A cloud of dust burst up as Matheus hit the pile of coal. He choked, back muscles wrenching as he doubled up. A loud banging heralded Alistair’s arrival; a second later, he landed smack on top of Matheus’ coughing fit. Tangled together, hacking up black dust, they rolled on the floor, coal raining down after them.
“Jesus,” said Matheus, attempting to clean the taste of carbon out of his mouth. “Next time let me get out of the way first.”
“There isn’t going to be a next time.” Alistair groaned as he stood. He looked like Pig-Pen from Peanuts, covered in a layer of coal dust that floated off his frame with every movement.
“Who’s there?” The voice came from the opposite of the room.
Matheus snatched up a piece of coal. He hurled it in the direction of the speaker. The coal hit with a thud, a loud curse following shortly thereafter.
“Stop that! You stay where you―bollocks! That hurts, you bastard! I’m going to have a bloody bump now.” A click, and the lights bloomed, humming with electric current. The owner of the voice stood by the door, rubbing his shoulder, a bruise already forming on his forehead.