Surface Work (May 2015)
Until now I had never been on the surface.
I have lived over a century, nearly half of my lifespan, underground in the mines digging for our beloved gold and iron. With half my life still ahead of me, I had decided to finally act on my wish to see the world outside the caves, like my father had before me.
Training to become a surface worker takes decades, and after that you end up weighed down by heavy gear and have little choice in destination. “I want the freedom to explore! I want to be free to see what I want to see!” That’s what I told myself. So I packed my father’s old battleaxe and some jerky and I sneaked onto the surface workers’ cart. The cart was my way up, but also my way back home. I knew would have to slip back to the cart before it returned at dusk, or I would get left behind till the next run. The cart was made of metal and what we could find for wood. It was very tall, holding spinning tracks and skiis on the bottom. I hid underneath it in between the mechanisms and the cart above them, making sure I was well hidden. If I got caught I would likely never be allowed to see the surface again. I waited for what seemed like forever before I heard voices.