It had been 18 minutes since the bang.  We knew something had happened in the mine.  Did a shaft collapse? Early TNT detonation? Elevator failure? There was no point in playing the guessing game, all I knew was the rescue crew and I had to get in there immediately.

Although we were all trained for such an incident (whatever it may be) there seems to be something emotionally wrong with sending in fathers to look for their sons, and vice versa.  In such a small town, we have no other choice.  An outside crew would simply be too far away, and keeping them on site would be an expensive, logistical nightmare.  I can see the strain on their faces.  Sadness and nervous tics rolled into one.  No matter how strong you are, nothing can prepare you for what may lay in the caverns below.

“Matt, go into my office and bring me the layout,” I ordered.

Matt ran quickly into the main office, papers flying everywhere – bull in a china shop.  Even in this trying time, I slight grin came on my face.  Witnessing Matt pulverize my office.  “Stop, be professional,” I mutter.

Matt smacks the blueprints on he hood of my beat up Chevy.  Quickly surveying our options, it is clear we will need to detonate from the other end of the mountain, and work our way in.  Estimated time to stranded crew, 3 days.  The uninjured would survive, albeit dehydrated and famished.  The injured, well, we all knew the circumstance.  There was no doubt in our minds that there would be a death toll.

Holes were drilled, the mountain was lined, and we all took our positions.  The landscape rocked with thunder.  The slight shockwave hits your chest like a boxers punch.  A boxer at 10% power, that is.

The adrenaline was racing, and we were almost 15 hours a head of schedule.  The earth was hard, hand tools were borderline useless, and most of our diamond tipped equipment was down in the mine.  It was a rude reminder as to why we chose the other side of this behemoth.  But we drudged on.

Strike after strike after strike, we began to feel air rush our faces.  We had found them.  Without hesitation, a head count began.  We were missing one.

“Where… where is my son?” Matthew questioned hastily.

A severely injured man simply pointed, directing our attention to an open chasm.  I peered down the rabbit hole, and saw a faint purplish glow.  Intrigue took over, and I strapped up and began my descent.  What lay before me was something not of this world.  A large, purplish object stood tall directly in front of me.  What I can only describe as a portal.  If Matthew saw this, he would for sure jeopardize our mission, and the mission was to get all our people out, dead or alive.  This secret would have to remain with me, for now.

via Daily Prompt: Detonate

Stars of Brilliance

I sat in a deep lounge with my morning coffee.  The sun sector was always quietest at dawn.  While most slept, I basked in the suns radiance.

“Computer, .03% star power please.”

“Of course, Mark.” She promptly replied.

Like a punch in the face, I got an extra tenth of a percent of the suns rays.  Holding fast at only 30,000,000 miles from her destructive core, small increments were fierce.

Regardless, I took it all in.  Our ship “Constantine” contained special materials to allow the proper viewing of stars.  Without protective gear, we could stare directly at the ominous light with no adverse affects.  Her brilliance gave me a feeling of euphoria.  When the hair stands up in the back of your neck after hearing that “special song”, I could mimic the feeling with this room.

A long sofa lined the viewing panel, with a curved table to match.  This was my solitude.  My time to think.  I could be myself here.  I could remember every detail of my life.  People I missed, things of regret, but also pure unaltered joy.

A soft Ryo Nakamura track played as I drank my final sip of delicious double espresso.  My mind was clear.  I was free.  I was whole.

“Computer, 100% star power please,” I begged.

“Unable to comply.  Requested levels are fatal.”

“Override Jacobs N736-B,” I ordered.

“Code accepted.”

via Daily Prompt: Radiate

Odin’s Test

As a warrior of Valhalla, we are raised to enjoy pain. We welcome it, not fear it. As a child my brother and I often fought on the grassy knoll outside the village. Thrusting wooden swords at each other, hacking and slashing wildly, we rarely quit until exhaustion kicked in. We would come home to mother, covered in bruises with bloodied noses. The only time she became upset, was if the blood stained our fur lining that she had recently traded for. As we grew older, wood changed to Damascus blades and forged steel. We carried stifling shields that off set our stance. We swung wildly – channeling our inner berserker.

Although I showed no visual signs of distress to my tormentor, inside I was wondering how much more of this I could take. My once ox-like body dangled frivolously from the ceiling. Men who were once smaller and weaker than I, now seemed to tower over me. Punishing my torso day in, day out with whatever they could get their hands on – I was almost defeated. Unable to understand the language, they kept uttering something about a “Christ God” and referred to me as a “Pagan”. I know not what these words mean, but they seem to refer to me as an animal. Perhaps “Pagan” is animal.

When my chains gave slack, I am hoisted tight again. The men seem obsessed about my body being shaped in the form of a cross. They laugh as my arms pop from their sockets. My wrists bleed as much as my face and body from the constant adjusting of this “Christ” position.

The worst part about dying from torture is not the torture itself, it’s the fear of not being able to enter Valhalla. Without a sword in hand or dying gallantly in battle, Odin will not open his great hall to me. I will spent eternity in darkness.

The light in the room begins to fade, another night is upon me. Although I admit, was the room darker from night fall, blood in my eyes, or the loss of consciousness. I couldn’t tell anymore. If my time comes, I will let out one final ferocious battle cry, and show these heathens I fear them not.

As suddenly as I sank my head, I heard a commotion outside. I could see sparks in the distance. Swords met metal to metal. The tiny crack in the wall was my only window to the outside world – fighting, lots of fighting. They came flooding into the streets, dozens at a time. The sound was all too familiar, I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears.

With a second wind, a fury began to rage inside me. Shouting at the top of my lungs, letting out my battle cry for all in Valhalla to hear, I pulled heavily on my chains. One side crumbled, and then the other. Freedom.  I have passed Odin’s test, he thought me to be weak, but now I am strong.

The door flung open, and there stood Ragnar. My second in my command, my brother.

“We finally found you Lord, we had been looking for days. Most ships were lost, but the men,” he paused “the men survived!”

“My sword, brother!” I beckon as Ragnar tosses me the blade. The cool steel feels fresh against my skin; how I missed thee.

“Come, Ragnar. We have much work to do! It is time for the Christians to meet their end!”

via Daily Prompt: Reprieve

via Daily Prompt: Survive

Violent Seas and a Stubborn Leader

“The sea is angry, Lord,” my second in command muttered.
I agreed with his assessment, “the ships are strong, the men are ready.”

In the early hours of our 40th day at sea, we had no choice but to enter the storm. Ominous clouds expanded across the whole horizon. No way round, only through.
I’ve spent half my life at sea. I’ve seen angry swells and vicious white caps, but nothing like this. Njord must have disagreed with Odin on our journey, and he was doing his damnedest to stop us.

I gave the order to leave the sail up. Our armada was losing ships fast, and I would rather risk a couple more than face certain death of all my men. If the sail was down, we would be relying solely on man power. Viking or not, no man could power through these seas. The wind to our advantage, some damage was acceptable. We could get out of this mess faster with the power of the sea behind us.

For 3 days and 3 nights we fought the storm. Never in my life had a seen a storm last through the following day. We could not see the sun, nor birds or any sea dwelling mammal. Constant rain and wind became our chanting tune. With our armada dwindling, something had to change. Something had to release us from this salt-drenched fury. A rogue wave appeared on our starboard side…

“Og það er það síðasta sem ég man eftir. Hvar eru menn mínir!” (“And that, is the last thing I remember. Where are my men!”) I shouted ferociously.

“Keep this man chained, I’ll have more questions soon. Get the priest! We need a translator for this, thing.” King Edward scolded.

I spent several days tied to a cage, hanging just high enough from the ground so I couldn’t stand. I had no idea what had happened to my men. Had they survived, or drowned. Were they tied to cages? Or plotting my rescue? It killed me inside not to know. Why had Odin betrayed us so? We were on his path of glory. The Wise One blessed our journey. I had so many questions, with no one to answer them.

via Daily Prompt: Adrift

Magenta Fears and the Working Class

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.

via Daily Prompt: Descend

The Talking Heads

Day 491.

Why do I write these entries? Nothing has changed since Day 97. They arrived in such force, with such ferocity. We stood no chance. By the time the military rallied, we were defeated. Reminds me of my high school days playing football. The punt is sent down field.  Landing graciously in my arms.  We return a full 120 yard touch down. Untouched.

We were sloppy and unorganized. In less than one week, humanity was enslaved.

A booming voice wakens the entire northern hemisphere at the same time. We all eat the same. Dress the same. Look the same. The voice beckons orders from large monitors every several hundred meters. We march as instructed.

“Don’t look up,” I hear one person say.
“Why, mom?” A small boy replies.
“Because my son, you will be shot.”

Rows upon rows of humans are sent to work detail. Our days are long, but not long enough to kill us. At least, not right away. Death tolls are high, but our race has seen higher. We are still clothed and fed. The sick are attended to, but no better care than a field trauma unit. Surgery is almost non existent.

This is perhaps our darkest era. It only dawned on me recently why we weren’t eradicated. Ten billion humans can harvest the last remanence of Earths resources a lot faster than a festering intruder. Once Earth was on the verge of death, then we would no longer be of use. Or so had I hoped.

The intruders began constructing large vessels last month. My fear is that we will be moved to these “Ark’s” and transferred to another world. Continuing our enslavement.

When you can command 10 billion bees to continue making honey, you don’t hit the off switch.

via Daily Prompt: Farce

Restless Men and Burning Blood

I opened my eyes to a burning pain. The sun was beaming in from the east window shining brightly onto my face. My eyes were dry, my mouth parched. An awful headache was settling in. The previous nights antics came racing back to me. Far too much ale, wine, and women. My crown was heavy, my bear coat burdensome. Unable to control my body temperature, I decided the best thing to do was sweat it out.

I threw open the thick cow hide skin of my tent, nodding towards my guards.

“Lord,” they both gestured towards me.

I didn’t like what I saw. The men were restless, becoming weak. Some more ill than I, some passed out, one even laying with the pigs.

With such a grand pillage on our raid three years ago, there was no need to put more lives at risk. We had everything we needed. I felt it was time to grow our community. Families should start bearing more sons and daughters to carry on their name, and to tend their land. I should have known that wouldn’t last long. Norse blood runs deep. Strong men and women need battle to stay hungry.

I had no qualms about the decision I had made as rightful King – to stay and prosper with the land we already had. Clearly, we had to sail again. I became paranoid, thinking maybe someone would come and axe me this time.

It was time for the Christian loving Anglo-Saxon’s of England to meet their end.

Odin will have his day.

via Daily Prompt: Qualm

From the author: Yes, Nel, I will continue writing this story for you.