This is a short story I’ve written. My main purpose was to sketch out a character and atmosphere. Enjoy –Leohma
“Ready?”“Yeah, let it rip!” I yelled back to someone who was a few levels above me. Our voices rippled back and forth, bouncing off from slick rocks or dusty ones, depending where you were. A heavy gray sack zipped downwards along a thick and heavy chain, its contents slamming to a halt in mid air as it reached my level.
The mining site of Midway Southline (MS for short) was filled with echoing commands, explosions, chains and screeching metals. Everyday after my share of work, I would come out of the MS holes only to be covered in sweat and dust. Mum would complain how this wasn’t suitable for a young lady but to be honest, what is?
A group of men and I hauled over the heavy sack as quickly as possible since none of us wanted our bodies to be dragged down by an incoming load and then shredded to pieces by the zipping chains.
Another group of men approached. Two of them had graying hair, around their forties but there was a young one around my age. His curly orange hair made it clear: Billy Manson.
I quickly hid behind one of my co-workers.
The guy who I used to hide suddenly clasped his arm around my little neck, leaning heavily on me.
“You still got the hots for him, Daniel?” he asked with a stupid grin on his face.
“Shut up. It ain’t none of your business,” I snapped.
“ Ho, chill, boy. I’m fine if ya’ gay ,” he took back his arm and stepped back. “Seriously, stop acting like a sissy. You are almost like ma’ sis n all.”
I glared at him. He quickly looked away frantically. Billy wasn’t a crush, quite the opposite.
If Billy were to see me then my cover would be blown and I’d be taken out of the MS. That risk cannot be taken.
Another load came down but then the howling signal stopped everything. Sore men and boys dropped their hardware onto the floor, signaling a day’s end.
I stretched my arms out and boarded the elevator.
“Going up!” shouted a guy near the levers, and up we went.
I reached out for my back pocket and took out my da’s ID.
The rest of the workers did the same by taking out their own ID’s, but also grunting on how the pay rate was low this month as well. I agreed with this one, though. The pay rate’s been lowering even more than usual the past few months and the food doesn’t come cheap.
As the elevator began to move faster, I clenched one of the rails in the back. Then, BANG!
The elevator’s floor tipped over as a chain became loose. The flickering lights gave out. Bodies rolled and smashed against each other. Uncomfortable and shoulder by shoulder, everyone started to panic.
An alarm went off and a voice followed: Alert! Code F4. Alert Code F4. Evacuate Immediately. Repeat…”
I slipped by the masses of giant muscular bodies and headed toward the front. The doors were slightly open. I checked the button and levers control panel but they were smashed.
This wasn’t an ordinary bomb accident. It was a rebel’s.
I threw my fists against the rusted elevator doors, “Damn it!” I cursed.
“Jane? Is that you?”
I turned around to see a pale face, his thin frame, freckled cheeks and curly orange hair. “What are you doing here? Women aren’t suppo-” I covered his mouth with my hands.
“Shut it, dork! Right now isn’t the time to talk about that! Save it for later, will ya”?
He nodded. I sighed, what else could go wrong? I moved back to the problem at hand.
“First we need to get out of here.” I said. I grabbed one of the doors and pulled. No budge. I look over to Billy.
“What are you doing? Get down here and help!”
Billy then grabbed the opposite door and pulled as well. Everyone else around us noticed, and bit by bit they helped out too. Soon hands began clutching the door and pulled. With the help of the rest on board, the elevator doors flung open. Bodies of stenched men pushed through the gap that was available.
Losing my stepping, I was thrown out and my face hit hard on the dirt. A quick and firm grip pulled me back to my feet.
I turned around, Billy again.
“Thanks,” I said.
He didn’t reply.
Another explosion was set off. It was dull and loud and no doubt that it came from the level below.
Rocks started to crumble and the floor shook violently. All around me, men ran for their lives, stumbling as they desperately fought their way towards the exit.
I ran with Billy. No words were being traded but the silence said it all. Billy was expecting an explanation as to why I was working in MS, disguised as a guy.
Up ahead I could see the exit of MS. Only a few meters more, past the checkpoint fence and then I would be out into the fresh air but no.
Billy stopped running. His face pale smeared with dirt and sweat, his eyes filled with terror and fright. An explosion was set off, causing a boulder to fall and block our exit. Now there was no exit. There was no way back home.
Just the same way da’ died but I’m not da’, and I will survive.