Legend of the Lost by William Wayne Dicksion by William Wayne Dicksion - Read Online

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Legend of the Lost - William Wayne Dicksion

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INTRODUCTION

A seventh-century fable, told by Catholic monks during the nine hundred year war between Catholic Spain and Moorish North Africa, inspired Legend of the Lost. The Moors captured seven Catholic Monks. The Monks were facing certain death, and, as the fable goes, they prayed to God for deliverance and God whisked them away to a far land where they found seven cities of gold.

Many people searched for the cities, but they didn’t find them. When the Spaniards found large quantities of gold in Central America, interest in the legend was renewed.

In the year 1545, the King of Spain commissioned explorer Francisco de Coronado to search for the seven lost cities in the American Southwest. He didn’t find them either, but the legend lives on.

Legend of the Lost also refers to the Anasazi—a Native American people who lived in cliff dwellings in what Is now New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. The Anasazi left evidence of an advanced culture and then vanished; no one knows why or when. Native Americans who came later called the Anasazi The Ancient ones.

This story of a boy and girl playing together in a pond at the base of a waterfall is boldly told. They grow to adulthood, fall in love, and then at the age of sixteen, two wandering men rape the girl, and her life is forever changed.

The boy, a young man now, tries to save her from self-destruction, and the quality of his love is tested as he struggles to find happiness.

A cruel double standard exists, and perhaps Legend of the Lost will help show that things are seldom what they seem. The people who settled the American frontier in the 1870s were from sturdy stock. The land was raw, the people were lusty, and because Legend of the Lost strives to be true to the harsh realities of the time, it is not for the prudish or weak-hearted, as it graphically describes scenes of sexual misconduct.

Chapter 1

Cindy! Alex shouted, trying to be heard over the roar of the waterfall. Cindy couldn’t see him because he was hidden by the falling water. She had been looking for Alex ever since he disappeared and now, as if by magic, he reappeared.

Where did you go? she screamed.

Ignoring her question, Alex replied, You’re right, Cindy, there is a room hidden behind the waterfall. I found a break in the water when I looked up at where the water flows over the cliff. There is a one-foot breach caused by a rock on the right side of that flat ledge up there. If you look carefully, you can see it. he took Cindy’s hand. Come, I’ll show you.

Following Alex, Cindy passed through the breach and entered a dimly lit room behind the falls.

It’s nice and cool in here, she said. What a shame we can’t show this to our Ute friends. I know they’d like it, but their elders forbid them to enter the canyon. An Indian legend says that people lived in this canyon before the Anasazi did, and if you anger their spirits, terrible things will happen to you.

Yes, I heard that legend, too, Alex commented. When I asked Father about it, he laughed and said don’t believe stuff like that; Indians are superstitious.

I’m not so sure that the Indians are wrong, Cindy said, shaking her head. You and I have heard what sounds like children playing and people talking. I told Mother about it, and she said it’s the wind in the trees, and when I told Father, he wanted to know what they were saying, so I told him, we couldn’t understand them because they speak a strange language.

Alex nodded. "Some of the Ute believe the stories, thinking the city of gold is in another valley somewhere. Their elders say that there’s a lake above the falls, although the lake isn’t mentioned in the legend. The Anasazi who started the legend said that people lived in the valley before they did, and they lived in a city made of gold. The Ute knew that the Anasazi lived in cliff dwellings; however, the Anasazi disappeared hundreds of years ago, and no one knows why.

Alex paused, recollecting a conversation he had with Talking Drum, the Ute medicine man. Talking Drum showed me a gold coin that someone in their tribe found in that dry cave south of our house. They have had the coin longer than any of them can remember. When I asked Talking Drum about our going into the valley, he said that since we were not Ute, he couldn’t forbid us to go, but he warned me not to do anything that would anger the spirits of the people who had lived in the city of gold.

I don’t think terrible things will happen, do you? Cindy asked, searching his eyes.

We’ve been playing here all of our lives, Cindy, and nothing bad has happened yet, and I don’t think anything bad will happen, Alex smiled. Our parents don’t believe there’s anything to the curse, so I’m not going to worry about it. he shrugged his shoulders, took Cindy’s hand, and led her back through the waterfall.

Pointing toward the towering cliffs that surrounded the pond on three sides, Alex observed, We know that this stream comes from those snow-covered mountains, and then flows on down the canyon past our homes, almost a mile from here. We could swim close to our houses, but we prefer to swim here and watch the beautiful rainbows. Spreading his arms wide and turning in a circle, he cried, Look how the colors dance in the mist!

Yes, it’s beautiful, and the surveyors agreed to call it Thunder Canyon when we explained that thunder echoes through the canyon.

That was a wonderful suggestion, Cindy, Alex said as they jumped from stone to stone crossing the creek while holding hands, and when walking down the trail, Alex continued. I think you’re right about this place being enchanted. Sometimes I feel the presence of the people who lived here long ago. Then turning to Cindy, Alex asked, Does that frighten you?

No, I like the sound of children laughing. They must have loved this valley, too. It’s so beautiful, with the pine, aspen, and blue spruce softening the steep slopes, all the way to the flat land that our fathers farm.

Cindy lay down on the grass and Alex sat beside her.

I like to listen when Mother and Father tell about coming all the way from the Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee with your parents in 1871 to homestead here in the foothills of the Rockies, and I’m glad they chose this spot, Alex said.

Cindy smiled and crinkled her nose. Mother said they homesteaded here because the land on the other side of Thunder Creek belongs to the Ute, everybody else was afraid of the Indians, but since our fathers were from the backwoods of Tennessee and grew up around Indians, they weren’t afraid.

Cindy continued, "Mother said that she and your mother were daughters of successful merchants in Tennessee and had been friends all their lives. Mother said that your father, Vard, strong and handsome, was a year older than your mother, Eva, and he created a problem for her because he fell in love with her. Being a poor boy from the hills, Eva’s family didn’t want her to date him.

"After Eva graduated from high school, she taught in a rural school near her home. Then one day, Marl, my father, waited with Vard for Eva to get her books, and that’s when he met Marian, my mother. Father immediately took a shine to her, and even though he too was a poor boy from the hills, Mother fell in love with him.

But then for some reason, Eva's family changed their minds about Vard as a possible husband for Eva, and allowed them to marry if he would promise never to leave her no matter what she did. Both of our parents got married at the same time and moved here, to the mouth of Thunder Canyon.

Alex was surprised; he had never heard these stories. Eva and Vard never talked about anything that had happened before they were married. All he knew was that he was born about two years after they moved here, and that Cindy was born a year and a half later. he was eleven now, and Cindy wasn’t quite ten. Cindy was bright and made a point of listening intently to whatever was being said.

We’d better go home now, Cindy said. Mother will be expecting me to help her fix supper, and you’ve got chores to do.

* * *

Guns were necessary tools for living on the American frontier, so Vard taught Alex to use them. After years of practice, he was proficient with both a rifle and a pistol. Vard recognized that Alex had exceptional talent and encouraged him to enter shooting contests. Alex won every contest, and people said his abilities with guns were remarkable. Vard, not wanting Alex to become a gunfighter, taught him that a gun should be used only to protect the home and to provide food for the table.

Marl tried to teach Cindy to use a gun also, but she showed no particular interest, so her training was limited to firing a rifle. Later, Alex taught Cindy to fire a pistol, and she could hit a target if it was fairly close.

* * *

The years passed, and now Cindy was sixteen and Alex was almost eighteen. They were still constant companions, and they were both excellent swimmers. They still liked to dive from the boulders into their favorite pond at the base of the waterfall.

It was another gorgeous summer day, and the water was cool and invigorating. As Alex climbed onto a boulder to make another dive, he pushed away his water-tousled brown hair that partially covered his blue-green eyes and dove into the pool. Then he pulled himself out of the water with quick, strong hands, and jumped back up on the rock; his muscular, six-foot young body glistened in the sun. Hard work and a very active life had made him extremely agile.

Cindy smiled at Alex and then slowly poised to dive. She could tell by the way he looked at her that he liked to watch her, and it pleased her. She wanted to show off her new bathing suit that her mother had sewn. It was bright blue with white stripes, fluffy sleeves, a white collar that came almost to her chin, and skirt that came down to her knees. Her long, blond hair was braided to keep it out of her face, and it danced in the wind when she dove. Her sparkling blue eyes lit her face when she surfaced. She reached out her hand, and Alex pulled her up to sit beside him on the rock. Cindy knew she was attractive by the way men looked at her and wanted Alex to see her as the other men did, but he only saw her as the girl he had known all his life.

They lay on their backs and watched as the drifting clouds seemed to come right out of the cliffs.

Suddenly, Cindy sat up with a teasing gleam in her eyes and said, Alex, let’s climb the cliff and see the lake.

Alex’s eyes followed her gaze, and seeing how steep and high the cliff was, he said, Cindy, I don’t think we should; the face of that cliff looks dangerous, and it’s mighty tall. I feel responsible for you.

Aw, come on, Alex, we can do it, she pleaded. It’s been a long time since we’ve done anything exciting. We’ve heard the stories the Ute Indians tell about a lake on the other side of those cliffs, but we’ve never actually seen it. even our fathers have never seen the lake.

Alex shook his head. Those granite cliffs are too tall to see over and to ride around them on a horse would take days. The men who surveyed the land said the lake was deep, and the walls of the canyon go nearly straight up. only a few people have ever seen the lake, and other than the surveyors, nobody has explored the region around it. he studied the cliff a little longer, and the thought of climbing them was intriguing, so he finally said, There might be a way if we had ropes long enough. The cracks in the face of that granite might provide places for us to pull ourselves up, if we could find a way to get a grip on the cracks.

Then his face brightened. I know! We could climb the cliff by using the grappling hook that Father uses to pull hay into the loft. If I tie the hook to the end of a light rope, I might be able to throw it high enough to grasp a crack, then climb the light rope while I pull a heavy rope up, and then pull you up.

Alex was getting excited at the thought of climbing the cliff. Okay, Cindy, we’ll try it. Let’s go get the ropes and the hook.

Cindy smiled; she had gotten Alex to do what she wanted. The sun had warmed a small pool beside the large pond, and Cindy wanted to take a bath.

You go ahead, Alex. I’ll wait here. The ropes and the grappling hook aren’t that heavy, and you can get them quicker by yourself.

Alex didn’t like that idea. Perhaps you shouldn’t be alone— dangerous animals live in this canyon, and we didn’t bring a gun.

It’s unlikely that a bear or mountain lion will come by, but if they do, I’ll hide behind the waterfall. They won’t bother me there.

The curtain of water that created the falls was almost a foot thick and cascaded over a hundred feet. Cindy was right; no animal would go through that. You should be safe behind the falls, Cindy, Alex agreed, marveling at her quick thinking. I’ll hurry. he walked behind a rock, removed his swimsuit, and put his pants on for the walk back to his house.

As soon as Alex was out of sight, Cindy removed her bathing suit, placed it on a rock, and then jumped into the pool that had been heated by the sun—it was a wonderfully relaxing place to bathe, and she had brought along a bar of soap in anticipation of finding a few moments alone.

After enjoying the warm bath for about ten minutes, it seemed about time for Alex to return, but as Cindy reached for her clothes, she heard a snarl. She turned to see a mountain lion about fifty feet away that looked like it was ready to charge. her heart was thumping!

She glanced over her shoulder at the waterfall, searching for the small breach in the curtain of water. If she missed that breach, the water would slam her into the rocks, but she had to try. She ran as fast as she could; the big cat was gaining fast. She made it to the breach just as the lion leaped with its claws extended. Scared half out of her mind, she tripped on a rock and luckily fell through the breach. She stood up behind the thick veil of water, and even though the lion was still there, she felt relatively safe.

She wanted to warn Alex, but how? He wouldn’t be able to hear her above the roar of the waterfall.

* * *

Alex had run all the way home, picked up the ropes and grappling hook and was hurrying back. Bushes growing along the trail blocked his view until he rounded the last bend and saw the lion pacing back and forth in front of the waterfall. his heart sank, and his imagination went wild! Cindy was nowhere to be seen, and her blue swimsuit was spread out on the rock. Since the lion was in front of the waterfall, Alex was sure Cindy was behind it, but now he needed a place to escape in case the lion charged him. He saw a ledge on the face of the cliff about fifteen feet up and threw the grappling hook; it caught on his first try. He picked up a stick and threw it at the lion to scare it away, but the big cat snarled and stood its ground; he then threw a big rock as hard as he could and hit the lion on the rump. The angry lion charged. Alex quickly pulled himself up the side of the cliff and stood on a ledge, safely out of the lion’s reach.

Cindy, seeing that Alex was back, came out from behind the falls to let him know that she was unharmed. Alex was relieved to see her, but she didn’t have any clothes on! he had always thought of Cindy as a girl, but after one look, he would never think of her that way again. Her legs were long and shapely. Her hips were round, her waist was small, and her full breasts stood erect, leaving no doubt that she was a woman. She was so beautiful that Alex forgot all about the lion until the lion snarled, which brought his attention back into focus. He threw another rock and hit the lion, but it didn’t move. Now he wished he had brought a gun.

The lion stood with its hind feet on the ground, and its front paws resting against the cliff. he noticed it was a female, and she probably had cubs. How was he going to force her to leave?

He swung the grappling hook as hard as he could and hit the lioness in the ribs. The hook gouged her, and it must have hurt, because she quickly turned and ran off down the canyon.

Alex climbed down from the ledge and looked the other way while Cindy retrieved her clothes. The falls were so noisy that his voice couldn’t be heard, so he crossed the stream by jumping from rock to rock, carrying the rope and grappling hook, and walked around the bend in the direction the lioness had run, wanting to make sure the lioness was gone and that Cindy was safe.

The way Alex had looked at her made Cindy aware that he no longer saw her as a girl. She would never believe that his only reason for staring at her was his concern for her safety, so he listened and waited for her to call.

Cindy grabbed her clothes, hid behind a large boulder, and got dressed. You can come out now, she yelled. She was embarrassed, but she had to step out from behind the falls to let Alex know where she was. Cindy crinkled her nose and smiled slyly. Alex has seen me naked—does he like what he saw? she wondered.

Alex made the mistake of grinning when he saw her, and Cindy made a face and stuck out her tongue at him. Uh oh, now I have another angry female to contend with. There was nothing more to say, so he shook his head, turned around, walked to the cliff at the right side of the falls, and threw the grappling hook. After several tries, he hooked a ledge about twenty feet up, then pulled on the rope as hard as he could, making sure the grappling hook would hold his weight, and then scaled the wall. he then tied the large rope securely to his waist and dropped the loose end of the large rope to where Cindy was waiting.

Cindy, he called down. I’m glad you hid behind the falls— that lion gave me a scare.

If I had been a second late in getting behind the falls, Cindy said, I would have been lunch for that lioness’s cubs. After I got behind the water, I wasn’t too concerned because I knew you would drive her away when you returned, but I had to let you where I was. I’m sorry if I shocked you.

Alex smiled, shook his head again, and said, Tie the rope to your waist and hang on with both hands while I pull you up.

By the time Cindy reached the ledge, she had recovered from her embarrassment and was smiling.

The next throw was more difficult; a small ledge was within reach, but Alex couldn’t get the hook to catch. Since Cindy could see the ledge better from her position, she coached him about where to throw. The hook caught on the first try, and he climbed up; however, the ledge was too narrow for both of them to stand on. Luckily, he spotted another ledge about half the remaining distance, made one good throw, and hooked it. Scaling to that ledge, he looked down—the view was similar to looking down from the top of a five-story building—the height was dizzying.

Cindy, come on up, but don’t look down! This one is as easy as the last one.

The remaining distance was greater than the distance they had climbed, but it was not as steep. Alex hooked the grapple onto a tree at the top of the cliff, scrambled up, and then pulled Cindy onto the valley floor where they viewed the lake below.

* * *

The lake was magnificent—the surface was as smooth as glass and mirrored the sky. The canyon walls were made of granite, laced with seams of quartz and towered hundreds of feet into the air. Sunlight reflecting off the quartz made the walls sparkle like gold.

Below where they were standing, a small, flat shore extended out from the lake. Alex pointed to it. Let’s go down there. he tied the larger rope to a tree and then lowered himself to the shore. Cindy followed.

The lake was so clear that they could see the bottom, and something glimmering caught their eyes.

What do you think that is? Cindy asked.

I don’t know, but if the water isn’t too cold, I’ll dive down and get it. The lake appears to be about twenty feet deep.

Cindy dipped her hand in the water. It’s cold, but no colder than the pond.

Here I go, Alex said as he shed his clothes. he had left his bathing suit beside the lake when he dressed to get the tools, so all he had on was his shorts. Is Cindy watching me differently? Nah, it’s just my imagination.

He dove in. The lake was deeper than he had estimated, but he made it to the bottom, grabbed the object and came back to the surface. It was strangely shaped and very heavy. He passed it to Cindy as he pulled himself up, but instead of looking at what he was handing her, she was staring at his wet shorts. This time it was his turn to be embarrassed, and he self-consciously tried to cover himself with his hand.

Cindy blushed and quickly focused her attention at the shiny object, tossing it back and forth from one hand to another trying to judge its weight. Alex pushed his wet hair back from his eyes and put his pants on.

This looks like the corner of a brick. It’s only a corner, but it’s as heavy as a full-sized clay brick, Cindy commented, and it’s very shiny. Do you think it might be gold?

It looks and feels like gold, and it’s too heavy to be a rock, Alex agreed.

Here, take a closer look and tell me what you think, Cindy said as she passed it back to him.

"Let me test it with my