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Marlum Mine

By Terence Edw Brumpton All Rights Reserved ©


Marlum Mine

Malum mine, which in English simply means evil mine. It was named by the Romans when they came across the ancient Tin mine in the Yorkshire Dales around 120AD. That was when the first documented cases of the strange disappearances of who ever went in it. But the locals the Romans soon found had ghostly tales going back generations. They claimed that it was full of cursed men, who angered the Gods by taking the metal from the land. Of course when the Romans heard this they didn't believe it. They soon sent in slaves taken miles from their homelands to the strange island known as Albion. They had no idea what they was in for, nor did the Romans. The first day it is said thirty-six men went into the mine but not even one returned. Roman soldiers it's told went in to locate the missing slaves but they found nothing. No scrapes of clothing, not even any human remains. They sent slaves in again and again, but every time they entered they were never seen again. It was wrote that a Roman commander, simply known as Attilous approached an elder of the Brigantes tribe to ask about the mine. Attilous was told that the mine was cursed and that creatures were sent by the Gods to protect the tin from man kind. After that Attilous made sure that no man was sent down the mine again. He lied and marked on maps that there was no tin in the mine. But this wasn't the end of the ancient story. Attilous managed to keep the Romans away for three hundred years, but when the Romans left Britain the Anglo-Saxons arrived and they didn't keep away once they discovered the mine. There was little recorded in the records by the Saxons, only one record where it was described as hell on earth. After that the mine was noted on maps and records, but it was never was open again.

Now in the modern times the mine isn't included on any new maps. Not mentioned in any books, it lays forgotten in the ancient papers locked away in the city of York's archives. Just waiting to be discovered once again. That brings us to our story, the latest story in the long list of stories.

Kris Collins is a twenty year old archaeology student studying at York university. To see him you would mistake him for been younger than his twenty years he really is. He is shorter than average and a little lighter. His blonde hair is cut short and his face is clean shaven, as his facial hair has hardly started coming through. Tired he's sat slumped in a uncomfy wooden chair, its back cut low and digging into his back. The desk he is sat at is as old as the chair, a massive solid oak table, dark with age. In front of him is his black A5 notepad he carries with him everywhere, and a silver ball point pen he was given by a long time ex as a good luck present. Not like it has ever brought poor Kris any luck. Surrounding him on every spare space on the desk are maps and papers, mostly copies of older documents he has managed to find on the area of Yorkshire Dales he is studying. The room in the archives is cold and Kris shivers as he leans over the desk to look at the documents, hoping that what he is looking for will jump out for him. But in truth he doesn't know what he is looking for. He has been locked away in the small side room for hours and came up with nothing. Now the wooden panelled walls and high ceiling is start to feel more like a cell than a room of learning. Kris rubs his tired eyes and in a fit of rage sweeps all his papers off the desk and they scatter over the wooden floor.

Frustrated Kris gets up and paces round the small room, he tries to calm himself down but in truth he is struggling with his degree. It is a lot harder than he thought it would be, and now in his second year he has chosen to study ancient British history he is finding out how hard it really is. His plan was to do a case study on little known sites located in the Yorkshire Dales, but every map he has found with sites located are all well studied and documented. But then something catches his eye. Bending down he picks up a photo copy of a medieval map with a mine marked down as Malum Mine. Quickly he throws his papers all over until he finds what he is looking for, copies of maps and then he finds them. To his amazement the mine isn't listed on any of them. In fact the only one it is marked on is a Anglo-Saxon map copied in the 1200s. Kris feels his heart race as he feels he maybe the first to find a major site of iron age Britain,maybe even older.

Pulling his phone out Kris googles the name of the map, but finds only one listing. A website which tells stories of ancient fables and myths. But the information on the mine is limited. All that Kris learns from it is about what the Romans recorded about it, and nothing after. This just pleases Kris more and more, it doesn't cross his mind that the map could be wrong. That the site it's self could be a myth. All that he can think about is visiting the site and possibly making a name for himself as finding a unknown pre historic site. Grabbing the map with the mine marked and a map with all sites of archaeological interest and compares the two. He uses villages and sites listed on both to try and narrow down the location. Thinking he has found it he grabs his phone and dials his girlfriends number.

Steph I need to talk to you, you busy?”

“No, just sat in the student bar with Tessa, what's up babe?

“Well you know I have been working on this project.”
“How could I not, it's all you keep talking about. It is really bothering me. I think you are working to hard. You need to take it easy and try and relax, take a break from it for a while. I was just talking to Tesa about it and she agrees. She thinks we should all go away together, the whole gang. She's already asked Jake and KP and they are up for it. KP even suggested camping, as we don't have much money. Which you know KP it's a real shocker.”

“Well that sounds great, it fits in with what I have to tall you.”

“Cool, what is it? I hope something good.”

“Well it is for me, it could really start my career. I could really make a name for myself Steph if I am right.”
“That's great, are you going to share with me what it is, seen as you phoned me. Or you want me to guess?”
“No I will tell you. I been locked up in the archives building for hours and was getting no where, than I spotted something on a map. It's a medieval copy of a Anglo-Saxon map and it has marked on it a mine Called Malum Mine. But it's only listed on that one map, no other and I mean no other. I have in front of me every map of the area since the 1200s and it's only on the one. I looked on the internet too and there was only one listing about it, and that was it. It said something about the Romans saying it was haunted, but nothing more than that. This could be it Steph, my big break .”

“So what do you have planned then? We go out and look for this mine and you document it for your course?”
“Yeah, but we could fit it in with KP's camping idea. The site is on the Dales, and miles away from anywhere else. We could camp near the mine and I can then check it out, see what I can find.”

“I will talk to Tessa about it and see what she says,but it sounds like a good idea. Just if we do this try and relax too. Don't just go into work mode, this will be for you, well all of us to get away from studying for a couple of days.”

“Thanks babes, talk to you later. Love you.”

“Love you too.”

The next day Kris and his friends are all in Jakes car and packed and ready to go. Kris is sat up front with Jake, while Tessa is sat in the middle in the back with Stephanie to her left, the much taller KP to her right. It's a squeeze for the girls in the back, with them all having to sit with their bags on their knees, since the boot is full with all their equipment they will need. Lucky for them they had to buy little, only food and drink, since Jake already had all the equipment they would need;been a big camper. But the problem they had was space, and with Jake been the only one with a car meant they all had to be squeezed into the small Volkswagen Golf. But after a hour of trying they finally got on their way.

Driving at a steady speed they soon make it into the countryside and heading in the right direction. With music blasting and the girls singing along in the back time soon flies by. Kris and Jake do their best to hold a conversation, but struggle with the girls singing so loudly. Kris and Jake just smile and get on with their jobs in hand, and with Kris's guidances they soon arrive near a area which Kris had pre chosen to park the the car.

“Why are we stopping? KP asks, leaning forward so Jake can hear.

“Kris says we are here. The rest of the way we have to go on foot.”

“Wait what?how far is it?”

“I would guess about a mile to our left. It won't take us long.” Kris replies, already unfastening his seatbelt and getting out the car.

“Oh you so best be right Kris or your a dead man. I am telling you now.”

“Relax KP, it's part of the experience. Come on.”Steph happily says, playfully slapping KP on her thigh before getting out the car and walking over to Kris.

Kris is busy staring at his maps that he doesn't notice his girlfriend approaching.“Hey lover boy, you sure you know where we are going?”

“Yeah it's just over there I think. Straight line from where we are now.”

“I hope you are right for your sake. I am sure KP is already ready to kill you. Don't give her an excuse to do it. Come best grab some of the gear.”

As far as the eye can see the land around the group of friends is a rich green cover, covered in a combination of grass and trees. Slowly Kris leads the way, quickly getting ahead of the group since he is , and other than Jake the only one in in the appropriate footwear. The girls all choosing to wear trainers, which does little for them on the soft, wet mud. Steph been the shortest and lightest is almost constantly slipping and soon the girls start to fall behind, but still in sight of Jake and Kris. They still push on and after two hours of walking Kris finally arrives at the point where he guesses the entrance to the mine should be. Problem is he sees nothing. Around him the ground is flat, leading up to a hill with bushes lining the bottom of it. He feels his joy soon start to fade and be replaced with fear. Fear that he could be wrong about the location, or that even the mine doesn't exist. His hands clutch the maps in is hands tighter and begin to shake. It must be here, it must be he says to himself. Five minutes after Kris arrives Jake and the girls arrive, and Steph soon notices that something is bothering Kris.

“What's wrong babes?” Steph calmly asks, gently taking hold of Kris's arm.

“I can't find it. I mean it should be here, right her but there's nothing. I can't be wrong, I can't be.”

“Are you sure it is here? I mean could you be wrong? The map was old and you yourself had to locate it from that map to a modern one. Could we be in the wrong place?”

“I don't know, could be. But I was so sure I was right. Damn it.”

“Everything okay guys?” Jake asks, also sensing something is wrong.

“It's not here. Don't ask me why it isn't, I don't know. But I swear this is the place.”

“Well I am not walking any further, my feet are killing and it was hell walking on this ground in these shoes. Why the hell didn't you tell me it be like this, I wouldn't of worn Converse if I knew.” KP moans, as she slips off her bag and drops the tent and sleeping back she was carrying.

“Look I don't know why but it's not here. I am sorry for dragging you all out here for nothing.” Kris says apologeticly.

“Don't be sorry mate, we can still have fun camping. Relax and forget about university for once. Here sit down and have a beer with me.” Jake says, holding out a can of beer to Kris.

“Wait Kris, are you sure that it isn't here?” Tessa asks as she stares at the empty landscape.

“Yeah pretty sure Tessa, why?”

“Because don't you see something strange about this hill here?”

Kris looks where Tessa is pointing but still has no clue what she means. “ I am sorry but I don't know what you mean, it just looks like a hill to me.”

“Look there, at the end it is lower and a different shape. Don't you see?”

“It's just a hill Tessa, come and have a drink.” KP chips in, waving a can of beer at her friend.

“I don't see why you don't see what I mean .Kris don't you see it? Come on you must understand.”
Then it hits him, he sees it. The mound looks like what you get near any mine, a pile of earth and stone removed from the ground and piled up because it has no use. Then he realises that he's been looking at the entrance to the mine the whole time.

“Tessa you are a genius, thank you. I know where the mine is! We are looking at it. It's right here.”

Delighted Kris bends down and kisses Tessa on the cheek, before running towards the hill and dropping to his knees in front of the bush. Like a man possessed Kris pulls at the plant and ignores the pain of it cutting into his hands and keeps going. He feels his heart race as he starts to see a entrance to a cave start to appear. Finally with the whole bush ripped out of the ground he finds what he is looking for, he has found Malum Mine.

For the rest of the day the girls spent the time cooking, while Kris and Jake set up the tent. The tent it's self is large and enough to sleep more than the five of them. It has two sleeping compartments connected by a large living compartment, where Jake said he was going to sleep. Leaving a sleeping compartment for Kris and Steph, since they are the only couple, and the other for KP and Tessa. It doesn't take them long to get the tent up, only about forty-five minutes, which is the fastest Jake has ever managed to get it put up. They just manage to finish before their dinner is cooked. In the dying sunlight the five friends sit around a small camp fire and drink late into the night, loosing track of the time and just concentrating on enjoying themselves.

Kris is the last to fall to sleep, and when he does his dreams are filled with men screaming and strange shadow like creatures ripping apart their flesh with their bare hands. He feels their cold hands on his flesh' and just as one is about to strike at him he wakes up. His body is covered in sweat and his breathing is heavy. Steph reaches out to touch him and he jumps back in fear, and stares emptily at her.

“Kris are you okay? You was making strange noises in your sleep. You don't look well. Maybe we should go home.”
“No it's nothing, I just had a bad dream.”

“Want to talk about it?”
“No you will think I am crazy if I tell you.”

“Try me.”

So Kris tells his girlfriend and to his surprise she doesn't think he is crazy, instead she sits quietly while he does his best to explain his terrible nightmare. When he's finishes she finally talks, trying her best to reassure him that it's nothing to worry about and he believes her. What they don't know is that his dream will soon become reality and there is nothing they can do about it.

With the sun shinning high in the sky Kris leads his friends into the mine. They all have black mountain climbing helmets on, with a light on and another torch in their hand and a spare one each and spare batteries in their bags. The entrance is small, no bigger than three foot wide and about the same high. Feet first Kris slides down the slop and drops to the floor. At first he sees nothing, his light is off and little of the natural sunlight is shinning through the small gap. He can't even see his own hand in front of his own face. Reaching for his button on his helmet he turns his light on and straight away is amazed by what he sees. On the wall in front of him is cave paintings, and not just one or two but the wall is covered in them from the floor to the ceiling about six feet above. Kris can't believe what he is seeing, stunned he crutches down to look at the lower ones. He sees what he has only seen in text books before. The paintings are mainly of humans hunting wild animals, the colours bright on the wall. Around those paintings are hand prints, and to Kris he would guess them to be about the size of an adult male, a short one but an adult. Pulling out his camera he attaches the flash and start snapping photos, only stopping to quickly looking at the previous photo before moving on to the next.

“What are they?” Steph asks, just as amazed as Kris as what she is seeing.

“They are cave paintings, hold old I don't know but I would say old. They are amazing.”

“These ones look different.”

Confused Kris stands up and looks at what Steph is pointing at. In front of him is something he has never seen in his studies. Like the others he sees humans , but they are not hunting, they look like they are been hunted themselves. They look like they are running but been chased by dark figures, much taller than them. Kris thinks little of it and just takes photos of them before moving on. If he spent longer looking at the strange figures he would of noticed that they were the same as the one in his dream,but his dream is long out of his mind now. His mind is full of thoughts of what will happen when he publishes his findings. He could be back leading a team next year, this could be it for him. That's the only thing on his mind.

Looking at the other wall Kris soon notices that the paintings are different. Instead of been of humans and animals they are strange symbols. They remind him a little of iron age stone carvings found all over England, but a little different. More of a surprise is that when he turns to head deeper into the cave the ceiling hangs lower, leaving a lip with some writing on. The writing is in Latin and reads 'intrant vestris periculo' enter at your own risk. A message left by the Romans, but not been able to understand it Kris simply takes a photo and walks on. His friends are all close by and following his every step . Water drips from the ceiling and the splashes sound louder than they really are in the quiet cave. Pat, pat , pat is all Kris can hear.

Kris has no idea where he is going, but that doesn't stop him. Every step he takes his eyes dart around from the floor to the walls, looking for anything that could be seen as archaeology. His hands touch the walls, and he imagines what it would have been like work this far underground. His eyes still fixed on the wall he suddenly trips over something and lands hard on the floor. The impact echoes off the walls and his friends soon catch up and Jake picks his friend off the floor.

“You okay man?” Jake asks, concerned for his friend.

“Yeah I just tripped over something. Can you see what it was?”

Jake turns on his hand torch and quickly scans the floor. “Yeah it looks like an old antler or something like that. What would that be doing down here?”

“let me see.” Jake picks up the antler and hands it to Kris, before Kris continues. “Shit, I know what this is. It's a antler, used as a pickaxe. Man these are rare, really rare. We need to continue, they could be more down here.”

The girls just catch off as Kris starts to walk off again. Jake sees that KP and Tessa are uncomfortable and chooses to stay back with them, in hope that will help them feel safer.

“What happened to Kris, is he okay?” Steph asks, worried about Kris's accident.

“Yeah he's fine, he fell over some old antler, which he said is a pickaxe and darted off looking for more.”

“come on we best catch up, don't want him getting lost down here. This place gives me the creeps.”

Walking on they come to the end of the passage, and it splits into two. Not sure which Kris has taken, Jake shouts down the first and when he gets no reply does the same with the second, and is rewarded with a reply from his friend. Relieved Steph quickly walks down the tunnel, followed by KP and Tessa. Jake is just about to follow when he hears a strange sound. Thinking he is hearing things he turns to walk down the tunnel after his friends when he hears a sound again. Almost like a dog howling, but this time closer. Suddenly his light on his helmet goes off, and in a panic he manages to turn his torch on but drops it on the floor. He watches it as it rolls on the stone floor until it stops. Bending down to pick it up his hands shake. Then he hears it again, and again. The last thing he sees is a shadow run at him. He manages to scream before it cleanly cuts threw his throat. His lifeless body falls to the floor, and blood pours out the cut, as the creature pulls his body back into the darkness.

“what was that?” KP asks in a panic, just as they catch up with Kris.

“I think it was Jake, he sounded like he was in trouble.” Tessa replies, her voice a little shaky from fear. She feels her her body start to go numb, and the feeling of the walls closing in on her. She tries to move but she can't.

“Kris we need to find Jake and go. Something is strange about this place. You have your photos, now we need to go.” Steph says, grabbing Kris by the arm and dragging him back the way they can. KP does the same with Tessa and together they all make there way back up the tunnel.

“Jake, where are you? Jake!” Kris shouts as loud as he can, but gets no reply. “Where did you last see him?”

“It, it was here. He called your name and when we heard you call back we went up that tunnel. I thought he was following us.” KP manages to say.

“Guys there's blood here.” Tessa says, bending down to check the dark, almost black wet patch on the floor. Much different from the marks left by the water dripping down in the rest of the cave

“Shit and lots of it. We need to leave and leave now. Kris we need to go now.”

Kris is about to reply to Steph when suddenly a hand bursts through his chest and splashes Steph and Tessa in blood. Kris dies instantly, the hand piercing through his heart. Then all goes dark, and the girls are left alone. They all call out and reach for one another but fail to reach each other. Then Tessa and KP hear a scream as Steph is ripped in two and thrown to one side. Tessa is next to die, been closer to Steph and finally KP. In a panic she manges to run up the tunnel leading to the entrance and sees the light, before finally she is caught too.

It is days before anyone notices the five missing friends, and a week after that before the remains of their campsite and car is found. Little is left though of the tent and their belongings. They have been ripped open with what the police describe as bear or wolf like claws . But they find no bodies, not even the cave entrance. It may have been less than two weeks but the plants have grown back once again to hide Malum Mine, only for one day some unlucky person to stumble on it once again.

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