IV. Ed Thomas, 1899
Ed Thomas was a practical man. He also wasn’t stupid and didn’t trust Dave Lewis one bit. Even though Dave said to meet at 10:00 p.m. he arrived at 9:45. At 10:15 he assumed Dave chickened out. He had wondered if Dave’s greed or cowardice would win out. Go figure, his chicken heart trumped his avarice.
It was getting cold and he almost decided to go home. But curiosity got the better of him so he approached the mine entrance. He peered in but all he could see was black darkness. One last glance behind him and he slowly entered. The last thing he wanted was to attract any attention so he waited until he was a few steps inside before lighting his lantern. The dank air about suffocated him. But he continued forward slowly. Another look behind him to make sure Dave wasn’t around and then he continued on his way looking for his markers he noted earlier.
After one turn he stumbled on a boulder. He held the lantern down closer and saw that a small cave in must have occurred recently. As he inspected the boulder he saw a pair of boots sticking out from under it. He followed the boots up the legs and then the body until he could see the face. Dave. So Dave’s greed did overpower his cowardice. Unfortunately for him. He must have been the victim of unpredictable number 4.
Ed ran his fingers through his hair deciding what to do. He always played it safe and did the predictable thing. Somebody should be notified about the body. But tonight, tonight he was going to do something different. After all, if he ended up sharing Dave’s fate what would be the big deal? People die all the time. So he decided to continue.
He made his way to the unknown tomb of the first body and rolled the boulder out of the way enough for him to slip in. Before he could even look at the sack of coins he took a small shovel out of his pack and buried the body the best he could. When he felt like he had given the original owner of the treasure due diligence he knelt by the sack. He scooped what was left of the the old sack and put it in his sack. The coins made it heavy so he left his shovel and some other tools he had brought. When he finally left the small tunnel he placed the boulder back in place to serve as a door for the tomb.
He made his way out of the mine passing Dave’s body on his way out. When he finally exited the mine it was almost one o’clock in the morning and the night was cold enough he could see his breath. Fortunately, the moon was full and lit the ground enough for him to see. He put out his lantern and waited for his eyes to adjust to the absence of the light.
What an adventure! This was so unlike Ed Thomas. He not only made it all the way to the treasure but all the way back out. Obviously, fate wanted him to have this treasure. He had to hand it to Dave, this was a pretty good idea.
But he wasn’t in the clear yet. Level headed Ed knew there were still some things to take care of and certain things that needed to be done. He made his way to his house and searched thoroughly for a hiding place. Until he could come up with something better, he put it under his stove. He climbed into bed but sleep didn’t come. Somehow fate had allowed him to become a very rich man. This is something he never dared dream about before so he was at a loss of what to do with it. As sleep finally overpowered him he thought of fruit trees, sunlight, and clean air.
The next morning he woke up as the sun hit his small house. Sunlight poured in through the cracks in the walls. Did he dream of the events from last night? No, it was real. He sat up and started planning again. The first thing he needed to do was to make sure Dave received some justice. He couldn’t stand the man but to leave his body in that mine seemed a bit cold hearted. Surely, someone would find him.
A week later, no one had ventured inside the abandoned mine and Ed was getting worried no one was going to find Dave. His guilt started to get the better of him. He had lifted a floor board and moved his treasure to under the floor. The coins were taken care of now he needed to get Dave squared away. He needed someone to find the body. All of his level headedness was starting to give way to impatience.
Someone finally noticed Dave was missing. But the general consensus was he just up and moved on. Typical Dave behavior.
No one ventured into the mine. The good news, there was no more ghost sightings.
Springtime brought an upswing in work and the company wanted to produce more coal. They asked Ed to survey Number Four to see if it could be opened back up. This was exactly what Ed needed to find peace. He carefully selected a few miners to go and inspect the mine, of course, he excused himself from the assignment.
Within two hours of the team entering the mine they found the body.
The body was excavated and given a proper burial. The company deemed Number Four unsafe and sealed the entry. It became an unmarked and unknown tomb for the other body that contributed to Ed’s financial wellbeing.
Since Dave was taken care of and the mine sealed protecting secrets, Ed felt free to begin enjoying his treasure. He quit his job and moved to Utah despite everyone thinking he was crazy. What would he do for a living? When asked what his plans were he just smiled and said, “I’ll manage.”
Imagine his former coworkers surprise when word reached them that he not only bought a house but a big house with land. How did a simple Wyoming coal miner ever attain all that? Company officials used him as an example when recruiting new hires. “See the good life you can attain by working for us!”
For his part, he enjoyed taking care of all his trees. He had to hand it to Dave, he had good taste.
V. K.J. Malone, 1924…coming October 31