010. Mud. Jay Caselberg

We’d been in the pit for a month now, digging with our fingers, with anything we could get our hands on. Every day, the rain sluiced down, running in rivulets over our muddy faces, making strings out of our matted hair. It pooled in stinking puddles, mixing with everything else that lay there, filling the air with a pungent miasma. Still the rain came, trying to wash it all away, but the constant spattering against our upturned faces gave us no relief.

Thankfully, they removed those who fell. They could have left them where they lay. After the first few days, they learned to feed us. Fewer succumbed because of it. There was no joy to the eating though. It was merely a means to an end. Survival.

And survive we would, those of us who remained.

We could see them up there, near the pit’s edge, their figures mere silhouettes, illuminated from behind by the vast arc lights, blurred by flowing water. Occasionally, we could hear noises, machinery, other things that we could not identify, a guttural shout if one of us got too close. And yes, we got too close. We would keep getting too close. We would keep digging. We would keep trying.

And one day, one day, we would be out.

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