The Valleys – Big John’s Mine
The twelve trapped miners deep within the mine, had made themselves as comfortable as they could. The wounded had been attended to, mostly cuts, bumps and grazes. A careful stock-take of food and water supplies had been made, but even with strict rationing they knew they only had about three days supply. Another consumable with a finite supply was light. Tsomo had instructed the miners to use their head-lamps only when absolutely necessary. The main ventilation fan for the mine was located on the other side of the cave in, so while there was no fresh air being pumped in as usual, there were still sufficient small cracks in the strata to allow some air to reach the area where the miners were confined. It was a bit stuffy, but they’d live.
Tsomo’s head was full, going over and over a multitude of potential scenarios both good and bad in his mind. He had walked back down the tunnel to the site of the cave-in about a hundred metres or so, from where they had had set up their make-shift camp near the end of the new tunnel.
He stood for a few moments and surveyed the twisted mess of broken timber and rock, completely blocking their way out.
Tsomo walked over to Makai who had been working alongside another miner, making a start to shore up the roof and clear some of the rubble.
Tsomo: How’s it going down here?
Makai: Slow. We’ve shored up all the remaining roof supports the best we can with all the screw jacks we have. The fall seems to be stable for now.
Tsomo: Very well. Leave it for now, best not try to push our luck. Let’s head back up the tunnel and join the others.
The miners then turned to head back up the tunnel, using only one head-lamp between them on low power to conserve their batteries. As they made their way carefully up the tunnel a sudden blinding flash of light appeared from off to one side of the tunnel. The miners were momentarily dazzled and blinded in the sudden glare of light aimed directly at their faces. Tsomo was in no mood for any of his team to be wasting precious resources.
Tsomo: Who’s there? Turn that bloody light off!
The offending light suddenly deflected away and turned off. Near darkness returned, with the miners needing a few moments for their eyes to re-adjust to the gloom and low light of the single head-lamp.
Voice: Oh erm… yeah sorry! I didn’t mean to shine my light right in your faces like that!
Tsomo was confused. The voice was not one that belonged to any of the burly deep voiced miners. It was a small voice – it sounded like a boy – but that couldn’t be right – there weren’t any boys on his team…
Tsomo shook his head, he thought he must be hearing things. Then slowly as their eyes re-adjusted, from out of the darkness they saw who the small voice belonged to.
It was a small dusty boy. A small dusty naked boy.
Tsomo: Where the hell did you come from? Who are you?
Tag: Oh hai! I’m Tag, and I just came out of that crack over there! I’ve come to help rescue you!
Makai: Tag? Aren’t you Gazza’s boy from down at the gas station?
Tag: Yup – that’s me!
Tsomo was slowly getting to grips with the incredulous fact that a small naked boy had just popped out into the tunnel of a totally blocked mine and was now standing here chatting away to them as if it where just any other ordinary day.
Tsomo: But how – how did you get here?
Tag then explained all about coming through the lava tubes, and losing his shorts on the last tube because it was so tight. He also told them that his friend Jaak was waiting with food and water just on the other side of the squeeze he had just come through. The miners would not be able to get out that way, but at least they would now be able to establish contact with the outside world and get enough food and water to last them until the main rescue team could dig through the cave-in and get them out. For Tsomo and his team, a very bad day had just got a little better. Then, assuring them that he would be right back in a few minutes with the food bag, Tag disappeared into the crack in the wall, leaving three slightly stunned miners wondering if what they had just seen and heard was actually real or if they had imagined the whole thing.
Several minutes later a bag plopped out on to the floor of the mine followed by Tag.
Tag: Ok – well I guess I better be getting back outside to let everyone know you are all alive and safe and stuff – see ya later then!
Without further ado, just like that he was gone.
The Blue Cavern
Jaak had been waiting patiently for Tag to return for the second time, after sending him back with the food and water. He had drifted off into a pleasant daydream mesmerised by the soft blue glow of the cyan stones surrounding him. Words began to form in his mind.
Surrounded by the light of cyan
Tri-harmonic vibrations of rhythmic energy combines
A pulse that beats – a power from core deep
Transforms that which is ordinary into new form
Drives away darkness, danger and fear
Floats lighter than air through space and through time
Three together are strong – apart they are weak
Unite all and rest, to stand against those opposed
For therein lies victory…
Both the stone in Jaak’s pocket and all those around him pulsed and glowed brightly.
Tag’s head and then his body squirmed its way back into the cavern.
Jaak jolted from his daydream, leapt straight upwards towards the ceiling of the cavern, twisted in mid air and landed on all fours on the floor.
Holy shit a brick Tag! Don’t do that!
Forward Operations Base
The boys re-emerged into the bright sunlight to be greeted eagerly by the waiting rescue team. On hearing their news, a loud cheer erupted when they learned that all the miners had been found safe and alive.
Over the next few days steady progress was made from the main portal to dig through to where the miners were trapped. Each day Tag and Jaak took in more food and water to the miners while they waited to be dug out. Eventually on the eighth day following the collapse, all twelve miners emerged back to the outside world to the rapturous applause of the waiting community.
The biggest applause however was reserved for Tag and Jaak who received the valley’s highest honour at the next fire circle gathering.
The full respect of the community.