Pine Street Episode 187: The Adventures of Ursula

Old dynamite is dangerous. Everyone who used it in their professions, and certainly every miner in the old days, knew all about the way the nitroglycerin would sweat itself out of the carefully wrapped sticks, either pooling at the bottom of a container or creating sensitive crystals on the exterior of the explosives themselves.

A barrel full of dynamite leaking nitroglycerin might create a smell something like sulphur. It might remind a little girl of the odor of hell.

And it might make a widow, storing it in exchange for the kind of money that would keep her guests in brandy for months, a bit nervous. Especially as she realized that the dynamite was, perhaps, intended to be less a tool of the trade itself and more a tool to be used in the ongoing disputes between those who toiled in the depths and those who owned what they brought to the surface. 

Mine explosions happened, and the most recent one still scarred local memories. Families still dealt with the loss of their breadwinners, hearts were still broken, communities still grieving.

As the ex-fisherman told his stories of unrest to the widow, she began to see the barrel in her custody in a different light. At first, she thought of it as merely another way to make the various spaces in her old house pay their way. As her rooms held paying guests of the human variety, as her stable held the occasional horse or donkey of a traveler, her cellar hosted this material for a reasonable fee.

Now, though, she wondered if her cellar was an unwitting part of a larger drama. She rose early the next morning, and went in search of the gentleman who paid for his dynamite to be stored there. 

She would not find him that day, nor the next, nor the day after that. None of her contacts knew of his location. 

He seemed to have melted into the woods that flourished in the hills around the mines. 

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