Peter Hurtgen: Incident at the Bottom of a Mine

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After what seems like an eternity trapped at the bottom of a mine, 300 feet below the surface, your leg crushed under a rock, without water, without light, without any sense of time, without companionship, without hope—soot clayed in your mouth, blood clotted in your ears, tears streaked down your blackened face—an otherworldly calm comes over you, as the faintest light appears. The spectrum is broken and blurred at first, but steadily becomes more clear and focused. It’s exquisite. The smell of your old aunt Nelly’s freshly baked nut clusters blows cool on your face. The light gets bigger and brighter and forms a tunnel, a swirling chiaroscuro of amber, white, burnt umber, gold. You have never seen anything so beautiful in your entire life. Then, as thundering trumpets blast a clarion as for your arrival, you hear a deep voice. Clear. Distinct. Sympathetic. Familiar.

“Holy Fuck, you look like shite, you clumsy cunt.”

It’s foreman O’Brien. He’s here to pull you out of the cave-in. The boys have drilled through with the Cat and finally find you. You’re going to live this time. And thank God because you always hated aunt Nelly’s nut clusters.

nerd glasses with tape

Pete Hurtgen

Pete’s an Irish/German Americano,
born in Chicago, whelped in DC,
forged in the fiery furnace of FLA,
lost his F and now minds his biz in LA.
Occupationally, he’s transitioning from reality TV producer to something else.
Anything else.
His fiction can currently be seen in Number Eleven, Cahoodaloodaling, and Fiction Southeast.
black tree
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