So this bleak countryside was Horseshoe Gold Mine.
Tight lipped, Carol Nilstrom turned away from the tiny window of the twin turbo-prop. Damn, she was the last one off the company plane. Grabbing her small backpack she hurried to catch up to the other passengers.
A blast of frigid air smacked her in the face, stopping her at the door. If it was this cold in June…
This was one of the remotest regions of British Columbia. No roads reached this far north. At her last job, in northern Ontario, they were a few hours drive from a small town. Here, you were a hostage until the weekly plane rescued you.
Depressed by what her life had degenerated to, she trailed after the employees who trudged zombie-like across the tarmac, past a garden shed of a terminal to a yellow school bus.
She spun around at the sharp voice, only to come nose to nose with a Native woman, whose short cropped black hair had lost the battle with a home perm. A definite contrast to Carol’s long neatly braided blonde hair. She was amazed to see the woman wearing a loud Hawaiian shirt and khaki shorts, who didn’t even have the decency to shiver.
“Yes.” Carol painted on a smile and extended her hand in greeting.
“Welcome to Horseshoe Mine. I’m Gladys King, your shift supervisor.” The woman ignored the offered hand and turned to walk back towards the terminal as she called over her shoulder, “Leave your luggage, it’ll get taken to the camp for you. We have to get all that new employee paperwork taken care of.”
What a warm reception, Carol thought as she trudged behind.
She hated bosses that were younger than her, who thought they knew more than she did. With over thirty years of work experience, she knew more about the gold milling process than most of the scientists. The woman might be younger, maybe in her early thirties, but luckily not too pretty, so no competition at least. A couple of years shy of fifty, Carol was definitely in better shape. She followed the Native woman to a bright red pickup truck parked on the other side of the building.
Carol barely sat down before Gladys floored it, leaving a dust cloud behind as they bounced along the washboard dirt road. The wide road could handle the larger mine trucks, whose wheels were at least three times her height. The rutted road turned the journey into a teeth jarring ride. Despite the bumps, she relaxed and allowed herself a smile. She was in the clear.
“You’re coming from Big Moose,” Gladys stated.
Carol’s smile vanished at the sudden comment. Her heart pounded as she realized that maybe she hadn’t covered her tracks as well as she’d thought. She’d set up Sneaky Pete perfectly. Right? Reaching for the door handle she wondered which direction to roll when she jumped out of the truck. She wondered if she could catch the plane before it took off. She wondered….
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