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Lodestone book 2 cover

Excerpt from Lodestone: Book 2

The Company’s goods lift rose to the heights of the cavern.

Light shone within it like a meteor as it ascended into the dark reaches of the cave above, until it was swallowed from sight by the trapdoor that closed behind it.

Down on the floor of the caves, the miners cast off the gloves and padded caps of their uniform. Together, they took a while to sit or lie down, and gazed up at the starless night of the cavern’s heights.

Henry materialised from his hiding place and came to join the others. His armour plates clicked and ground together as he flopped down to rest his head on a mossy patch of a stone. He let the wooden staff he leaned on roll from his hands and a deep breath could be heard within his helmet.

‘Once again, the lift’s ascending back up into the world above, leaving us down here in the dark. It doesn’t get any easier, to be reminded of the surface…’ Henry murmured.

‘We’ve made it past our first week. That’s one step to getting out of here,’ remarked Flora in a small, wistful voice.

‘I think that journey will be a long one,’ murmured Percy as he gazed upwards.

‘The damned Company and the mining quota it gives us, just so we can pay our way out of its slavery. One day they’ll answer for it! One day they’ll pay!’ Zachary shouted up into the echoing emptiness beyond.

‘No one should be enslaved. What debt did we incur?’ Aisling said.

‘Only they can decide. No doubt they could drown us with facts and figures if we asked, none of which would make sense,’ replied Henry.

‘These past few days have gone by in a whirl. What strange things we’ve seen! Lord, what lies in wait for us next?’ Irene wondered aloud.

‘Settle in for the long haul, that’s what I would advise. Like it or not, we’re here to stay. Don’t think of the number of days ahead, focus on the day you’ve got,’ answered Henry.

‘So we’ll fix up the chapel then? Make ourselves at home?’ retorted Irene.

‘Yes. It will be easier with extra hands, and someone else to appreciate one’s efforts.’ Henry’s voice was a tired whisper from within his crudely-shaped iron helmet.

‘You’ve never done it your entire life!’ Irene scolded.

Henry grumbled a response. He continued to recline and gaze upwards.

‘I’m hungry,’ Aisling stated. She climbed to her feet and set off back to the chapel.

The others shrugged, sighed, picked up their things, and then followed her.

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