Bear Creek

The darkness was heavy. Nothing seemed to break it beside the occasional whimper from one of the other men.

It had all happened so fast; it was still hard to believe any of it was real. Sitting on the floor, I could imagine that alarm going off above. I had heard it countless times before. It was almost always for something small. Work would pause for a bit and then resume as if John had not lost an arm or David had not broken his leg. I knew it was going off at the surface and that the town would not even raise their heads, at least until it did not stop. Being so far down, no sound makes it down here.

I begin to rub my son's hair after he puts his head in my lap. His silence says it all. I imagine he is just staring into the darkness like me. I cannot think of any words that would be worth the oxygen. Nothing I say to him can fix this. Nothing can fix this.

I think of his mother. She is going to have it worst of all. D*%$, life is not fair. She is just going to be one of dozens of widows in town after today. Bless her.

The sobs start becoming even more infrequent as we all come to terms with our fate or as people start to drift off. My son shifts his body to face up. I look up as well. Thinking of all the things we left on the surface. My eyelids become heavier and heavier. Sleep is coming but I fight it. I look down to where my son's head is on my lap. I wish I could see his face one last time. I put my hand on his forehead. He does not move at all. I do not know if it is better that he dies here with me or out in the war. Still, what a d@&$ shame, I want to write a message to his mother but do not know how.

I finally cannot keep my eyes open any longer. Sleep finally wins as they shut.