The Major Family in the Mines of Morado, ch. 1

Long ago and far away lived a family named Major.  They were a happy family of five (six, really, if you counted their hound dog, Flops): Mr. Major, Mrs. Major, Pansy, Tommy, and Baby Rose.  It was late in the fall of the year that Baby Rose was born when the Major family fell on hard times.  Mr. Major lost his job and they lost their home and would really have been in big trouble if Mrs. Major hadn’t had a brother who owned a diamond mine up in the Mountains of Morado.  No one wanted to work the mine because it was very far away and mining was very hard work.  Also no one had ever found any diamonds there.  But the Major family had very little choice, so Mr. Major accepted the job, and the five…excuse me, Flops…six of them headed off to work and live in the Mines of Morado.

It wasn’t a very fun life.  Every morning, the whole family got up before the sun and headed down the long tunnel of the mine to the place where they were supposed to be digging.  Then they all got to work.  Mr Major and Mrs. Major worked with pick axes to dig rocks away from the wall.  Pansy and Tommy carried away the rocks that fell and piled them in a far corner.  Flops watched over Baby Rose and kept her out of trouble.  It was hard work for everyone, but they were all together, and that made them happy.  Unfortunately, even with all that digging, they never did find even one little diamond.

Then one day while Tommy was hard at work a little way away from the others, he saw something move out of the corner of his eye.  He turned his head just in time to see a black shape disappear around the corner of the opening to another tunnel that led further into the mine.  With a whistle to Flops, Tommy began to follow the shadow.  Flops was right behind him.

Tommy ran fast, but he couldn’t see the shadow anymore.  He wondered if he had just imagined it, but when he stopped to turn back he heard a noise.  Tc-tc-shhhhht.  Tc-tc-shhhhht.  Tc-tc-shhhhhht.  The sound was coming from further on down the tunnel.  Tommy moved closer.  Finally, he could see the shadow again, but he couldn’t tell what it was.  It seemed to be some sort of creature, low to the ground and creeping along.  It was pulling a large bag, which is what made the noise.

Tommy gave a great yell and ran toward the creature, with Flops in hot pursuit.  They never even got close.  Abandoning the bag, the creature ran a few more feet down the tunnel and disappeared down a hole in the floor.  Tommy and Flops ran to the edge of the hole and looked down.  It was very dark, so Tommy picked up a small rock and dropped it into the hole.  He could hear it echoing as it fell down, down, down.  The hole was very deep, much too deep for Tommy to try to follow the shadow creature.  Instead he turned around and went back to look at the bag that the creature had left behind.

The bag was very heavy.  It seemed to be full of rocks.  Tommy opened the end and pulled out one of the rocks.  It was purple and sparkled, even in the dim light.  While Tommy was holding it, he could feel it vibrating in his hand.  First his hand, then his arm, then his whole body got very warm and tingly.  He could hear a humming in his head.  The feeling lasted for just a moment, and when it was gone, the rock wasn’t sparkling anymore.  Tommy didn’t know what had happened.  He held out the rock to Flops, who sniffed it and then backed away.  Tommy decided to drag the bag of rocks back to his family and ask them what they thought.  When he stood up to go, Flops started to bark at him.

“Quiet, Flops!” said Tommy, but Flops didn’t listen.  He just barked harder.  It was strange; Flops was normally such a well-behaved dog. “What’s the matter, boy?” asked Tommy, bending down to pat Flops’ head.  Then he realized how far he had to bend down.  And that was when he saw that his feet weren’t touching the tunnel below him.

Tommy was hovering in the air about a foot off the ground.

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