Posted in Short Stories

The Mine Shaft (Part IV)

People don’t just combine into one person. I have to be dreaming. Damn, this is so real. I continued staring at Derek who was now just one person and not two. Words failed me as I blinked once, then twice. He took steps toward me, and I backed up. He stopped, and I stopped with my hand raised in the stop position.

“D-don’t,” I stammered, “don’t come near me. I don’t know what just happened, but I want no part of it.”

“Daisy, it’s ok,” said Derek as he took one more step anyway.

“I said don’t…..come any closer.”

“It’s the mine. The mine did it.”

“Did what?” I asked.

“Spl–.” But noise from the opening of the mine shaft drew our attentions.

One by one the others in our group exited the mine shaft. Except…..instead of the five additional people who originally went down there to begin with, there were eleven. One of whom looked like me. Of the others, five of them were doppelgangers for the other five. They now stood in pairs of five. My double sauntered over and stood next to me.

“As I was trying to say, the mine shaft splits people into two,” explained Derek.

Everyone stared at me smiling, but I wasn’t smiling. I didn’t want to be two people. I didn’t like this at all. “So we just snap out fingers and everyone goes back to normal?”

“Well, yeah. That is, if you want to. There’s fun in being two,” said Derek’s best friend Todd. He looked around at everyone and said, “Ready guys?” The other ten people snapped their fingers in unison and they became five again.

My double refused to snap her fingers. She pursed her lips together and folded her arms across her chest. “I’m staying a double.”

“No,” I said.

“You don’t have a choice,” said the other me. “I don’t want to combine. I enjoy being a double.”

This was going to be more difficult than I thought, so I had to play along. But how does one get someone else to snap their fingers at the same time if that person knows the repercussions if they do? Then I had an idea.

“Hey,” I said to my double, “you know what happens if you don’t combine back?”

“Daisy, don’t,” said Derek. A worried expression playing across his face.

“Don’t stop me. She needs to know,” I said.

“Know what?” asked the other me, nervous eyes glancing from me to Derek and back.

I didn’t know what Derek’s game was, but maybe he knew I was making something up to get my double to go along and snap her fingers. Maybe he was playing along.

“It’s the mine ghost. He will come at midnight tonight and kill you if you don’t combine before then,” explained Derek.

“B-but I don’t want…..”

“Look,” I said, “it’s not like we can’t become two again. All I have to do is reenter the mine. It’s that simple,” I stated.

My double creased her brows and stared at the ground, deep in thought. She lifted her head and sighed in resignation. “Fine, let’s get this over with.”

My double and I stood next to each other and snapped our fingers in unison. I became one person once more. I breathed a sigh of relief as I gazed over the opening of the mine shaft. The opening disappeared as though it was never there.

My eyes went wide as I stared at Derek.

“Aren’t I sneaky?” snickered Derek.


Posted in Short Stories

The Mine Shaft (Part III)

Unable to move at the realization that it wasn’t Derek behind me, I continued staring down at him. I forced my head to look away, but fear continued to hold me in place.

“What are you stopping for?” he asked.

My breath caught, as I listened to the male voice below me. It sounded just like Derek’s. How? He called me from further into the shaft. I decided to show no signs of alarm, for doing so could jeopardize my safety. I’ll pretend he is Derek, at least until I get out of this hole.

I cleared my throat. “Sorry, baby. For a moment I felt a little faint. Perhaps it’s the height. I’m ok now.” I moved upward toward the exit. When I reached the top, I scrambled out of the opening, dusted myself off and turned to watch who was coming out behind me. It was Derek. I cocked my head and creased my brows but didn’t say anything.

“What’s wrong, Daisy? You look turned around or something.”

“Um. I uh.” I gave my head a quick shake. “Sorry. It’s just that…..I thought I heard you calling me from further down into the shaft as we were climbing out, so I thought it was someone else who was climbing up behind me.”

“I didn’t hear anything,” replied Derek.

“Maybe I’m hearing things. It was so real. Given that someone grabbed my wrist while we were down there, I thought maybe you were whoever that was. I thought that person followed me and prevented you from following me out. Then I saw your ball cap and…..” Derek sauntered up to me. Concern written all over his face.

“Daisy, someone grabbed your wrist?” asked Derek.

“Well, yes, you were there. Remember? You helped pull my arm away.”

“I did?”

“Yes, and we both fell to the floor of the shaft.” Derek continued to look at me like I was losing my mind. “How can you not remember?!” My legs felt like jelly. I was truly losing it. Then movement out of the corner of my eye coming from the direction of the opening to the mine shaft, took my attention off Derek. It was the top of a head wearing Derek’s same baseball cap. Another guy was coming up from below. But Derek was the only one wearing that ball cap. The others in our group hadn’t worn anything on their heads. The person finished coming out of the opening. He hadn’t looked up but was looking downward at himself while brushing himself off. He wore the same clothes as Derek. Then he looked up at me, and I froze. He looked just like Derek.

“Daisy, didn’t you hear me calling you down there?” said the Derek who just climbed out of the hole. He looked over at the other Derek and smiled. The Two of them did a fist bump, hugged, then released.

“What the hell is going on?” I asked. “Which one of you is the real Derek?”

In unison they said, “We both are.” They snapped their fingers and the two became one.

(To Be Continued)

Posted in Short Stories

The Mine Shaft (Part II)

“You think the darkness can hide you from me?” said the whisper.

I yanked and tugged my wrist from the iron grip, but to no avail. My voice caught in my throat and my breathing constricted. But I didn’t need to say anything, as Derek took over.

“We’re getting out of here. Guys, stop! Guys!” called Derek to the rest of our group. No answer. “Daisy, turn around. We’re leaving.”

“I can’t move. He has my wrist.”

“Ha ha ha ha ha,” laughed the disembodied voice.

“Let me go,” I yelled.

A click invaded the darkness. Then a stinging pain pierced my arm. “AHHH!” I called out.

“Daisy, I’m so sorry,” cried Derek.

“What the hell are you doing?”

“I was trying to stab whoever has your arm.”

“Well, you didn’t. You stabbed me. Forget the stupid knife. Help me get my arm free.”

Derek grabbed my arm, and we both pulled. The grip on my wrist let go; the momentum sent us both toppling to the floor of the mineshaft. Inch by inch we crept to a standing position. I patted the walls then turned and proceeded toward the exit. Derek’s footsteps shuffled behind me. His hand placed itself on my shoulder as we moved. Neither one of us said anything. Finally, we reached the light of the exit and the makeshift ladder. I latched on to it and climbed.

I glanced back and down to see the top of Derek’s ball cap. Good. At least we’re together.

“Daiiiiisssy!” called a voice from further down into the shaft. I stopped as the familiarity of it hit me. It was Derek calling my name. A chill flooded my bloodstream. Then, who is on the ladder behind me?

(To Be Continued)

Posted in Short Stories

The Mine Shaft (Part I)

Down, down, down we descended into the dark, dank mine shaft of long ago. Will he sense we’re down here? I followed Derek and the rest of our group. Soon the light from the opening above was out of sight, and everything turned pitch black. Making a wrong turn would be fatal. As we inched along the unseen passage, the walls drew closer together and a narrowness corralled us into a line. At least that was my perception. The passage way, with the walls as narrow as they were, didn’t allow for any other type of movement.

As I hung on to Derek’s left hand, without thinking, I reached my other hand up and glided it along the wall. A perspiring dampness seeped through it pours. I was just about to snatch my hand back when it glided over something soft. Instinct forced me to snatch it away, but something latched on to my wrist, pulling me back. I gasped. My other hand squeezed Derek’s with a tightness that meant terror loomed.

“What? Daisy, you ok?” asked Derek. To the others he called out, “Hey, guys. Stop.”

“I-I don’t know,” I said. “There’s…” But my words died in my throat as hot, stinky breath singed my cheek and a whisper crept its way into my ear.

(To Be Continued)