The Legend of Red Horse Cavern

Free The Legend of Red Horse Cavern by Gary Paulsen

Book: The Legend of Red Horse Cavern by Gary Paulsen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gary Paulsen
    The moon cast eerie shadows as a velvet darkness covered the Sacramento Mountain range. The young brave sat quietly in the thicket and stared out across the meadow. An old doe raised her head and looked cautiously toward the brush where he was hiding. There was a time when he would have been interested in hunting her, but not tonight. Tonight he was on a quest
    A quest to help his people
    His hand touched the soft leather pouch hanging from his neck. The Old One had filled it with powerful medicine to help fightthe evil. His hand traveled to the quiver on his back, which contained five new arrows. He would need only two: one for the white prospector and one for Red Horse—the betrayer
    A movement
    They were coming. He silently slipped one of the arrows from the quiver and fitted it to his bow. He could see their outlines clearly. He raised the bow, took careful aim, and
    “Will.” A voice split the mountain air.
    “William Little Bear Tucker. I am speaking to you.”
    Will blinked. He looked up into the face of his best friend, Sarah Thompson.
    She glared at him. “Are we or are we not going to explore this cave today?”
    “I was just—”
    “I know exactly what you were doing. You were pretending you were the brave in that old legend again.” She turned on her flashlight and stepped inside the cave. “Come back to reality and let’s have a look around.”
    Will followed her. “All right. You don’t have to get mad about it.”
    “I’m not mad. It’s just that we’ve been planningon exploring this cave ever since we found the opening last week. My little brother saw me packing my backpack, and I had to give him my best comic to keep his mouth shut about it. My mom gets worried every time we come to Ghost Mountain.”
    “I’m sorry. I guess the reason I think about the legend so much is that my grandfather loves to tell it.”
    “I know. I’ve heard it so often I can almost repeat it word for word.” She hopped up on a nearby boulder, put her hand over her heart, and lowered her voice to sound more like Will’s grandfather.
    “Once, many years ago, my people, the Apaches, lived in these mountains. There was plenty of game, and the fish never ran out. The times were happy. Then one year it forgot to rain. The streams dried up, and the game went away.”
    Will jumped in. “Kaetennae, the Old One, told the people it was because they had angered the rain god. To appease him, they must bring all their gold and jewelry to be melted into a statue in his honor.
    “Then one day a prospector discovered thegolden statue and made plans to steal it. He was aided in this evil by Red Horse, a brave who had lived with the whites and despised the traditions of his people.
    “Every man and boy in the tribe went after the two thieves. They finally found them in Rancho Rio Canyon, not far from here. But they didn’t find what they expected.
    “The white prospector was stretched out over an anthill—dead. The body of Red Horse lay a few feet away. But his head was missing. The braves looked and looked for the head but they never found it. The head, along with the gold statue, was never seen again.”
    Sarah made a spooky noise and wiggled her fingers. “And the headless ghost, the spirit of Red Horse, is still up here roaming the canyon, searching for his head. Because unless he finds it and does something to bring honor back upon himself, his spirit can never be free.”
    Sarah shuddered. “The whole thing gives me the creeps.” She moved farther into the cave. “Boy, this place is bigger than I thought. I still don’t see the back.”
    Will flashed his light around on the glistening walls. “It’s huge. You could live in here. It’s bigger than a house.”
    Sarah moved to the back of the cave. “Will, take a look at this.”
    He shifted the weight of his backpack. “What is it?”
    “There’s a passage back here. Let’s see where it leads.”
    The passage was narrow at first

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