What happens when a Viking long boat is discovered down a UK coal mine? What happen's when the passengers are undead and hungry for flesh? This is that story... This special edition has extra features in the form of three journal entries found after the zombie outbreak.
Dan Hardwick hated his job, always had and always would. But it was the family tradition. His grandfather had worked down the mines, so had his father and his uncles. Now it was his turn to serve a life sentence of breathing in dust. Not that it was the dust that bothered him, nor the unbearable heat and the stale air. Dan’s main problem was the feeling of being smothered in the close confines of the coal face.
It felt like he’d spent an eternity crouched over at the waist, marching up and down with the cutting machine churning its way through metres upon metres of coal. Dan knew that if there was a hell it wouldn’t be far different from how he’d spent the last fifteen years of his life.
He’d promised himself, more than once, that he was going to get out of the mining industry and take a job that would keep him out in the open. He dreamed every night of working under a cloudless sky, breathing fresh air as the sun tickled his skin.
It was a promise he would never keep. He knew he could never earn the same money elsewhere and that kept him doing what he did best, cutting coal day in and day out.
With his mind on other matters he absent mindedly manoeuvred the cutting boom up into the ceiling of the face line and then brought it back down. The repetitiveness of the job had made each action second nature and required little, if any attention from Dan. You know what they say about familiarity breeding contempt.
As Dan prepared to move forward once again he was deafened by the sound of creaking coal and splitting rock. At first he ignored the sound, so used to the earth shattering noises of the gob collapsing behind them that he showed little concern. It was just another reason to hate his job. If Dan had been taking more notice he would’ve seen the roof above the coal face moving, falling in a solid slab of black.
The shock wave of the falling ceiling was enough to knock Dan onto his back. He hit the back of the hydraulic roof support and stars danced before his eyes, stars mixed with a blinding cloud of thick, choking coal dust.
Dan heard the shouts of his workmates, but remained still as the dust settled around him. He looked around; rubbing his eyes, and could see the flicker of cap lamps further along the face line.
“Dan. Are you OK?” He recognised Sid Gyler, but couldn’t make him out.
“I’m fine,” he yelled back, his throat raw and dry.
“We can’t see a f——-g thing.”
“Just wait until its safe,” Dan coughed. “I’m …” the sentence was left hanging as he saw the object tilting from the upper half of the coal face.