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The Secret of the Stones

A Sean Wyatt Adventure

Ernest Dempsey

Enclave Publishing

Contents

Get two introductory action-packed novellas,

Dedication

Untitled

Prologue

1. Atlanta

2. Atlanta

3. Midtown Atlanta

4. Nevada

5. Atlanta

6. Atlanta

7. Atlanta

8. Nevada

9. Atlanta

10. Atlanta

11. Blue Ridge Mountains

12. Atlanta

13. Atlanta

14. Blue Ridge Mountains

15. Atlanta

16. Blue Ridge Mountains

17. Atlanta

18. Cartersville, Georgia

19. Blue Ridge Mountains

20. Atlanta

21. Cartersville

22. Blue Ridge Mountains

23. Cartersville

24. Blue Ridge Mountains

25. Cartersville

26. Atlanta

27. Cartersville

28. Nevada

29. Cartersville

30. Cartersville

31. Atlanta

32. Blue Ridge Mountains

33. Blue Ridge Mountains

34. Blue Ridge Mountains

35. Cartersville

36. Blue Ridge Mountains

37. Cartersville

38. Blue Ridge Mountains

39. Blue Ridge Mountains

40. Blue Ridge Mountains

41. Blue Ridge Mountains

42. Southeastern Tennessee

43. Blue Ridge Mountains

44. Blue Ridge Mountains

45. Blue Ridge Mountains

46. Southeastern Tennessee

47. Southeastern Tennessee

48. Southeastern Tennessee

49. Nevada

50. Southeastern Tennessee

51. Southeastern Tennessee

52. Southeastern Tennessee

53. Eastern Georgia

54. Eastern Georgia

55. Eastern Georgia

56. Eastern Georgia

57. Eastern Georgia

58. Eastern Georgia

59. Nevada

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Author’s Notes

Other Books by Ernest Dempsey

Copyright

Disclaimer

Acknowledgments

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Dedication

FOR MY FRIEND ZENA GIBSON.

Untitled

“The greatest zeal of man is not for love or money, but for immortality”

-Anonymous

Prologue

Northwest Georgia, 1838

A young native appeared from a patch of early morning fog, sprinting through the undergrowth of the forest.  He recklessly ducked and weaved his way through the trees and brush. Twigs snapped and leaves crunched under his moccasins with every quick step. He was glad that he’d kept some of his old traditional clothing around. The soft breeches and cream-colored tunic were light and made movement considerably easier.

Despite his excellent conditioning, John Burse was out of breath and stopped to risk a moment of rest against a tall poplar.  He squinted his deep-brown eyes as he searched the surroundings for a route that might help him escape. He sucked in the cool spring air in huge gasps; the scent of dry leaves and pine needles filled his nostrils.

Then, his fears were realized as he heard the sounds of the dogs drawing closer and voices mingling with the howls of the animals. Two hundred feet behind him, a group of a dozen or so men with three hunting dogs came into view through the hazy mist.

John had known the dangers of what he’d been asked to do during the secret meeting the night before. The tribal council had trusted him with a mission of utmost importance. Being caught not only meant certain death, but could also, ultimately, lead to the downfall of his Cherokee people.

With a new resolve, he tightened his tan leather satchel and took off again, glancing back occasionally as he made his way through the maze of tree trunks. The group was still far behind him but well within shooting distance. Just as that thought occurred, he heard a familiar popping sound followed by a musket ball smashing into a nearby tree; the shot narrowly missed him by a few feet. The close call made his pace quicken.

His slender legs burned from the exertion, and his lungs continued to gasp for more and more air. Hunting had kept him in good shape. Often, he and his father would chase down deer for miles after shooting them. Deer could manage to live a long time even with a critical wound from a gun or bow. But today he was the hunted, and the burden John carried made his journey that much more difficult.

Exhaustion was beginning to take its toll as he crested a small ridge; suddenly, he tumbled over the top and down into a small gulley, where he rolled to a stop at the edge of a large creek.

He’d been here many times. The expanse was about forty feet across and at the deepest point appeared to be only about six feet deep. He could see the soldiers and their dogs in the distance closing on him fast. The little river foamed and churned as it flowed around a small bend just downstream. The young Indian knew the area well, probably better than even the most seasoned of soldiers. With little hesitation, he decided what he had to do and jumped into the icy, rushing waters.

The hunting party stopped at the same spot where their quarry had entered the river.  A tracker busily inspected the ground near the edge. Footprints stopped there with no sign of them leading anywhere else. The dogs were restless, confused as to what happened to the trail they had been following. To the animal mind, it was as if the Indian had simply disappeared.

“Clever feller,” a leather-skinned officer muttered before spitting out a slug of tobacco juice. He had a few marks of rank on his dark-blue United States Army uniform and was obviously the man in charge.  His matching cavalry hat had a few dirt streaks on it, but the distinct golden tassel still stood out proudly.  The week-old stubble on his face was a patchwork of gray and light brown.  He scratched his neck while considering the next move.

“He’s gone into the water, boys,” he said to his men in a matter of fact manner. “Thompson, take three others and the dogs, and cross the creek. Check back two hundred feet upstream along the edge to see if there is any sign he came out. I’ll take the rest of the men downstream. If he’s in the water, he’s movin’ slow.”

Ten minutes later, the main group from the hunting party came to a waterfall. It was a seventy-foot drop to the bottom, where a shallow-looking pool churned with the falling liquid. A small hill on the left dropped sharply over the edge. There was no way the Indian went that direction. The sheer cliffs meant he had to go to the right. That way led down to the bottom gradually by means of a faint path. A cold spray shot up both sides of the falls all the way up to where the men were standing.

“Sir, if he went over, I doubt he survived,” a young soldier

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