A 500 word short story by Scott A. Gese
As a reporter I'm always on the lookout for a good story.
Here's one you might like. As I was driving through Tennessee I happened upon a small rural town. At the edge of this town was a hill with an old white church prominently sitting on the very top. I asked one of the locals if there was a story behind the old church.
“Why yes,” replied the local. I know the story. It's called the Hollow Hill Church and here's why...
Two brothers, twins in fact, came to town sometime in the 1840's. One was a preacher, the other a merchant. The preacher was named James. He built that church. The other was named Michael. He built the old general store that sits at the bottom of the hill.
“Michael began to raise a lot of curiosity in town when a mound of dirt began to show up just outside his back door. He told anyone who asked that he was digging a root cellar. Fact was, he was digging a tunnel into the center of the hill. Once he was under the church he dug straight up, finally breaking through directly under the building.
Once connected, The two brothers then dug out a large room where the tunnel turned to go up.”
Now my curiosity was up.”Why would these two brothers dig such a tunnel with a room in the middle?” I asked.
“Well,” the local continued. “Turns out Michael and James had a motive from the day they came to town. Seems they were involved in what is now known as the underground railroad. They would take in runaway slaves and hide them in their secret room. The two brothers would purchase food, clothing and blankets with their own money and distribute them to those in need. This went on for several years until slavery was finally abolished. No one was the wiser.
“ Once the room was no longer in use, Michael decided to expand it and use it as a storage room and real root cellar for his store. While expanding the room he happened to hit upon a vein of pure gold. It was a small vein that petered out pretty quickly, but it was enough to give the two men a very comfortable living for the rest of their lives.”
“So they were repaid in the end,” I commented.
“Yes, the Lord works in mysterious ways, doesn't he,” replied the local.
“I suppose He does,” I replied.
I thanked him for the history lesson, then walked on over to the general store and introduced myself.
The store and the church were now both museum's. Turns out the woman at the counter was Michael's great great granddaughter. She was happy to add a few more details to what I had already been told, Plus, she was kind enough to give me an exclusive tour of the tunnel and the room.
I left town with another good story.
© Copyright 2018 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.
You can read more (and longer) cub reporter stories, and others, on Scott's website, Rope and Wire.