The Other Mine

The mine opening was barely recognizable from the lush greenery that encompassed it. When Jack pulled down some of the growth and there stood an entry that was barely passable. Into the frail gap of the rock, two by twelve’s had been affixed in a crisscross fashion to keep out unwanted trespassers like Elaine and Jack. And with the over grown brush, the mine entry was well concealed, and it looked like it had been years since anyone had ventured inside.

Jack shone his flashlight into the entry and Elaine squeezed between the boards and carefully stepped down the rickety steps, and what daylight was available was absorbed into the walls of the mine. Jack threw his pack inside and it landed next to Elaine. She waited patiently while he contorted himself to fit through the narrow opening of the X; catching half of what he was wearing on the boards. When he finally did make it inside, it was with a thud at her feet. Embarrassed he got up and gave her and the opening a menacing glare.

As they went deeper into the mine, the walls bore pot marks here and there. These were holes where spikes were driven in for dynamite to be set and used to blow rock out for discovery of gold and tunneling. Jack made a mental note as they moved further into the depths of the mine.

“We’re not far from where my father and I discovered our little fortune,” she explained as they came upon a round clearing where numerous tunnels converged with multiple tracks running side by side. Several old mining cars were stacked one behind the other. Jack pulled on the first one in line and it moved easily considering it had been sitting for some time in the cold dampness.

“But how is that going to help us find them?”

“I don’t know, Jack. I just have a feeling. Haven’t you ever followed your gut?”

“Outside of down the aisle with you? No. My situations rarely call for me to use my gut. The Intel I receive is suppose to be factual, not presumptions or full of hunches.”

Elaine looked above one of the tunnels and read the sign, “This is it. Number 3. Let’s go.”

Suddenly, Elaine stopped and looked back at a niche and stood in its entry. She closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath. She hadn’t imagined it, she thought. “Mom’s been here,” she whispered.

Jack watched with great interest and said nothing as she examined the small space.

She shone the flashlight inside and saw some graffiti on the rock wall. She let the flashlight crawl over every inch of the space. Crates had been turned over and used as seats. Cans of spray paint were discarded after they were used to make the colorful statements, and next to the crate closet to the art was a waded up Kleenex. She walked over and picked it up; gently taking in its aroma. “It’s mom’s own special blend; Raffinee and Opium. Spicy and freshly sensual,” she mused. She held the flashlight steady on the graffiti and within its complex picture she found her mother’s upside down and backward handwriting.

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