Empire Under the Earth
By Paul Lewis
Copyright 2008, Paul Lewis
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It was a warm Saturday in the spring of 1969 that Max found himself wandering about a yard sale along Mines Road. Though he was only twelve years old, he had become a bit of an expert on yard sales, because most weekends, his parents would bring him along on their perpetual quest for treasures hidden amongst the junk. Max too would occupy himself in a search for treasure, but it was treasure of different sort. Some of his recent finds were a Mickey Mantle baseball card, a book on rockets, and an army flashlight. That last one, he planned on using to explore the crawlspace under his house.
Max’s parents didn’t usually come out this far. They could find most of their bargains within the city of Livermore. Out along Mines Road, there were only a few ranch homes. Each was separated from the next by about a quarter of a mile, and they were often hidden behind cow-pastured hills. Max’s father said the road was named after some coalmines that used to run around here back at the turn of the century. Sometimes Max wondered what those old passages might hold, but he didn’t know where they were, and his parents seemed to think it would be quite dangerous to go down there anyway.