The Flute of Brighton
Echoing through the mountains, came the haunting mournful flutelike notes. Hollow, impossibly clear, they swirled around the ruins that once were a bustling town. Now, the streets are empty, windows broken, hinges rusted, signs fading. What was this town? What are the notes that echo around its once busy streets? If you’ve a mind to sit for a time, I’ll tell you.
The town is called Brighton, named after James Andrew Brighton, its founder. The first foundations were laid in 1892 on the site of a gold strike. It grew quickly into a boom town with prospectors and hopefuls flocking to the mountains looking to get rich quick. Unlike many boom towns, Brighton wasn’t abandoned when the gold ran out. Settlers built homes and shopkeepers built stores. Despite its unlikely mountain location, Brighton prospered and grew, becoming a resting spot for travelers through the mountain trails.
It was in 1899 that the music was first heard. At one o’clock in the afternoon, a man coming back from a hunt heard a sound that started out quietly, almost like the wind whistling through the treetops, then growing steadily louder into the sound of a flute that sang through the air. The sound vanished as quickly as it had come and he started back, uncertain if he should recall his experience to his friends for fear of being laughed at. The man later recalled that “The haunting melody seemed to steal my breath away. The air seemed cold and every hair on my body stood up.”
However when he arrived, it turned out everyone in the town had heard the notes. Each one heard it as if they had been standing next to the player. For months afterward, the flute continued to play, and the people of Brighton sent men to find the source and, if possible, stop it. Of those who went and searched, few ever returned. Those who did were never the same. They became hollow and cold - much like the notes they had set out to find. They seemed to have no memory of life. They never spoke. They just sat and stared, shying away from any human presence.
A few people started to leave, heading for the towns to the east. But many stayed, stubbornly insisting on discovering the source. Suddenly, people started becoming ill. They would grow white in the skin, hardly able to move, faces locked in a silent scream of agony. They would lay this way for exactly 24 hours, and then die. During this time, the sound would only be heard during the funerals, which had become so common that the music never seemed to end.
On August 7th 1900, the few remaining townspeople decided to leave while they still could, and within a day, no living person could be found on the streets of Brighton. The buildings rotted and crumbled, the roads grew over, and the town began to succumb to the elements.
So concludes the story of Brighton. It’s still there, nestled in the mountains - a ghost town. As for the flute, to this day no one knows what it was or where it came from. Most people have dismissed it as a myth, but many hikers have stated that they heard a mysterious flutelike sound when they passed through the old town, and nobody spends the night there.
The mystery of the Brighton flute may never be unraveled, but if you go to the town and wait and listen, you may hear the mournful tune that plagued the inhabitants all those years ago. Only don’t go looking for the source. You may find it.
(assignment for Lesson #2 - Nouns)
If you are between the ages of 12-18,
(or know someone who likes to write stories)
I would like to post your story here.
Send me an email. I'd love to read your story!