I always wanted to follow in my fathers foot steps. Our entirely family had been miners, and it was my dream to be one too. My father, Ray, always wanted a different life for me. He worked hard so I wouldn’t have to go deep into that chasm, and I felt bad. I felt bad for how hard he had to work to support us and a better life, but also because I still wanted to go down and work the coal. He often referred to me as the ‘stubborn son’.
We lived in a small town, and to be honest, I didn’t have much drive to leave it. I didn’t care much for seeing the world. I had friends here, a woman I loved, and I see nothing wrong with earning a hard days pay. People these days are afraid to get dirty. They want the desk jobs, the sedentary lifestyle. When I come home and see the bottom of the shower swirl with grime, I can go to bed happy. Happy with the mark I put on the world today.
Arriving earlier than most, I sat in my truck eating my breakfast sandwich and cold coffee. I enjoyed the quiet in the rain before the crunching, grinding, grunting, stress and sweat of the mine. I planned the day in my head, while waiting for the rest of our crew to show.
At 0500, the screech of the morning horn caused a flock of birds to scatter from the tired elevator cage. The cage where we see the last bit of sunlight for the day. Twelve hours of hard work, coming up.
As we descend into the darkness, we all begin to check each others gear. Lights, belt, tools, eye wear hardhat, ears and boots. A quick shoulder tap lets the man in front of you know they’re good to go. Slowly clanking down into the abyss, I close my eyes to gain composure. I say a little prayer. Some read, some listen to music, others talk about the game. There is a lot a man can think about during that 20 minute descent.
Ten minutes into our journey, what I can only describe as a small bead of light shot through the elevator, and vanished as suddenly as it appeared – into the rocky walls surrounding us. The objected dawned a purple shimmer and emitted the sound of an EMP grenade. Much like the sound you hear in those shitty Michael Bay movies. Not deafening, but loud enough. No one had their ear protection on yet. Some had trickles of blood coming from their nose.
Chains snapped, belts broke, like some invisible blade had cut them. A free fall as imminent.
The dirt was cold and dry. Laying in a slight puddle of water, the muck had become a plaster on my face. I knew I had to move. I had to get up. Yet I couldn’t. Simply too frightened to move, I wanted to lay there forever. It would be easier than confronting the fear of what just happened.
Putting my left hand to my chest first, followed slowly by my right, I pushed hard, wincing as I pressed. My eyes half caked in mud, I saw a purple glow in the shaft directly ahead of me. It was calling to me, like a signal.
The purplish glow grew more and more intense, until an oblong shape came into view. It was lighter in the middle, growing cold in depth as your eyes graced the exterior. Small particles seemed to be pulled into this unknown entity.
I had an idea in my mind of what it could be, but that was something of science fiction. Not so crazy, considering what I am staring at is science fiction in itself.
I put my leg in first, feeling a warm pull. I decided right then and there to step away from this world, and journey through the gate way.