An Adventure story: Miner

Image of Long Story Short Award - 2022
Image of Short Fiction
1) It is late-night, and nearly morning, you're returning home with an oil light. It warms your cold left hand. You think it as usual: it's better than none. You start to count how much you just earned from mining the ore. One, two, three, and no more. Even fewer than yesterday. You know that these shell money can only help you with one meal. With a small hope for living, you keep them well in the pocket and walk a bit hurrier to your house. You feel hungry.

2) It is a silent night. You can only hear noises from the butts and yourself walking on the grass. You're nearly home, just a few steps more. Suddenly, you smell something good. It is a mixture of grain and milk—you know that it is someone baking bread. You look around the dark and find a house is lighting up. You think it's someone in that house baking bread. But it is not that easy to walk up to the hill. Would you go there for a look?
If yes, go to paragraph (3).
If no, go to paragraph (4).

3) You walk with hunger and eagerness, imagining it is a lady or a granny baking the delicious bread for her children or grandchildren. You walk with until exhaustion. You climb over the rocks and pass a river. You feel that your strengths are from your silly curiosity and the scream of your empty stomach. Closer and closer, you finally arrive. It is a rather big house for a person to live in. So, you think there must be living a big family. It is surrounded by flowers. You imagine again the bread lady is handling her little garden. You try to peek at the window, but the curtain is covering the sight of the inside. You still can only smell good without looking at who is making the magic appetite. Is your curiosity being fulfilled, or do you need to ask for a piece of pleasure?
If you choose to return home, go to paragraph (5).
If you choose to knock on the door, go to paragraph (6).

4) It is too tired to walk that far. You go to your old wooden front door, pull the keys out of your pocket, but unluckily drop a shell of money. You pull your lamp light closer to the grass and try to find that little shell. Unfortunately, the fire inside your lamp climbs out and reaches the grass—the land and your front door get burnt in a stream light. You're scared and hope to ask for help from your nearby. You try to knock on every door. However, it is curious that there is no neighbour around. No one is home, but probably only the far-away lightened house with the bread smell. What would you do?
If you choose to handle the fire by yourself, by breaking your window and getting water from your house, go to paragraph (7).
If you choose to ask for help from that distanced neighbour, go to paragraph (8).

5) You walk around the house for appreciating the lady's flower artwork and are finally ready to return home. You find this neighbour impressive and decide to make friends with this family. When you look back to the way home, you see that a lady is standing in front of you. Because of the sudden, you do frighten a bit. You make no sound – and she does not either. The sun is going up and lightening up the faces of you two's. You can see her beauty through her long curly blonde hair – her blue, watery eyes that are seeking your soul – and her eye-catching body covered with the long white lace dress and a pair of slippers. But the most overwhelming part of this lady is her smile. You're sunk with her. You can't expect more to observe more beauty from her, but she hands you a baked bread by fitting it inside a cloth and basket. You're melted with an angel who does not say a word. When you're frozen, she is moving into her house. Do you dare to speak to this gorgeous lady?
If yes, go to paragraph (9).
If no, go to paragraph (10).

6) You knock on the door, softly, three times. No one seems to open the door. You do not knock for one more time because you think you're not welcomed by the lady, suddenly feel ashamed of asking for a slice of bread and leave the house by rushing back home. Without looking back, you think you will visit the house no more, but only smell the precious of the bread and the dream-lady. But you know you'll keep on thinking about the house and imagining the bread lady. [END]

7) You try hard to break the window but always fail. You know it's hard to break it without yourself being hurt. You use your elbow to break it. Finally, you did it; but you're bleeding. You feel hurt and lonely on this night. You see your blood coming out from your elbow hurriedly like a flood. You think you're silly because you hurt yourself at a level that you can't even stand—you cannot climb into the window with your hurt elbow. Watching your house and your land getting burnt quickly, you feel no hope of living anymore. Just because of that one shell money, you lose a hundred of shell money. You think of your mother and your father, living away from you in heaven – you can't stop yourself thinking of joining them and living together. You cry and sit on the land, die in the fire. [END]

8) You try to get up to the hill and find there a river. You want to take water from it to save your place. Luckily, you found a big bucket beside you. You run back and forth and finally settle the fire. You feel exhausted, release the bucket from your hand, and sit on the grass. You see the sun rises and relieved. You plan to return the bucket tomorrow. You think again of the bread lady. You think she may be even a housework lady, helping her family, washing all their clothes. You look at the blue sky and fall asleep under the sunlight. [END]

9) "Thank you", you say with excitement, "I'll return the basket when I finish your bread!" And you even add a question, "don't know if I can visit you... Or even help you to bake bread?" you now feel embarrassed and think you've already fallen in love with this lady. You're waiting for her reply. You see her standing still and look back at you, speak no word, and nod her head with her glittering smile—you find her brighter than the sun right now. You return an even brighter smile and look at her opening the front door and walking into her house. You try hard to gaze inside within a few seconds with her door open. You see it is black inside, and something is hanging on the wall – several skins on the wall – the faces of humans. You even find them familiar—they are your neighbours. You start to feel disgusted, scared, dizzy and look at what you got in your basket. It is not bread anymore, but a disguise of death – it is your head – without your face. You're killed earlier by the dream of the witch. [END]

10) You feel too feverish to talk to this dream-like fairy, so you keep the words in your mind. You can't even look at her back, it is too stunning to glance at her once more. You look at the bread in your hand and leave the house. Running quickly and back to your little old house. When you back home, the sun has already risen. You look at the blue sky and find her shape in the clouds—you keep thinking of her. [END]