Digging Deep

First off, I would like to apologize for the long time this blog hasn’t had new content going up. I had just started a new job, and it rapidly became the focus. I apologize, but I plan to have more regular content coming up soon.

But, as a treat to all my readers and an apology for taking so long, I have a surprise for you – here is a short story that I wrote that has never been seen before.

It is called “The Dig” and I hope you enjoy it.

**

Being in the dark for so long changes you. Changes you in all sorts of ways.

Animals that evolve in caves lose their skin colour and turn white. Eyes start to become irrelevant to the point where they shrink and become almost useless. And light quickly fades to a memory – but not for me. I wasn’t trapped in the dark with no light. Quite the opposite, as I was trapped in a darkness of my own making, and only I could set myself free.

I have ideas.

Ideas are free, unlike plans, which require action and time. But in the dark, time is something I have a luxury of.

Anyone who says, “heavy is the head that wears the crown” doesn’t have enough strength to hold it up. I, on the other hand, do.

But power is fickle. Those who have it always want more, and those that don’t have it, yearn for its taste.

But philosophy could wait, as rebels were causing problems. I needed something unimaginable, something long forgotten. I needed power. But not just any type of power. Not that which would grant me authority over my peers. Or authority over the claxxon that runs our lives now. But supreme power. The type that would not only grant you authority and respect, but terrify others to the point of willing servitude.

I knew where to look, of course – the roots of the mountain. Everyone knew that.

But after nine months, we were empty-handed. With time running out, I knew that one of the diggers had to find something soon. And when the pressure is on, the diggers always deliver.

The chief digger appeared before me, headlamp swaying with the leftover momentum from his dash. He looked haggard – his once blue overalls stained red with mud, his boots  in tatters, and his face covered with sweat and dirt. And yet, despite his appearance, he was smiling.

“Your highness,” growled the digger as he turned off his headlamp, “we’ve found something!”

“What is it this time, more gargs?” I said as I scribbled onto the parchment on the desk. “Just take care of them like the last ones. You know the drill: salt and fire.”

When I didn’t hear the standard “yes, sir!” I looked up, and saw that the digger had taken a step forward, his mud-caked boots resting on my priceless Mawlert rug. As I stared at his boots, he realized his error and stepped back, leaving a perfect red footprint on the black work of art.

“Yes?” I hissed.

The digger removed his respirator, revealing the beige flesh underneath. “I’m sorry your highness, but it isn’t gargs or flappers or the deathless ones that dwell in the caverns.”

“Then what is it?” I snarled. “I’m loosing my patience, you dirty troll.”

The chief took a step back at this, since the word hadn’t been uttered in polite company since the battle of the mines 150 years ago. But I was the king, and I was getting impatient.

“I’m sorry my lord, but we found it, sir. IT!”

“Are you sure?” I said. “You know what happened to the last chief that spoke lies.”

“Yes, my lord. But it is true. The thermals are perfect.”

I turned my back to him, grabbed my headlamp and respirator from the nearby desk, and directed him to lead the way.

I followed him into the mines, diggers and cleaners parting before us like a sea.

After what felt like ages, the chief stopped at a junction and pointed a gloved finger at a pickaxe embedded in a rock at the end of the right-handed passage. The cracks created from the blow of the axe were emanating a hint of greenish light.

I walked towards the rock, pulled the pickaxe out and struck the rock until it gave way. I reached in and cleared the rubble , causing green light to flood the chamber.

I couldn’t help myself and released an audible gasp.

A large stone was in front of me, glimmering like the long-forgotten stars. It was roughly the size of my head, but weighing as much as 10 men, or so the stories say.

“Is this it, your highness?” asked the chief digger, inching slowly behind me. “Is this what you’ve been looking for?”

“Aye, chief,” I said softly, as a smile crept along my face. “That it is.”

The last dracus egg was mine.

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