He sputters out the ash,
clasps his hand tightly around the black rock
he feels nothing but the warm blood leaking in between his fingers
“How much blood did I lose today?” he asks himself.
He wipes his face – blood, sweat, coal,“That’s a lot of blood.”
His boot crunches loudly in the empty mine, the fossilized remains becoming nothing but a shoe print.
He winces at the entrance, dawn stretching its rays, melting ice crystals formed on his skin.
“How much blood did we lose today?”
“Just 10 men, sir.”
“No, I mean how much blood did we lose today?”
The boss brings out a fresh handkerchief, pats the single drop streaming down his polished head.
“That’s a lot of blood,” he says.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.