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Dump Miner - Chapter Five
Life goes on.


Several months pass in the dumps, leO has started to become accustomed to working as a dump miner. His status as the spiritual leader of the facility becomes accepted by most of the other miners and resented by the Bishop Lamb. He has been known to almost incite riots during his impromptu sermons where he touts what has become his version of faith. His views have become skewed by his anger and jealousy of what he once had and what he has become.

The sun blazes down on the camp as all the miners slowly toil to find anything that can be recycled on the heaping mounds of garbage. The miners pick up one piece of refuse at a time, inspect it, then place in their collection bag to be brought back and sent for recycling or to be disposed of in the facility’s incinerator. leO, not really paying attention to his work, walks around the dump kicking trash and removing only the cleanest of the refuse. In the distance, a piece of cardboard flaps and flutters from side to side catching his attention. What he is not aware that what’s causing the cardboard to dance so freely is a much prized methane gas leak. Never having been trained to recognize these leaks, leO meanders to what he believes is an anomaly to investigate. The closer he gets to his diversion, the more methane leO inhales, and the cloud of the gas finally overtakes him. A very dizzy leO falls backwards and tumbles down the mountain of garbage. His lungs full of methane, the heat of the sun, and the shear exhaustion of the work cause leO to hallucinate.

Still lightheaded, leO looks back up to the mountain of garbage he just tumble down and at the piece of still-flapping cardboard, which gradually takes the shape of a glorious angel dressed in pristine white floating in the sky.

Messenger:
leO.

leO looks at the sky, everyone around him just ignores his actions. This is not the first time leO has spoken to himself.

leO:
Who are you?

Messenger:
I am a messenger, sent here to deliver the word of God.

leO:
What is his message?

Messenger:
You must take a wife and have a child.
leO:
Why?

Messenger:
This child is the Son of God and will be the Savior of the Lord’s kingdom.

leO:
Who shall be the host to carry our savior?

Suddenly one of the guards notices that leO is starting to act in a bizarre way. He shouts at mariA to help leO.

Guard:
mariA!

mariA does not hear the guard calling her at first.

Guard:
mariA! Hey mariA!

leO incorporates the guard’s shouts into his hallucination.

Messenger:
mariA. Aye mariA.

leO:
mariA.

The guard picks up his bullhorn and screams into it.

Guard:
MARIA!

Messenger:
MARIA!

leO:
Yes, mariA.

mariA turns and looks at the guard.

Guard:
Bring leO to the infirmary, he is freaking out again.

leO continues to stare at the sky for a moment and then collapses to the ground and passes out. mariA sees leO fall to the ground and quickly runs to his side. She gently slaps his cheeks trying to revive him. leO awakens after a few seconds of her coaxing. Trying to give leO some relief from the heat, mariA holds him in her arms turns her back to the setting sun to keep its rays from glaring on leO’s face. Still groggy from inhaling so much methane gas, leO slowly regains consciousness. Opening his eyes, he gradually focuses on mariA’s face, the setting sun behind her gives the impression of a halo around her head.

leO:
mariA?

mariA:
leO, are you alright?

leO:
We have been chosen.

mariA:
Chosen? For what leO?

leO:
The savior, he is coming.

With that breath leO, passes out again, falling limp in mariA’s arms. Other miners start to gather around them. A guard pushes his way through the cluster of people and stares down at mariA and leO.

Guard:
mariA, bring him back to his barracks and put him to bed, he is going to be useless for the rest of the day.

mariA:
I will lose my vouchers if I do not work.

Guard:
I will write you a pass for the day. This should take care of it for you.

The guard takes out a pad, rips a piece of paper out of it, and gives it to mariA.

Guard:
Now get him out of here, he is distracting the workers. The rest of you get back to work. These dumps are not going to mine themselves.

The guard pushes and prods the miners as they gradually disperse, while mariA drags leO to the facility tram. Finally arriving at the station, she plops leO in a seat, and sits next to him. She looks at his broken body then at the pass the guard gave her and sighs.

 

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