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A Brief History of The Devil's Spine (standard:adventure, 1093 words)
Author: G.H. HaddenAdded: Jan 26 2008Views/Reads: 2079/1187Story 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 

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 

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