Writing prompt – Part 2 of six-part series. Vivid descriptions, cliffhanger. Exactly 400 words

This entry won its challenge on the Prose.


Arnak’s eyes widened with horror. “What you say crazy at best and get us killed right so.” He had lowered his voice, though there was no one else in the tunnel with them.

“Men on C-deck burn and no can work,” Patina explained. “Not their fault, but they lose benefits – everythin’. How families supposed to live?”

Amrak was silent. Patina’s eyes bored through him like the screw on her rig. “You think we got life good down here? What happen you get hurt? What happen when rig break and no work? How we supposed to live if Salvina treat us worse than rigs we run?”

“Not sayin’ life be good,” he murmured sullenly.

“Then what you do be sayin’?” she asked.

“Heard stories company put gas down tunnels when miners no produce and ship bodies out airlock. Send in skippies. Who lose then?”

“Yeah, heard ’bout that, too, though all hush-hush. Riots. ’05 they say. Bad deal that. But that long time ago. Things change.”

“Yeah? What change?”

“We stronger now. “ Patina’s voice turned passionate. “We stronger than Salvina if stand up. We organize, get what want.”

“You foolin’ self. We Dusters, mine rats, that all we be. Been that way since families got here.”

“Yeah, dust be in our blood. But this our home and have to fight keep it ours. No can let Earthers push us ‘round no more.”

“Where you get these crazy ideas?” Amrak asked incredulously.

“Know guy in the pit. He say spreading through tunnels. Things gonna happen, and we need be part.”

“They kill us! How you no see?”

Patina didn’t answer, just looked out at the rock face before her.

“You keep me out of crazy talk,” Amrak continued heatedly. “Want no part of it. Make living how can, that it. Got family need me be alive for them.”

A sudden noise and a flicker of movement drew both their attention. Up in the wall, near the ceiling and next to a branching tunnel, a camera turned to look at them.

“They saw,” screamed Amrak. “They gonna come and space us.”

“Get out rig and look under cover. Make like engine bad.”

She jumped out, too, hastily inspecting the boring screw and trying not to look back at the camera. All they had were two people talking, but it was enough. Security would be coming, and that meant trouble.

(c) 2017 Miriam Ruff All Rights Reserved