Pryor Mountain and the Little People

📅 Published on May 12, 2022

“Pryor Mountain and the Little People”

Written by Dale Thompson
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 13 minutes

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“Fine day for a trek through the mountains,” Richard said as his fixed stare burned a hole through the mountains that lay ahead.  He and his men had just broke camp and were venturing into the unknown. They were following a crude handwritten map from an Indian guide who, for some strange reason, had decided at the last moment to abandon the party.

Richard was a competent and confident mountaineer, but he had never been this far west before. Pryor Mountain lay north of Wyoming in Montana.  He had been joined by his younger brother Gary who was a respectable artist.  He had tagged along for the nature part and to absorb the beauty, possibly turning it into a lovely oil painting.  Richard wondered how Gary would fare so far away out in the middle of nowhere from his art studio, but Gary wasn’t as frail as he appeared.  Plus, he wanted to prove to himself that he was as capable as his older brother.  Along with Richard and Gary was Clint, a bald man with a ferocious beard and a satiable appetite for exploration.  Matthew joined the party after his fiancé had broken off their engagement, and he just wanted to get as far away as possible, maybe start a new life.  William was the last to volunteer for this adventure.  William was tall and brought much-needed comic relief during the harder parts of the undertaking.  With gallant enthusiasm, the five men broke camp and set off with the goal of actually getting into the steeper parts of the mountain by nightfall.

Here was where the east met west, and things geographically changed.  The terrain became rockier, and there was less vegetation.  The landscape evolved into a primitive cluster of ancient stones, ridges, valleys, deliberate caverns and hidden underground limestone beds, which Richard had hoped to explore.

This was the early 19th century, and Richard wanted to be a recognized notable mountaineer of his time.  In his quest, he wanted to be famous for discovering something new and bold in the birthing of the nation.  Richard was a dreamer but unable to convey his dreams and creative imagination to oil and canvas as his brother Gary could.  Richard’s desire may have been bigger, but Gary’s was no less grand, just in a different presentation.

On this hot August day, the temperature seemed to soar, and the men were worn and sweaty from the rough and rigid hike thus far.  They had not been long on their journey, but they had hoped to have discovered something new by now that they could either record or take back with them.  Because they had found absolutely nothing of interest, the men seemed to be disgruntled at the prospects of continuing through this part of the country.  There was talk of either turning back or heading into Canada.  The expedition was hot and sticky, and the men were reevaluating their earlier decisions to take on such an adventure.  Richard assured the men it couldn’t be much longer until a significate find was made.

William, who was always looking for a laugh and fun, had a greater thirst for adventure and danger than the rest of the group.  After they made camp, he decided to have a wander alone.  He was a strong young man with long blonde hair and from the back, might have been mistaken for a girl.  But when he turned around, he had the piercing eyes of a gunfighter and a diabolical smile, as if he knew something no one else knew.  William did not want to get too far from the group, so he decided to make a broad circle around the camp just to satisfy his curiosity.  There was plenty of daylight left, so he was not worried about finding his way back to camp.  He was confident he would return before dark.

As the night peaked and the dull moon disguised itself among the clouded heavens, Richard began to worry about William and where he had disappeared to.  It wasn’t like him not to be back before supper was put on.  He did not want to alarm the group, so he kept his fears and reservations to himself and gave it a good long thought.  The tents were up, a fire had been kindled, and beans were in a kettle heating over the fire.

It wasn’t until Matthew asked, “Has anyone seen William?” that the group grew concerned.  Each agreed they had not even noticed that William was not there.  They assumed he was nearby, maybe collecting rocks, noting the vegetation or gaining some knowledge of the landscape.  William was the type to make lots of notes on his expeditions.  They were seldom read, but he always said that was the only way to remember the otherwise forgotten.

“This is troubling,” Richard voiced as he stood looking around, expecting to see William bound through the tree line at any time.  But William did not show.  There was not even a single footprint left indicating the direction he had gone.  Gary looked awkward and confused.  His lack of experience in the outdoors had him visibly nervous.  He was out of place, frightened and looked flummoxed, but he was very vocal in his concern and was ready to jump in and help.  Though he had little familiarity with wilderness living, he was focused on finding William.

All of the men began to search the bush and investigate the soil using torches.  They called out, looking high and low, behind every tree and listened intently for William’s voice; if he were in trouble and called out, they would hear him.  Their minds raced, hoping for the best but anticipating the worst.  The untamed wilderness, yet to be conquered, was dangerous to even the best of mountain men. William was very capable out in the wilderness, and this troubled the group.  If William was lost, how would they ever find him?  They had to assume something was wrong here.  As night blanketed their world in darkness, Richard was forced to call off the search until morning.  He could not afford to lose anyone else to the unknown.

Richard tried to keep the men calm by reassuring them that William was no novice when it came to the wilderness and great adventure, but the men could see through Richard’s reassurance that he was merely trying to keep them calm.

With no William in the camp and no direction to start a search party, the men called it a night and prayed that William was safe and not too far away and would rejoin them by morning.  The night was fully alive with the sounds of those things not heard in the day.  There was the flapping of wings overhead from a bat coven that must have just awoken.  There were sounds from a distant deer whistling and snorting.  Pulsating vibrations from a variety of nocturnal insects sang and sputtered their songs in harmonious melodies, chirping and clicking as if performing a woodland symphony. There was the rustling of the leaves and hooting of the owl, the groaning of trees as they stretched their limbs to support the canopy overhead.  Frogs croaked, squirrels chirped and barked their songs. It was a clear, lively night as the clouds backed away, and the moon and stars shone brilliantly on the sleeping men.

When morning came, William was still not back.  Richard packed up camp and reluctantly decided to move on.  He was sorrowful to leave the last spot William might return to, but he knew the group needed to keep moving.  William would just have to catch up.  It was doubtful that William would return to that exact spot since it appeared that he was lost.  If he wasn’t simply lost, the men dreaded what might be the cause of his absence.  No one could say they were not wary of continuing with this journey, but they knew they were on a mission; since he had separated himself from the party, William alone was responsible for his own fate.

***

But William was not lost because he didn’t know the direction back to camp; rather, he was lost pursuing his own course, like a hound after a rabbit.  He had wandered further than intended and found what appeared to be tribal-type drawings on several large boulders.  He was now in pursuit of more, tracking where these drawings – some carved in stone – might take him.  He was fascinated and bewitched by the ancient art, unable to pull himself away from the lure.  He was beguiled by this rare find and wanted to claim it for his own.  “Every man for himself,” he said aloud.  William might have been the life of the party, but he was seldom rational and always greedy.  Although it was wrong to abandon his party and head out on his own, the temptation of claiming such hidden treasures for himself was too strong.  He decided to employ diversionary tactics to throw the party off his trail if they decided to follow him, so he covered his tracks.

***

Much time elapsed, and the group found themselves surveying a great area of land and collecting samples they felt might be viable for understanding how this land came to be.  Richard knew that they were running out of supplies and they needed to refocus their adventure.  Thus far, he had been making it up as he went but now the remaining men, minus William, were becoming weary and irritable.  This expedition was not yielding the results he had hoped, and he knew the men were close to plotting a revolt and maybe would abandon him here.  In fact, he would not put it past them to take the remaining provisions and head back down the mountain.  This was somewhat frightful but could be a reality if desperation set in.

On a complete reroute from their trek, almost as if they were walking in circles, Richard led the group into South Dakota.  They had been away from civilization for a long time now, and the men were all looking gaunt and underfed.  They had been hunting successfully, but they were getting little fat from their kills, and they were drastically dropping weight.  Their rate of travel was only half of that which they were accomplishing at the beginning of this unknown adventure.

A voice, a voice like one risen from the dead, was heard.  It called each of their names.  “Richard, Gary, Matthew, Clint!” It was the voice of William, who had been presumed lost forever.  William had spotted his old troop on top of a ridge overlooking a gorge.  There were instant embraces and a joyous celebration of triumph in being reunited.  Elation was followed by tears, then a sit-down accompanied by revelation, and the facts were laid out.

William explained that he had become lost as the dark of night came on more quickly than he had expected.  By the time he gathered his bearings, the group had moved from the area.  He found himself tracking the group until he finally caught back up.  Of course, William had purposely neglected the details of the tribal drawings he had discovered and deliberately attempted to misdirect the party, but he was keen to have the troop follow him to what he called “the great find.”

“The great find?” Gary was suspicious that William was not willing to explain what the ‘great find’ was.

“You’re going to have to trust me.  It is too grand to describe with words.  You have to see it for yourself,” he explained with passion reverberating in the tone of his voice.  “I promise this discovery is the find of a century.  It will rewrite the history books, and we will all be famous from it.” The party had never seen William so wild-eyed and animated.

Though with major reservations, the group’s curiosity outweighed any uncertainty, and they filed in line behind William as he marched confidently deeper into the forest.  They hiked some 40 minutes through a very dense intermesh of greenery and tangled vines, stumbling and wrestling the ever-convoluted knotted Byzantine the entire way when the landscape changed drastically, and the forest became boulders, blocks of stone and scattered rocks.  “How very strange.  Where did these giant boulders come from?” Gary ran his hand over the smooth surface of an enormous smooth rock.  “I can’t imagine how such boulders would have come to rest here,” Richard answered, just as clueless. Some of these boulders were behemoth-sized.  Most were smooth, but a few were jagged as if they had broken off from more enormous stones.  The perfectly smooth round stones interested Richard the most.  He was convinced upon examination that these were not natural occurrences.  These stones had been sculpted into their seamless globular shapes.

“There’s more!” William sounded off with excitement.

“Take a look at this.”  Clint had found some primitive drawings on another large rock.

Gary simply replied with, “Amazing!” The drawing was fairly detailed for what would have been considered ancient art.  It depicted a very large horse and very small people with spears attempting to take it down.  Clint assumed it was a hunting illustration.

The men wandered about admiring the boulders, and their minds were racing with questions as they explored and tried to interpret the drawings.  They uncovered many more drawings as they explored. It wasn’t long before the men noticed William was missing again.  “Where the devil has William gotten to now?  Richard called out William’s name, but there was no answer.  All of the men joined in the call.  “William!  William!”

A distant voice answered, “Over here!”  Yes, it was William.

“What is he into now?”  Richard was not impressed.  They needed to stay together.  There was too much they did not know about this territory.  The four men made haste in the direction of William’s voice, and when they came upon him, their mouths literally dropped open.  He was standing, legs spread wide on a boulder, and all around him were these very little people, no more than 18 inches high.  The noise of creepy chatter encircled them, and the cause of the noise was the miniature people.

William addressed the other men.  “As you can see, I have located the artists, the designers of the carvings on the rocks.  The petroglyphs are actually an ancient language according to my new friends here, the Awwakkule.”

“Petroglyphs?  Awwakkule?  What is this all about?”  Richard was not amused.  He was somewhat aggravated and confused by their immediate vulnerability.  It was obvious that they were at a disadvantage, and there was something that had not been revealed yet.

William spoke again with an odd resonance that bolstered a loud commanding voice.  “These mountains are called Baahpuuo or Arrowhead Mountains.  My people, the Awwakkule, are the caretakers, the custodians of these mountains.”

Richard challenged William’s authority.  “’Your’ people?  What is this all about?”  Richard laid his hand on his sidearm, feeling threatened and in danger.  The other three men took a defensive stance, all armed and ready for this bad situation to become worse.

“I assure you, Richard, that you cannot make it out of these mountains without an offering to the Awwakkule.  In the past, they have required offerings such as beads, cloth, or tobacco, but something has recently happened here, and their way of life has temporally changed.  You see, their leader has died, and they have been praying to their god for a new leader to come.  And I am now that leader.”  William’s words sounded insane, and it vexed the hearts of the four men.

“Leader?  Leader?!” Gary repeated himself, exasperated.

Clint shouted out, “This is ludicrous!”  This aberrant scene had caught everyone off guard.  One moment they believed they had stumbled upon the find of the century, maybe the discovery of all history, and moments later, one renegade of their party had threatened them.  As irrationally as the day had evolved, they would have to make no mistakes in this derisory predicament.

That which had encircled the men now came into full view.  There were hundreds of little verminous people exposed with bows and arrows in hand.  Not just a handful, but hundreds of supposed primitive little people.  They were brown miniatures of men, but their arms were proportionately longer than human men.  Their ears were larger and sat higher on their heads, and their eyes appeared rounder, owl-like.  It was a subhuman colony of odious figurines holding spears and bows.

“Okay, William, you have us surrounded by these dwarves, and you have announced that you are somehow their leader.  What’s next?  What is it you think you are doing or going to do?”  Richard’s voice was elevated, angry, a voice that seemed unsure.  He felt betrayed, and he was the type of man who would not just give in.

“Richard, my friends, there is no one here threatening you.  This is a wonderful discovery.  This is Eden found; a paradise absent the serpent.  I just ask that you willingly join us in the village.  It’s not far from here, and you may not want to leave once you have

experienced the wonders they have bestowed upon me.”  William’s invitation neither sounded celebratory nor like doom; however, Richard and his men were greatly outnumbered.  They knew that their revolvers and a couple of rifles would only be of use for a short burst, and then they would have no remedy for the overwhelming force of the little people that would come.  They had no way to measure the barbaric nature other than their visual inspection of this tribe and every indication lent itself to savagery.

“You do not leave us much of an option,” Richard said as he agreed to follow William, flanked on each side as they walked deeper through the forest to whatever fate awaited them.

Richard tried to communicate with Gary, Clint and Matthew with his eyes, hoping that each man could read his thoughts.  He dared not say anything about escape aloud.

Down a ravine and to its bottom lay an opening in the earth.  More of a pit than a cave.  William, who had led the way, walked to the edge and shouted down into its echoing pits, “Bring him out!”

From the darkness of the opening, more Awwakkule emerged carrying what appeared to be a body draped in large leaves.  It was a full-size man adorned in the skins of animals like the Awwakkule wore.  He had a garland of flowers on his head.  It was obvious that this man was dead.  It appeared that he had been prepared for some sort of funeral ceremony.

“This was their leader.  A man much like myself.  He had come here years ago to explore and seek out a new life when he came across the blessed Awwakkule.  At the time of his arrival, it was his good fortune that the longtime leader of the Awwakkule had just died.  They were without a leader, just like when they found me in the forest.  He agreed to be their leader because their legend says they are not to govern themselves.  When I was found, it was just days after their beloved leader, who you see here dressed for burial, had succumbed to an illness and died.  I accepted their invitation to see their village and to consider this leadership role.  When I weighed up the good and the bad and saw how much gold they had stored over the decades, I had to accept.  I was at once part of them and made chief leader of the Awwakkule.” William stood proud as if he had been awarded the Presidency.

“What about us, William?  Why bring us here?  There is no place for us here.  We have no desire to be part of whatever craziness you have convinced yourself of.” Richard was now fiery and almost shaking with anger.

“I offer you life!”  William, supreme in his mind, glared as a lord would over his subjects.  He was delusional, and in his profiteering mindset, the men knew that William was only thinking of the gold he claimed they had.  No avaricious greed could tempt Richard; he was a man of elite forbearance and could easily abstain temptation’s most alluring vice.

“Pardon me, but we already have lives, and it ain’t going to be here.  No offense, but I am not joining a tribe in the middle of nowhere.”  Matthew, too, was now angry and insulted.

William looked as if someone had slapped him in the face.  “We cannot let you go.  The Awwakkule cannot afford to have more men return here to desecrate and destroy their way of life.  I am giving you a chance.”  William now seemed to be confused that Richard and the men were defying his authority.

“We are leaving, and as far as anyone spoiling or defiling your shindig here, we won’t say a word. We’ll leave you to it.”  Richard had now countered Williams’ offer.

“Can’t do that,” William protested.  Richard glanced around at his chances, which did not look good. He then made eye contact with Gary, Matthew and Clint, who all had their hands on their sidearms. Without a single word, Richard drew his pistol with the speed of Billy the Kid, and he popped a bullet in the middle of William’s eyes.  It was loud, and William dropped to the earth, dead.  The other men had their guns drawn, but not even one of the Awwakkule made any aggressive move.  Richard and the others scanned the area anticipating a blood bath.  After that, one of the Awwakkule stepped forward.  He was adorned with more bones around his neck than the others and wore a small headdress.  Richard, Clint, Gary and Matthew stood their ground, unyielding, ready for anything that might happen.  Gary prayed under his breath that God would deliver him and the others so he could paint one last picture.

All of the Awwakkule bowed their faces to the ground.  The Awwakkule with the most bones around his neck looked up at Richard and said in plain English, “Leader.”

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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Dale Thompson
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Dale Thompson


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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