Adventure Romance Fiction

The Journal Of Charlotte West, May 5, 1864, San Francisco 

Dear Dear Diary,

As I sit here with my pen and paper, I taste the salt of my tears streaming down my face, smudging the ink and blurring my words. My heart is heavy as if it's melting in the fiery furnaces of the West Gold Foundry. The man who raised me, the one who taught me everything I know, has been lowered into the ground, buried beneath the earth, consumed with each resounding thud of the shovel. I had seen this wooden box before - first with my mother and then my brother, who was taken from me by scarlet fever. My world is crumbling around me, and I am unsure how to pick up the pieces.

The foundry-smelting floor was where my Father, Jacob West, took his final breath. He was known as JW, a famous prospector who struck the Mother Lode during the California gold rush. Our golden palace was forged on the backs of indigenous people who were pushed off their lands by the gold-seekers called "forty-niners." The stories of their sacrifices are engraved in my family's history. The thought of it all makes my heart ache. My Father spent the last decade trying to make things right. 

I was raised in an elite, polite society, but I am not a socialite. Like my Father, I'm a horse-riding, gun-shooting adventurer with wanderlust. JW urged me to continue his legacy and find an oasis unspoiled by humankind. Since childhood, JW had regaled me with stories of the deepest blue pools, a mirage in the desert teeming with life in the arid, barren landscape of the Valley of Death. 

The sun barely rose over the horizon of Nob Hill when Elan Blackbird arrived at my doorstep to discover my father had died. I had never met him before but had heard many stories about him. He was the oldest son of the Shoshone tribal chief, Nantan Blackbird. He was here to take me on an expedition into the lesser-known territory of the Sierra Nevada. Blackbird had earned a reputation as a skilled cartographer, mapping the vast prospecting territory for those who sought fortune in the gold rush.

His mind was sharp as a raven's beak, and his black eyes glinted in the rising sunlight. Blackbird's suit was cut from tanned leather, and he wore a large-brim hat adorned with a colorful feather. Elan was a beacon in the darkness, illuminating my world.

My father had befriended Blackbird some years ago and employed him to map West Mining Companies prospecting territories. When President Lincoln telegraphed JW, asking for help finding a map maker to outline the Sierra Nevada territory's landmarks and state boundary lines, he knew just the man for the job. 

I was emotional as we sat in the dimly lit study, reading over JW's estate. Father had left everything to me, including his blessing, to continue his legacy, an honor I did not take lightly.

"Are you ready to fulfill your destiny?" Blackbird asked, his voice deep and steady.

I looked up at him with apprehension in my eyes. "I think so. I am unsure what to expect, but ready for whatever comes our way."

Blackbird nodded solemnly. "This will not be an easy journey, but I believe you are up for the challenge, as did JW."

Blackbird spoke in a whisper. "My father did not approve of me leaving our native lands. He believed I was destined to be chief, and my place was with our people."

I looked at him, sympathetic. "I had no idea."

Blackbird nodded. "But I could not stay. I wanted to see the world and experience life. After all these years, I've realized there are many different ways to lead. Perhaps my destiny was not to be chief but to lead my life in my way."

I smiled, feeling a sense of kinship with this man who had taken me under his wing. "I know what you mean. Sometimes, the path we choose is not what others would have chosen for us. But it's our path, and we must follow it wherever it leads."

Blackbird looked at me, a small smile playing at the corners of his mouth. "Exactly. And who knows? Maybe this journey will lead you down a path you never imagined."

June 5, 1864

Blackbird and I traveled for weeks before finally arriving in Genoa. The trading post and provisioning station is the oldest permanent settlement in Nevada. According to Blackbird, the city, originally named Mormon Station, has grown since it was founded in 1851. 

"Today was another long day on the trail," I told Blackbird as we rode through the dusty streets of Genoa. "But at least we made it to civilization."

"Yes, it has been a while since we've seen a real town," Blackbird replied, taking in the sights of the bustling trading post.

We tied our horses outside a general store and headed inside to stock supplies. As we perused the shelves, we overheard a conversation between two locals.

"Did you hear about that robbery last week?" one man asked the other.

"No, what happened?" the second man replied.

"Someone held up the Wells Fargo stagecoach just outside of town and made off with a whole heap of gold," the first man explained.

I glanced at Blackbird, who raised an eyebrow in response. "It looks like we might have some trouble on our hands," he said.

After shopping, we went to the local saloon to grab a meal and rest our weary bones. A grizzled old prospector approached our table and began a conversation. "I noticed your gear," he said, eyeing our horses. "You folks look like you're headed out into the wilds."

"We are," Blackbird replied cautiously.

"Well, if you're heading out that way, you might want to watch your backs," he warned. "There's been some trouble lately with all the bandits."

Blackbird thanked him for the information, and we silently finished our meal. We went to our sleeping chambers at the local inn, where we had a bathtub, warm bed, and roof over our heads. Tomorrow, we would have to face whatever dangers lay ahead.

June 13, 1864

Horse hooves echoed through the Valley of Death as we rode toward the Sierra Nevada mountains. Blackbird looked regal; the Shoshone warrior sat tall and proud on his horse, his long black hair catching the wind and whipping around his face like a wild spirit animal. His eyes, as black as the night sky, held a fierce determination that spoke of a lifetime of hardship and struggle.

Elan told me stories of the land as we rode and the potential dangers ahead. As we approached the foothills, the terrain grew rougher, and the air grew colder. His black-and-white spotted horse, Tadi, meaning wind, picked its way carefully through the rocky terrain. I followed close behind, my heart racing with my hands tight on the reins of my horse, Chitto, who whinnied. 

"Trust me," he said, his voice steady and reassuring. "I know this land like the back of my hand. We will navigate its challenges and come out unscathed." His words, filled with quiet confidence, instilled trust, allowing me to push forward.

As we rode, I was struck by the breathtaking beauty of the land. The majestic and towering mountains seemed to touch the heavens, their peaks veiled in a ghostly mist. The valleys below, a tapestry of vibrant sagebrush and earthy browns, whispered of the call of the wild that spread beyond.

June 17, 1864

We huddled around the campfire as the silhouette of a figure appeared in the distance. It was Kitchi Blackbird, the leader of the Shoshone tribal scouts and Elan's brother. We were surprised to see him, but Kitchi knew this land better than anyone, and we welcomed him to our camp.

As we ate dinner, we exchanged tales of our arduous journey and shared our mission to map the territory and discover the secret oasis. I turned to Kitchi, expressing my curiosity, and inquired about nearby watering holes. His response was cryptic. "There is indeed an oasis," he revealed, "but it is a well-guarded secret, hidden deep within the unforgiving desert. Only the shaman and a select few of our tribe are privy to its existence."

I begged Kitchi to tell us where the oasis was, but he shook his head. "I cannot reveal its exact location," he said, "The sacred pools that cradle life in the desert are our most precious resource, and we must protect them at all costs."

Elan looked at his brother, his eyes pleading. "Please, Kitchi," he said. We need to find and map the oasis. It is Charlotte's legacy. We promised her father."

Kitchi hesitated for a moment, then spoke. "I will tell you where to find the oasis," he said, "but you must swear not to record its exact location. If the wrong people were to find it, it would bring death and destruction to our people."

We all nodded in agreement, and Kitchi shared the general directions. Tomorrow, we will set out with reverence for the sacred oasis that lay hidden ahead.

June 18, 1864

Acting on the instinct of two intrepid explorers, we set off to find the concealed oasis in the Amargosa Valley. The desert stretched out before us, an endless expanse of sand and rock. Our horses trudged through it, each step feeling heavier than the last. The sun beat us mercilessly, and our water supply dwindled.

We pushed on, our eyes scanning the horizon for any sign of the green color of life. And then, just as we were about to give up hope, we saw a patch of vibrant color in the distance. We caught a glimpse of a flock of bluebirds landing and chirping. The ground beneath us quaked as a herd of mountain sheep moved in unison, their hooves pounding against the earth. We marveled at the sight of the rams, with their impressive spiral horns, leading the way with confidence, while the smaller and more agile females followed closely behind, their movements graceful and stealthy.

As we drew closer, we saw it was indeed an oasis, a lush paradise nestled in the heart of the desert. We couldn't believe our eyes were riding deeper into the landscape; we had found Ash Meadows, as the Shoshone called it. The deep blue pools of water looked like an artist had painted them a mirage in the desert, just as my father imagined. Blackbird set up camp here, and we planned to explore the area thoroughly in the coming days.

June 21, 1864

Today, we faced our greatest challenge yet. We surveyed the region and noticed the remnants of ancient campsites. We realized that people had used this oasis for thousands of years. Blackbird marveled at the ingenuity of the first inhabitants, who had survived in such a harsh environment by utilizing the natural resources around them.

We camped out under the stars, and Elan shared stories of his people, the Shoshone, and their way of life. We reached a high vantage point, and he pointed out the landmarks that would become the boundary lines of the new state. As I watched him mark the map with his steady hand, I felt my heart sing for the first time. I was falling in love with this beautiful man.

June 25, 1864

We woke to the cold cut of blades pressed at our necks. The bandits we had been warned about had tracked us here, determined to claim these pristine pools and the gold in my saddlebags. Blackbird tried to reason with them, but they wouldn't listen. 

Lightfoot, the group leader, told his men I was a rich Golden Lady living in a palace in San Francisco. The three jumped and hollered, ready to sample the whiskey Blackbird had tucked into his bags. They did more than sampling. We watched them for an hour, drinking all of the bottles we carried. Blackbird and I were tied up to a tree as we eyed them, falling over and passing out one by one.

We heard a rustling in the leaves, and Kitchi appeared out of nowhere. As his scouts worked to tie up the bandits, Blackbird let out a relieved sigh. "I thought we were done for," he said, his hands still shaking from the close call.

I nodded in shock, my heart pounding in my chest. "Thank you, Kitchi," I said, grateful for his timely arrival.

Kitchi smiled. "We heard the commotion and knew we had to wait until they all passed out the drunk fools," he said. We got here in time."

As we returned with them to the Shoshone camp, Kitchi updated us on the latest news from the other tribes. "There have been reports of more bandits in the area," he said. We'll need to be extra careful from now on."

I nodded, knowing that the dangers of this kind of work would only increase. But I also knew that we stood a fighting chance with Kitchi and his scouts by our side.

Elan suddenly pulled me close and held me to his chest. "My God, I thought I was going to lose you. I will not live another day without telling you I love you and wish to make you my wife."

"I laughed joyfully and said, thank goodness because I have loved you since I laid my eyes upon you. I have only one request: can we get married before the sacred pools?"

June 30, 1864

Blackbird’s eyes lit up as I walked towards him in traditional mocassins and a Shoshone wedding dress, a garment meticulously cut from patches of tanned hides. It was adorned with colorful beads and porcupine quills depicting fauna, buffalo, and celestial bodies. My black hair was braided around my head like a crown into long tendrils. 

"Charlotte, you look beautiful," he said, taking my hand.

"Thank you, Elan," I replied, taking in the sight of him in a long red, full-sleeved coat with elaborate beadwork and embroidery.

Chief Nantan led the ceremony at sunset as we stood facing each other before the King's Pool. Elan stood at the edge of the fire pit, his eyes locked onto mine. "With this step, I vow to cherish and protect you for all eternity," he said.

My eyes were on his as I replied, "With this step, I vow to love and support you in all our adventures together."

Walking around the fire, we exchanged gifts at each of the seven steps. Blackbird gave me an ear of corn, a symbol of fertility, and I gave him a feather, a symbol of loyalty. We completed the seventh step, and he placed an opal ring on my finger, symbolizing the eternal journey ahead.

Elan's gaze met mine as he whispered, tugging gently on the ends of my braid, "I love you." He pulled me in for a long kiss, and I melted, feeling his warmth and strength. 

I smiled up at him. "I love you too, Elan. Today, I am completely transformed into a Blackbird, a member of the Shoshone. I will soar into the sky with you forever."


The Diary of Elizabeth Talbot, June 30, 2024, Ash Meadows, Nevada

Dear Dear Diary,

I can hardly contain my excitement as I write this entry. I finally made it to Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, a place with significant meaning for my family. I was determined to glimpse the rarest species on earth—the desert pupfish—swimming in the pools where my family began. This paleo fossil water is believed to have entered the aquifer during the last ice age when the climate was much cooler and wetter. 

I walked along the Crystal Springs boardwalk and marveled at the pools of blue in the middle of the desert—the towering mountains in the distance and the vast Western sky taking my breath away. I hiked to the Devil's Hole, a five-hundred-foot-deep submerged cave where the pupfish lives. The deep cavern is a mystery still untouched by humans and has never been mapped. 

But my chance encounter with Hinto Hawkins made this day life-changing. As I sat beside the King's Pool, admiring the scenery, he appeared out of nowhere and sat beside me. "I'm Elizabeth Talbot from San Francisco. What's your name?" I asked, introducing myself.

"My name is Hinto Hawkins; I'm Shoshone, and I grew up here on the reservation," he replied, shrugging.

We struck up a conversation, and I shared with him the story of my ancestors who discovered this remote oasis without the help of GPS.

Hinto listened intently and replied, "Wow, your ancestors were quite the explorers! I have heard stories growing up about the golden lady who married the warrior known as Elan Blackbird. I can't imagine discovering a place like this without modern technology."

I was taken aback. "Wait, Elan Blackbird? He was my great-great-great-grandfather!" I exclaimed.

Hinto's face lit up. "Really? That's incredible! My people have always held him in high regard as a brave warrior. I've heard stories about him for years."

I smiled, feeling a sense of connection with this stranger. "I have a diary entry from my great-great-great-grandmother Charlotte West Blackbird. They were married right here, on this very day, next to this pool," I said, reaching for my family journal in my backpack.

As Hinto read the entry aloud, we both sat, imagining what it must have been like to be here a hundred and sixty years ago. At that moment, I knew this day would be unforgettable. I had met someone who understood my love for this oasis and its people. As we finished reading the entry, Hinto turned to me, his long black hair blowing in the wind, and said, "It was a beautiful story, and I'm glad you shared it."

And just like that, I knew I had met my husband.

April 22, 2024 17:00

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08:01 May 04, 2024

Wow. These couples fall in love fast. Beautiful story. I read it because I saw the date and I like stories set in the olden days. Lovely twist to bring in a modern-day account at the end. Very fitting story for this prompt.


Laurie Spellman
19:31 May 04, 2024

Thank you for reading and yes they fall fast lol 😂


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Emerald Lace
00:14 May 03, 2024

Beautifully done. Enjoyed the characters immensely.


Laurie Spellman
01:16 May 03, 2024

Thank you so much for reading my story 💙


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Jayce Chemmanam
09:49 May 01, 2024

There is a few mistakes in the piece. This piece had me untraveled within this new world . This is a down right banger of a book .❤️❤️😍👌


Laurie Spellman
10:55 May 01, 2024

Thank you for reading. I was thinking that a novel with these characters would be fun to write, 🖊️


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19:29 Apr 27, 2024

Loved it ❤️


Laurie Spellman
20:52 Apr 27, 2024

Thank you for reading my work ❤️.


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Trudy Jas
16:48 Apr 25, 2024

Great historical fiction. Well planned. The flow and dialogue kept me reading.


Laurie Spellman
18:39 Apr 25, 2024

Thank you, Trudy, I appreciate your feedback. It was fun to write 🌟


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Kristi Gott
16:26 Apr 24, 2024

Wonderful romance with some historical fiction and present day settings. Vivid details, good action and unique characters, well designed concepts and good story flow. Skillful and very well done!


Laurie Spellman
16:36 Apr 24, 2024

Oh my gosh, thank you! It was a joy to write this story, I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. ❤️🙏


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Alexis Araneta
12:30 Apr 23, 2024

Ooooh, had to smile at this, Laurie ! Splendid, splendid work !


Laurie Spellman
12:36 Apr 23, 2024

Thank you so much! It was fun to write this one. 🌟


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Lisa Palermo
02:29 Apr 23, 2024

Loved it!


Laurie Spellman
04:40 Apr 23, 2024

Thank you 😊


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Mary Bendickson
18:40 Apr 22, 2024

Romance strikes twice in same pool. Thanks for liking 'Blow Your Head Off ' And 'How's Your Aspen?'


Laurie Spellman
18:45 Apr 22, 2024

I love ❤️ connecting generational stories it makes it that much sweeter. Thanks, for reading my story.


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