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The Miners

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Silverton used to be a mining town; coal to be exact. It flourished some decades ago, but has since faded away into a small average American town.

It used to have two movie theaters, a bank and several hotels, but now all it has is a convenient store and a bar. How appropriate. There are mines everywhere in Silverton. EVERYWHERE.

Anyway, I grew up in this town, and moved away when I was 15 to a larger neighboring town called Yoma and I was still close enough to be able to hang out with my friend Gary on a regular basis, which made the move not so bad. But, anyway, I am rambling.

That day I was visiting Silverton to see Gary and some family before I went to college the next week. I called up Gary the night before and asked “Hey, know anything interesting to do around Silverton? Well, something unique that we have not done before?” I heard his nostrils snort air in the phone as he was clearly thinking.

Finally, he replied excitedly: “I think I may have something adventurous, but I will have to explain when you come over."

Gary was never the one to be patient, especially about something he is clearly interested in. I went along with it.

“Okay man, I’ll see you tomorrow then?”

He hesitated.“Yeah…Yeah sure tomorrow man.”

The next morning I got into my red Sudan and I was off to Silverton, enjoying the sights as I went. I always loved the scenery around here. “Oh!” I looked to my right and saw that there was an opening to a mine shaft.

I turned away and I saw something grayish move out of the corner of my eye. I quickly looked back…to see nothing. “Just my mind playing tricks on me” I said aloud as a reassurance. I arrived at Gary’s U-shaped driveway and saw him waiting on the porch for me. “Its about time asshole!” he screamed in excitement. “Haha hey man! What’s all the excitement about?”

“Okay, so get this, I have been talking to old people in town about ‘The Bloomburg incident’.” Obviously intrigued, I asked “And that would be?” And With that look of pure fascination that was rarely seen on him he explained: “The Bloomberg incident was a period of several months between 1897-1898 where several miners and towns folk around the area went missing and were never heard from again, and no remains or evidence was ever recovered.”

“It all started after this guy named Grasim Bloomberg hunter and miner, came into town after a hunting trip and kept babbling on about these weird animals he found while hunting that day. He described them as ‘On all fours, some gray, some with blackish fur, claws, disposable thumbs, and four purple eyes that glowed in the dark’.

And, of course, everyone thought he was crazy, so he went into the woods to kill one and prove it to them. Later that night, they heard a blood curdling scream and a couple of guys went to investigate. They found only a bloody gun and a couple of bones with meat still attached.”

I asked him “What’s the point in this?”

He grinned really big and said “Come inside.”

I followed him into his room and he explained once more: “After the Bloomberg incident, everyone kept seeing these creatures on the of the forest and, like I said, people started disappearing.

Now, everyone’s descriptions of these things were always the same, they were about 4’ when they were on all fours, when they stood, they towered at about 8’.

they were extremely fast and could climb trees with ease. And the main thing everyone seemed to notice the most, was their purple eyes and their screeching. People would wake up in the middle of the night to see those purple eyes outside their window, or in the trees, accompanied by their signature CRRRKK. Some children even reported to see them in their closets.

They were even reported to have been in the mines as well. Every time one was sighted in one of the mines, it collapsed the same day and killed dozens of miners. ” Very interested, I listened on. “This happened from February 1897-January of 1898, and then all of a sudden stopped.” I thought ‘Why?’ to myself, but waited for him to answer that himself.

“Nobody knows why it stopped or what they were, but the townsfolk started referring to them as The Miners.” found something similar in Native American mythology. Go ahead, I have got the page marked.” I turned to page 67 as the book instructed and saw a black and white photograph of a grayish figure on all fours with its arms around its legs and staring in an intimidating pose. The page on these things was very short and to the point:

“The Purple ones, as they were called were rarely seen, but every time they were, their appearances were always accompanied by clicking noises and four distinct purple eyes. They only appear at night, and they are never alone.” Now came the part where the skeptical part of my brain kicked in. I was obviously very intrigued, but I was debating in my mind whether all of this was just an myth as the book stated, or at the very least, a bit of fact behind it. I mean, I lived here until I was 15 and I have never heard about any of this.

“Where are you going with this Gary?” He walked over to his computer desk and pulled out a folder marked ‘Public records-Yoma county’ and threw it at me.

It was the investigation of one of the mine cave-ins. I examined the picture closely and realized that was the mine shaft opening I had seen on the way over here. “Hey, you remember this place right? Its just right down the road from here.” I said. “Yeah, I remember, but that’s not the point in showing you the picture.” He pointed in the background, behind the two officers and there were two grayish figures on the tree line.

“No fucking way! Gary you fucking photo shopped this!” He started laughing and said “Do you honestly think I would spend all that time to photo shop a picture and make up a bullshit story just to scare you? I thought for a split second and replied: “Yes.”

He laughed again and said “Well, its nice to know just how much you trust me man, but there a reason I am telling you this.” I looked at him cautiously and waited for his ‘reason’. “That cave-in happened after The Miners were supposedly seen, so there is a chance that when the cave collapsed, a Miner was killed also, so lets go explore it and see what we can find eh?”

He is fucking nuts I thought to myself. “That is the stupidest fucking thing I have ever heard come out of your mouth Gary. What of it collapses while we are down there?”

He stood up from his chair and said “Well, you don’t have to go, but I want to see what’s down there. And, besides, this would make a great story to tell all of those girls at your college.” He gave me a mischievous wink. I pondered a moment. Gary looked at me and said sarcastically “You’re just scared of The Miners!” I looked at him and said “Dude that shit isn’t even true…it cant be…”

He pushed the photo in my face and pointed at the figures near the woods and said “I guess you wouldn’t mind proving that then?” I caved in. Pun intended. Ha. “Okay Gary, but we are not staying down there long, and if we hear and creaking or sign of a collapse we get the hell out of there.”

He nodded in approval and replied “Or if we see The Miners?”

I gave him a bullshit look and said “Let’s just get this over with okay?”

We went to the only store in town and bought some flashlights, a couple packs of batteries and several bottles of water. The clerk asked us “You guys going hiking or something?” I was about to say “Well..” when Gary interrupted with “Yeah, right around Pike hill.” The clerk looked at him and said "Be really careful around there, there are a lot of old mine shafts that could cave-in on you.”

He reassured her with “We will, this is our 4th time going out there.” He was lying his ass off, but I went along with it: “Yeah, we have an old map that shows the locations of the mines, so we know where to hike.” We left the store and into the Sudan we went. Gary winked at me and pulled out his dad’s 357 magnum. “What the fuck are you doing with that?” I said a little agitated. “You never know what you’ll fin in the woods.” he said smirking. “Like The Miner?” I said laughing sarcastically.

While on the way to the mine, I saw another grayish figure out of the corner of my eye. I did not look, because I knew it was just my mind playing tricks again. Ahh, good ole’ Brewer Road, complete with abandoned farm houses, rusted farm equipment scattered around expansive fields of dead grass. We approached the gate and I got chills, The bold NO TRESPASSING sign did not help.

“No trespassing Gary, we should go back…” He looked at me with a smirk and said “Trespassing, tres means three and there’s only you and me…that’s only two.”

Always being the smart ass. “Fine, you first.” We climbed over the rusty barbwire fence and walked about a half a mile into the woods and saw a broken windmill and a pond. I looked down and noticed that the ground was scattered with coal and glass.

We walked towards the pond and the mine came into our line of sight. The mine stuck up out of the ground like the entrance to hell. It was a stone arch. “The stone arch to hell” I said out loud. Gary laughed and as we approached the entrance, pointed his flashlight into the mine and said “Feet first into hell.” The mine was filled in with boards and barbwire clumsily thrown around to try and block anyone’s entering.

We turned our flashlights on and walked into hell. We walked around and over this junk for about 10 minutes until we finally hit clear stairs. It was cold in there, it hit us like a drunk driver. I watched as the surface light slowly faded away and the oxygen thinned. We walked for about 15 minutes until we saw it even out into a walkway.

The oxygen was so thin. “I am out of breath man” I said to Gary. He nodded in mutual agreement and said “Yeah and we are not ev…OH SHIT!“

He fell forward and his body made a loud THRASH on the floor on the mine and shook the wooden foundation beams. I shined the flashlight behind us and saw that he had tripped on a loose brick that made up the stairs. “Well, I guess that’s the end of the stairs.” I said while laughing. I helped him up and he said “Hardy fucking har."

I couldn’t help but laugh. After it all settled down, we look around and reality set in. this place was scary as shit. Silence. Never ending silence. I shined the flashlight at the wooden support beams and I swear they were about to break. I looked over at Gary and said in an unsure voice “So…forward?” He was looking around with his flashlight and said “We’ve come this far, so I suppose.” I admit, I was so scared I was numbed by it, but I actually wanted to see what we would find down here.

Gary screamed at the top of his lung “HEY MINERS, HERE WE ARE!” I turned to him and punched him in the arm and said “Shut the fuck up!” Gary laughed and said “Wow, scared much?” “Well, maybe a little” I admitted. We walked for another 10 minutes, occasionally seeing old lanterns on the wooden beams. I saw an old pickaxe and took it as a souvenir.

“What are you going to do with that? Stab The Miners?” he gave a sarcastic stabbing motion. “I guess we will find out wont we?” I gave a smirk. Around 30 minutes, I saw a pile of bones. I knelt down and shone my light on them to make sure the dark wasn't screwing with my eyesight. They were cow bones, and they still had rotting skin on them. “Hey Gary…you might wanna come see this…” He looked at them and said an already known fact…

“Dude those are cow bones, nothing to worry about” he said in a matter of fact tone. “That doesn’t matter Gary, how in hell did they get down here?” He looked puzzled, obviously that didn’t register until now.

I heard a clicking noise right behind me and heard Gary scream AHHHH OH MY GOD!! I froze with fear and darted towards the entrance. “Hey come back!” Gary was laughing. “Its just…Its just a...ring tone!!” he said pausing in between words because of his laughter. “Ahh you fucking asshole!” I was hyperventilating.

I punched him in the stomach and made him drop his phone. “Oh you ass!” he barely got out, due to his lack of breath. The phone was on its backside and its light shone 360 degrees and I saw purple eyes and I jumped back only to see that they were gone. I offered my hand and apologized “I’m sorry man, I am just scared as hell.” When he got on his feet, he said “Yeah, I think we’ve gone in far enough and found nothing. We should probably head back now.”

we shined our flashlights around and noticed that there was another path, although it didn’t look man made…more like a giant rabbit hole. I looked over at him, seeing his curiosity and said “I guess feet first into hell?” he smirked and said “Oh, you can read me like a book.” he walked forward and I followed. We got around the first bend and saw that there was a light ahead…the old lanterns were glowing. I whispered to Gary “What the fuck is this?” he looked scared and puzzled and replied “I don’t fucking know man…"

I looked at the walls and noticed they were made out of some metallic material. “Are these hieroglyphics?” and pointed the flashlight to the pictures on the wall that to this day I cannot describe. We pushed forward against our better judgment. We came across a room lighted with candles and saw these grayish figures feasting on a cow…they looked like a mixture between a human, animal and insect…

There were fangs hanging out of their mouths that were tearing into the animals flesh, there claws were snapping the bones with ease and their long tongues were slurping up the bone marrow…they seemed to be communicating with each other through their CCRRKKK noises. They were hunched over and one stood up and sharply turned in our direction…those damn eyes…it pointed at us and Gary screamed “Fucking run!” we took off running as fast as humanly possible and heard the CRRRKKK noises everywhere…

I could heard them breathing down my neck. If I even slowed down those things would rip me to shreds… I ran until my saliva tasted of nickel blood and my throat burned the taste of beef jerky. RIPPPP!!! I heard my clothes being slashed at, tearing into my skin…I remembered the pickaxe!

I still had It in my hand!! I turned around and rammed it into the creatures head and it made a terrifying screech… there were more coming, so I struggled to catch up to Gary. Don’t let anyone tell you track is a useless sport, because right now its saving my ass. My adrenaline rush wore off and my body was giving out.

My veins pumped battery acid now and my throat was pure fire. How far were we in here? I heard The Miners crawling on the falls and running towards me. AHHHHH!! I heard Gary scream. He had tripped on the staircase…again. I ran to help him up when one of The Miners clawed his back…deep. He grabbed a loose brick and rammed it into its head and kept hitting. “Gary stop!"

We gave to get the hell out of here!” I heard the other things coming and my flashlight reflected purple eyes. I threw my flashlight at one of them and we ran up the stairs, The Miners getting ever closer. I could see light! Oh thank God! SLASH! It clawed the back of my leg and I kicked it in the face and Gary took one of the boards scattered around and hit it back into the mine. “We made it out! If there is a God, I'll send him a fruit cake” Gary said.

I suddenly realized that The Miners were real…I felt really bad for all those miners and children that fell victim to those bastards. I looked at Gary’s back and he was bleeding A LOT. “Gary, we need to get you to a hospital.” I said panicking. “The nearest hospital is over the mountain and down Highway 63.”

The sun was setting. I helped him in the car and we started around the mountain. I saw a grayish figure out of the corner of my eye. I hope that is my mind playing tricks on me… I saw purple eyes jumping tree to tree and darting across the road. We got to the top of the mountain and it started to rain. I saw one of them in the road just staring at me. I sped up. “Alright motherfucker, lets play." I screamed.

Gary screamed “What the fuck are you doing? Don’t hit it we’ll go over the edge!“ Too late. I hit it and my car flipped over the edge of the mountain and we started rolling down the mountain. Everything was rapidly turning upside down and vice versa until we hit a tree on the passenger side.

The whole car was upside down and there was blood and broken glass everywhere. I awoke some time later and looked over at Gary and asked “Are you okay man?“ He was out cold. I unbuckled by seat belt and landed on my head and had to reposition myself. I heard CCRRRKKK EVERYWHERE. I was panicking, I kicked in what was left of the windshield and told Gary “I am going to go get help.”

I looked near the console and saw Gary’s gun and picked it up. I checked to see if it was loaded and lucky me…it was. CRRRKKK every direction was all I could hear. There must be at least a dozen of these things. I got out of the car and looked up the top of the mountain we just rolled off. It must be at least a 150’ roll. The sun had already set and it was pouring now.

I saw all of the purple eyes in the trees just staring at me. Waiting. I took off running as best I could towards the road. The CRRRKKK noises were very rapid and intimidating. Hu hu hu hu… I was running out of breath fast. Then CRASH one landed right one me! It turned me around and looked at me in the eyes…this thing had mandibles, it had razor sharp teeth and two front fangs about 4” long.

I put the gun up to its face and BAMM! I Squeezed the trigger. Its blood was an oozy crimson and I was covered in it and brain matter. I scrambled to my feet and continued up the hill. Only 75’ to go! I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder and realized one had bit into it and was tearing. I screamed in pain AHHHH!!! It grabbed me and threw me down the hill and I started rolling and was desperately trying to grab something.

Ah! I hit a tree and grabbed on for dear life as the thing charged at me. I took aim, but the thing kicked the gun out of my hand and tried to bite at me as I let go of the tree and began to roll down the hill once more. I hit the bottom and saw the thing getting closer and closer I saw the gun, but it was too far away, so I grabbed the nearest rock and as the creature landed on the my chest; I hit it in the head with the rock and got to my feet and ran for the gun. Ah ha! I jumped for it as the creature got to its feet.

I grabbed the gun and pointed it at the creature and squeezed once more and BAMM!! No more chest cavity. It feel to the ground dead, and I took to the hill once more and then CRASH! The ground beneath me caved-in. I fell only 5’, but it was enough to sprain my ankle. I was delirious, and I looked around and saw that I was in an animal made tunnel. “Oh shit…“ it hit me, like a ton of fucking bricks…I saw purple eyes and heard CRRKK everywhere.

I lost it! I closed my eyes and put the gun up and shot off all the bullets (BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM!)in every direction screaming AHHH!!! I opened my eyes once more and saw that there was nothing there. I breathed a sigh of relief and climbed back out of the tunnel and looked upward towards the hill. I heard more of them running in the trees. I started back up the hill in a dead sprint. I saw headlights on the road. I made it to the road and flagged down the driver. “Help! There’s been an accident!”

He stepped out of the car and said “Where at?” I pointed down the hill and said my friend is down there, we hit an animal and swerved of the road!” I was bleeding everywhere and covered in crimson ooze. We started to walk down the hill when I realized The Miners were still down there…”where’s he at son?” the man questioned.

I pointed to the destroyed vehicle and realized that The Miners were gone. Later on, I questioned why, but at the moment it didn’t matter. We got to Gary and the man checked his pulse and breathing. He was alive! “We need to get him to the hospital!” We got him into the car and the man looked at the claw marks on Gary’s back and said “What happened exactly?” I looked blankly in front on me and said “The Miners.”

Epilogue

Well, that’s my story. I wanted to write it down in clarity before either I forgot it, or realized I was crazy. Gary survived and we still see each other every now and then. They insurance agency and police checked the scene, and never found a single ‘Miner’ or any trace of them. Maybe I was hallucinating. I don’t know, but Gary was right, my story was really popular in college, even though I told them it was an urban legend from back home.

Every year me and Gary go to the entrance of the mine in sort of a ‘Ha ha we beat you’ ceremony to The Miners. Every year I grab a piece of coal and chunk it into the mine for some unknown reason. I wonder every year if all of that ever happened or maybe I was hallucinating or something. I am standing at the entrance 5 years after it all happened and I wonder if Gary thinks the same thing…maybe they aren’t real…I grab my annual piece of coal and throw it into the stone arch of hell. We started to walk away when we heard from inside the darkness of hell… CCRRKKK.

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