Saturday 18 June 2022

Debut Flash: 'The Men of the Mine' by Jennifer Gray

Life in the village of Grimhaven revolves around the mine. Pulsating with life, it pumps out black chunks to sustain them through the harshness of the years. Today the houses are silent. The villagers swarm like carrion beetles around the mouth of the mine, picking at its bones. Shaft 7 has collapsed again.

“Not long now lad,” says Alfred.

“Yeah, of course,” says Billie.

The lamp between them flickers in the soot and the scum under their feet, trying to light up their dusty features.

“They’ll find us. Happens all the time,” says Alfred.

“Yeah, of course,” says Billie.

“Last year Bob got holed in for 10 hours straight before they found him. Right as rain though, weren’t he?” says Alfred.

“Yeah, of course,” says Billie.

The small chasm creeks and groans under the weight of generations of old man sweat. The taste of dust cobwebs their mouths as they pant in the gloom.

“I’ll turn down the lamp. No point in wasting it,” says Alfred.

“Yeah, of course,” says Billie.

The craggy rocks nip their buttocks as they squat, sheltering from the debris dropping like tears from above.

“Not afraid of the dark, are we lad?” says Alfred.

“Yeah…I mean no!” says Billie. “Men don’t get afraid, do they?”

“Yeah, of course,” says Alfred.

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