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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Featured Review on this writing by hullabaloo22

A flash fiction short story about coal mining in Appalachia many years ago.



March 1, 1916. It was overcast and cold before sunrise. Cyrus walked through the thawing mud along the row of dingy company houses. The mine entrance was a half-mile away. There was a numbness in the air, not weather-induced, but a feeling, an emotion. It translated even into flesh and bone, it made for a worried mind and a sense of helplessness. The small town and its residents felt the despair all too well. Even unspoken, it was always there. It weighed on the minds of every man and woman, as well as any children of age, that resided in the camp. The E. B. Hartmann Coal Company was closing down the mine in a few days. There would be no work after that. Residents would be evicted from company houses. Some distance ahead of him, a few men who also worked the day shift walked together in silence.

Children would be getting up for school soon. Fragrant black smoke from coal stoves hung in the still air. The faint yellow flicker of kerosene lamps glowed in several windows. His expelled breath fogged a vapor trail in the chilly air behind him as he walked.

Cyrus Mattson continued past the last few houses on the road. The mine portal was in sight. Snow which refused to give in to the coming spring was present in the shadowed areas of the hills and woods. Fine, black powder was sprinkled over the top of the wet snow. Cyrus took a deep breath. His mind was troubled. He would go to Pittsburgh and work, the mills there were booming. Or maybe the shipyards in Norfolk.

The overcast sky and the airborne coal dust cast a monochromatic hue to the town and to its people. They were all--coal dirt gray.

Submitted: May 16, 2020

© Copyright 2022 J.D. Wilson. All rights reserved.

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This is so well written. You paint a very vivid picture with your descriptions.

Sat, May 16th, 2020 7:13pm

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