Short Stories
All Titles

In Association with Amazon.com

Home > Authors Index > Browse all available works of Charles M. Skinner > Text of Spirit Of Cloudy

A short story by Charles M. Skinner

The Spirit Of Cloudy

Title:     The Spirit Of Cloudy
Author: Charles M. Skinner [More Titles by Skinner]

Among the lumbermen of Alger, Michigan, was William Cloud, an Indian, usually called Cloudy, who was much employed on a chute a mile and a half out of the village. The rains were heavy one spring, and a large raft of logs had been floated down to the chute, where they were held back by a gate until it was time to send them through in a mass. When the creek had reached its maximum height the foreman gave word to the log-drivers to lower the gate and let the timber down. This order came on a chilly April night, and, as it was pitchy dark and rain was falling in sheets, the lumbermen agreed to draw cuts to decide which of them should venture out and start the logs. Cloudy drew the fatal slip. He was a quiet fellow, and without a word he opened the door, bent against the storm, and passed into the darkness. An hour went by, and the men in the cabin laughed as they described the probable appearance of their comrade when he should return, soaked through and through, and they wondered if he was waiting in some shelter beside the path for the middle of the night to pass, for the Indians believed that an evil spirit left the stream every night and was abroad until that hour.

As time lengthened the jest and talk subsided and a moody silence supervened. At length one of the number resolved to sally out and see if any mishap had fallen to the Indian. He was joined by three others, and the party repaired to the creek. Above the chute it was seen that the gate--which was released by the withdrawal of iron pins and sank of its own weight-had not quite settled into place, and by the light of a lantern held near the surface of the rushing current an obstruction could be dimly seen. The gate was slightly raised and the object drawn up with pike-poles. It was the mangled body of Cloudy. He was buried beside the creek; but the camp was soon abandoned and the chute is in decay, for between the hours of ten and twelve each night the wraith of the Indian, accompanied by the bad spirit of the stream, ranges through the wood, his form shining blue in the gloom, his groans sounding above the swish and lap of the waters.

[The end]
Charles M. Skinner's short story: Spirit Of Cloudy