|A Brief History of The Devil's Spine (standard:adventure, 1093 words)|
|Author: G.H. Hadden||Added: Jan 26 2008||Views/Reads: 1750/980||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Folks local to Berkshire Lick call it the Devil’s Spine. And history tells us everything was proceeding well until the Covington and Ohio railroad blasted its way through the Cumberland Gap, and the mountain gave up its secret stash.|
A Brief History of The Devil's Spine By G.H. Hadden Folks local to Burke's hometown of Berkshire Lick call it the Devil's Spine, a long and narrow Appalachian snake ridge in the heart of the Alleghenies, near Cumberland Gap, in remote Maryland – West Virginia border country. They say Its rock is ageless layers of strata folded by the force of God back on the third day of Genesis, right after “Let there be light!” and “Let there be water!” “Let there be MOUNTAINS!!!” And it was good. And in those lush tropical heavily forested hollows in the shadow of the many mighty jagged peaks dinosaurs of all conceivable shape and size lived, hunted, foraged, frolicked, hatched their younglings and died. But change came in the blink of an eye, and a bright flash of fire in the sky. A cratered space boulder the size of a quarry truck struck Earth like a cannon shot and released the energy of about a million-million Jap-killing Hiroshima bombs. The shot seen and heard ‘round the world: it vaporized itself instantly into a mushroom cloud that threw up a dark pall of black dust and killing acid rain from a crater that flooded instantly over in a boiling torrent of sea water, later to become the Guff of Mexico. Lightning flashed and thunder boomed. Great balls of fire rained down upon all parts of the Earth, setting the world's forests ablaze. Everything vibrant and green that was not drowned in tsunamis burned away to soot, or died in the shriveled ashen dust. It was the end of the world—Armageddon, and the cold and the snow killed whatever was left of the plants, which forever sealed the fate of the master race of lizards. But, some species survived...And in time, a new world order would rise. Over eons of time the jagged peaks wore down through the ice age to corrupted knobs of petrified bone, and the seared corpses of those soot-choked, tortured, and starved to death dinosaurs became the hardened black bituminous gold the area would later become renowned for. The mountain hoarded these trophies greedily, slowly entombing and incubating diamonds in the rough—half cured carbon gems with a value of exponential worth someday...possibly hoping to even outdo the great kimberlitic deposits of South Africa. Noah's flood came and went, new animals took the place of the old, and history tells us everything was proceeding well until the Covington and Ohio railroad blasted its way through the Gap south from Cumberland, Maryland, wending its way west through the hill counties along the New River Gorge around the time of the Civil War, and the mountain gave up its secret stash. Some of those who originally came as railway builders eventually settled as minors. The freed Blacks and immigrant Whites who together risked life and limb to drive the steel ribbons through lush mountain hollers with pick and axe in blistered hands, whose sweat and toil and nightmares of deadly ear-splitting nitro made the hills come alive; those who stayed went on to found separate but equal towns in the Green Valley together. The Virginia and Allegheny mining district was born with staked out land claims and tarpaulin covered shacks. With mule-drawn graters they scraped roads throughout Green Valley, hacking the thick deciduous forests away to clear the land for agriculture, scarring the hills, blasting and tunneling like a cancer, eating away at the riches. Industry grew with the collieries, towns grew, and their hungry steam engines belched and boiled away the precious stones as fast as they could dig them up. The steam trains brought more branch tracks deeper into the hills, and the C&O reorganized and grew into the mighty Chesapeake And Ohio system. Empties in and Loads out, ceaselessly night and day, the ebb and flow of human activity robbing the mountain blind of its treasure, scattering it to the winds, turning it to thick Click here to read the rest of this story (42 more lines)
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