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"Breathe My Name" by Christopher Golden

"Breathe My Name" by Christopher Golden 

This story comes from the collection "Tell My Stories To The Stones" written by Christopher Golden. 

Tommy Betts first entered the mine when he was eighteen.  Up to that point his father had been the only one in the family working the mine.  Tommy was always afraid for his father in the mines.  Tommy used to think that one day his father, Al Betts, would drill straight into hell.  It wasn't until Tommy entered the mine that he realized it wasn't that far off from what he used to fear for his father. 

In the mine the men were by themselves.  Nobody could save them if the mine decided to collapse.  And even the most toughest man freaked out occasionally from claustrophobia..  There were many things that could go wrong in the mine. 

One day  after the crew was lowered into the mine via mantrip, one of the crew asked Tommy if he smelled anything funny.  Tommy told him that he didn't smell anything and left it at that.  Then a short while later Tommy did smell something funny.  In fact the entire crew started smelling it.  That's when the earth rumbled and black smoke started pouring into the tunnel.  Fear crossed the crews face, including Al Betts. A cave-in. 

The crew went deeper into the mine where there was a safe space.  Puttning up a tarp they created a safe space, but with a limited air supply.  They took turns with a sledgehammer pounding out a distress signal on the metal infrastructure hoping someone above ground would hear them and send help. 

While they were sucking up the limited air in the safe space Tommy stated talking about the Lost Miner.  The lost miner was a legend in the mine.  A miner who died while working in the mine. 

Tommy decided that since no one seemed to be coming for them the only thing left to do was call upon the Lost Miner.  Tommy asked his dad what the name of the Lost Miner's name was and he told Tommy his name was Ostergaard.  Tommy started calling out for Ostergaard to help them and come and save them.  He called for the ghost of the Lost Miner before his father shut him up. 

Men started to pass out and they already were suffering casualties due to the lack of oxygen.  There seemed to be no hope.  Or was there?  Was the lost miner real, or did the people above ground come and find them?  I'll let you read and find out. 

This was a fun ghost story.  Told a little differently than a typical ghost story.  Normally the ghost story would be told around a campfire, or as a story someone else was relaying to someone else.  This one took place in a "real-time" scenario.  Meaning that I wasn't being relayed to anyone as a story within a story, but the ghost story was the actual story. 

I greatly enjoyed this story.  To be honest it wasn't anything that will keep me up at night or even think twice about turning off the lights before bedtime.  I did find the story to be a page turner though because I wanted to know how it ended.  I really felt a connection with the main character in this story.   

There were many side characters in this story, none of them really developed into anything, they were just there for dialogue purposes in my opinion.  The main character Tommy though developed well throughout the story.  By the end you could feel for him in his situation and why he did what he did.


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