The whistles always woke Mazie. They pierced into her sleep like some guttural-voiced metal beast, tearing at her; breathing a terror. During the day if the whistle blew, she knew it meant death— somebody’s poppa or brother, perhaps her own—in that fearsome place below the ground, the mine.
“God damn that blowhorn,” she heard her father mutter. Creak of him getting out of bed. The door closed, with yellow light from the kerosene lamp making a long crack on the floor. Clatter of dishes. Her mother’s tired, grimy voice.
“What’ll ya have? Coffee and eggs? There aint no bacon.”
“Dont bother with anything. Havent time. I gotta stop by Kvaternicks and get the kid. He’s starting work today.”
“What’re they going to give him?”
“Little of everything at first, I guess, trap, throw switches. Maybe timberin.”