Thursday August 27th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the dig.

Construction on the new house continues. They're working on the deck on the outside and the flooring on the inside. And still doing lots of digging, which invited today's prompt.

The smoke was again slightly better today. I can now see the outline of the hills to the west of town from our front porch. The moon this evening was very red, but at least it was visible.

Hoping for continued improvement tomorrow as I harvest for Saturdays farmers market.


During the day the dig site is a buzzing hive of activity. Machines rumbling this way and that, men talking and yelling... mostly yelling actually, now that I think about it. Hammering, scraping, scooping, unloading shards of rock.

A man could get a headache from all that chaos even though he was standing half a mile away, well beyond the towering fence that marked the perimeter of the construction zone.

Night, though, is a very different story. All the machinery is at rest, dark lumps casting strange shadows in the moonlight. The men have gone home to their wives or girlfriends or empty beds. Tools have been put aside and silence reigns supreme.

The hole itself is a yawning, toothless mouth of darkness. To stand at its edge and look down is to stare into the abyss. A man could think of jumping and falling into forever, never landing, never stopping. Just an endless flight into... nothingness.

Night. That's when I like to visit the hole the best. I guess you could say that I don't have much choice in the matter. And, sure, you'd be right.

It's not like I'm allowed on site during the day...


Greg said...

How come the Red Moon didn't inspire a prompt then? Or is the smoke just a little too annoying now for it to feature much in these pages?
Sounds like the new house is coming along nicely even despite the smoke, which is good to hear! And I wouldn't let you on the site either... oh wait, that's part of your story :-P I am intrigued by your narrator and his fascination with the dig and the hole, but I'm also very curious as to what is being constructed. It sounds like it might be rather large, and possibly significant if it's attracting all this attention... tell us more!

The dig
The thump shook the ground enough that the three workmen, all familiar with the new techniques, still looked nervous. Benjamin, who'd grown up in earthquake country kept looking around, slightly wild-eyed, in case there was anything nearby that could topple over and crush them, but the whole site was clear. It looked a little like a mars-scape from the pictures from the latest rover to land there (Avaricity; it was looking for deposits of precious metals and had been paid for by global banking conglomerates); there was mud, small hills, but above all everything was very dry.
The pile-driver machines wound their columns back up and then loosed again, and more thumps shook the ground. Finally, after about twenty-five minutes of this, Laurent held up a hand and the drivers of the machines wound up and started backing off. When they were safely out of the construction zone he held up both hands, and the driver of the DIG moved his machine to the edge of the zone.
DIG was Directly Inverted Gravity and the machine simply projected such a field out from itself. When Laurent dropped both his hands the DIG's driver checked he was securely strapped in and turned the DIG device on. There was a faint hum as the silvery, turbine shaped generators drew power, then a sharp crack and a smell of ozone. Over the mars-scape a faint, lime-green sphere appeared, and then flattened out into a plane a kilometer on each side. The driver sat there, meticulously checking his instruments, and then rechecking a second, redundant set. When he was happy, he pushed a lever forwards, feeding more power to the generators, and in turn the lime-green plane darkened to forest green. For a moment the whole landscape seemed to tremble beneath them all, and the the loosened earth obeyed the new gravitational imperative and lifted from the ground and spread out on the the underside of the green plane, burying it completely.
"Forty-eight million tonnes of earth in under three hours," said Laurent, casually. "This is why it's revolutionising the construction industry."

Marc said...

Greg - hmm, red moon would have been good. But yeah, I suppose you're right. Too much smoke is too much smoke.

And I will consider telling you more should I figure out what that more is myself!

Fascinating, vivid scene you've crafted for us. The details really bring it to life. Though I am left wondering what this dig is all about too!