The sun boiled his sweat. Air was like a thick mass in his lungs and if it weren’t for its necessity, he would’ve expelled it like a lump of mucus. Tendrils of heat wafted from the ground and tickled his exposed, cut legs. Everything around him was alight except for a distinct shadow.
He focused on the clank of his pickaxe as he drove it into stone.
The shadow shifted as if aware that he’d taken notice. “Have you thought of my preposition? I can give you whatever you desire,” it said as it had for the last twenty years.
Has it really been twenty years?
The pickaxe droned on–clank clank clank–pieces of sediments tumbling to the ground.
“Warm bed, not the rock,” it continued. “Your enemies to take your place. All you need do is say you’re mine and I’ll free you from here.”
The pickaxe stopped mid swing. Twenty years toiling. Twenty listening to the shadow’s promises.
And it was all beginning to sound more promising.