The Iron Writer Challenge #174 – 2016 Summer Open Challenge #11


The Iron Writer Challenge #174

2016 Summer Open Challenge #11

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements


Richard Russell, Harry Craft, Geoff Gore, Vance Rowe, Bobby Salomons 

The Elements:

An abandon mine
Gold teeth from a dead person
Main character is being pursued


Vance Rowe

“Are they still behind us?” Charlie Gable asked his brother, as the turned their horses into the canyon.

“Little brother, they will follow us right to Mexico. I don’t think they took very kindly to us robbing their bank,” Frank Gable replied with a chuckle.

“Big brother, I think you are right,” Charlie replied with a laugh of his own. “Maybe we can lose them in these canyons.”

“I surely do hope so. I ain’t liking the idea of being sent to Yuma prison or being strung up neither.”

They soon left the canyon and started their horses up a hill to try and lose the posse. Near the top of the hill, they spotted an abandoned mine.

“Let’s go in there Charlie. We can bring the horses in and let them rest.”

The two men entered the mine and brought their horses as far into the mine as they could, just so they wouldn’t be heard. 

The two men decided to check out the mine and maybe see if there was another way out. As they walked deeper into the mine, they heard a whistling noise. They walked deeper into the mine to check out the sound and Frank tripped over something and fell to the ground. Charlie lit a match and they were shocked to see a skeleton of a human body.  Charlie used the match to check the skeleton out and was happy to see gold teeth in the head of the skeleton. After helping his brother up, Charlie pulled the teeth out of the mouth and put them in his pocket.

Suddenly the whistling noise got louder and when they turned to look down the mine, they saw a pair of yellow glowing dots in the darkness. They didn’t stick around to see what it was. The two men quickly ran back toward the front of the mine, They grabbed their horses and ran out of the mine. They spotted the posse on the trail below them and Frank shouted to them.

The sheriff and the posse hurried up the hill.

Frank said,”Please arrest us sheriff and get us out of here, There is a ghost or something in there with yellow glowing eyes.” 

Charlie Gable grabbed the bags of stolen money from the bank and handed them to the sheriff, The two men handed their guns to men in the posse and they mounted their horses.

“We’ll meet you back in town Sheriff,” Frank said as he kicked his horse and rode out of there, followed by his brother.

A deer walked out of the mine and the men in the posse laughed and hurried to catch up with the criminals.

Broken HillGeoff Gore

Geoff Gore

Ray Whitten was the last CEO of what had once been one of the most prosperous companies on the planet. The Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited. BHP. It seemed fitting it should end here. For more than a century the Earth here had willingly offered its soul to the long line of men before him who had been only too willing to receive it, in exchange for cold, hard, cash.

That was before they discovered the artefact. Even then, at first, there were scant few people on the planet who knew the secret of its existence. That was before it poisoned the surrounding landscape and the minds of those who’d once lived there.

How many had died?

He couldn’t tell. All he knew was those who remained would hunt him down until they found either him, or the artefact itself.

He stopped the car and checked the mirror to see if he could catch a glimpse of his pursuers.


It wouldn’t stay that way for log.

He scooped the cloth wrapped relic from the passenger seat beside him, hugged it close and stepped out into the hot wind whistling across the dusty red earth.

Broken Hill.

Once there’d actually been a hill here. A modern day tower of babel, stretching upwards toward God. It wasn’t so much a tower of knowledge as a tower of money. When the mines had been prosperous the mining magnates had thought themselves God’s, but it was what lay hidden beneath that was the real source of power.

Broken Hill.

Broken men.

In the last years, under his tenure as CEO, the only gold extracted from this place had come from the teeth of the men who’d died here.

Broken himself, Whitten trudged across the open earth. Whatever parched grass remained turned to dust under his boots until he stood at the edge of a deep scar in the Earth where once a mighty mountain stood. To his right a huge grader lay silent, slowly being buried by the wind-borne sand. Mother Nature trying to conceal the evidence. An accessory after the fact. A skeleton slumped in the driver’s seat. One of the many who never stood a chance when they’d first found the object. The artefact still wrapped beneath his coat seemed to throb against him like a heartbeat. In the distance behind him another steady metronomic thud was getting louder.


They’d found him. Soon they’d be on top of him. He had to finish what he’d come to do. To return the cursed thing to where it had come from and where hopefully, it would never be found again. He kept going. Staggering on to the left of the main pit, until he found the abandoned shaft. A cavernous maw in the ground. Behind him the thrum of the approaching helicopters grew into a roar. He knew all that remained for him to do. He peered over the edge into the abyss. He stole one last look behind, then stepped forward.

James 4:17Richard Russell

Richard Russell

Soldat Friedrich Huber was simply doing his job. Assigned to a small convoy driving cargo from Germany to Switzerland, he had no idea what the cargo was. His wipers swished back and forth trying to keep up with the barrage of rain, but the hypnotic rhythm and anxiety of driving with blacked-out headlights was exhausting. When the deluge was at its worst, Friedrich took a wrong turn and drove many miles before realizing he was separated from the rest of the convoy.

While trying to turn around, his truck slid into a ditch and nearly turned over. Opening the back to check on his cargo, Friedrich discovered a crate had broken open.

He scooped up a handful of the contents. Astounded, he realized it was gold. As he looked closer, he was horrified. Friedrich was young but he was not stupid. This gold was certainly taken from dead Jewish prisoners in Dachau. But there was so much of it! How many human beings must they have killed? Thousands? Tens of thousands? More? Friedrich’s stomach turned sour and he vomited. His naive adoration for the glorious Third Reich – his own German government – came crashing down from its pedestal.

He would have no part in this … Except …

He thought quickly … There was something he could do!

It was in his power to return the items of gold he now had under his control.

He could turn it over to its rightful owners, the Jewish people.

He knew it would cost him his life, but it was the right thing to do.

Using the winch on the truck, he got back on the road and headed farther away from the convoy. They would soon discover his absence. He had to get far away and work quickly…

Taking the gold out of the crates, Friedrich hid the treasure in an abandoned mine.

He quickly penned a letter to a “Jewish Rabbi, Switzerland,” and gave the letter to a small group of refugees headed across the border. He refilled the crates to make the truck appear heavy and resealed them.

The SS caught up with Friedrich after he had spent several hours driving back into the heart of Germany. Pulled over, the truck was searched, but the crates now only held rocks.

Friedrich died a slow, horrible death as they tried to make him tell where the gold was.

The unopened letter was delivered 30 years later to a Jewish Rabbi in Switzerland. It simply said, “ ‘On a windy day you can hear the sound of toothless whistling underground; Rising up from all around for their lost treasure to be found.’ On behalf of the German people, I apologize for the wrongs perpetrated against your race. Signed, Friedrich Huber.”

Eventually investigations revealed the existence of an abandoned mine in the south of Germany where locals claimed the wind would make an eerie whistling as it blew through the tunnels. The World Jewish Restoration Organization found the mine and several hundred pounds of gold teeth and fillings taken from murdered prisoners of German concentration camps.

A Clipboard and a WhistleBobby Salomons

Bobby Salomons

My heart is beating in my throat, I can taste it. I can literally taste the pulse. It drones in my head with every beat of my racing heart.

I can hear the sound of crushing rocks and pebbles underneath the soles of my boots. My legs are on fire, burning more with every step up against the steep incline. The ground slips away beneath me, and my balance begins to shift, my knee crashes into the ground. I can feel gravel breaking the skin and piercing its way into the soft tissue underneath. Blood mingling with dirt. I don’t care.

I grab onto a protruding metal bar and pull myself up, everything hurts. I gasp for air as I straighten my leg and an intense pain momentarily overcomes the urge to survive. Faint voices, angry whispers, follow from the darkness behind me.
Warm tears running down my cheeks. Snot running from my nose. Mucus is obstructing my throat as I try to draw some oxygen in. It’s so hard to breathe.
I miss my family, afraid I’ll never see them, but worse is the crushing guilt that I’ll leave them behind. A weight heavier than tunnel collapse.

Nothing and no one was supposed to be in here. All I was here for was to inspect if it was safe for tours, all I brought was a clipboard and a headlight. Something grabbed my clipboard, I’ve broken the light. All I have to go by is going upwards and a faint light in the distance that I can only hope is the outside world.

The vaguest sound of a whistle haunts me, it may be the wind outside, or a draft from another tunnel. But it’s enough for me to try again. I begin to climb, with every step hurting more than the last. But I have to try, just a few more steps. Then another. Each one counts.
Behind me an overwhelming sinister is watching – following me shortly. I grab my tapeline and throw it at the darkness. A chilling cold creeps up my spine as it never hits the ground. It just disappeared into the void behind me, that is darker than night and my eyes can register. It hates me.

One final time the adrenaline shoots through every fibre still left, and I can tell that I’m about to be pounced. I throw myself forward and gain some momentum, my chest thunders like a drum to a point where I worry if it will suddenly stop. But it doesn’t matter, I’d rather die trying. Everything is in slow motion as I take bigger strides than I thought possible, my bones bending under the stress, but I’m doing it. Light is near, just a few more strides.

Behind me gains something, the whistle turning into a deafening scream, overcoming even my own. But then the sound escapes, into the open. I fall out onto grass and turn around to look back. Into pitch blackness retreats a twisted, evil face. The wail fades back into a whistling, coming from between a dead man’s golden teeth. I’m quitting my job today. I sob.

BequestHarry Craft

Harry Craft

As he came to entrance to the mine, Jack looked back. No sign of his pursuer; but he knew Lucian had not given up and would still be on his trail. Jack leaned against the jamb to rest a moment. Straightening up, he took a deep breath, squared his shoulders, and entered the mine. Dangerous, to be sure; but safer than being captured.

As he turned on his flashlight and headed farther in, he thought about the time he and Lucian had spent as fellow students of the old man. He had taught them the esoteric lore that had been passed down for generations. As they progressed, learning more and more about the powers of the mind, he had promised them that one day they would be able to make full use of the arcane powers that moderns called paranormal, but the ancients knew simply as “magic”.

Jack carefully picked his way along the tracks and sighed, recalling Lucian’s impatience. The old man had said that to become a master one must be worthy. Moreover, one could receive final empowerment only by a free gift from the master. Lucian had actually laughed when the old man had said that.

Gift?! If we learn all the techniques and have the understanding, why do we need a final ‘empowerment’?”

“This teaching is sacred,” the old man had said. “The empowerment is to ensure that only the truly deserving attain full power. The master must give the final permission to the ones he deems worthy. Otherwise, he might be turning loose horrible evil on the world!”

On the last day of training, the old man had announced that he would give the empowerment to Jack; but not to Lucian. Enraged, Lucian had attacked the old man before he could give Jack the empowerment. Stunned, Jack tried to stop him, but the old man was already dead.

“If the old man can’t give me the powers, I’ll find a way myself!” Lucian had screamed. Jack had tried to bind Lucian with his power, but they were evenly matched. At that moment, Jack realized that Lucian would use clues scattered throughout their teachings to find another route to empowerment. He realized that he must beat Lucian to that route, lest Lucian succeed.

Jack had travelled for months, pursued always by Lucian. Now, the end was near. Intuition and a cryptic remark he remembered from the old man had led him to this mine. Lucian could not be far behind. One or the other would prevail. His reverie was broken when he tripped against something. A skeleton—the skull filled with golden teeth. He knelt, and saw the sigil painted on the forehead. Touching the bones, he could feel power flowing into him—the final empowerment!

Jack suddenly heard a tuneless whistling—a habit of Lucian. He stood up and saw Lucian aiming a pistol at him.

“It ends here now! The answer is in this mine and I don’t need you anymore!” snarled Lucian.

“Right on both counts!” said Jack. He waved his hands and in a flash Lucian was unconscious. Jack was the master now.


#TIWC members, please vote here.

Relay Event T1

Attention Irons!

Iron Writer Relay
The first Iron Writer Relay Test Event will commence Monday, January 6th. The Theme shall be “High Fantasy”.

Click here to go to the official rules page.

Our participants for this first Relay Test Event are (in order):

Maureen Larter
Neal Sajatovic
Miranda Hawley
Richard Russell
Moira McArthur
Tannis Laidlaw
Mamie Willoughby Pound
Dani J. Caile
Eric Garrison
Mac Bartine

Pt. 1 Jordan Bell

One can never be too certain about the demeanor of DRAGONS. They appear silent, brooding, and destructive, but, it is said a dragon laughs. I have lived to see a hundred kings rise and fall. I have marked the passing of the ages in the tide-like ebb and flow of the mighty forests. They slowly spread across the surface-world only to be cut back, making room for the civilizations of man. Civilizations destined to fall to time and the sword, until once again the forest reclaims all. Yet, in all this time, never once have I heard a dragon laugh.

Pt.2 K.A.DaVur

Having been released from service, exiled for an atrocity that I did not commit, I figured it was as good of a time as any. For the first time in my regrettably long life, I blessed the circumstances that made me a fool and not a knight; it may help me amuse a dragon. Before I left, I lurked to the back of the smithy; the armorer’s son had been a friend of mine since he was a small boy, and I thought he might help. I was not mistaken. He handed to me a package of food and a flagon of wine, and fitted over my head a creation of chainmail and leather designed to hide my SCARS.

Pt.3 Maureen Larter

As soon as I was ready, I turned to go. My friend touched my arm and I flinched. The welts from my latest punishments were still raw. “Go careful,” he said with concern. I nodded, unable to speak with the emotion that choked me. I knew I had to find some proof that I was innocent. Maybe finding a dragon and bringing it back would show them all that I was not the fool they thought I was. I shouldered my food package, walked toward the back door then hesitated. Oswald had been my only FRIEND through all my trials. Maybe… I kept walking and didn’t look back.

Pt.4 Neal Sajatovic

My home grew smaller behind me. A small tear formed from the thought of leaving my friend behind in search of a dragon. Soon the rolling hills gave way to dead trees and marshland. Creatures that I was unfamiliar with were making mating calls, or so I hoped they were mating calls. I decided to sit against a tree and rest my worn out legs. Something was different about the air here, heavy with the scent of death. I heard a familiar sound come from the sky and looked up to see a FALCON landing on a branch above me.

Pt. 5 Miranda Hawley

Never were the noble creatures that served the King given their dues. The great dragon, Hathore, the sleek falcon, Shadow, or the majestic steed, Luxor, all served His Majesty and his court. The King was one of CONQUEST, never ceasing in his attacks and bloodshed of the innocent. He took the maids of the fortresses he razed to the ground and used them. His fortress had a dungeon filled with such ladies; left in ruin. His squires and knights knew of their King’s shame and could not defeat his lust for blood or women.

Pt. 6 Richard Russell

Searching through my pack, I found a loaf of bread, broke off a piece and tossed to it the ground in front of the falcon. Exchanging glances, I nodded toward the FRESH morsel. Wasting no time, she descended upon it with relish. “Generosity is a key that opens doors; not conquest.” I murmured. Taking a bite for myself, I looked to the sky. “Shadow, I am in great need of locating a dragon. If you’ve seen any around …” my voice faded away as I resigned myself to the fact that dragons were hard to come by of late.

Pt. 7 Moira McArthur

The falcon flew high in the hills. Landing on a BROKEN rowan tree, its branches blackened by fresh fire. I ran to see, to check. Remains of a fire of bones and twigs. Something stirred to be remembered from the ancient sagas deep in my mind. St Peter’s Eve, when fires were lit to chase away dragons. I threw another piece of bread to the falcon. She turned towards the peaks, flying low to the ground. Searching every inch, Shadow suddenly screeched and dived towards a long crack in the rock. I waited below. She did not appear. I started to climb.

Pt. 8 Tannis Laidlaw

I ascended past the broken tree, chary about its SIGNIFICANCE. I found it difficult to believe I was in this mess. No Fool is ever a fool; our purpose is to convey by poetry or song what no other man can. I’ve had to be a clever Fool to survive with this king; I was depending upon cleverness now to find Hathore, a special dragon who can smell an abuser of women (before killing him) – the reason why the king banned all dragons. If I can return with Hathore, the king will quake in fear. Finally we all will hear a dragon laugh.

Pt. 9 Mamie Willoughby Pound

A slippery hand grasps my sword. One with the granite earth, I peer over. My breath is lost. There, between the cliffs of Black Mountain, lay a beast to rival all tales; fierce and scaled, ethereal. Its studded tail swishes. A crimson, slithering tongue prods RAZORED claws, freeing bones and flesh like an overgrown cat. My mind is crazed. Honor cannot be mine. I raise myself to run. But mine eyes, oh favored fate! One enormous glittered wing is broken and unmoving.

Pt.10 Dani J. Caile

Was this one weakness, one fact, perchance, my inch of opportunity, my path to destiny? Was this one flaw in the dragon’s mantle my chance to right the wrongs which my King hath done? With all the courage and experience of my many years in this one foolish life, I stood tall, sword erect, and called to the dragon.
“Hathore, if that may be your name! Hathore, dragon among dragons, skillful in smelling abusers of women, I call upon you today to hear me! Hear me, I COMMAND you!” The tongue, once slithering along its razored claws, halted, then disappeared.

Pt. 11 Eric Garrisson

The monster raised his head, just a little, and forced me to tilt my head back to meet his terrible gaze. Those inscrutable dark slits fixed on me, narrowing. The FEAR I thought I’d mastered swelled in my chest and froze my feet. I prayed the dragon didn’t notice me tremble. “Who are you to command me, little thing? I take commands from no one, and certainly not from a rat wielding a toothpick sword. No, I command you, little rat, to heed the words of Hathore and begone, or I shall dine on roast rat!” And yet, I stood my ground.

Pt. 12 K.A.DaVur

Hathore breathed deep, pulling air through the gills that lined his serpentine neck. It would be fire then? So be it. I never knew my father; he could have been the King himself. Fire, though, had been the sire of my life. I did not fear such. Hathore roared and the flames danced all around me. Still, I stood, and when they subsided the creature was looking at me, APPRAISING, stroking his long poisonous whiskers with one claw. “I find myself in need of SERVICE,” he grumbled, and shifted his mangled wing a bit, “and it seems you may be the one. If not,easily fixed.” And he turned and lumbered further into the cave. “Come along.” And so I found myself leaving one beast, and entering the service of another.

Pt. 13 Maureen Larter

I followed, keeping a goodly distance. My mind was racing. Hathore seemed to think I would be able to fix his wing. I was in service to a dragon! What was I to do? The tunnel finished in a large CAVERN, a den of safety for the great dragon. It was dark and forbidding. ‘I need LIGHT!” I said, surprising myself by my courage. The great body turned and fire flared. A feeble light glittered from an old lantern. In front of me Hathore fanned his wing toward me. It was bloody and inflamed at the joint. As I was appraising the wound, the light of the lantern flickered out.