Around 90 years ago, it was believed that Harbourstone would have had a beginning as a small mining community. It was the reason why the town was formed, but not the reason it is still around today.
All across the country people would travel by the dozens looking for precious minerals so they can make large sums of money. All hoping to clock in an afternoon of hard labour so they can spend the rest of their lives in wealth and luxury. Yet, there were two gentleman that did it just for the love of industry.
Ernest Davenport and Leopold Smith were long time partners in the trading business. For many years they travelled; Selling and swapping goods from town to town by horse and carriage. A impactful team of charisma and managing. Every town they went to, they always had a hand in whatever went in and out, becoming a back-bone of sustainability in the commercial goods market.
They were good, they were reliable, and that’s all they wanted.
After a successful deal in Meaton, the two took it upon themselves to celebrate at the local bar. Something they do on rare occasions, for when they manage a little extra income. While ordering a couple ales at the bar, Earnest overhead a group of men joking and laughing. Talking about a spot on the southeast coast having the potential to be rich in copper ore.
Curious, he went back to Leopold with the information, and tried convincing him that they should go down and see for themselves. Leo had plenty of reservations, but Earnest knew how to talk to him. He explained to Leo that mining was their ticket to expanding the business. If they started trading copper from their own hands, they could reach more clientele and become the number one traders in the country.
It took some time, but eventually Leopold was on-board and they spent the rest of the evening buying rounds of beer for the men, in exchange for more details on their destination.
The following morning, they traded and sold supplies for all the necessary equipment and set out for the most important expedition of their lives.
They travelled for days on end, crossing paths with various elements of nature. Butting heads with wildlife both animal and man, but nothing stopped them from reaching their destination. Then finally on the 47th day, they got to the exact spot that the map told them to be, and wasted no time to see what they could find.
Their best bet, was at the bottom of a small cliff and sitting a beach that looked off toward the ocean. Armed with pickaxes and dynamite, they attempted to blow up themselves an entrance to the alleged deposit. An attempt that was rather effortless as their explosive doorway created created an entrance without a hitch.
But there was something strange about the blast, being not as impactful as they’d anticipated. There they stood, in front of a large entrance with little to no debris in their way. Almost as if, the inside itself, was hollow.
Curiouser, and curiouser they each lit torches and examine the insides. With each step forward the walls became wider, the ceiling became higher, and even though they both carried torches above their heads, they were starting to see less infront of them. No matter the direction they were looking, there was nothing to be found.
47 days and it wasn’t until they reached their location, and used their equipment that they realised they were sold a bill of goods.
Or Ernest rather. That’s how Leopold saw it, because this made him furious. The business was the most important part of his life, and they turned off their ‘well-oiled machine’ to vast nothingness deep within the earth. He couldn’t fathom to think how much inventory they gave up, how much money they lost for this joke of an expedition. He kept thinking about the numbers in his head many times over. How was he going to fix it?
With each thought, he gripped his torch tighter and tighter.
For poor Ernest, if it’s one thing this entire trip has taught him, is that you can’t see your own death coming in a pitch black room.
Leo slammed his torch into Ernest’s head knocking him to the ground, and continued to beat him senseless. Screaming about how terrible of an idea this was, about how much it set them back, and that Ernest was now quite literally fired.
When Ernest ceased to show anymore signs of life. Leo lit his ex partner on fire by throwing the torch on-top of him. As Ernest ignited, Leo turned around and staggered out of the cave before passing out on the beach.
The rising tide is what helped him come to. Leo sat up and stared into the ocean, wondering if everything that had happened was a mistake. A man that he’s know for 14 years was just killed by his own hands because of a blind shot at better money. He felt the regret of killing, not only a great business partner, but a best friend.
In the midst of his worries, he became distracted at a log that was slowly drifting ashore. His focus put the the regret behind him, and an idea started to form.
The travel that they went through to get here, was enough for two men to manage but it would have definitely been harder for larger groups of people. The traveling through mountains and thick forests would have slowed people down, and the dangerous creatures would have attacked throughout.
If there was a way to expand settlements and to have a safer trade route, then perhaps the trip had a purpose after all.
Within the months, Leopold Smith set up a port along the coastline and established it as new form of business. He hired the necessary workers to operate the boats that would transport the cargo to-and-from.
As word got out about the port, people began to settle, and Harbourstone was formed.
In the end, Leopold was proud of such an accomplishment that he fell out of the trading business and became the town’s first mayor. He felt that managing people was a more exciting job, and with that he settled down with a wife and children. He never saw himself as a family man, but fell well into growing old with wealth and happiness.
10 years later, on the anniversary of the town’s forming, he addressed the people remembering it’s beginnings. He recalled the original intention of coming here, what it took, and all of the sacrifices that were made… All the while fighting to leave Ernest out of it.
At this point Ernest was just a memory, but it was a memory that Leo kept with him and let fester in the back of his mind. A memory that suddenly started to worry him 10 years later.
The rest of the day had the town in celebration, as Leo tried to drink his worries away alone in his house. A bottle and a half of whiskey wasn’t enough to keep the pain from coming back and he struggled to have the strength to carry on. No matter how much he accomplished, the pain of losing his best friend was too much after all these years. He put the whiskey down, picked up a revolver and went down to the cave where the bones of Ernest rested.
That evening, even being as quiet as he could, it didn’t seem to phase the community enthralled by the fireworks they put on display. Nobody saw Leo enter the cave, nobody heard him pull the trigger, and nobody ever saw him again.