|Among all of the diggers was a small family of four. The sweat on the mother’s face mixed in with some dirt and ran down her forehead and into her eyes. She stopped digging momentarily, and leaned on the handle of the shovel. Her husband and son gave her nervous looks, but continued to dig.
“You’re not supposed to stop,” her husband whispered to her as he stuck his shovel into the dried soil. “Do you want to be taken away? You’re not supposed to stop.”
She ignored him, and reached into a pouch in her filthy, disheveled clothes. She pulled out a somewhat cleaner rag. Her husband shook his head. She wiped the mud from her face. A piercing outcry came crashing down upon the diggers from above. Her adult son looked up at the somewhat darkened, moonlit sky; a large, silhouetted, winged figure flew in circles, hovering above everyone.
The mother quickly stuffed the rag back into her clothing. She grabbed her shovel and hurriedly started to dig again. The husband’s brother spit onto a large pile of dirt that stood about forty feet high. It rose into the sky like a mountain. He held a wheelbarrow, and rolled it over to the mother, who stood about a hundred yards away from where the pile of soil was. Silently, she began to fill the wheelbarrow with dirt. The brother gave everything around him a curious look; as though contemplating a challenging question, trying to come up with some answer that would at least leave him in a state of solace. When the wheelbarrow was full, he gave her a moments glance, and rolled it away. Upon returning to the dirt pile, he dumped the dirt onto it, looking up with an expression of grimace.
After the third trip, the brother rolled over a rock, causing the wheelbarrow to jerk out of his grasp, and land on his foot. He yelped in pain, pushing the wheelbarrow off of him.
“I’m sick of this,” he began to mutter. “When is this going to end? I’m sick and tired of doing this everyday.”
The mother gave him a nervous glance, but continued to dig.
“Do you want to be taken away?” the husband whispered to his brother. “You gotta do it.”
“Shut the hell up,” the brother said. “You weren’t always like this. None of us were. Is this all we’ll ever be?” He began to shout drawing looks from other diggers. “we used to be mathematicians, philosophers, scientists. We were brilliant; now look at us. Is this all that we’ve amounted to? I’m done; I’m finished.”
The mother began to cry.
“You gotta do it Nicky, you got to,” the husband said. “She’ll take you away if you don’t.”
“What ever happened to fortitude?” The brother asked loudly. There was a screech from up above.
“You got to!” The husband yelled.
The brother grabbed the mother’s shovel. The winged figure swooped down from the sky, descending upon the brother. His eyes were full of tears.
“I’ll show you backbone.” The brother said. He held the shovel up as though it were a sword, looking up at the large winged beast hurling towards him at wind-breaking speeds. Upon approaching him, the winged beast spread her wings open, and held out her two feet, revealing large, sharp talons. She screeched again, piercing the brothers’ eardrums like daggers, causing him to drop the shovel and cower to the ground as he covered his ears.
The husband pushed his brother into a soil ditch and out of the way of the beast. It grabbed the husband with her sharp talons instead, and flew off into the horizon. The brother crawled out of the ditch, while the mother wept silently over her husband. The brother walked over to the wheelbarrow and picked it up. He rolled it over to the mother, and she silently filled it with dirt. He rolled it past his sobbing nephew, and towards the dirt pile to empty it.