The Legend of Whisper Mountain - My Response to Billybuc's Writing Challenge

Whisper Mountain
Whisper Mountain | Source

Jump Start Your Muse

Join in on billybuc’s writing challenge. What I love about his challenges is they are based on picture prompts. Follow this (embedded in the word "link") link to grab your prompts and set your muse in motion.

Legends are born and passed down fer generations in jest ‘bout ever’ town. Hell, I’d bet there’s a legend or two in ever’ part of the world. But I don’t know nothing ‘bout that. I only know ‘bout what’s been passed ‘round in Arkansas. I ain’t been nowhere else, but I do read some, so I’m guessin’ legends exist pert near ever’ where.

Have ya’ll heard the legend of Whisper Mountain? As the story goes, the closer ya git to the mountain, ya hear voices. Not loud ones, but if’n ya listen real close, ya can hear ‘em. All kinds a voices. Some human, some not.

‘Guessin’ I should fill ya’ll in on how the legend goes ‘fore I git ta speakin’ my piece. Here’s how it’s been handed down fer generations in these parts:

Bones of men, women, children, and animals have been deposited in shallow graves dug on all sides of the mountain for hundreds of years. As the earth grew around the graves, so did the mountain. It’s been said that lost souls tried to dig their way out and as they did, more dirt was deposited around their attempts until the mountain grew to be one of tallest in Arkansas. Snow falls on its peak and never melts. It’s believed that lost souls’ tears flow down the mountain and freeze before they reach the valley below, keeping the mountain in a constant state of white cold. Those who have attempted to climb Whisper Mountain never return. Only their voices remain.

The barn was my special place
The barn was my special place | Source

My Story

Ever since I was a little boy I’ve loved ridin’ the rails. Pa was a train engineer and would take me with him during the summer when I weren’t in school. He’d let me ride in one of the cars as he delivered goods from one town to the next. I’d always choose one that didn’t have much cargo in it, open the door some and watch the world go by as we chugged down the tracks. Those are my best memories of Pa.

But things changed after Ma died. He quit takin’ me on his trips. It seemed he was gone more ‘n he was home. When he was home, he’d jest mope about, not sayin’ a word. A couple years later he left fer work and never came back.

I was ‘bout ten at the time. I had no idea why Pa didn’t come home. I figgered he plumb jest couldn’t stand livin’ without Ma or with me. After a few days, I knew I’d never seem him again, but I needed to know what happened to him. Where’d he go? Was he alive? Did somethin’ happen to his train? No one come to the house to tell me nothin’. He was jest gone.

I didn’t see no reason to keep up with my studies, so I quit goin’ to school. I took to sleepin’ out in the barn at night so’s I could quiet my head. The barn was where I’d go to think or dream ‘bout the places I wanted to go when I grew up. It was my special, private place. But a boy can only do so much thinkin’ sittin’ in one spot, so I’d wander into town to where the trains would slow down jest enough fer me to jump one of the cars. I’d daydream ‘bout me and Pa ridin’ the rails like we did afore Ma passed. Goin’ from town to town was excitin’ and took my mind off things. Fer a bit anyway. It got to where my days were spent on the rails and my nights in the barn.

But, where the hell was Pa? I had to know. I had to find him and ask him why he didn’t take me with him.

That’s where my journey begun. And how I learned the truth ‘bout the legend of Whisper Mountain.

Sayin' goodbye to Ma
Sayin' goodbye to Ma | Source

Voices of Whisper Mountain

The Journey

First thing I did was go visit Ma. I know, I know you’re thinkin’ but she’s dead, boy. How you goin’ go visit your Ma? Same way anyone does: I went to her gravesite, where she’s buried next to her Ma and Pa. I needed to tell her I was goin’ to find Pa and not to worry. Jest rest in peace, as they say.

After packin’ up some food, a coupla books, and spare clothes, I said goodbye to the ole homestead and headed fer the tracks.

For the next several years, I jumped railroad cars and picked up odd jobs here and there, but always kept movin’, lookin’ fer Pa.

Then, one day – I guess I was ‘bout sixteen er so by this time – I found him. I’d come upon a small abandoned cargo train that looked like the one Pa used to steer. Sure nuff, there he was settin’ in the engine car. I’m not sure why he was settin’ there. It was clear to me the train hadn’t run in quite some time.

He turned to me and said, “Been waitin’ fer ya son. Welcome to Whisper Mountain.”

Then I heard the voices; not jest Pa’s but hundreds of others. Shoot, maybe even thousands. It was deafening.

“Put your stuff down, son. Let’s go fer a walk”

We walked side by side in silence as we ascended the mountain. I can’t tell ya why legend says no one comes back who tries the trek. It was easy. The mist that surrounds the mountain seemed to carry us upwards with ease. We didn’t even get out of breath or have to stop to rest. Next thing I knew we were at the top lookin’ out as far as the eye can see. It was beautiful. And so were the voices. Soft whispers, really, and very comfortin’.

Pa and I were finally together again and at peace in what we both knew was home.

Pa's train
Pa's train | Source

The Truth

Turns out Pa’d been waitin’ fer me all these years. See, the day he left, I did too. The train wrecked, killin’ Pa instantly. I was throwed from the car I was ridin’ and died, too. I jest didn’t know it. I s’pose you can say we were both lost souls.

The mist that carried us up Whisper Mountain was other lost souls who had found peace. They helped us in our journey to the place that lost souls go when their bodies quit livin’. Ma’s here, too.

I’ve often wondered what really happens when you die. See, no one’d ever come back from the dead to tell me the truth. Bet you’ve been wonderin’ too, huh?

Well, now you know. Whisper Mountain is home to lost souls. It’s where they find peace, love and happiness. The air’s clean, the colors are brilliant, the smells are intoxicatin' and there’s no such thing as hardship.

Whether human or animal, all souls have a place to live forever on Whisper Mountain.

Oh, and the tears? They’re tears of relief and joy, not sorrow.

See ya soon. We’re waitin’ fer ya!


Peace,

Bravewarrior



Shauna L Bowling

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Comments 77 comments

DreamerMeg profile image

DreamerMeg 3 months ago from Northern Ireland

What a great story. Really enjoyed that. Started out sad and ended very hopeful.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

I'm glad you approve, Meg. Haven't seen you in forever! Thanks for being the first to comment.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Sha Wonderful! Simply fantastic in every sense of the word. I like this story so much! Your muse did you proud, girlfriend. You must have been storing this one in a safe place for a long time. Bravo!!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

That's a good little story. I like the voice in it.


annart profile image

annart 3 months ago from SW England

Absolutely stunning! I love it. You created a scene, a journey and a history, all rolled into one and it bowled me along with the train.

It never ceases to amaze me how differently people interpret a visual prompt challenge. You've done a brilliant job here, Shauna.

Ann


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Paula, it took billybuc issuing a picture prompt to get the creative side of my muse flowing. I love fiction and have so many ideas written down, I get befuddled and don't know which to expound upon. Sometimes my muse and I just need a little kick in the tail to get going in the right direction.

Thank you for your awesome comment. I needed the reinforcement.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Why, thankee, Miss Rebecca!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Wow, Ann. You're welcome to blow me away any time!

Seriously, it's been so long since I've put my creative self to work that I was afraid I'd lost something. Your comment is just the fuel I need to get back to writing fiction.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 months ago from southern USA

Hi Sha,

So great to see you publishing! You've been missed. I'm glad Bill's challenge inspired you to put pen to paper ...or fingers to keyboard.

Great tale here of the voices of Whisper Mountain. I'm glad about the hopeful ending too.

Blessings


annart profile image

annart 3 months ago from SW England

I don't think you have any problem with your creative side! Give us some more please!

I must admit I was getting a bit stagnant but I'm now working on a response too. Not sure it's going to match up to this though but then I enjoy the process so it's all good!

Ann


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you, Faith. Yep. I've been gone too long - well, I comment regularly, but I haven't written as regularly as I used to. This is my second post since December 2015. Leave it to Bill to get my juices flowing!


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello Sha, you lead your readers ever step of the way. Very interesting tale, with a little chill of a twist also. Well done. Very good contribution - Poor Bill is going to have a tough time.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Ann, thanks for the boost. Much appreciated. I so feared I was stagnating - and I was. Bill is our biggest cheerleader and knows just what to do to kick us back into gear. In fact, it was your comment on one of his Mailbags that sparked the flame. Thank you for that!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Mike, coming from you, that's quite a compliment. I think Bill has gotten many of us out of our creative slumps with this challenge. I don't think he's posed one yet that didn't set my creative sparks on fire. The key (with me, anyway) is picture prompts. They allow the imagination to fly.

Yep, Bill has his work cut out for him!


Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 3 months ago

Wow, this is good, really good! If Bill's prompts encourage you to write something like this, I hope HE keeps up the good work and prompts you again (and again).

You did an excellent job of weaving the mystery, creating the regional dialect, and telling a great story. Thank you for sharing.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 months ago from Southern Illinois

Wow! Shauna you blew me away with this ' one of a kind story ' I loved your hick dialect . Your muse soared and took me on the mountain. You have a winner! Loved it!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Diva, I was afraid I'd lost my touch. Your comment means the world to me, especially knowing your professional background.

Yes, Bill has always had a way of kicking me in the ass and getting me back to what I love best. In fact, I think some of my best writing has resulted from Bill's picture prompts. They say a picture is worth a thousand words.....


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you so much, Ruby. I was afraid perhaps the dialect would take away from the read. I have a blogger friend who has a writer friend who writes all her comments in hick and they're very difficult to read. I have to slow down to understand what she's trying to say. I actually gave up reading her comments because they take too much effort.

I'm tickled that my story blew you away. I'm smiling big. Can you see it?


Barbara cook 3 months ago

Wish they had found "Ma". Maybe one day she'll be "commin around the mountain" to meet up with them. Maybe because she had been formally buried with her folks she was safely "resting in peace". But riding the rails took them to a new world.

We'll done!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Mom, Ma was there. She was mentioned in the last part of the story. The family wouldn't have been complete without her.

I'm glad you approve of my story. Thanks for reading and supporting my literary efforts. Many writers here on HP don't have the familial support I do. I'm very blessed to not know what that must feel like.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia

This was a wonderful story, Shauna. The dialogue is what made it unique and I don't feel took away from the storyline. Very well done.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 months ago from USA

Sha, the story was fantastic and this voice is very natural for you. (Not everyone can pull this off.) I love it! You should try writing similar works using the same voice. I'm so impressed! Shared.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

Your muse took Bill's challenge and ran with it, dear Sha.

This entry is compelling, heart-warming and most authentic - loved it!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 months ago from Nashville Tn.

Fantastic! What a story...and I loved the ending. Your muse was in top form with this one. I feel privileged to be among the super-talented writers here on HP such as yourself.

Wonderful!


Ghost32 3 months ago

Excellent, Sha. And the picture chosen for the prompt is powerful. At least, it spoke loudly to me the instant I saw it, inspiring an entire fantasy novel titled Eye of the Stone Dog--which I may or may not ever get around to actually writing, but the concept is there, one way or the other.

Now, if I could just get past the eye-blinking concept of a towering mountain like that in the state of Arkansas...on the other hand, I haven't been everywhere in the state, nor did I see the ending coming, which is a rare thing for me. So, one more set of kudos to you; fitting the Stone Dog into a truly readable short story is quite an accomplishment.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 months ago

Wow, another wonderful story to add to the collection.

I love Whisper Mountain, but I do not like snow and ice.

A sad ending, but I am glad the boy found his pa and the whisper together.

Blessings and hugs dear Shauna


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 months ago from South Africa

Beautiful, engrossing, well-written story!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you, John. It just came to me to write in the first person as a boy from Arkansas. Have no idea why. I've never even been there!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Flourish, you just made my Sunday! I actually have a character in The Gifts of Faith who speaks in a Southern drawl. Sometimes that can be hard to read, so I tried not to go overboard.

Glad you liked it and thanks bunches for the share!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Thanks, Mar. It's good to have my muse back in action.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Audrey, you're too kind. Thank you for your wonderful comment. You've got me smiling!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Ghost, when Arkansas popped into my head I had to do some research as to mountain range and weather conditions. The Ozarks run through Arkansas and parts of the state get up to 15" of snow annually.

I love that Bill's prompts have reached outside the HP circle. He knows how much I admire you and your writing. I look forward to your novel. I enjoyed the hell out of Tam the Tall Tale Teller!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Shyron, the ending is sad, but joyous at the same time. For some reason, spirits are a favorite topic for my muse.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Thanks, Martie. Will you be joining in on the fun?


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 3 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Excellent story and good use of dialogue. I linked to this story on my own tale - Lost Mountain.

Good luck in the challenge!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 months ago from Olympia, WA

As I said in my email, I'll read all of these after the deadline passes, but a quick note here to thank you for always being here to take up a challenge.

love,

bill


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Thanks, Austinstar. I'll be sure to read it!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

If anyone can get me inspired, it's you, Bill!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 3 months ago from South Carolina

Awesome. Loved the twists and turns, the dialect and the connection I felt with the story teller. Also loved the vivid descriptions.

Great job!

Hugs,

Gail


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 3 months ago from Southern Georgia

Love the dialogue, Shauna! Kinda reminds me of some of my character's accents. Good job! :)


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

It's great to see you, Gail! Thanks so much reading my little story and leaving your awesome comment.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Randy, that's why I love your stories. They're real people that grew up in the south.

Thanks for the proverbial thumbs up!


Mr Archer profile image

Mr Archer 3 months ago from Missouri

Cheyenne, this is a wonderful story! Well written, imaginative and spellbinding: I love it!

Mike


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Aw, shucks, Mike. Thank you so much. What an awesome comment!


Emese Fromm profile image

Emese Fromm 3 months ago from The Desert

What a great story! Sad and hopeful, and just overall beautiful. Love how you were able to write from the perspective of a boy from Arkansas, his voice rings true, the dialect seems perfect. You are a great writer!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you, Emese. I have no idea what possessed me to tell the tale from a boy's perspective, let alone a boy from Arkansas. Guess it wasn't up to me....


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 months ago from England

What a great story! and what a fantastic ending! I did not see that coming! great contribution to bills challenge! its a winner in my book!


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 3 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Shauna, I enjoyed the voice of your character. It gave the story a sense of country wisdom. Here is one of my favorite parts of your story,

"The barn was where I’d go to think or dream ‘bout the places I wanted to go when I grew up. It was my special, private place. But a boy can only do so much thinkin’ sittin’ in one spot, so I’d wander into town to where the trains would slow down jest enough fer me to jump one of the cars."

This is creative, introspective and entertaining. Well done.


Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

Jo_Goldsmith11 3 months ago

Hello and this is beautiful!

"all souls have a place to live forever on Whisper Mountain."

Whisper Mountain is breathtaking!

I very much enjoyed this touching writing contribution to the challenge.

You have such a beautiful heart! 5 Stars! ***** Blessings always..

(((((((((( bravewarrior ))))))))))

Also, thank you for including a list of who else has written about this challenge. It helps..:-)


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Nell, I'm glad you didn't see the ending coming. That's what I was going for, although I didn't know it until my fingers hit the keys!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Chris, coming from you, that's a huge compliment! Thank you so much for reading (and enjoying) my story.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Jo, thank you for the beautiful comment. As far as listing other entries, I'm merely following Bill's rules. I'm sure I've missed some. If I have, please let me know.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 3 months ago from london

Bill is sometimes amazed or always amazed by the variations that he gets. All great writing!

I like your slant... the approach you took and the clever way you and Pa got to and up that mountain. Fine writing, my Sweet Shauna. I'll see you there ... but, not yet... not yet, inshall'lah. Much Peace.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Not yet, here, either, Manatita. One day.....

Am I correct in that the grapevine has it you have an entry on its way as well?


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 3 months ago from london

Ha ha ha... funny! Just about landed from New York. Tired and catching up. 01:02 hrs here. Bill's a good Soul and friend, so you never know. watch this space .... Much Love, my Dear Shauna.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 months ago from Riga, Latvia

Shauna this was a fantastic and most interesting story. Really enjoyed this.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you, Rasma. What an amazing comment! I'm so glad you enjoyed my story.


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 3 months ago from Texas

Wow! This one is certainly one of my favorites from this challenge. I didn't see the ending coming. I figured his Pa was on the mountain, but not that he was dead too. I love a good storyline twist.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you, shanmarie. I'm thrilled that this is one of your favorites. There's been a huge response to Bill's challenge; he's going to have a hard time making a decision!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 months ago from The Caribbean

The feeling of peace after worry is soothing. Just a story, but it works.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Dora, that's probably the best compliment I could hope for. I can't say any more. You said it in two sentences. Thank you so much for your perspective.


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 3 months ago from Hyderabad, India

Very great story with a sudden twist at the ending. Even though tragic, it is very interesting.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you, Venkatachari. There's a little bit of hope weaved in there as well.


teaches12345 3 months ago

You should give us more posts to read, Shauna. Your writing is exciting! I enjoyed the ending to the story. Sweet hope still thrives!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Dianna, I admit I haven't written much this year. I appreciate that you consider my writing as exciting. What a compliment! Feel free to browse the titles in my profile. You might find something else that appeals to you as well.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 3 months ago from New Delhi, India

What a wonderful response to the challenge!

I found myself involved in your story and you kept the flow and interest till the end.

It is amazing how many different responses can be seen for this challenge. All thanks to billybuc for inspiring the writers to awaken their creative mind.

Well done Shauna and thanks for sharing this!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Thank you, Chitrangada. Keeping the reader's interest and having them get involved in the story is exactly what every writer hope to accomplish.

Bill's challenge awakened my muse from her slumber. I'm thankful for that.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 months ago from Orlando, FL

Woot, Sha! Great story...I especially enjoyed your twang! :)


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 3 months ago from Central Florida Author

Thanks, Linda! Did you feel you hadn't left Nashville? Tee hee...


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 2 months ago from Stillwater, OK

I absolutely love this, and cannot praise it enough. By the way, the souls ain't lost. They found where they were supposed'ta go.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 months ago from Central Florida Author

Darn tootin' Deb! Seriously, I'm tickled that you love my story. It was completely written by my muse. I started it and she took over. I didn't know how it was going to end until the words appeared on the screen. Pretty cool how that works, huh?


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 2 months ago from Oklahoma

So glad to hear from you. Great response to Bill's challenge.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 months ago from Central Florida Author

Thanks Larry. Leave it to Bill to shake my muse free of her cobwebs!


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 2 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Wow! This is a great creative mystery while writing in the regional dialect. Well done!


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 months ago from Central Florida Author

Thanks, Nadine. I'm glad you enjoyed my story!


Chris Rose 4 weeks ago

Shauna, that's one of the best articles I've read in a long time - it's rare anyone ever gets to creating a real sense of conversation in written works, this one certainly does...

And besides all that it's just so goddamm interesting !


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 weeks ago from Central Florida Author

Chris, I'm always tickled pink when you visit my work. But when you leave a comment like this one, I want to reach across the pond and give you a big hug!

Thank you, my friend. You have no idea how much your comment means to me!

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