Mines of Madness

November 28, 2011

Ethan’s flame flickered dimly in the near darkness. It created chaotic waves of light that jarred the black shadows and had them bouncing along the walls like living things. The mines were old and had been officially abandoned. Dust and dirt fought to plug the shafts of stale air that dared slab into the mountain.

“Oh man, Jack. How do we get into these messes?” Ethan coughed. “Hell, I think this is our worst one yet. That loser Edgar has Hannah. Even if we find that stupid crown, who knows what he will do to her?” Ethan jerked when behind him a Migo let loose a strong of foul piping.

“Keep working for now,” I said. Sure we had taken out nearly a hundred of those alien monstrosities, but without weapons, even one Migo was a serious threat, besides we couldn’t hurt them or they’d do equal or worse to Hannah.

Ethan and I worked as a team. I would use my earth moving powers granted to me by Yig and shovel out a ton of the rocky soil. Ethan would then bake the debris with his flames of Loki. Once we finished the poor citizens of Telluride, who had become little more than living zombies, would carry the steaming chucks out to the edge of the mine and toss it off the cliffs. Then we would repeat the process.

We were allowed a small break while the slaves cleared an area we needed to move through. “Look through here,” I whispered to Ethan, while we tossed stone after stone back to the slaves. “This might have been collapsed on purpose. Maybe someone had a reason to keep this crown hidden.”

“It could mean we’re getting close.”

“Which might not be a good thing. I still need time to think.”

“Should we slow down?”

“It won’t matter soon. I’m almost at the end of my mystical reserves for the day. They’ll have to let us rest so we can get our Ki back. We won’t make a move today. We’ll need all our strength to go against these fuc-”

“Primus, what is the hold up?” an annoying voice called after them as a thin figure walked past the Migo. We was dressed in a suit as dark as coal. His hair was short and spiked up at weird angles.

“I’m out of my Ki for one thing. We’ll need to rest if you want us to be able gain it back.”

“You’ll rest when I say you can rest, Stalwart,” the Darcarre sneered.

“I can get eighty times us much done with my spell and you know it.”

“Of course you can, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put your back into things for many hours to come. You’ll get enough rest to recharge, filthy Stalwart, but that time is still many hours away,” he laughed.

“What do you call yourself,” I asked through clenched teeth.

“I’m Dick.”

“That seems fitting,” Ethan said.

“None of that,” the Darcarre hissed and send a small bolt of his Black Veins Bestow at my friend. Ethan screamed and fell back against the course wall.

The Darcarre laughed again and as he turned to go he called over his shoulder. When another hundred and ten feet of tunnel is cleared you may rest for a few hours. Be good pets and I might even try to find you a bowl of gruel.”

“Do me a favor,” Ethan said.

“Yeah, what?”

“Save me that one. I want to kill that Dick.”

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Consciousness returned slowly. I faded in and out of the darkness. However, it didn’t take long for my memory to return and for me to realize I was in some serious trouble.

I kept my body relaxed and loose, for I could hear people talking in the background. I tried to take in my situation. First off, I was half frozen and course stone was digging into my flesh. Everything had been stripped from me, save my shirt, jeans, and luckily my boots. I lay on my side and had what was probably simple handcuffs keeping my arms secured behind my back.

Some ragged breathing could be heard before me and I slit on eye open enough to see Ethan had joined me in my predicament, if not in consciousness.

I felt the vibrations of footsteps heading toward me. “I know you are awake, fool.” Edgar’s voice was grating and cruel. “You can’t hide anything from a powerful Darcarre.”

“I’ll keep that in mind in case I meet one sometime,” I said through gritted teeth.

My statement got me a boot to the stomach for a reward. Then Edgar’s haggard face pressed down close to mine. Close enough for me to see his reddened glazed eyes, which buzzed with madness. “Oh, you’ll be meeting a powerful Darcarre when our task here is through.”

I couldn’t help noticing that he had said, “Our task. What the hell are you talking about?”

His mad eyes bugged out of his tangled head. “I’m searching for something, Primus. Why else would I have come to these foul mountains? You think that I summoned the Migo to destroy the world, again you are a foul. They were to be nothing more than my glorified miners. Now, without their aid, I’ve been forced to do things the old fashioned way.”

He drew in closer. “Now, however, things have changed. Unlike you, I am schooled in the powers of my enemy and know that you Yiggers can move great quantity of earth and stone. Congratulations Primus, you just became my chief miner.”

“Your must have hit your head on a rock if you think I’d work for you.”

“Oh, you’ll work for me Stalwart and your little friend too. For if you don’t, I’ll start collecting pieces off Hannah feed them to my last two Migo.” He finished his statement with a twisted laugh.

“What do you want me to help find.”

“Oh, nothing of great import, just the Multi-verse crown. The crown that will allow me to share my powers with my other incarnations on different worlds and draw on their powers as well. It will just be making me invincible, Primus. Maybe if you play nice, I’ll even let you crown me.” 

Edgar continued laughing long after he had left me fuming in the darkened chamber.

 

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I sat behind the wheel with Hannah riding next to me. Ethan remained in the back seat and for a lack of anything better to do with them, we had left Hank and Fiona tied up in the rear of the vehicle.

We had been driving up the dirt road that led toward the eastern mountain range that surrounded Telluride. A giant water fall would have brought wonder to my eyes if it weren’t for the mystery of the several hundred missing people.

The switchbacks became steeper and more dangerous, but nothing more threatening that a jack rabbit had appeared in our path. The sun would be setting soon and I silently cursed the ill luck that would have us heading up here in the dark.

“Hey guys check it out,” Ethan said while pointing. “I think we found our missing people.”

And there they were moving along something that seemed more fit for dwarfs in a fantasy novel and not something that should really exist. Narrow mining tracks covered the side of the solid stone mountain like a spider web. Carts full of ore moved back and forth over the precarious path blasted into the side of the rock. Men, women, and even children moved just a couple of notches above zombie speed as they preformed various tasks. I slowed the car to watch and saw that they appeared very organized like ants working on a new nest.

“What the hell is going on?” I asked. “They can’t be doing something as simple as digging for gold, can they?”

Hannah spoke up. “I know a little about this place. These mines were closed decades ago. I suppose that if you have a few hundred mindless slaves you could probably make a profit, but it seems like a lot of work.”

“Yeah, no kidding,” Ethan said. “If I had a horde of zombies or whatever, I’d make them go rob banks and stuff and then just bring the money back to me. I mean shoot, you could have twenty people rob the bank at once. There… would… be… what?”

“That’s what you would do huh?” Hannah said, sounding angry.

“I didn’t mean it like that, I meant-”

And that was when a rock the size of a Thanksgiving Turkey crashed into the front window of the SUV. I skidded the ride trying to keep control.

There was a crazy chittering coming from above. “Where have I heard that before?” I growled. But before too long, a cold blue light blasted our vehicle from above. It stopping moved and so did we. My body froze and I couldn’t do so much as move a finger. For a long moment my eyes stayed open as I fought against this unknown paralysis.

First I saw at least twenty dark shapes running at me. Then slimy gray tentacles as thick as my wrist reach into the vehicle through the shattered windshield. Moments later, there was a grinding tear of metal as the roof of the vehicle got torn away.

The chittering, the tentacles, a Migo! I must not have killed all of them! The undulating ropes of flesh tore my friends and I from the half ruined SUV. Right before unconsciousness claimed me, I saw that one of its thrashing limbs held some weird football shaped pistol.

Then as my vision began to fade I heard a foul laughter echoing through the mountain pass.

“I knew this would attract a Yiggling like you, Jack, and you were a fool to come.”

EDGAR! Was the last thought to pass through my mind before the darkness claimed me.

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