Writing prompt – Part 1 of a six-part series, vivid descriptions, and a cliffhanger. 150-300 words


The bottle shattered three meters from Patina’s feet, sending glass shards spraying like needles. She wanted to jump away, but the metal-braced rock face in front of her left her nowhere to go. At least this time it wasn’t incendiary. Last week, a protester down on C-deck threw a lit-fuse blaster into the pit; the flammable gases ignited, sending five miners to the sick ward. Salvina Corp. security had him pinned in the dust within seconds. No doubt there wouldn’t be any kind of a trial – just send him up on the surface without an evac suit and let nature take its course.

“You believe mahn do such thing?” Arnak asked as they both took deep breaths of relief. “Earthers no care – we jus’ dirty Dusters.”

Pale-skinned and fair-haired like most of the third-and fourth-generation Martian residents, he had been Patina’s partner on the borer rig since she was hired three sols ago. They were working solo on B-deck for the moment. Eerie – she wasn’t used to so few people around.

“That how they think, we no work to change minds,” Patina replied, securing the rig’s clamp to the rock and hopping back into the driver’s seat, Arnak beside her.

“Change minds, sure, all for it. But no good if all dead.”

“Can’t help think though we should do more. These be our people.”

Sighing, they pulled the breathers over their mouths and noses, the goggles down over their eyes, and the mufflers over their ears. Patina shifted the rig into gear, and the corkscrew tip whined shrilly as it dug into the hard surface. Suddenly, she brought the machine to a stop.

“You know, there might be way, but it be hard,” she said.

“Tell me.”

And she did.

(c) 2017 Miriam Ruff All Rights Reserved