“Survival of the Chosen, 15”

by Brianna G. Harte

Snow seemed to flee from the tunnel, leaving behind hard earth within. The walls circling into the mountain were uneven. It seemed as though people made them hastily, perhaps just barely wanting to meet the standards set when excavating the mountain began. Even as I just stepped into the tunnel, it seemed all too clear. With my back hunched and legs bent, I could just barely turn around to the overseer.

“Well?” He asked me, not with a hard tone like the others, just impatient.

“I haven’t a light to see inside, nor a task I need to start,” I said simply, leaving behind frustration I would have gladly thrown at the other overseers. Although none of them seemed worthy of an inkling of respect for their treatment of our community, this one had not shown me ill-will as of yet.

With his left hand pulled off of the weapon held across his chest, he scratched his scruffy beard. “I suppose I could get that for you. Do you know how to start a fire?”

A laugh flew into the wintry air. “Of course!” The willingness for him to assist me was certainly a breath of fresh air, as unbelievable as it seemed.

The man’s expression changed. Was that surprise? “Then come out here for a moment,” he ordered lightly. “And get some sticks.”

As I left to gather the sticks, a now familiar weight of stares dissipated. It made no sense to me why this one would trust that one of us would not run away. Perhaps he believed that I would not leave for the sake of the community. Perhaps he simply did not care. Honestly, only briefly did I consider fleeing. However, curiosity at what was in the tunnel kept me on a path toward the mountain. Also, should I leave, who knew what would happen to the others in the immediate area, should this overseer turn out to be as rotten as the others.

With several sticks under my arm, I approached the entrance to the mountain. The man didn’t seem to notice me. Only when I was practically in front of him did he truly see me.

Copyright © 2016 Brianna G Harte. All rights reserved.

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