Space Janitor (141-150) smiled and gave a shout.
“You’re doing great, thank you!” Space Janitor didn’t know if they could hear him.
He was hoping that they wouldn’t notice the fact that Space Janitor was doing nothing.
The pack of dogs were good at digging. Was that worth bring it up? You probably know already that these dogs are excellent diggers, but this is what they were good at.
The dogs were digging with fervour. Space Janitor was getting dirt and debris rained on top of him. He was glad that there was forward motion. The further they dug the more Space Janitor realised that he wasn’t sure if they were going in the right direction. What was the right direction in this case? It was hard for him to tell. Would they get angry at him if they didn’t show up any results? He hoped not.
The pack of dogs burrowed further and further along. Space Janitor followed along behind them. He kept an eye on the surroundings in the hope it would give some clues about which way to proceed. Space Janitor wasn’t sure it all looked the same. Every now and then there was a strut that appeared to be overhead. What was this place before? Was it a storage area for the space station. This was still a space station, right? Space Janitor wasn’t sure, he shivered.
The dogs were sweating. Space Janitor could see the slick wet on their fur. He watched as they put their all. They did not stop for breath. None of them, regardless of size, seemed to show any sign of letting up. Space Janitor felt a feeling within him. Was it jealousy? He looked down, a berry was in his hand. Would he eat?
Space Janitor stood with the berry in his hand for what felt like the most extended amount of time. He stared at it. The pack pulled ahead of him. He could taste its sweetness waft towards him. Space Janitor blinked his eyes slower than usual. If he were to pop it in his mouth? Then he wouldn’t have to care about where the pack were digging too. They could go out the side of the station for all he cared.
“Hey boss,” said one of the pack. Space Janitor looked up. In the distance, they had stopped. Space Janitor ran to catch up with them. They look tired, and he wanted to do all that he could to help them. He hoped that they had some good news for him. Space Janitor thought about what this would mean for them if they were at a dead end.
Space Janitor approached them. Digger turned round to him and had a big smile on his face. Digger usually was a happy pup, but this time it seemed extra. It seemed as if he was extra satisfied if that was at all possible.
“We found it,” Digger said to Space Janitor.
“Great. Hold on, you’re going to have to tell me what we found,” Space Janitor said.
“He doesn’t know,” said one of the other pack dogs.
“Ha, no he doesn’t, he doesn’t know we found the tomb of the biggest bone,” said another.
“You are going to have to tell me what the tomb of the biggest bone is,” Space Janitor instructed.
“Everyone knows what that is, it’s the whole reason we’ve been digging in the first place. It’s a reason for digging. You know that, right?” Digger asked Space Janitor.
“Sure,” Space Janitor said. “I know what the tomb is, I’m making sure that you know what it is. You need to be careful because part of what I do is a test. Understand that, right? You know that’s what it means for us. Now, as part of the ongoing test. You know what comes next, that’s right. I’m going to test you on what the purpose of the tomb of the biggest bone is.”
Space Janitor regarded them. They panted and looked at him with eager eyes.
“If any of you wants to go then now would be your time,” Space Janitor said. It was as if he gave a signal. All the dogs started barking at him to make sure they had his full attention. He looked to one of the smaller dogs. “Go ahead,” said Space Janitor.
The smaller dog was excitable, and when it spoke, it tripped over its own words.
“You see, you see,” the smaller dog said struggling to get the words out. “The tomb of the biggest bone is where all the old runners of the station got laid to rest. Now all that is left are their bones. Dianabol says that when we find it, we are to let everyone know because that means we can stop digging. One of us should really run along and tell the rest. Let it be me,” the small dog said. It drooled and spat as it spoke.
Digger paced around in the background, clearly agitated. Space Janitor would come to him in a moment, but he wanted to make sure that the rest of the dogs were on the side, in their own way. Space Janitor turned to the guard dog.
“What are we to do when we find the tomb,”
Space Janitor regarded the guard dog as it mulled the words over in its mind. There didn’t seem to be any response incoming anytime soon. One of the other dogs yapped to get attention from Space Janitor.
“Go ahead,” said Space Janitor.
“Oh, it eh, it. Oh, you know, it eh. Heh. Like if we find it,” said the other dog before going quiet.
“We’re making progress at least,” said Space Janitor.
Another dog wagged its tail.
“Is there something you want to add?” Space Janitor asked.
“Yeah, if we find this then we get Denabol. We call him and bring him down and say something to him like here it is, or who you go and then he gives us the reward,”
“Reward for finding it. I hope you know what the reward is,” Space Janitor said to them.
The dogs went quiet. Space Janitor didn’t like what it implied. Was there a chance there was a reward for them? Was it another one of Denabols tricks. He could see, despite the rough living conditions. Despite the wrongness of Denabol, the dogs were still loyal.
Space Janitor lamented. At the same time was encouraged that it would take a considerable amount to crush a dogs spirit.
Digger, in the meantime, was still pacing and getting more and more agitated bt the discussion.
“I don’t know what, what we’re waiting for. We found it, we go and tell Denabol. Denabol needs to know. I don’t know what we’re waiting for. You are all taking too long,” Digger barked.
“Now hold on Digger. How do we know you’ll get the reward?”
“Because Denabol said we would,” Digger said.
“If you tell him you know that means no more digging?”
Space Janitor watched the reaction of Digger. Did the dog want to stop digging entirely? There would have to be some way for them to be able to keep going. A dog like this, being told to stop entirely. It didn’t seem at all feasible. Space Janitor knew that on some level he would have to mentally prepare. Prepare for the inevitable decline. He hoped the dog would understand.
“Now hold on,” said Digger offering a solution. It struggled and thought. “We, there’s, now. The whole way of us going about this. We can still make sure that dogs are allowed to dig. What happens to the dog that can’t dig? A dog can’t dig isn’t a dog. It’s nothing. Let me dig. That’s all I want,” Digger seemed like he was going to pass out. It felt as if it could not get across what it wanted.
“To be honest Digger, it’s not up to me. I hope you understand,” Space Janitor said, looking to the guard dog. “What happens in the case that we find this tomb?”
The guard dog looks confused.
“I don’t know. Don’t think any of us thought that it would ever be found. There was no way for us to know,” said the guard dog.
“If we tell Denabol, then we stop digging,” said Space Janitor.
“I guess so,” the guard dog said following along. “I mean there’s no reason to keep on digging past the point,”
“Here’s my question to you,” Space Janitor said. He was winging it. “How are we to know we have found the right tomb,”
The other dogs stood and stared blankly at him. Even Digger was confused. Were they getting the point of what he was saying or would he have to continue?
Space Janitor gave them another moment to catch up with the point he was trying to make. Unsure of whether time was of the essence or not, he decided to lay it on thicker.
“What I’m saying is that we have no way of knowing if this is the right tomb,” Space Janitor suited. They looked at him. “If we were to go and get Denabol only for this to be the wrong tomb, then he would be most annoyed, and we don’t want that,”
Some of them nodded, although it felt as if it was more of a learned response than anything else.
“We’re not going to alert anyone. Why because we have to go in and make sure that this is what we’re looking for. If anyone goes and alerts anyone and this turns out to be the wrong one well it will be you who is punished. Thank you,”
The dogs that nodded slowed the speed of their nodding. It seems liked he had finally got through to them.
“In that case then we have to do our own investigation,” said the former guard dog. He was smarter than he let on. Space Janitor noted that he would have to keep an eye on that one in that case.
“I agree,” said another, “We don’t want to upset Denabol because if we did, then it wouldn’t be good,”
“It’s obvious than in that case, we have to go into the tomb to make sure it is the right one,” said another dog.
“And if we go in there then there might be some areas that need a digger,” said Digger, true to character.
“Exactly,” said Space Janitor.
“Who opens it up then in that case?” said one of the pack.
Space Janitor gave it a moment to see what would they would do. Of course, none of them was doing anything. Space Janitor wasn’t in any way, surprised. He knew that none of them would be able to push themselves forward in that case.
Space Janitor took the initiative.
“Well, if this all goes wrong, it falls on me. I am the boss. I think it should be me to do the deed,”
The pack of dogs considered it for a moment then nodded in agreement. Space Janitor went over to the circular valve and grabbed onto it. It took a moment, he was not that strong. He didn’t want to show himself up to be weak in front of the other dogs were. The valve turned, and he breathed sweet relief. It kept turning.
There was a moment. The door felt as if it was stuck, Space Janitor had to force it open. Even though they were down in a mine, the air on the other side of the threshold was stale. The damp of the caves was now replaced by the dry of the tomb. Inside it was dark, and Space Janitor couldn’t see a thing in front of him. He looked back to see the other dogs huddled around the door.
Space Janitor walked forward a bit more.
Where did this lead? He was going to need a light source if he wanted to navigate the darkness. He turned to the pack behind him.
“Do any of you happen to have a torch?” he asked although he didn’t hold out much hope.
“No, we can smell it,” Digger said. “It’s right in there, all the way down there. We can lead it,”
Space Janitor didn’t know what they meant.
“Can we?” one said.
Space Janitor thought about it for a moment. Could they be trusted to lead the way? There was a chance that they could get them all killed. He would have to trust them and make sure that there was a way for them to keep it safe?
He would have to trust them and make sure that there was a way for them to not charge ahead without him.
“OK, I guess you guys can lead the way,” Space Janitor said, unsure about what it would mean for them.
Space Janitor stepped aside and let them lead the way. When they started, they were slow at first. Trying to get their bearings in the entranceway. Space Janitor watched them as they made their way forward. They disappeared into the deep black of the tomb. Space Janitor kept up with them.
“Please don’t go too far ahead. We all have to stay together,” Space Janitor reminded them. He sped up too to keep up with them. He could make out some of the sheen of Digger’s fur. It was wet from the sweat making Space Janitor’s hand slip. The other dogs were to the side of them; all he could hear was the sniffing. Space Janitor worried about how he wasn’t able to smell as well as the others. Did that make him less of a dog than the rest?
Space Janitor knew that he couldn’t help it, so he clung tighter. Digger stopped suddenly. Space Janitor walked into the back of him.
“Do you want to get on? It’s OK if you do,” Digger whispered.
“What do you mean, I’m not sure what you mean,” Space Janitor whispered back to Digger.
“If you want to, then that’s OK. I don’t blame you. Do you?”
Space Janitor felt he was imposing on the bigger dog. At the same time, he didn’t want to get separated from the rest of them. In all honesty, it was a possibility he would have to make peace with.
Digger seemed a little fed up, and he didn’t want to try his patience with him.
“Would you mind if I did? That would be a great help for me, thank you Digger,”
Without responding, Digger lowered himself and Space Janitor got himself onto Diggers back. Despite the dampness, it was soft and through. There were tufts too. How often were these dogs washed? The answer was somewhere in the region of not much.
Once Digger felt that Space Janitor was secured on the back, he stood and continued forward. Space Janitor could hear the sound of furious sniffing around him.
“Here, here,” said one of the smaller dogs. “This way smells different than the rest,” The dogs stopped.
While Space Janitor couldn’t see clearly, he could make out that they had all turned around. They proceeded to look down at some small area of the wall.
“It smells the same,” said the guard dog.
“That’s why you guard, you got them good eyes, me, small, got the better nose. If you want to go one of the ways, then you try this way.
The sniffing came to a stop. Some of the dogs were panting, and Space Janitor could make out some of them lightly whining.
“What are we going to do? This dog could be right, and maybe this is what we have to do,” said Digger to Space Janitor.
“If different means we get closer then I guess we have to,” said Space Janitor.
Was different better?
Space Janitor heard a flurry of activity. Dirt and debris cast behind him. Space Janitor clung tightly to Digger’s fur. Space Janitor could listen to the rapid thumping of Digger’s heart on the other side of the ribs. It was almost as if the shaking would bring down the roof of where they were.
Space Janitor could also hear the laughter of some of the smaller dogs.
“Watch it,” shouted the guard dog at one of them after getting pelted with a face full of dirt. The digging continued, and the sound of things falling could be heard.
“Keep going,” the sniffer dog said.
“I see the light,” came another voice.
“There better be more digging,” Digger said.
“Light gets bigger,” said another.
Space Janitor could feel himself sink. What was it they had found? Space Janitor hoped the light grew large.
The light got more significant, the more they progressed.
“Wow,” said one of the dogs.
Space Janitor decided to see if he could have a look. He moved up Diggers back. The light was a sunrise over Digger’s field of fur.
As Space Janitor got to the peak of Digger’s shoulder, he saw it. He was confused by what he saw in front of him.
It was a selection of provisions and supplies. It looked like there were stockpiles of food, building material and even weapons.
“This is what you’ve been looking for this whole time?” Space Janitor asked. He wasn’t addressing anyone in particular.
“This must be it, I think,” Digger offered.
“Now we definitely have to tell Denobol,” said the guard dog.
“He’ll be mad if we do,” said the sniffer dog, “I found it,”
“Can we go tell him?” another asked Space Janitor.
Did you like that?
If you want to read from the beginning you can find the first instalment of Space Janitor by clicking here.
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