The Legend of Jenny Loss

Loss Mine, like many others, exchanged hands many times over the decades. Although very promising, it was never prosperous, as a result the interior of the mine is a mixture of the original workings and more modern ones.

The people of Widowsdance will tell you to stay away from Loss Mine, besides being abandoned it's haunted. Situated deep within Talbott Woods, and butted against the foot of the Great Hill, its location is not exactly a secret, but most (those who are smart, they'll say) will give it a wide berth. Those who dare to go in, often never come back out, and those who do are never quite right again. They talk of seeing strange beings, hearing a child giggle as if at play, and the feeling of being watched. Some even claim of seeing a young girl, her face a twisted horror, that would either try to lure you to your death or outright attack you. On hearing this, the old ones always nod and murmer,"Jenny Loss."

Jenny was the daughter of Clem Loss. She was a strange little girl, which most attributed to the trauma of having seen her mother killed in an Indian raid when the wagon train they were on was attacked, and the long lonely hours she was alone in the mine. Given the facts, it wasn't too unusual she claimed to have friends that lived inside the tunnels as well. Clem just figured having imaginary friends beat having no friends, and did his best to look after her. When ever they went into town for supplies, which wasn't often, he'd indulge her in a bag of penny candies, which she'd tuck away the bulk of, to save for later, 'to share with my friends.' Clem would smile down at her, and say, "Am I your friend, Jenny?" She'd laugh and hug him, saying that he was her bestest friend. No one doubted the love they had for each other.

Gossip spreads like wildfire in a small town, and the samples of ore that Clem had brought to the assayer's office when he registered the mine, had most of the town wandering about Talbott Woods looking for their own strike, but it seemed that Clem would be the only lucky one. Folks supposed he had much more ore stored somewhere within the mine, saving up for Jenny's future, as he always had enough to cover their needs, and a bit for their wants as well. The gossip wasn't wasted on the Dobbs brothers when they rode into town. There were four of them, each meaner than the last, and they didn't mind stealing what they wanted. They figured a lone man and a little girl to be easy pickings.

They showed up at the mine around supper time, and discovered Jenny and her Paw settled inside a room he had built within its walls. Pa made a grab for his rifle, but two of the brothers grabbed him, punching him hard and demanding his gold. Jenny screamed and lunged against them, trying to pull them off of him, only to be seized and thrown roughly to the ground. Pa yelled to her to run, and dodging the men she made her escape into the dark tunnels. Two of the men, snatching up lanterns, followed after her. Jenny ran as fast as her 10 year old legs would carry her, her heart pounding in her chest. With the light of their lanterns casting crazed shadows around her, Jenny's only thought was to find her friends. They would protect her! They'd save Pa! She knew they would!

The men's legs were longer, and they had more light to see by, but Jenny knew the paths with their twists and turns, she'd helped Pa dig most of these tunnels, and had walked them many times fetching different things for him, or visiting with her friends. She didn't care if Pa thought they were imaginary, if she could reach them they'd help. She plummeted through the darkness, the tunnel's rough walls grabbing at her dress, and scrapping her shoulders in narrow areas. She heard the men behind her cursing and uttering small cries of pain as flesh contacted with hard ungiving rock. It gave her a bit of satisfaction, despite the terror she felt. She stopped, gasping for breath for just a second, but in that second a rough hand grabbed onto her. Crying out and spinning towards the man, she fought with the savagery of a wild animal. She bit, kicked and scratched at him. With a howl he threw her to the ground, causing her face to come into full contact with a large rock, clearly breaking bone, and tearing her flesh. Before she passed out, she heard the man shreiking in pain, and the awful sound of limbs being torn. She smiled, a ghastly charicature of a smile as she passed out, knowing her friends had found them.

One brother had managed to escape, and he was judged to be quite mad babbling about creatures in Loss Mine killing his brothers. Still, some of the town's men ventured there, and found poor Jenny laying next to her father's badly beaten body. Of the brothers no sign was found, except for what appeared to be blood, and scraps of flesh. As gently as they could they carried Jenny into town, and attempts were made to heal her, but it was obvious that she'd be permantly disfigured.

There was a trial for the remaining brother, although clearly mentally unbalanced by what ever had happened at the mine, was found guilty of claim jumping, and the murder of Clem Loss. They sentenced him to hang. The day after his hanging, which she watched, Jenny disappeared back into the mine. Even though several attempts were made to bring her back to town so she could be properly looked after, Jenny would always run away again. After awhile (perhaps because her face now left them so ill at ease) the towns folk decided to let her be, and eased their consciouses by leaving supplies in the entrance of the mine. It became a tradition with the town to always include a paper sack of candies, so that Jenny could share with her 'friends', real or not. After all something had gotten those men. Their kindness did not go unrewarded. Once a routine had been established and Jenny knew she could rely on the delivery, she began leaving a small bag of gold in exchange.

Time passed, and there came a time when the supplies were left untouched, with the exception of the bag of candies missing. A few brave souls ventured in, carefully threading their way to Jenny's room, calling out her name. The only response they recieved was some odd sounds from deep within the mine. Attempts to follow these sounds proved fruital, as they seemed to move from one area to another. They left assuming poor Jenny had met her maker, or had gone terribly mad. But they could not ignore the fact that any attempt to work the mine proved to be rather useless after that. Not one outfit that tried abandoned the site unscathed, without their own tales to tell.

Back to the Mine