The GemMature

                The mine was nearly just a small black square placed against the side of the mountain, which leered over gracefully. Nearly a mile from the main line, it now stood stagnant, shaped by few years of swells. Many of the supports were askew at odd angles, and the cart tracks weaved and turned as the earth did. The mossy ground overgrew the tracks just outside the entrance.  Shrubs littered the area, along with small quaking aspens, sprouted up since the ground was beaten down. Andy’s green eyes got large and scanned both sides of the opening. He shoved the sack deep inside his company overall pocket. Some birds called increasingly louder, distressed deep far in the distance of the woods. He gripped the child on the shoulder, making him jump suddenly.

                “Ya’ Ready?” The single-mindedness of Andy increased. His dark eyes were wild as he started to walk to the mine. The kid gulped, hands shaking on the cross. Andy’s hand, nearly as big as the head of Elijah, moved from his shoulder to his thin back, and patted him heavy. The kid looked up into Andy’s bright eyes as he spoke, vigorously shining with glory and ecstasy. The smell of drink was nearly unbearable. A meager nod is all that escaped from the trembling child’s posture, his loose, cheap clothing hanging low on his body.

                “Great!” He patted him again, leaning slightly. Andy calculatedly started walking forward as he limped, “Now follow close,” His eyes glared back to the child, “He’ll be around here somewhere.” Andy’s steps were uneven as they entered the dark. His thin fingers gripped the lantern, hanging limply from a hook near the entrance. Shaking hands lit the flame, illuminating the mine. The kid’s eyes saw terror in the shadows, demons of the absence, things why he gripped his cross so desperately and with such unending fervor. Andy’s eyes only saw cash, his simple mind unable to fathom things that stalked between beams of light.

                They pushed on, minds adorned with promises, deeper and deeper. The thin frames of the wood creaked continuously. The rock groaned from the pain of being cut into. The heat became apparent soon enough, thrusting its power on them, telling them in its archaic language that this place was not meant for their kind. Both their frames were cut into shadows and dim light. Soon the mine cut into a fork. A small mine cart was waiting patiently in the middle of the tracks for human hands to make it useful. Andy paused a second, looking in all directions. Elijah hung close, eyes on his feet, fiddling constantly. Giving the wavering child a glance, Andy picked his direction, and with loose steps steered right. The lamp unevenly swung beside him.

                They had only gone a couple hundred more yards before the sounds and light became apparent. The large miner was working busily under his own lantern, scraping away at a small hole at the end of the abandoned mine shaft. With just enough room to not quite stand straight upright, he contortioned his stocky body at uncomfortable angles to chip at the rock.  He looked behind him only for a second to recognize them, and then continued to work with passion. The pickaxe clinged, clanged, catching the rock, same bandana slung warily across his face. A small dripping of water continually crept through the carved rock, mingling with the sound of the pickaxe. Tiredness radiated from the child, and he looked behind him, wondering how far it was back. His thin fingers still played with his necklace, staring at the play on light on the walls. 

                They eased slowly close, eyeing the hole he was chipping at. What was now solid rock just a few hours before was no longer such. As the child’s father worked, a small crevice appeared. Cut deep in the vein of the rock, it was the width of a grown man’s arm. Yet, farther back, something else came into view. It lay about ten feet away, cragged in a loose, rocky corner. Something resembling a misshapen stone was desperately gripping the clinging rock. Andy green eye’s flashed when he lifted his lamp and caught a glimpse of the cornflower blue and deep purple color.

                “I knew it.” With a hunched frame and breath wheezing, his ugly irregular face smiled, his matching eyes lit up manically, “He’ll sure be happy to see that.”  He reached into the pocket and threw the sack at Elijah, hitting him in his face before it drifted slowly to the floor. “You’re up.”

The End

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