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A Silent Killer

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Where did this all start…?
“Remember, class, the worst dangers become reality with a lack of focus. Your nightmares will be actualized by any fear you may show down in that mine. Neglect is not tolerated. Let’s move onto the final section, entitled “Silence in the Mine- Warning Signals…”
I don’t remember anything that Major Miner said after this. He’s always running the Training class like we’re army Privates or something, and it gets pretty tiring at times. I just remember being in a dark place, surrounded by water. I could hear people calling my name. “Randy? Randy!”
“RANDY!”
My friend, Ricky, shook me awake. “Wake up, Randy, class is over. We’ve got to get packing for tomorrow!”
Ricky was always my closest friend. We shared everything as a kid. Last night, we went back to our cabin to pack our bags. We completed Miner Training that day and were being transferred to the Oldmine-Magmos region the next. From the moment I stepped foot out of that classroom, all I thought of was that dream I had had in class. I laid down in bed and closed my eyes.
A rusty metal sign appeared in my thoughts. It read “Flood Risk: Mine unstable”. I opened my eyes in an attempt to get rid of the image. It was dark. A distant light flashed in the darkness. “Randy?” I tried to respond, but I couldn’t breathe. “Randy!” The light returned, but it was soon blocked by something moving in the darkness.
“RANDY!” Ricky woke me up. Again. “Get moving, Randy, we’re late!”

We left for the mining site soon after that, and- Wait.

I knew I’ve seen this before.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by the museum curator, the local shop owner, and the mining manager.
“These mines were set up so that people could find valuables to support our local communities. However, artifacts turned up during excavation, so a museum was set up soon after as an additional source of revenue.” The shop owner told us that he stocked all sorts of mining supplies at the “Quickee-Mine,” and that we could get all the supplies we needed. “For a price, of course,” he said, smiling. The manager told us to head over there and buy any supplies we needed, then to go to Damsite #5 to begin our day.

At the dig site, I started to set up, but Ricky grabbed my shoulder, said “Wait” and pointed. I followed the direction of his finger to a rusted, metal sign. A shiver ran down my spine when I read it: “Flood Risk: Mine unstable.” It seemed so familiar, and it caused an eerie weight to drop on my shoulders. I shook it off and set up anyways. Ricky said “I'm not ready to die down there, and you’re just stupid if you’re going down there alone.” I let him head back to the Quickee-Mine, thinking how stubborn he was being.

Why didn’t I listen?

I crawled down my rope, lit the lamp that I bought at the Quickee-Mine, and saw that the entrance was a large chamber. I remember seeing many paths leading in every direction and thinking “how many of them have ever returned?” I stood there and just listened for the slightest noise. Nothing moved. I was the lone soul down there. Silence. I started on my own path downwards, but ts eerie weight made mining nearly impossible. Striking the rocks created the only sound in those depths. Silence’s strength stopped the sound from echoing throughout the hollow vastness, which immediately struck me as odd. The sound ceased completely. I strained my ears listening, hoping for any sound at all to reach them, but my efforts proved fruitless. I sang an old folk song, desperately trying to cut through the suffocating silence.
Summertime, and the kids are playin’;
Summertime, and sun is shinin’;
Summertime, oh Lord, its makin’,
It’s makin’ me wanna SHOUT!
But the Silence barred the notes from leaving my throat. I couldn’t shout. I couldn’t BREATHE. I swung my pickaxe with all my strength, pleading for its metallic ring. Something flashed, and then…

Noise. An ear-shattering explosion. That’s what happened…


The blackened mine is full of noise. Rushing, tumbling water. And I'm surrounded by it. A light flickers in the darkness.

My nightmare is real. I should’ve listened it, to Ricky… and now… now the light’s returned!

“Randy?”

It’s Ricky! I try and shout, but the air in the mine is sour with gas. I try and reach for him, but my arms are pinned underneath the collapsed rock. The water rises above my head.

“Randy!”

The light seems to fade, but I soon realize that it’s not the light; it’s my vision. Two red eyes appear in the darkness as my life begins to ebb from me. Perhaps that’s best. I don’t want to feel what’s coming…

The last thing I hear is a screech coming from the direction of those menacing eyes.

“RANDY!”
*****

The rescue team pulls Ricky to safety as a torrent explodes from the mine. A metallic sound rings in the silence before the water crashes back down over them all, drowning out all sound in the area.

Ricky, dripping wet, crawls over to a pickaxe stuck in the rubble. He reads the inscription in the handle, his tears running down his face and mixing with water from his best friend’s resting place-

“To Randy- May the metallic ring of this pick help you conquer your fear of silence.
-Ricky”





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