Wounded: Chapter 2 -Mineshaft of the Dead
Word count: 1,208
While Percy was working on his aim in the shooting range, he felt the presence of a strange figure appear in the mountains. They were watching him closely. But what could he do about them?
“Alright, there’s someone watching me. Any plans?”
There were two things he could do. One, leave the shooting range immediately, possibly giving away the person’s presence, or two, wait for the stalker to take action, risking his own life in the process. If he was being hunted and tried to flee, he might be killed immediately, but if he waited to take action, he could also be killed. The desert is no safe place to be, no matter where you are. Percy knew that well.
Percy realized this quickly. He was thinking about what to do. But it wasn’t easy.
Percy thought for a while.
“I’ll let them utilize their cover for now. This way, it’s less obvious that I know about them. Maybe that will work.”
Percy assumed that this was the best course of action. Percy knew how good his aim was, but up against someone who may already have a gun out, he would be second to shoot. One bullet can kill, and Percy could be shot at any instant…
Percy had to think fast, or did he? Should he act like he didn’t notice them or try to run away?
“I can easily calculate the shot, but being the first to shoot will be most difficult. Maybe I can just make amends with them. But, they might panic shoot me. I don’t know what they’re thinking about. I’m stuck in a predicament.”
As time passed on, Percy was growing more and more anxious. The presence of the figure felt stronger and stronger each minute. If Percy tried to look in their direction, their cover would be blown, forcing them to take action. Waiting like this just made him a sitting duck.
“Wait a minute, I think I know who they are…” He had an idea of who this mystery man really was.
“Ah, that’s right, I think I know now…”
Percy suddenly felt a strange force of power. He started getting lightheaded. He lost his balance and fell down in the grass. He became extremely tired.
Percy fell asleep.
The wind picked up. It started raining.
A few hours passed by. Finally, Percy regained consciousness.
“Been out awhile, have ya?” A shrill, old voice said.
“Where am I!?” Percy said, panicking.
The strange man smirked. “Don’t worry about it sir! You’ll be here a while, so get comfortable.”
Percy tried to grab the shrill man, but unfortunately, he was locked in handcuffs and tied in a rope. He tried to loosen the tension in the rope.
“Struggling I see? Don’t worry about it. Get to panning!”
The man cut the rope for Percy.
“Panning? As in gold panning?” He said, standing up.
“Yes! Now then, I suggest you find a pan and get to finding gold in the stream.”
“And why the hell would I pan gold for you?”
“Because the boss said so,”
“Boss?” Percy questioned.
“Also, why are we in this mineshaft?”
The old man started walking to the staircase. “If you get caught stealing any gold or hurting other workers, you’ll be punished!”
Percy tried to calm down.
“Relax, relax. Just breathe Percy…”
He said something to the man a few moments later.
“Alright then, let’s get out of this mineshaft and pan some gold.”
“Good choice!” The man said, waving to Percy from the beginning of the stairs.
Percy went to the surface. He saw a pile of unused aluminum pans and a stream. He decided to cooperate with the man and his boss’s rules. How would he be punished if he did harm to others? What if the man he knew in the mountains was connected to them? So many questions, and yet Percy was trying to focus on gold panning now.
Time passed on slowly. Percy was working hard by the streams. His hands were soaked and he was exhausted by the afternoon. There were others panning gold for the “boss” the man talked about.
It was now sunset. Percy had panned 14 pieces of solid, genuine gold.
The strange man snuck up behind percy.
“Oh look! A good bit of gold you got there! Hah, nice first day, wasn’t it?”
“Bother someone else, dipshit.” Percy mumbled.
“Now, you need to return that gold to your new boss! Go back to the mineshaft and go down to the fifth floor! He’ll be waiting there for you and the others. Make sure to return there within the next five minutes or else, hah!”
Percy went down to the fifth floor. Immediately as he entered the floor, he saw only one path lit by torches.
Percy saw other workers rushing to get to the boss’s room, which was supposedly up ahead.
Someone shouted at Percy, who was casually walking slower than everyone else.
“Move faster! The boss will get angry!”
Percy decided to pick up his pace a little.
A few minutes later, the torches stopped following the path. He was walking in complete darkness. The only thing he could hear was his own footsteps.
Click, clack, click, clack, click…
His boots kept touching the ground violently with every step he took. He was impatient waiting to see an end to the loneliness.
Eventually, Percy heard a loud voice say these words:
“All who have come to give us gold, let your underlining wealth be given, and food of plenty be served!”
“Hm…” Percy stopped and thought for a second.
“Food of plenty? For us workers, who are working hard?”
Percy started walking again. Eventually, the hallway was getting brighter. He faded into a lit room.
He suddenly heard the voices of all the workers sitting at tables. There were several bars, pool tables, and other food supplies scattered across the huge room. There were close to 500 workers occupying the space.
“It looks like you’re late, newbie.” A voice said behind him, approaching from his left.
“Aren’t you as well kid?”
A small child, about 7 years old, looked up at Percy with a huge smile. He took his cowboy hat and ran to an orange juice stand.
Percy rushed towards him.
“You know, I need that hat.”
“Too bad, I found it!” The boy flipped off Percy.
Percy wouldn’t grab the hat out of his hand, because he would be caught harming another worker, but he also couldn’t lose his hat. It held more value to him than his gun.
“Ooh, what’s this? A shiny emerald?” The boy said.
“Give my hat back,” Percy mumbled.
“What’d you say, mister? I couldn’t hear ya!”
Percy was getting angry.
“Give me the hat back!”
The boy thought for a second. “Hmm… no!” He stuck his tongue out.
“I said GIVE ME MY HAT BACK!!!”
Everyone in the room froze. They all stared at Percy and the boy.
“What a great move, dumbass…” He thought to himself.
“What’s all this commotion!?” A loud voice shouted.
All the workers, including the boy, pointed at Percy.
“No, you don’t undertsan-”
The man walked over to Percy and grabbed him by the neck.
“And I don’t suppose you know what happened here, do you?”