Sadly, I’ve traded one world where slow death was a certainty, for another where only a slow death is a certain. Perhaps, you can tell which I would rather suffer, though the outcome is no doubt comes with a sameness.
The morning began bright and clear, but by the time mid-day arrived, I found myself standing in the open under a violent thunderstorm. Sheets of stinging rain aside, I feared being struck dead by the fingertips of Thor.
A long abandoned mine became my wanted shelter as I fled to its entrance. There for over two hours I watched as the skies above and around me continued to flash.
Boredom and a wandering mind set in. I pulled my flashlight from my knapsack and proceeded to explore the slight shaft.
Less than two-minutes in, I spotted it, The white line of stone that told that a vein of gold lay nearby. It didn’t take long for me to locate that as well.
Smiling at my good fortune, I followed it deeper and deeper into the tunnel system. My, god! It was long and thick in some places, wider than my thumb and so I continued.
It crossed itself twice and both times I came upon other shafts that had been created to access to larger pockets, now gone. Engrossed in this, I lost my way and though I could see the bright line of white accompanied by the green and gold lure of great wealth, I could not find my way back to the entrance.
An hour turned to several and those several fell in order to a day, but I could tell neither from this man-made tomb I had accidentally become victim, too. And then soon thereafter, my flashlight, my only source of light began to fade.
Though I turned it off to conserve what power the batteries held, it proved useless as they eventually failed. With them, hope failed and I sat down where I stood.
Around my waist was my final comfort, my pistol. Decidedly, if it came to a long period of starvation and thirst, I would fire it but once and only the one time.
The Boogeyman man is a feature of childhood, meant to hold a child in line with the moral and corporal wishes of adults. As an adult, the Boogeyman is a frightening being, that in pitch black, becomes as real as a wild animal in the forest of one’s mind.
In the distance, echoing and plodding, I could hear the slight footfall of another being. It was some distance off, so I had more than ample time to toy with the child still left in me.
“Hallo!” I shouted repeatedly certain that my brain was playing tricks on me and that I was hearing only a rescuer or two moving my way.
Nothing. After a while I stopped and call out no more, sad in the idea that my wife had not missed me yet and had not given my location to the authorities for possible rescue.
But, still the persistent sound of foot steps came echoing down the tight corridor of the shaft in which I sat. Perhaps a bear or maybe a mountain lion had found their way inside and having discover my scent, had become keen on an easy meal.
My pistol rested in my lap, finger ready to defend myself if needed. A dead animal, freshly killed and though raw, would provide nourishment for my weakening body and I would gladly dine on such.
There it was again. My eyes blind to the sights about me, my ears had taken over and that issued the alert to my brain, that indeed, something was moving ever closer and closer to me.
The sounds, in fact, were real and I now understood this. They echoed gently from rocky-wall to rocky-wall notifying me that I was under threat.
As quietly as humanly possible, I lifted my pistol, thumbed back the hammer and waited. Waited for the thing to finally be on top of me.
Now! My brain screamed. The flash of the barrel left me blinded – but in the instantaneous, but brief illumination I saw my intended target.
The sound echoed like a deafening thunderclap and I was rendered unable to hear or see what happened next. To both my extreme happiness and my shuddering horror, I was rescued by a party of five men, sent deep into the mine to extract me.
However, only four of those brave men would exit alive. I had murdered one as he made his way down the shaft I was sitting in.
“He didn’t have his lamp on, so how was I supposed to know he wasn’t a wild animal?!” I asked the judge as he sentenced me to a quarter century in prison; at my age, a certain death sentence.
Meanwhile, the powers that be grow rich off the vein of gold I’d located. A vein of gold that has cost more than one man his life.