I wasn't too crazy about the opening for Alone so that was the first thing I worked on. I want to show the immediacy of the situation.
It felt as if the weight of the world was resting on his shoulders, and in a sense, it was. A thousand feet of the earth stood between him and the sunlight above. Even with his kerchief pressed against his nose and mouth the dust that filled the air around him managed to find a way in, coating his teeth and tongue with a gritty film. He’d made the mistake of opening his eyes as he tried to assess his situation, and a piece of grit had gotten into his right eye. Though it was tiny, it felt like a pebble had become lodged beneath the lid.
Given the circumstances, he did the only thing he could do, withdraw within himself, and wait for the dust to settle. He turned off the light on his hardhat, after all, he didn’t know how long he was going to be down here, sat down and waited with his head resting on his knees.
It happened so fast there was no time to react. One moment Pete was moving through the darkness of the mine, the small lantern affixed to his helmet lighting his path with a narrow beam of light. The next he was overwhelmed by a dense cloud of dust as the roof of the mine behind him collapsed without warning. The tons of dropping stone displaced the air so fast he was driven forward by a brief gust of wind, nearly falling to the rocky ground as he struggled to maintain his balance.
Boulders and stones tumbled to the ground behind him as he covered his nose and mouth with a handkerchief in an attempt to keep the dust out. It was too late, his teeth and tongue were coated with a coarse film that turned to mud in his mouth. A piece of grit had gotten into one eye, and though it was tiny, it felt like a pebble had become lodged beneath the lid.
Given the circumstances, he did the only thing he could, withdraw within himself, and wait for the dust to settle. He turned off the light on his hardhat, after all, he didn’t know how long he was going to be down here, and sat down with his head resting on his upraised knees. As he was not the superstitious type he felt comfortable in the dark and as he waited his thoughts turned to what had happened.
They’d been getting warnings about a potential cave in for the past two weeks, if the older miners were to be believed. Gustaf was growing restless, they’d say.
Hiram Gustaf had been one of the first miners killed in Tredwell number seven affectionately dubbed The Pit. They believed it was his ghost that had been knocking on the stones as he tried to warn them of the coming danger.
As this is a story about superstition I need to touch on that issue briefly near the beginning. It's a point that I will expand on as I explore the conflicts in Pete's upbringing. A college educated man who spent his formative years listening to stories of tommyknockers and ghostly miners on his grandfather's knee.
What do you think?
Did you like the old opening better?