Bloody Klondike Gold (A Randi Braveheart Mystery Short Story)
Copyright © 2016 by A.K. Taylor
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the written prior permission of the author.
Table of Contents
Bloody Klondike Gold
About the Author
Also By A.K. Taylor
Randi and her best friend Brittany had just arrived at Mineral Creek, a mining community located deep within the remote Klondike in southeast Alaska. It had been a very long trip for the two seventeen-three-year olds from San Francisco…definitely since they drove. The 2,700 mile trip lasted for four days, which was a straight shot due north, but the pair would stop to eat and rest along the way. Randi drove the entire time because Brittany couldn’t handle driving in such a remote location after they left civilization since her sense of direction was not the best. Randi’s father trusted her to make the trip since she could handle her own and used to go alone in the bayous of Louisiana where she grew up.
Randi and Brittany were going up to meet her father for the second half of the mining season. ‘49er Mining Company, the corporation that bought out her father’s mining operation Braveheart Gold and Mineral Mining, Inc, sent him up there to help get the claim’s crew on the gold. William Wallace Braveheart could get on any gold or mineral in any location, and his reputation led to the purchase of his company which took his career to new heights. While his company was based in Louisiana and still in operation, Will and his daughter moved to San Francisco because of the deal. Will still ran the company in San Francisco and put his second-in-command, Hank Jeffers, in charge onsite.
The third member of the teen motley crew, Jodi, didn’t come along. She was a computer geek and a hacker, and the thought of living in a remote area for three months without internet rendered her catatonic. She was a tomboy just like Randi, so dirt and bugs didn’t bother her. No online access for an extended amount of time was the deal breaker.
Randi wasted no time getting out of the beat-up, blue pickup, which was her father’s, after parking it. The company put Will on a plane and one of the crew came and picked him up at the airport. She ran to her father and hugged him tightly and for what seemed like forever. It had been about three months since she had seen him. She was tall and slim with a smart and short haircut that would curl behind her ears and bounce on her neck when she walked or turned her head. She was black headed with brown eyes.
As the father and daughter enjoyed their reunion, Brittany, the blonde cheerleader-type, slowly got out of the truck and looked around like a fish out of water. She felt like she was in hillbilly hell—the twilight zone. She had never been to a remote area in her life. The most remote area she had ever been in was the city park after hours with Randi. Brittany lived in San Francisco all of her life. She met Randi at school when she and her father moved to San Francisco from Louisiana. They had been friends ever since, although they were night and day sometimes.
Randi and her father, Will, came up to the distraught city girl to check on her.
“Are you gonna be okay?” Randi asked with a giggle. She had a thick Southern drawl because she and her father were from the Louisiana backwoods and bayous. “Are ya gonna make it out here fer three months?”
“I hope so,” Brittany said with a sigh. “I can’t believe you talked me into this…”
“I didn’t! I warned you, but you wanted to come anyway,” Randi said with a playful jab.
Will looked at the mountain of stuff inside the bed of the pickup in disbelief. He took off his hat and scratched his straight black hair that he had passed on to his daughter. “Did you gals remember the kitchen sink?” he asked with a sideways smile.
“Two-thirds of that is Brittany’s. I was wonderin’ if the truck was gonna make it up a few of those steep mountains,” Randi said.
“Ohhh!” Brittany moaned with disgust. “I brought what I needed to survive just like you said!” she retorted.
Randi shook her head tossing her short, black hair. “I need to teach ya a few things about survival, Brit,” Randi said.
“Well, let’s get this stuff inside and unpacked—so I can give you girls the grand tour,” Will said as he grabbed a few of the suitcases and bags.
The girls grabbed a couple more and followed him to one of the cute, rustic log cabins that were on the claim.
* * *
A couple hours after everything was unloaded and unpacked, Will began to show them around the claim. This mining community was pretty large compared to others, probably due to the funding from such a large mining corporation like ‘49er Mining. It had its own general store and community necessities to provide everyone with everything they needed to get them through the six-month mining season which closed during the winter. Winter in the Klondike was brutal. It would freeze everything, and equipment wouldn’t run in the below-freezing temperatures. Every operation would close up shop during the winter months.
The work area was very large. People used large loaders, excavators. and trackhoes to dig dirt from the ground. Huge D11 bulldozers pushed dirt. Large rock trucks hauled dirt About fifty yards away in a big rocky hillside was an old mine that had been abandoned in the 1800s—possibly during the gold rush of that era during that time. Both of the dig sites were rich in the paydirt that supplied Mineral Creek with its large quantities of gold.
Wash plants, sluice boxes, derockers, conveyors, and all of the modern mining equipment were working hard to move and separate the gold from all the dirt and rock where it was hidden and mixed within. Large piles of tailings were here and there.
Working miners waved at the two girls as they continued to work.
Pappy, the old man from Kentucky that had been there the longest at Mineral Creek, came and greeted Randi with a hug. He had gotten to know her and her father very well over the past few years when he worked at other operations that Will would arrive at when he was hired for his expertise. He had a cotton white hair and a beard, but despite his age, he was a hard and able worker. He was old enough to the everyone on the crew’s father or even their grandfather. “Hi there, Randi—who do you have with ya?” he asked with his “country grandpappy” voice.
“This is my best friend Brittany I met when we moved to San Francisco. Brittany, this is Pappy,” Randi said, introducing them.
Pappy shook Brittany’s hand. His real name was Roy Sanders.
“Let’s show the girls the gold!” Pappy said, clapping his hands and turning his heel toward one of the log buildings.
Brittany had a tough time keeping up with the old timer. Randi lagged behind to make sure that she didn’t get lost, since Brittany had a terrible sense of direction outside of the mall.
Once inside the building, Pappy opened up the small safe where the gold was kept. Four vials were filled to capacity with dried gold dust and small nuggets. A couple small bags were inside the safe as well.
“What’s in the little bags?” asked Brittany curiously.
Pappy grinned. “Take a look for yerself, little lady,” he said with a smile.
Brittany picked up one of the little bags, and it was surprisingly heavy. She pulled open the drawstrings on the little sack and saw it was filled to the brim with pea-sized and marble-sized gold nuggets.
“Oh wow!” Brittany said with her blue eyes wide in amazement. She took out one of the nuggets and turned it over in her hand, examining it. She had never seen raw gold before. She bounced it in her palm and was amazed at how heavy it was for something so small.
“The buyer’s coming in the mornin’ to purchase what we have for safe keepin’. We’ve got about a quarter of a million in gold here, and we’re only halfway through the season,” Will said proudly.
“Did the big nuggets come from the mine?” asked Randi.
“Some of them did, and some came from the ol’ riverbed we’re diggin’ out,” replied Pappy.
Will put his arms around both girls. “Come on, you two, go and explore the place—but be careful. We’ll be ready to eat dinner at dark,” he said.
“Okay, Dad,” Randi said, and the two of them left to go explore the claim and neighboring woods.
* * *
In the dining hall all fifteen miners fell in to eat a nice meal after a hard day’s work.
Randi and Brittany talked to Pappy and Will about what they explored.
Brittany wasn’t too enthusiastic about the woods, but she loved the view and scenery in the distance and the creek.
Randi spoke of doing a little fishing one day.
Brittany was going to pass on that. She didn’t like the fish or the bait. Anything that was smelly or slimy turned her off. It was totally gross!
Several big explosions came from outside, interrupting the dinnertime chatter. They were so loud and booming that they shook the windows of the dining hall and the foundation.
“What was that?” asked Brittany with here blue eyes wide in fright.
The huge gears, springs, and shaker from the derocker crashed through the roof and landed on one of the tables and brought with it wood and tin from the roof. Several people were hit with the fallen debris. Other people shielded themselves with their arms and herded toward the exit. The injured were wallowing on the ground and moaning in pain.
Everyone was in a panic and confused.
What was going on? What was all that racket outside?
People checked on and helped the injured. Nothing was serious, but they were going to need first aid. After a few moments, everyone ran outside to investigate what was going on and what the noise was.
Orange light from flames illuminated the night sky and the emerald-green foliage of the surrounding forest. Everyone gathered around and looked in horror at the mining equipment. It was engulfed in flames and completely ruined. Someone had sabotaged and completely destroyed everything.
Men were horrified beyond disbelief and completely lost on what to do next.
Pappy was furious. He took his hat off and slammed it on the ground. “Goshdarn it! I’m gonna blast the fur of’n the person’s hide, if I ever see ‘em!” he spat indignantly. When Pappy got angry, people related him to an old, cotton-haired Yosemite Sam.
Will ran into the cabin where the safe was without telling anyone.
“Dad, where are ya goin’?” asked Randi as she followed him.
Brittany brought up the rear behind them.
When the trio got there to the cabin, they saw the door had been kicked open. All three of them had that sinking feeling as their eyes went toward the safe. The safe was smashed and pried open. Everything from inside was gone.
Will was so overcome with so many emotions that he silently wept. He had high hopes that this mining year was going to make a serious difference for a better life for him and his daughter, since his wife had died about five years ago. Now because of someone’s thoughtless actions, everything he had worked and hoped for was now in jeopardy.
Brittany offered to give her shoulder for Randi to cry on. She knew Will and Randi’s sad story all too well. She shed her own tears for them and for her own grief.
No one slept a wink that night. They were going to wait till morning to survey the damage and decide what to do next. That wasn’t the extent of the bad news. The buyer was coming tomorrow and now there was no gold to sell to gather needed supplies or split among the men. That was going to kill the morale of the group and possibly turn everything for the worst.
As Randi wiped her eyes, she saw a folded piece of paper in front of the ruined safe. She picked up and unfolded the paper. This short message was sloppily scribbled on the paper:
All of you are going to die tomorrow night.
Randi showed it to her father and her friend. They were clearly appalled by the letter. They had to show this to everyone else.
It was definitely going to be a sleepless night tonight after discovering such a ghastly letter.
* * *
The next morning everyone was out in the work area surveying the damage as Will, Pappy, and the two girls waited for the buyer. He was due at any time.
The men finished assessing the damage before there was any sign of the buyer. Things did not look good at all. All of the equipment was completely damaged and unusable. It could be repaired, but since the gold was stolen, there was no money to make the necessary repairs or replacements, and it would be months if the corporation had to send aid, and that was time they didn’t have. However, the damaged equipment still contained the rich paydirt that was still salvageable.
“Well, here’s one thing we can do. We can pan that there paydirt we got and do things the ol’ fashioned way,” Pappy interjected at the dejected group. “We can still use shovels to get the paydirt. It’ll be slower and slow us down, but we can still turn over a profit if we work hard.”
“We’re miners! We can’t give up!” added Will.
“What about that threat? Is it for real, or are they bluffing?” asked Brittany with her eyes wide in worry.
“Not sure, but we have protection in case,” said Will.
“Yeah, let someone come and try to hurt me! They’ll be lookin’ down a double-barrel shotgun, and then I’d blast ‘em!” Pappy said bravely and shaking his bony fist.
During the conversation, the buyer’s SUV caught everyone’s attention as it crunched on the gravel when it crept up the long, narrow, and remote road that led to the mine and camp.
Once the black Escalade pulled up to the group, a short, gray-haired, and round man climbed out of the vehicle. “Let’s see all that gold I hear you got,” he said, walking up to Will with a big grin.
“Well, that’s the trouble,” Will said, taking off his hat and scratching his short, dark hair. “We ran into some trouble last night. Someone came into camp last night while we were eatin’ supper and tore up all our equipment and broke into the safe and stole every flake and nugget of gold we had. By the looks of things, they blew up the equipment with dynamite. We also got a death threat that they would come back and kill all of us.”
The buyer bit his bottom lip and shook his head. “You aren’t the only ones who have had this happen. Several claims have had break-ins lately with sabotage and theft. Then I wouldn’t hear anything even after the season ended. When I and police would visit the claim, we would find everyone dead. We have no motive of why they killed them; they took everything they had. If I were you, I’d pack up this camp and skeDaddle. This is a new kind of claim jumper. They won’t mine their own gold or steal the claim; they just steal everyone’s hard earned gold.”
People began whispering.
Pappy frowned at such malicious actions. Who would have thought of such a dastardly thing to do to somebody?
“We can’t leave now! We just hit the motherlode before them yahoos started messin’ with us! Most of us ain’t got no alternatives for income; that’s why were minin’ gold!” Pappy protested with his fists swinging.
“We can’t leave. We have a corporate contract to stick to,” Will added.
The buyer put his hands up. “I’m just warning you. You folks do what you want to,” he said, climbing back into his car.
“Hey, I hate that you came all this way for nothin’, Jimmy. You could stay for lunch at least,” offered Will. “We haven’t forgotten how to show some hospitality out here.”
The buyer, Jimmy, shook his head. “Nah. I really should be heading back. Thanks though,” he said shaking his hand and twisting his body into driving position.
Will closed the door for the man, and the buyer backed up and left.
“He seemed like he was in a hurry,” remarked Randi as she twisted her short dark hair round her finger.
“Well, he must be a busy man,” shrugged Will. “Come on, let’s get to work. We’re burnin’ daylight.”
Everyone pitched in to pan the pile of paydirt. They were still getting a pretty good yield of gold even thought they had to do it the old fashioned way. Everyone decided to stay and finish out the season this way.
Even Brittany pitched in, but not without any grumbling. It was dirty and hard work, and she had never had to do something like that in her entire life. She wanted to be there and help out her friend, but that was what was keeping her going.
“Gosh, Randi, I would give you half my trust fund instead of doing all this!” Brittany said with a disgusted frown.
“Brittany, you don’t have to help if you don’t want to—you don’t need to. That’s very kind of you, but I need to earn my money just like my Dad taught me to. I don’t want to sponge off of you,” Randi protested. “That ain’t right.”
When the sun nearly set, everyone packed up the equipment and took the gold to the dining hall to dry it, get the dry weight, hide it in a new place, and to eat a nice dinner.
No one was sleeping that night. Everyone decided to treat the threat as real until proven otherwise. Everyone gathered their shotguns and pistols from their cabins and decided to hole up as a group in the dining hall for safety.
* * *
Everyone waited in the dark in the dining hall. They decided to turn out the light so that the intruders—if there were any—would think everyone was in bed. Time painfully passed, and everyone was silent. The small wall clock was ticking loudly in the silence, and it added to the apprehension of the group. The anxiety was so thick that you could cut it with a knife.
Everyone heard faint voices outside that seemed to appear from nowhere. There was a loud bang from them kicking open a cabin door and then automatic gunfire. Then they went to another cabin and then another.
Randi commando crawled to the window and slowly peeked over the windowsill to get a look. She saw there were only four of them, but they were armed with automatic weapons.
The four shadows met in the center of the camp.
One said, “Nobody is in their cabin! They stuffed clothes and extra pillows in their beds! They’re here somewhere!”
“Let’s get ‘em!” said another.
Randi slowly sunk down and crawled back to her father and whispered the report.
Seconds later, a window broke and something thumped on the floor, rolled, and hissed like a snake.
Will saw the sparks of a lit fuse of dynamite. “Take cover!”
People scrambled not knowing where to go next. The dynamite exploded and furniture, dishes, and silverware became shrapnel and projectiles. The loud boom was deafening in such small quarters, and people’s ears were ringing.
People were maimed, a couple dead, and just about everyone was disoriented and their equilibrium was off kilter from the concussive force and the noise from the explosion.
“Go out the back door and get to the mine—here take this!” Will said, as he pitched his daughter his .44 revolver.
Randi caught it and asked, “What about you, Dad?”
“Go!” he shouted urgently and refusing to argue the matter another second.
Randi grabbed Brittany’s hand and led her out the back. Randi had a flashlight in hand, but didn’t turn it on.
“Do you know where you’re going? Can you turn the light on? Is it safe going into that spooky old mine?” asked Brittany.
“They’ll see us if we turn on the light now. We’ll need it in the mine,” Randi said.
“I already can’t see a thing! Ugh, are you sure this is a good idea?” she asked, but then her thoughts were scattered when she heard gunfire and shouts down below. Someone else had been gunned down, but then there was a loud boom from Will’s 10 gauge shotgun that Randi knew by heart. Surely one of them was dead since Will never shot unless he had a bead on something. There was another shotgun blast among several others. The intruders had apparently underestimated this group of miners.
Randi kept running in the mine, but Brittany’s lungs were about to explode and her pace was slowing. Their footfalls and labored breaths echoed in the mine’s stillness.
“Randi, I have to stop,” she gasped. “I can’t run another step.”
“We have to keep going, Brit—” Randi coached, but then they heard voices in the mine.
“I saw two run this way! Ed and Earl are dead. That ol’ geezer shot Ed, and Earl got blasted by that friggin’ cannon,” snarled the larger of the two.
Randi turned off her flashlight and grabbed Brittany’s hand. They ran in the darkness with Randi leading the way.
The two men heard the scuffling of their feet echoing in the distance. They switched on the power that wasn’t far from the entrance; the switchbox was about 150 years old and decrepit. The power cables probably weren’t in much better shape. Once the lights cut on, Randi and Brittany were blinded by the bright light since their eyes were used to the pitch-blackness. Some of the lights sputtered and exploded, sending showers of sparks onto the fleeing girls.
Randi ran to the old part of the mine by instinct and dove into a passageway. This old passageway had old tracks and mine cars still inside; some were overturned and some were upright. Not too far away was an old, rickety elevator shaft.
Randi pulled out her .44 revolver and cocked the hammer.
Brittany was shocked by the size of the gun. “Is that a Dirty Harry gun? Can you even shoot that thing?” she whispered, anxious.
“Oh yeah, I learned to shoot this thing when I was about eight. When we used to live in Louisiana, I would use this to shoot gators when we went gator huntin’—so yeah, I can shoot it,” Randi whispered.
The two men entered into main corridor still armed with their automatic rifles. They scanned the room with itchy trigger fingers.
The burly man said, “I know they’re in here, I can smell one of ‘em’s perfume. Boss said there are two young girls. We may need ‘em as hostages.”
Brittany made a face about the comment about the man smelling her perfume. She knew Randi wasn’t wearing any.
Randi was sure that she was vastly underestimated. You might want to cover your ears, she signaled as she slowly raised the large revolver over the tipped-over mine car and used it as a prop and a barricade. She steadied her grip and pointed the iron sight at the smaller man and squeezed the trigger. The small man went down after the loud boom of the gun. After a few whimpers and groans, the man was dead.
The burly man turned on a dime and sprayed gunfire down the mine tunnel. Randi ducked behind the overturned mine car as the bullets struck. When the man quit firing, she returned a shot. They returned fire at each other until they were out of bullets.
The burly man clicked his trigger heatedly and threw down the rifle. He was vastly unprepared, since he and his comrades had previously thought this would be a clean sweep like the others had been. They always had ammo left over after a job.
Randi popped up from behind the mine car with the pocket knife she always carried with her. “Not so tough without ‘ur gun are ya?” she taunted with a brazen tone.
“Randi, are you crazy?” Brittany squealed.
“No, I’ve got this. I’ve wrestled with alligators probably about half his size that are tougher than he is,” she said, insulting him. She was sizing him up, and she had also beat up school bullies that were his size in school to defend herself or her friends. Three days in ISS didn’t seem to bother her too much. In addition to wrestling with alligators, her father taught her how to fight. Now this was a trial of survival for her and her friend.
“Oh, I’m much tougher than a stupid ol’ alligator,” the man shot back haughtily, as he flexed his shoulders and popped his neck.
“I don’t know about that,” Randi said, cocking her head with a cheeky grin. “Come on, big boy, show me what you’re made of.”
With that, Randi and the man went at their free-for-all. They kicked and punched each other. The man was able to hit Randi with a hard blow to the face that knocked her down painfully. The man wasn’t going to go easy on her even if she was a girl, but amazingly to him, the tomboy was able to get back up. Normally, this blow made several grown men cry.
Randi was slightly dizzy, but she had a high tolerance for pain. She staggered a bit. “Is that all you got?”
“Oh, there’s plenty more where that came from,” he said, grinning dangerously.
The pair kicked and punched each other, but neither would back down or not get up. Randi had also cut the man with her pocket knife, but it didn’t stop him; it only made him angry. Both of them had underestimated each other, but now the man was finished playing and was going to kill both of them. He had to get rid of Randi first.
He staggered to a pickaxe that was propped against the wall that he hadn’t noticed earlier. He grabbed the tool and began swinging it at Randi since she was coming at him with the pocket knife. The man was now out of her reach, and she couldn’t risk a round with a pickaxe. She backed away and turned to run.
The burly main raised the pickaxe overhead and swung downward as he chased Randi. The tool’s sharp edge caught Randi in the back at her shoulder and ripped down her shoulder blade.
Randi fell painfully to the ground with a cry of pain, but she couldn’t focus on that. She had to live. She had to live for both of them.
The man came up to her swinging the pickaxe to finish her off. She rolled to her left to avoid the tool. It hit the dusty ground where she was a split second ago. It was a near miss.
She rolled onto her back. The dust from the floor entered into the wound and made it sting. She had to face the attacker. He swung at her, and she had to jerk side to side as he tried to send the pickaxe into her head and chest.
The man tried to hit her again, but they were now on the old track. Randi jerked her head to the side and the pickaxe’s sharp point entered into the wooden crosstie and became lodged.
Randi kicked the man in the knee and dislocated it.
The man fell painfully to the ground and cursed. He was so enraged that he wanted to strangle Randi and feel the life drain from her as he choked her. He grabbed her neck and began to squeeze.
Randi fought to breathe and stay alive. She clawed at his face and eyes, but it wasn’t working. In one last desperate effort she grabbed his black jacket and twisted her body and flipped him to the right and downward. Then he finally released her neck and his face was frozen in shock. He gurgled and blood began flow from his mouth in a crimson river. The burly man was impaled by the neck on the other end of the pickaxe’s head.
Randi lay there coughing and gasping for air. Her lungs were burning from deprivation of oxygen, and her head and body were aching from the intense fighting.
Brittany ran over to her friend to check on her and to fuss her out for being so reckless. She had to do that a lot. But, when she got there, all she could do was cry and hug her battered friend. In her relief she ignored the dirt and blood, but the reunion was short lived. Brittany felt cold metal on the back of her neck.
“Alright, that’s enough of that. On your feet,” said a familiar voice.
Brittany turned and looked in horror as Randi lie there in shock. It was the buyer, and he was wielding a gun at Brittany. The buyer had an accomplice with him, and it was his son.
“Well, Buck, I suppose we need to help Randi to her feet,” he said to his strong dark haired son who was dressed in black and looked as if he had just graduated from WestPoint, which he had.
“I don’t think you are going to make such a mess out of my son, Randi,” he said, nodding to the dead man still impaled on the pickaxe.
Buck picked Randi up and twisted her arm behind her back.
“Why are you doing this? You don’t need us!” Brittany begged.
“It’s obvious isn’t it? We’re in it for the money! This mine by far is the most profitable than any we’ve ever seen. I can’t get top dollar for the gold other people dig up when I buy it from them. The whole thing was a set up, so I would know when a mine would hit good paydirt worth a darn. You can thank your Daddy for this. I warned him that he should have left—but no…he had to stick it out. I’m gonna make your Daddy sell the mine in order to get you and your friend back. After we harvest the motherlode and get top dollar for the gold, then I’ll sell it for top dollar. Mineral Creek is gonna make me rich!”
“You mean you’ve killed other innocent people for money? What kind of a monster are you?” asked Randi, horrified. “My father can’t sell the mine! He don’t own it! The company he works for does.”
“The best in the business” the buyer said answering Randi’s rhetorical question. “Your Daddy better find a way to sell it or else. Even when this is over, I’ll still be able to keep my nose clean since you, your father, and friend won’t have anything on me except your word against mine…or, none of you will be alive to say anything,” he said with an evil grin. “C’mon, before we get found out.”
“Hold it right there!” came Will’s voice from the entrance. He and Pappy came into room with shotguns loaded and ready.
“You’re too late, Will!” said the buyer.
“Jimmy, how could you? I’ve trusted you all these years!” Pappy said with a dry frown.
“Get over yourself, Pappy. Words don’t mean a thing anymore; you know that. All that matters is the money—pure and simple,” said the buyer.
Pappy spat. “Not hardly. In some parts of the world words, family, and friends still mean somethin’.”
“Put the guns down,” said Jimmy as he pointed the gun at Brittany’s temple.
Pappy and Will made eye contact and spoke without saying a word and nodded to each other.
Jimmy was barking orders to the two men, but then they squeezed the trigger. They had been aiming during the standoff. Two loud blasts from the shotguns sent two slugs directly into the foreheads of the criminals, killing them instantly. They lay there on the mine floor motionless, dead, and a bloody mess.
Both Randi and Brittany sat down since their legs were like rubber—the bones seemed to have fallen out of them. They were covered in blood, bone, and brain matter.
“After that I think I have to pee,” Brittany whined pitifully. That was all she could think of to say at the moment.
Everyone giggled at the girl.
“Well, I have good news. You didn’t pee in your pants. I’m proud,” Randi teased.
Everyone couldn’t help but laugh again.
“Well, I guess we need to contact the authorities and ‘49er Mining. They cut the phone line, and we can’t fix it, so we have to drive. Randi, you look like hell. I think you need to come with me to the hospital,” Pappy said, concerned.
“I’ll be fine,” Randi said.
“You are going to the hospital. I think that wound on your shoulder is gonna need stitches,” Brittany said firmly.
“Aww!” Randi protested.
Pappy and Will looked at the ugly gash. “Yep, ur goin’ to the hospital, and no buts!” Pappy ordered.
“Okay,” Randi said with a sullen pout. She didn’t like hospitals and only went when she had to. “They better not give me a tetanus shot,” she grumbled.
“I’ll go with you,” Brittany said, putting her arm around her.
“Thanks…I think,” Randi said with a sideways grin.
* * *
A couple weeks passed and everything was almost back to normal. All of the stolen gold was recovered at Jimmy’s house by the authorities. Everyone’s injuries were tended to, and the dead was sent back to their communities, and the families were notified. The victims of the other claims’ families were sent sizeable amounts for their loss and for the gold itself. The results were bittersweet.
As for Mineral Creek, people kept mining, but other mining communities helped pitch in by loaning some equipment and/or helping repair the damaged equipment. Some of the money from the recovered gold was able to pay for the necessary parts and tools as well as the supplies that were needed to finish out the season. Will reported the losses and explained the situation to ‘49er Mining for which the insurance covered a sizable amount.
At the conclusion of the season, Randi, Will, and Brittany had one heck of a story to bring home with them as well as their share of the gold and a sizable bonus from the mining corporation.
About the Author
A.K. Taylor grew up in the backwoods of Georgia where she learned about nature. She enjoys hunting and fishing, beekeeping, gardening, archery, shooting, hiking, and has various collections. She also has interest in music, Native American history and heritage, Egyptian history, and the natural sciences. A.K. Taylor has been writing novels and drawing since the age of 16. A.K. Taylor has graduated from the University of Georgia with a biology degree, and she shares an interest in herpetology with her husband. (Herpetology is the branch of zoology concerned with the study of —including , , , , and —and , not a disease.)
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Book Website/Blog (): For more personal writing about my experiences, life in the backwoods of Georgia, and more information about my award winning, YA fantasy adventure saga visit my blog. The backwoods are where the stories of Neiko’s adventures in Hawote and the Five Lands were born.
For informative articles and education for new and aspiring authors, check out
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From the Author:
Thank you for taking the time to read! If you would be so kind, please leave a review on your favorite retailer and/or Goodreads! Thank you! Not only do reviews help authors, they help other readers, too.
Did you enjoy this introductory short story? Book #1 [_To Catch a Catfish _]will be released in 2017! Stay tuned!
Winner of the IndieReader Approved Award
What if the Fate of Two Words were in the hands of one person: you?
The childhood secret of a troubled teen warrior is used against her by her enemies. It turns out what Neiko imagined is real, and she becomes trapped in the same world she imagined by an otherworldly evil that is worse than the devil. Getting home is the least of her problems.
“AK Taylor writes unique stories with perfect character interaction and a plot that drives forward to a terrific ending in which the reader won’t ever forget.” ~MCS Film Review
“Plenty of action and inspired imagination.” ~Wulfstan Top 100 Reviewer
“From the first word, Taylor delivers a fresh, vibrant tale of two different worlds.” ~Steven Knight Book review and author of *]“[*Born of Blood”
“An imaginative journey that is that is much of an adventure for the reader as it is for Neiko.” ~CC Cole Book Reviewer and author of the Gastar Series
“A great middle school or read to me book with tons of adventure and characters.” ~Paper Mustang Book Reviewer
“A fantastical twist to the childhood game of Cowboys and Indians and a wonderful coming of age story.” ~Indie Reader Reviewer
“Neiko’s five land adventure is a gripping young adult fantasy tale. You get an exceptional feel for the protagonist, Neiko, as you travel through the rich worlds between reality and imaginary (well not really imaginary as Neiko soon finds out!) alongside her and her cohorts (I particularly liked Quickstrike)” ~Michael Dadich, Award Winning Author of the Silver Sphere
Winner of the Wisebear Bronze Medal Award, Best in YA Historical Fantasy, and UpAuthors Approved Award
Being stuck in the past takes on a whole new meaning…
What if your worst enemy sent you on a one-way ticket to the past? Worse, later he shows up and tries to play match-maker with a dominant historical figure while all of history and the future are on the line? Survival is just one problem, but then add your friends into the mix…
“Neiko has the potential for becoming a literary role model for young girls. The Escape From Ancient Egypt storyline is good conceptually with lots of action and we did find ourselves anxiously wanting to know how the author resolved Neiko’s dilemna. Taylor also does a nice job of drawing the reader into the fictional world of ancient Egypt literally with her fantastic artwork interspersed throughout the novel.” ~Wisebear Books
“An exciting and action packed book from start to finish. This is the story of a young girl who travels between different times and places, and leads a life in each. Neiko finds herself in some scary and challenging situations in each place, and the book has a good amount of suspense as the reader awaits her next move. The writing is fantastical and highly imaginative, without being too far-fetched that the reader will lose interest.” ~Biblio Phanatic 5 Stars
“There is never a dull moment, and the book is punctuated with wonderful illustrations which break up the chapters. It reminds me of those books you read as a kid where you had to choose the ending and second guess what was coming.” ~N Bookwitch 5 Stars
“The plot was incredibly original – Native Americans being sent back in time to Ancient Egypt as an act of revenge. How can that not spark the imagination? This fast-paced book kept me interested and intrigued from start to finish. Great writing style, great plot and great characters. It is a novel that I highly recommend for a rainy afternoon, with a big cup of tea. This fast-paced book kept me interested and intrigued from start to finish. Great writing style, great plot and great characters. It is a novel that I highly recommend for a rainy afternoon, with a big cup of tea.” ~Lit Quest 5 Stars
After crash landing into self publishing with nothing but the clothes she had on, author AK Taylor fought for survival with trying to market her books on a small budget. After two years of trial and error, reworking, refining, and reaching out, she has created the first survival guide for book marketing compiled of great tools and resources that can be used by any author during the rough times.
Comparing the book marketing wilderness with the real wilderness is how Taylor viewed the publishing world around her. Growing up in the woods and learning survival skills has given her this unique viewpoint for a different kind of world. When she started her search for information, a book marketing survival guide didn’t exist—until now.
New Author? Confused about social media and where to begin? Need a field guide or manual? Here is is! Pick up a copy today!
“Wish I had picked up this survival guide MUCH SOONER! Easy to read, well organized. I find myself referring to it often, and I have no doubt it will help build the endurance a new writer needs in order to survive and flourish. Happy to highly recommend this one!” ~Audrey Kane, first time author
“I found this book incredibly useful. I have been searching for a book to help me get my head around Google Adwords. In terms of the amount of support it gives others, it would be worthy of five stars. ~J. James Goodreads Reviewer and Indie Author
“The Newbie Author’s Survival Guide is a no-brainer at $2.99. Packed with tips on how to promote your book on Amazon, networking, and links to scores of author resource sites. It’s information that new authors need to know. Period.” ~Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print of Self Publishing and Publishing Professional
Book #1 of the Award Winning Neiko Saga!
What if the fate of Two Worlds were in the hands of one person: you?
Winner of the Indie Reader approved award and rated five stars by MCS Film Review.
“A great book for kids!” Scifi and Fantasy reviewer CC Cole
“A great middle school and read to me book.” Paper Mustang.
Join my newsletter to get a free ebook copy of Neiko’s Five Land Adventure. Already have a copy? Other free books are available!
A summer trip to the Klondike can be deadly… Randi Braveheart and her friend go to the Mineral Creek mining claim for summer vacation and to visit her father, Will, during the second half of the six month mining season. The time of happy reunions, summer fun, and gold mining come to a close after a night of sabotage, the theft of the first half of the season’s haul, and a death threat. Will the motley crew of miners and teens survive until the end of the season?