dirt. Soon they found more arrowheads and shards of old pottery. They took the cloth dinner sack that held the sandwiches and put the treasures inside it.

Every few minutes the Hawk would again scream out his warning that they were not wanted there. Each time they heard it, it shook them up a bit more.

“I hope he does not fly down and try to peck our eyes out,” said Sally Jane. They all started to keep an eye on the hawk, but he never swept down on them.

Clay, looked at the sun in the sky and said, “I think it is time to head home.”

As they walked back to the road they all agreed that this new finding must be kept secret. They did not want other kids coming and digging for Indian artifacts. They all promised and crossed their hearts that they would not tell.

Then they realized that they would have to tell the parents because they would want to know where the treasures had been found.  They would wait until tomorrow to tell their parents and ask them to keep their secret.

When Luke and Clay crawled into bed, Clay said he wondered if they dug down further into the mound, if they might find Indian skeletons there.

Luke sat straight up in his bed and said, “You are not serious are you, Clay?”

Clay laughed and said, “No, I just wanted to see your reaction.”

That night Luke could not go to sleep for thinking about digging up old skeletons. He lay awake for a long time. Then he heard the panther scream up in the mountain.

“Hey, Clay!” he said excited, “I heard the panther!”

Clay said nothing; he was sound asleep, with a smile on his face.

***

If this long snippet from PANTHER CREEK MOUNTAIN by Clyde McCulley has piqued your interest, you can now go buy your own copy via your favourite book retailer or for convenience, just click on any of the links below to purchase a copy on Amazon

I would also appreciate it if you left a comment below so I know what you think of this book.

PS Author Clyde McCulley will be making an appearance in the virtual cafe that is The Segilola Salami Show on the 25th of December 2018.

Clyde McCulley: An unusual journey to becoming an author

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