Friday, January 21, 2011

Mysterious Enemy #2, Part 2

The Third Week
When he threw his former allies into the refrigerator unit, he'd stripped them of their armor. There wasn't much metal down here in the tunnels, but he was able to cobble together a metal shovel blade from a metal breastplate. He ground the faux-shovel against the stone walls of the one brick room down in the tunnel, leaving scratches in the wall and slowly turning the thing into a bladed digging shovel that he felt could perhaps penetrate the hard earth above his head.

The first time he dug with it, the haft snapped and the blade bent back. He responded by drinking the rest of the ale and beer in the stone casks the builders had left behind when they left. It took a week, he thought.

When the booze faded, he remembered his father, in prison orange. He remembered his father looking tired as he hefted the pick over his shoulder, breaking stone searching for ore. He went to the armory and found a warhammer, not a perfect tool, but sufficient, and collected the remains of his shovel and the breastplate he'd built it out of. He hammered as long as he could, until lack of nourishment made him pass out.

When he woke, he went to the food supplies and ate sparingly, enough to feel fed, but not overindulgent. He returned to his task, hammering and sweating and sucking in huge lungfuls of the stale tasting air. When he finished, he had sore arms, and a compacted mass of metal narrowed into a crude pick shape at both ends. He attached it as best he could to a piece of wood.

He went back to where his shovel had twisted and broken and raised a hand above his head to touch the thin line he'd but in the dirt. He took three test swings, sighting on the line and hoping it was a weak point. The fourth time he swung back, he brought the pick forward and let go with all his slightly malnourished might.

There was a soft clink, and in the darkness he saw something bouncing on the dirt floor, a small chunk of dirt so packed together that it was more like a chip of stone. It was the size of his big toe. He smiled then. It was a savage and grim thing and he did so because he knew he would have his freedom, and perhaps his revenge, whatever the cost.

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