The child had a horror unpronounceable picking up the limp bag, unable to fathom the whys. Uneasy steps crept inch by inch. His thoughts delved and raced wildly. The child’s mind was not able to understand the principles for which the large, towering figures stood for. Nor why their days were so hinged on the promises of tomorrow. His eyes, glazed verdantly from the presence of fear, gently moved to the crevice in front of him. The shadows pivoted around the cracks in the chipped away walls. The drip of water was continuous in his ears as he walked closer to his father. The large man’s blue eyes danced around in a brief look of empathy, and stepped back with just a nod, pickaxe in hand. Sweat poured from his torso from hours of labor, yet his mind poured ahead, unaware of everything but gem and wealth. His sturdy frame stepped back next to Andy and gave him one wordless glance of unbridled hate. Andy quickly returned it with a sly smile.

                The hole was about three feet high, but a few large rocks lay on the ground, giving Elijah a good platform. Finally letting go of the cross, he heaved himself up, and stuck his head inside. He pushed himself forward with a lunge, the left leg of his brown cloth pants ripping on the first large rock. His mind was in shambles, terror strewn across his moon white face. He gripped the next thick rock, extending his right arm to its full length, and tugged the rest of his body. His scraped his belly on the sharp, hot rocks of the mine, letting forth a grunt. He felt but a brief sense of pain, dulled from the adrenaline coursing through his small frame. Gripping the next rock with his left hand and shifting himself forward, Elijah took another small crawl inward, his feet barely inside the crevice. Water poured from the small ceiling above him, and it came down from his short hair in streaks mixed with sweat. Around the gem, the rocks had been chipped away in the cavern by a natural fall, making them even sharper. He pushed his quivering right arm ahead again, reaching far, and quickly sliced the inside of his hand. Maroon blood dropped onto the lifeless stone, all unseen in the dark of the cave. He yelped quietly, and stuck the hand to his mouth.

                “Hurry up, kid.” Echoed in to him from the bodies he couldn’t turn his body to see. He stuck his injured hand up by his head, gingerly, and tried to continue on. He proceeded by throwing his body forward on the sharp rock like a landed fish, his one good hand helping pull him ahead.  Small face in determined agony, his mind bent to father’s will. Finally, after shifting and yanking his malnourished body forward many times, his hand clutched the glorious gem, its oval shape the size of a large stone. Blood and sweat smeared across it, leaving in a drip at bottom end.  It shone hints of blue and purple, coursed with dark dirt from time in its forgotten home. Elijah’s hand fumbled a few times, his injured hand not able to get around it. After the third try, though, he succeeded. Coursing with glee, he shoved it feverously into the grimy bag.

                He hurried backwards with a fury spawned long ago from the ape part of our brain. The time that extended so long before now wilted to a flash of bloody dirt-ridden knees and elbows shuffling consistently. He clamored back, his clothes soaked from the hot water. His pivoted and shifted until the soles of his feet were sticking out of the hole, dingy and blackened from the mine. He pushed a few more times, his ankles barely bulging out before he was viciously yanked by Andy’s snake like arms.

                The shadows of the lamps lit the thin man’s ragged bony frame hunched over the fallen child. The bag was desperately held under his torso. Yet, Andy quickly extended his lanky arms and grabbed the top of it sticking out from the side of Elijah. The kid groaned as the bag was stolen from him, his small body rolled a few times, settling in the corner of the mine. Andy started to sprint, his limp leg swinging wildly with each heavy step. Elijah’s father cursed and yanked the lamp from the ground, the radiance flowing uncontrollably in the push of light and shadow. He turned as quick as he could, and ran towards the crippled man. The child was sobbing violently on the ground, the drip of water coursing next to his head.

                Andy had reached it to about the fork when the miner caught him. His sturdy body tackled him with force into the desolate mine cart, sending a shock to his chest in an obvious grunt. It heaved with the pressure, and rocked over sideways, falling off the tracks with a loud thud, vibrating loudly inside the small chamber of the cave. Andy fell with it, crumbling in a heap, chocking and trying to catch his breath. Elijah’s father stepped forward, kneeling down beside the writhing figure. His robust arm extended the pickaxe and pressed it to his wrinkled, wheezing face.

The End

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