Lost Mountain

Writing Challenge - Lost Mountain

Is the mountain really lost? or is BillyBuc? He has issued this writing challenge:

  • The title must have the word 'mountain' in it and be related to the mountain in the photo.
  • The Full story must be contained in only one hub, but be of any writing style.
  • In addition to the mountain photo, the challenge must include the 3 other photos provided.
  • Post the entry by September 10th, 2016
  • Billybuc will be the sole judge of the 'winner' (but we all win because we are writing again!)
  • Link to some of the other challenge stories (at the bottom of your own story).
  • Notify Billybuc of the completed story - holland1145@yahoo.com

Anyone may contribute a prize by contacting Billybuc and letting him know that you want to contribute something to the best written hub.

Encourage others to follow, read, and contribute more to HP - like in the 'early' days around here! Maybe issue your own writing challenge!

Day One


The Old Barn

Julie woke up in a world of hurt. The man had beaten her several times. She had bruises, bad ones, mostly on her arms and legs. Her spine felt like it had been stretched to the breaking point. And there was no way to describe how she felt in her lower regions. She just knew pain from the inside out.

A couple of teeth were loose, and she had bitten the inside of her cheek more than once. Her lips were sore and cracked from days of dehydration.

But there was good news filtering into her brain. The ropes she had been tied with were looser now. Either she had lost enough weight or fluids, that she could now feel it was possible to slip out of the bindings. She had been left to die in this old barn, but now she was feeling the tiniest glimmer of hope.

She couldn't really remember how many days ago it had been since the man who smelled of rotten fruit had taken her. She had been on the road and had stopped to buy some apples at a seedy looking fruit stand on the side of the road.

Maybe she had been too tired to notice that the fruit stand was run by a neanderthal. She just wanted an apple or two and to be on her way. She stretched a bit after getting out of the car. And before she knew what was happening, the man had grabbed her and hit her in the face.

She was stunned but too shocked to resist being thrown into the back seat of her own car and being hog tied. It had happened so fast that she didn't even have time to process what was happening.

But now, here she was, vaguely aware that she was alone and now able to escape. She slipped one wrist out and was able to untie the knots slowly, but surely, acutely conscious of the danger she would still be in if the rotten man came back.

She heard no sounds. No rustling in the old hay, nothing.

She looked around for anything she could use for a weapon in case her tormentor returned. But there was a real lack of old tools that normally occupy a barn. And worst of all, there was no water, no food, and all she had on was what was left of the blouse she had been wearing several days ago.

Julie was weak and in pain, but she still had the will to live, so she got herself out of that old barn and started walking.

Day Two


The train tracks

Julie walked all that evening and all through the night. By mid morning, she had come across the old train tracks by the side of a formidable mountain road.

She was near delirium and still could not find so much as an empty plastic bottle or scrap of trash with something resembling food in it. She knew that she needed to find water very soon or die trying.

She couldn't quite figure out which way to go. Should she go up toward the mountain, or down towards what might be a town.

Then she saw it. A water tower up the tracks a ways. That was the decision maker for sure. Either she found water, or she would die. She headed up mountain hoping the tower still had some liquid in it.

As she passed by one of the empty train cars, she happened to notice an old jacket inside. It resembled the heavy duty jackets that fire fighters wore. And it looked gigantic to her. She could use it, if only she could reach it.

She was too weak to even climb up into the empty car on the low side of the tracks, but she managed to go under the car and get to the high side of the track and she found that she could just reach the jacket.

She put it on and felt immensely wealthy for a second having found something that might actually save her from the cold nights.

Again, she trudged up the incline hoping to get to the water tower and dreaming of the cold, refreshing water that must be there. It had to be there, it just had to be.


Day Three

Lost Mountain

Julie dreamed of apples. Lots and lots of apples. So many apples that she could not stand. The apples were tripping her and she fell, over and over. In the shadows there was an evil man, hurting her, yelling at her, hitting her.

Julie had passed out on the track after stumbling on the ties. Every centimeter of her body screamed in agony. She felt like she was losing her mind.

But finally, she reached the water tower. She woke up in its shadow. Her head felt so terribly swollen and heavy. She tried very hard to look up and see if there was water in it, but all she could see were the rotted out bottom metal slats that had held the tower bottom together. Nothing. No water.

But she heard something. A soft gentle sound. It was right over the rise. What was it? She crawled and scraped her way over the mound of dirt, and wonder of wonders, the creek that had fed the water tower was still running! Lightly, since it was late summer and the snows had long ago melted. But water it was and she dragged her painful self over to it and drank.

Nothing ever in her entire life had tasted so good as the water in that spring. It was cold, but not icy. It was wetter than wet. It melted into her skin and soothed the bruises. It was life itself.

She slept again, but did not dream of the apples, or the rotten man who tended them.

When she awoke, she looked up upon the mountain, shrouded in mist, as lost as she was.


Day Four

The Gravestones

As soon as Julie could stand, she got up and began to try and get her bearings again. She would live now. She had water, but sure as hell, she would die without food. If she didn't eat in the next few days, she would not survive.

But the water was life, and she had hope now. If only she could find something to eat!

She saw the gravestones about 100 meters away from the stream. She walked over and read their stories.

The three markers appeared to be those of a family named Drumpheros. The mother had died in the early 1900s, the father passed on shortly after the woman, and in between was a smaller grave. Perhaps it was their child.

She couldn't grieve for these people. She didn't know who they were, even though their name sounded vaguely familiar. She only knew that nearby they, or their family, had planted a healthy apple tree! And wonder of wonders, there were apples ready for the picking!

If she had been a religious person, she would have fallen to her knees to praise the god of the universe for those apples, but she wasn't. She knew that the tree was a memorial to these lost and forgotten people of the graves. She nodded toward them and thanked their skeletons instead.

She wondered if there were another family member still living. Perhaps one selling these same apples in a roadside fruit stand.

The more she thought of this, the more her brain began to associate the Drumpheros with their evil, violent, child who had grown to adulthood. She pictured him in her mind. His visage coalesced into the man who had abducted her.

She would live now. She knew this to be a fact. She would find her way off of this secluded, lost mountain of doom. She would find the man who had so cruelly abused her body. And she would destroy him.



This story was inspired by the billbuc writing challenge, but is wholly the creation of L.A. Cargill and Austinstar© 2016.

For more creative writing and useful information please visit my website - Austinstar.com

If you wish to enter this creative writing challenge, please visit billybuc's hub - A Writing Challenge, Are You Up For It?

To read some other entries into this challenge, please visit:

  1. Rainbow Mountain - A short story by Nell Rose
  2. The Ghost Mountain Adventure - A short story by John Hansen
  3. Conquering Savage Mountain - by Lori Colbo
  4. The Legend of Whisper Mountain - by Shauna L. Bowling

Your opinion matters!

Are you satisfied or unsatisfied with the ending of this story?

  • Satisfied
  • Unsatisfied
  • It left me wanting a different ending
See results without voting

© 2016 Austinstar

More by this Author

Comments - All of my comments are moderated and you must be signed in to HP to comment. Thank you. 20 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

Wonderful creativity, my friend. You took the challenge and rose to the occasion. Filing this away. Will read again when judging happens, but this is definitely a strong contender. Thanks for taking up the challenge.

lambservant profile image

lambservant 2 months ago from Pacific Northwest

Very gripping and unique take on this challenge.

Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 2 months ago from Southern Georgia

Wow Lela, very fine use of the photo prompts to weave your tale around. One of the best I've read so far.

Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 months ago from Queensland Australia

This was very well-written, and the ending was a complete surprise. I actually wanted it to continue but such is life. (Under "The Train Tracks" chapter.. 4th paragraph.."The she saw it..." should be "Then she saw it.."

Very good entry to Bill's challenge.

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 8 weeks ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

@Randy - thank you! High praise coming from another fellow writer of good tales.

@Jodah - Thank you for spotting the error! I must have re-read this 3 times and still didn't see it. I know your story has a happy ending, but to me, so did this one, LOL! Good luck in the challenge!

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 8 weeks ago from Central Florida

Austinstar, I love the sweet revenge found in the end of the story. Ironic that the food she found to sustain her was directly linked to the man who left her for dead. I have no doubt he'll get his just desserts!

I'm linking this to my story. Great read!

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 8 weeks ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Hi bravewarrior! I was just on my way to read your entry. Thanks for the good words!

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 8 weeks ago from Central Florida

You did read my entry, Austinstar. That's how I discovered yours!

I meant to mention in my previous comment that I love that you turned to photos to black and white. Black and white photos, and sepia as well, seem to be more dramatic. Great thought!

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 8 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Lela....Happy to see you decided to contribute a tale. And what a nail-biter of a tale it is! I crawled and stumbled with your heroine, feeling imaginary thirst and pain!

The ending was sheer relief with a vision of the evil attacker to suffer his doom.......Good job Lela.

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 8 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is a dramatic and creative story, Lela. I love the way in which you've weaved the photos into the tale. It's a great story for Bill's challenge.

Emese Fromm profile image

Emese Fromm 8 weeks ago from The Desert

Hi, Lela,

Great story! I love the ending, the irony of it. I didn't expect it, and because of it, I appreciate it more. Part of me wants it to go on, to see what happens next, but it's great to stay with just a suggestion of her revenge. Loved it!

manatita44 profile image

manatita44 7 weeks ago from london

Austin, I was just heaping praise on Cam for his efforts in the same mould, but you are equally convincing. A great tale, flows well... read every word and every line...

A very encouraging and entertaining piece. More headaches for Bill, I'm sure. A very entertaining and cleverly written piece. I applaud you.

P.S. I hear that it's a competition, so just change that 'drug' to 'drag.' as in this sentence. Simple error, I suppose:

'But water it was and she drug her painful self over to it and drank.' Much Love.

manatita44 profile image

manatita44 7 weeks ago from london


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 7 weeks ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Hi manatita44 - thanks for the kind words!

'Drug' as a past tense form of the verb 'drag' is a colloquial expression. But you are correct in that I need to change it to 'dragged' - the actual past tense of the verb, 'drag'.


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 7 weeks ago from Hyderabad, India

Great story, Austin! It is a touching story. You have done it so well and I am full of appreciation for it.

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 7 weeks ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Thank you, V! The story just wrote itself.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

Aw, thanks so much for taking part. I'm sorry I'm so late in getting here. It's been a troublesome few weeks in our household. I seem to be camping out in the hospital of late keeping family members company.

But I'm here now and I'm filing this away. I'll read them all again after the deadline of the 10th.

Again, thanks so much.

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 6 weeks ago from Texas

Nice story. Kept me reading, but your question about satisfaction with the ending. . .I think I'd be more satisfied with knowing how he was destroyed. But that's just me wanting to see justice against him, whatever form that may have taken. LOL

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 weeks ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Yes, I should write a follow up.

shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 6 weeks ago from Texas

That would surely be an interesting sequel.

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