Eternity Swamp by TC Tereschak

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  • J.W. becomes lost while coon hunting in an unfamiliar swamp at a night. He swears he can hear people screaming in the distance and can't shake the feeling he's being followed. An old man appears, and instead of leading J.W. out of the swamp, suggests they find a log to sit on and wait for sunrise.  When asked about the noises, the old man says the swamp has "memories."  He explains what he means by telling J.W. a tale about another hunter, Sam Lake; a lowly sort, who while hunting in this very swamp many years ago, ran across a rather curious fellow who offered Sam a chance to extract himself from his present situation. Sam must "invest" himself in order to achieve his goal but as the old man says,"You should always be careful where your place your feet and your seat and the company you keep."

    Excerpt:

    “I…I don’t know about that. I just hate spiders. I really hate ’em.”

    “Indeed…Interesting. Well then, let’s concentrate on the web and not the spider, shall we? Your network is a mass of lines of communication. You are the middle of the web and each strand represents a line of communication supplying you with information. Each intersection of the strands is someone who can supply you with information. Understand?”

    “Yep,” says Sam noddin’ away.

    “This is your network. I know of no more valuable commodity than information, Mr. Lake. A well maintained network is invaluable.”

    “And you can help me with a web, uh, network?”

    “I believe I can do just that, Mr. Lake.”

    “You can help me with…capital?”

    “I can point you in the right direction. The rest will be up to you…” The feller eyes Sam up a bit and then continues. “There is a man, named Burris, Joshua Burris. He lives near Elberton on a remote farm. Do you know him?”

    “I know Elberton, can’t say I ever heard of Burris.”

    “Well, the unfortunate Mr. Burris has suffered a debilitating stroke. He is bed ridden and can’t speak. Mr. Burris was part of a special group of soldiers who served with distinction during the unfortunate misunderstanding between the states some years back. He and his fellow compatriots secured a substantial shipment of gold from one of the Union Army trains during a raid along the Tennessee-Kentucky border. Unbeknownst to them the war was already over. Mr. Burris and his friends hid the gold, fearing Yankee retribution.

    “Over the years Mr. Burris and his friends have moved their treasure several times. Over those many years each man was terrified they would be caught and hanged, should it come to light any had participated in the raid, and therefore none, not one of them, ever spent a single cent of it. Mr. Burris is the last remaining member of his troop. All have passed on and poor Burris is, ‘left holding the bag’ as they say. Mr. Burris has no next of kin. When he dies the secret dies with him. The gold is secreted somewhere on the property, I dare say.”

    “How much are we talking about?”

    “Somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty thousand dollars.”

    “Shoooohoooo!”

    “Indeed, Mr. Lake. If you were to secure this type of capital I believe I could, through my network, find an appropriate investment venture.”

    “How would I go about securing the capital?”

    “That, Mr. Lake, is entirely up to you.”

    “If I…”

    “If, Mr. Lake? You’re not going to waste my time are you?”

    “No…I mean when I secure the capital, how will I—”

    “I’ll be here, Mr. Lake. Right…here.”

    “I’m not sure how long this might take.”

    “I’ve a patient nature, Mr. Lake. I’ve learned if there is something you simply must acquire, then patience is a necessity. I’ve all the time in the world. I can wait.”

     

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Eternity Swamp

Eternity Swamp

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