Monday, August 8, 2011

DAY SEVEN : All that glitters, and so on.

Matheson decided he was going to give this mining thing one last, really good go. Yeah, he’d found iron, but that had taken days, and though it was shiny, it didn’t seem to be that great an improvement over his caveman-style stone tools.

But he wasn’t about to admit defeat. With the full weight of his stubbornness brought to bear, he pushed on, placing stairs as he went to save time and to make sure he was digging things spaced out as much as he ought to.

A few times, he thought he saw a strange glow in the seams between the rocks, but whenever he pursued them, they lead to nothing, so after a while he stopping caring.

Down and down and down he dug, stopping once to gnaw on a raw pork chop (for old times’ sake) and then continuing.

He was just about to call it day, when glitters of green light shot from the rock before him. He rubbed his eyes, thinking it was a trick- but no, this was real.

He fell to his knees. DIAMONDS!

Tons of diamonds! The rock was literally bursting with the diamonds. Cautiously, he pried a few of them off, and held the glittering objects in his hands.

I was right all along, he thought. What luck! He looked back up his impossibly long staircase. He couldn’t even make out the basement of his house from this depth. To think, he’d been on a straight course for diamonds all this time!

He pocketed them carefully, after cradling them for a few minutes and talking to them in an embarrassingly affectionate tone.

He pulled a full six diamonds from the stone, and had hardly put the last one down when he noticed another faint glow below him- this one red, and sinister.

He got down on his hands and inspected it. It was a red…diamond? No. It was just a stone. But it glowed with the oddest kind of energy. He tried to pry it off, but it was wedged fast, and it took several good whacks before he had one in his hands.

He had no idea what it was. It was heavy, and smelt oily and thick, like the smokestack of a train, or a well greased engine. He gathered all of it that he could, with some difficulty, and then set to work clearing the area out, fatigue replaced by excitement and elation.

He found countless things in those depths, further deposits of iron, tons of that curious red stone, and a heavy, unmovable layer of rock that, try as he might, he could simply not get past. It had a certain etched, worn quality to it, though, that made him think lava had perhaps coursed over it a great many years ago, and he wasn't sure if it was just the sleep deprivation, but it definitely felt warm. He’d leave it alone for now.

He turned to go back, but stopped, and decided to give the wall one good hit before he left, just to see if anything turned up.

He struck the wall, and golden light filled the chamber, dazzling his eyes.


Picture merely for illustrative purposes.

Greedily and hungrily he set to work, striking this way and that, uncovering a thick seam of gold that ran for almost ten feet. He didn’t even stop to harvest it, instead sending the chucks flying around him in a brilliant shower.

When at last the floor was littered with the last chunks, he lay on the floor and did a snow angel in the golden flakes, laughing deliriously, visions of mansions and wealth and supermodels making him fruit smoothies in deliciously form-fitting business pantsuits.

Slowly, the dream turned to ashes in his mouth. With no one to sell the gold to, with no one anywhere at all, in fact, the gold meant absolutely nothing. The diamonds too! He could gather all the wealth of the world here, in this cave, but it was all meaningless.

He sighed, gathered up the gold, and started the long trek back to the surface.

It was the garden that drew the bulk of his dejected fury when he returned. The plants just were not growing at all, and he couldn’t tolerate so obvious and constant a reminder of his folly.

 He waded in, pulling plants out left and right, throwing them on the fire, trampling them to little pieces. He didn’t even let the dirt off easy, shoveling it up and out, and replacing it with smooth stone.

When it was done, there was not a sign nor trace that there’d ever even been a garden there, and thus satisfied, he slunk down in the corner, and dozed fitfully, his dreams invaded by skeletal hands snatching him from his boat every time he neared the land.

To the next post, in which Matheson makes himself a girlfriend 

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