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Catastrophe At Blossburg No. 1

Mary cast her eyes into the tunnel. From the entrance, you couldn't see much, just a handful of rotten support beams and the ore cart track leading deeper into the mine.

"I can hear them." She said this to me almost wistfully.

I looked down at the sign. "Catastrophe at Blossburg No. 1. May 3, 1904. Explosion rocks coal mine resulting in the death of 13 miners, 9 of which were never recovered. Disaster blamed on faulty dynamite."

Mary moved to enter, but I stopped her. "You can't sweetie. It isn't safe."

"I think they need help." Her attention was focused on the mine before us. "Listen."

I did as she asked. I could hear a bird chirping in the distance, the plop of dripping water, and even our breath as we stood at the precipice of the darkness beyond. Yet, I heard no call for assistance.

"Come now." I said. "Let's go see something else."

Mary agreed reluctantly. Together, we continued down the path to visit other attractions in the park. However, I often caught her stealing glances back in the direction of the mine.

That night, after setting up the tent, I noticed that Mary was nowhere to be seen. Yet, somehow I knew where she had gone.

I ran to the opening of the mine and called out her name. From deep within, I could hear cries for help. Mary's voice was but one of many.

Story by:

Matthew J. Barbour

matthew.barbour@state.nm.us

9 March 2014