TITLE: The Pit
Carbonado Currier: October 24, 1889
Explosion Reaps Death and Mystery
The bodies of four miners were recovered from the gloomy depths of Carbon Hill Mine after Monday's deadly explosion, the most disastrous in the mine's forty year history. They were raised to the surface through a ventilation shaft near the accident site.
Mine spokesman, James Lear said, “The calamitous event was likely caused by a pocket of methane gas ignited by the open flame of a miner’s headlamp. Efforts to recover four more members of the unfortunate crew are continuing. The deceased will be buried at company expense.”
A member of the rescue team, who wishes to remain anonymous, reports the blast not only brought down much of the tunnel, but also opened an entrance to a cluster of natural caverns heretofore unknown. He claims there is no sign of the bodies of the missing. “I don't understand,” he said. “We found helmets, headlamps, and picks but no bodies. Not a trace.”
Carbon Hill Coal has refused further comment.
* * *
From the white-pillared entrance of Carbonado School, the flight of red-painted stairs stuck out like a tongue, and I pictured it slurping up students in the morning and spitting them out in the afternoon. Despite being the end of spring break, it was my first day in this building, and with each upward step, the knot in my stomach pulled tighter.
I hesitated at the door and gulped down some air. No turning back.