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   Hetera Kal, by Robert Taylor  
 
  Novel, first publication in 2008
 
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      There were legends that circulated around the small Pennsylvania town of Allegheny Heights for as long as anyone could remember of an old, nearly ancient burial site somewhere in the surrounding mountains. Some said that it was Native American; others said it was earlier than that and still some said that some Vikings, disillusioned with their findings in Canada, wandered away and settled in the more temperate mountains. Nothing was ever proven because nothing was ever found but the stories continued to grow.

    More than a few times people went out looking. Some came back with wilder embellishments of the story, others with nothing but poison ivy and sunburn. Yet others never returned and were never found. Of course, that added new dimensions to the story, and the more the story grew, the more people went looking until it went from a campfire tale to legend and finally to history.

    More than twenty summers ago, a troop of boy scouts left the First United Church of Christ, for a weekend of fishing and hiking. The woods were dense at first with pines, oaks and maples lining the trails. Occasionally, a snake would slither across and small groups of birds broke through the leaves looking for the warmth of the sun.

    In an area of the woods very rarely visited by anyone, two of them, Johnny Miller and Frank Tesci, were searching for mushrooms under a granite outcropping and taking pictures of some of the landscapes in the area. There they saw a small piece of rusted metal. Johnny and Frank never said a word as they moved branches aside. As they did, they saw more pieces poking out of the ground and yet more hanging from the roof of a small cave. Taking a rock, they broke the jagged edges off and crawled inside.

    The cave went through 50 feet of rock but the boys could see a dim light at the end. It was not nearly as bright as they had left but there would be enough to see with. As they exited, they saw several stone slabs, a few broken and scattered, with strange writings covering their surface. Looking up, they saw a forest canopy so thick that the daytime sky looked as if the sunlight was nothing more than stars on a dark night. An open box rested on a slab located in a corner surrounded by large rocks. It took the boys a few minutes to get to it but once they did they found an amulet with a deep red ruby surrounded in silver and gold bands. Around the edge were words written in a strange language. Instead of being letters, as they knew them, there were strange engravings all around the edge. Some looked like people, others looked like lines, scenes or animals and there were words that looked like something out of a science fiction movie.

    Thinking for several minutes, they both looked at all the items scattered around the cave. At the end of the area was a large chair decorated with gold and jewels. In it sat the remains of a person. The bones were still intact and draped by shiny cloths and aged, tattered furs. On its head was a kind of crown with the head of a large cat protruding from the front.

     
     
      Related theme(s)  
     
     
  • Native Americans
  • U.S.A.

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