With the day’s light dwindling the lamps glowed brightly in the windows of the Trawzelen miners’ cottages. Over at the tin mine all appeared quiet. Below ground shift boss Richard Dengarran struggled desperately to save his men. The seam above their heads was crumbling. Richard screamed for everybody to get out. One by one they scrambled past. He couldn’t hold back the creaking beams for much longer.
Of the 25 men on his shift 20 escaped. Five including Richard were lost. The collapse was so severe they are yet to recover the bodies. It is truly hoped that none of the five survived. Better dead than buried alive.
Maisie Dengarran still lives with her only son John in their miners cottage. No man has yet to replace her Richard. Some have tried but they soon realise there is no room in Maisie’s heart for anyone else.
Maisie misses the silly things. The rust coloured overalls Richard used to bring home. The stains they would leave in the sink when washed. The rusty puddles he’d make when he got home on a wet night. The iron in the mine discoloured everything. Her house is now spotless. Pristine. She is forever cleaning up.
John says his father comes and talks to him at night. Tells him to look after his mother. He is the man now. Maisie just smiles. She doesn’t believe him but she pretends that she does. Sees no harm in it.
One night Maisie listens in to John having one of his conversations. Two voices? One is Richards! It can’t be!
Maisie opens the door. It goes quiet. John looks at his mother.
“He doesn’t want you to see him. Not after all this time” says John.
“Where is he?”
John points to the open window.
Maisie rushes to look. Nothing. Of course nothing. As she steps back her heart shudders. Below the window sill. A wet, rusty footprint.
The bedroom candle flickers. The window crashes shut. John takes his mother’s hand.
These 333 words are my entry into the Trifecta Week 83 writing challenge. Have to say I really enjoyed writing this story today. I hope you like it! As an aside if you live in the UK and are interested in the history of the Cornish tin mining industry I beseech you to visit Geevor. A truly fascinating time capsule of an industry and way of life which has now disappeared.