story excerpt by Tristan Martello, ’20 and Russell Hornung, ’20
After Reece regained his health, we set out towards the gold rush. We drove up to an open field in front of the mountain full of gold. The truck wobbled, and pieces broke off, one after another. We slowed to a stop. We saw two lone figures mining on the mountain side. We stuck our heads through what remained of the windows, and looked around.
“Wow guys! We get first dibs!” Reece said happily.
He started to leave, but I looked in the rear-view mirror, and screamed, “STAY IN THE CAR!” Seconds later, a stampede thundered past us. It was made of lots of people—Greedy people with greedy cars. Greedy bicyclists. Reece and Theo were in danger, and needed my assistance! I grabbed Theo by the collar and swiftly pulled him back into the van. All that training in the police force paid off. I guess all I needed was brains. I tried to grab Reece next, but he was swept away by the wave of people looking for their gold. I saw his hand sink down in the crowd, like it was drowning in water. The atmosphere got really dense. The air seemed more polluted as big mining trucks passed by. But the worst part was that we were one of them.
“CHEAP SHOT!” I screamed at the stampede of people thundering past us. “SHOW SOME RESPECT YOU HEARTLESS SLUGS!”
“We gotta save him!” Theo said. I think he was more relieved by the fact that he didn’t get pulled under, than by the fact that Reece did.
“I got a few things in the back!” I raced to the back of our truck. Skies got darker; things got more rough. I heard someone from outside say, “Hey! Let’s shake this truck back and forth!”. A roar of cheering followed.
That couldn’t be good.
I saw Mick panic. I didn’t like seeing him like that. I didn’t like any of this. When I heard him say to grab anything, I just grabbed a bunch of pans… I don’t know! I was under pressure. He suddenly pulled out two shields and machine guns from who knows where. He gave me one of each, and I put the pans in a big bag that I’d carry on my back. Then it was go time.
We grabbed our weapons and leapt into the thundering crowd. We swung our shields and opened fire with the machine guns, but it didn’t have any effect. Then I had an idea. I jumped on the back of one of the massive mining trucks, and climber to the top as it trampled the people, motorcycles, and cars in the stampede. Theo jumped on another one behind mine, and together, we rode to the front of the crowd. The driver of my truck looked out the window with a shotgun, and began firing at the other mining trucks. Apparently, he didn’t like the competition. Not surprising.
What was surprising was that the drivers of the other mining trucks were also carrying shotguns and returned fire, filling the air with bullets. Theo and I ducked under the raging exchange of bullets, and jumped off, onto a smaller car. We looked around, back to back, our machine guns raised, looking for any threats. Unfortunately, the threat was coming from behind us at 80 miles per hour. We threw ourselves out of the way, as a monster truck came out of nowhere and crushed the small car. By then, we were near the front of the crowd, and could see a herd of crazed people carrying Reece’s limp body to the mountain.
“A SACRIFICE TO THE MINING GOD!” One man screamed. “I HOPE HE WILL BE PLEASED WITH THE BLOOD OF THIS DUDE!”
Another roared. Theo and I opened fire toward the crowd, and picked the miners off one by one. Then, swooping down, we grabbed Reece, and ran towards the mountain. On foot, we started sprinting, carrying Reece and shooting at the crowd. An airplane flew overhead, and the entire stampede looked up as the bottom burst open. A horde of crazed people fell from 5,000 feet, some landing on the mountain, some right next to it. Some poor saps even landed in the stampede, and were never heard from again.
One guy in a car behind us had a TV, and while sprinting, we looked back to see what was happening. We saw an aerial view of ourselves, two men carrying a body while running at full speed. The camera then zoomed out—Then, we saw the massive crowd of people, cars, bikes, and motorcycles, kicking up dust, and closing in on Theo and I. Reece then woke up and looked around, realizing the stampede behind us.
“WHAT THE HECK?” He screamed.
We dropped him on the ground and he started running. Still watching the guys TV, the camera zoomed out more, to reveal something horrifying. On the other side of the mountain, an equally large stampede of people was closing in. Theo saw it too, and as we reached the foot of the mountain, we threw ourselves at the ground and began digging in with our hands and guns. Seconds later, we saw the stampede on our side of the mountain jump as one over the ditch we made, as the other stampede met them in the air. Chaos ensued.