by Stephen Francis Montagna
THE SECOND DAY OF THE FIRST WEEK OF THE SIXTH MONTH OF THE YEAR, 1996
An endless crew of underpaid and very overworked and thoroughly exhausted young and old Japanese workers started their third week of heavy blasting and harsh digging in the ancient Kai mountains of central Japan, where it was told and believed many great battles that had once been waged between the powerful warring warlords of the ancient past once long ago. The time honored field of battle of the great past and respect was laid out over the ancient and vast Kugyo plain. It was believed this very place where all the workers were presently toiling upon, was where the once massive armies of great samurai warriors’ of the past of Japan, who were totally loyal to their great Shogun, had shared their lives within the Lord Kawasomeru’s massive encampment and battlefield, as he prepared for the final battle being carried out between Lord Takehiro Kawasomeru and Lord Motoshige Wakatsuki’s two very powerful and massive samurai warrior armies.
But now, the long and once well respected and sacred encampment and samurai warriors, who had fought so bravely so long ago in the ancient past of Japan’s mighty history, and who had also died on the reverent land that the modern day construction workers were toiling on, was now replaced by a crawling sea of yellow painted steel and wire earth moving equipment. Along with an army of modern day construction workers who were all dressed in their protective hard hats, their overalls, and their heavy work gloves, and they were now armed with pointy picks and shovels, and the workers waged the new war, but with the earth this time around in order to try and discover all of her hidden treasures and great wealth for their owners they worked for.
When a rich deposit of the much needed iron ore was first discovered lying within the ancient Kai mountain range, the age old plunder of the earth and the ancient battlefield began in earnest. With no respect or consideration being displayed for Japan’s once honored and proud history being offered to the past times. The long ago silenced and deadly war cries of the wildly charging samurai warriors and their faithful steeds, were now replaced by all the destructive dynamite, the deafening roaring coming from the earth moving equipment, and the heavy pollution of the massive diesel engine machines as they assaulted the earth, and the constant cursing of the angry foremen as they screamed at their poor and toiling workers to produce even more for their owners and company.
Some of the luckier army of construction workers had uncovered numerous ancient arrowheads and rusted and snapped katana blades, they also found some of the body armor once used to protect the very lives of the faithful samurai warriors from the bitting edge of the deadly sword’s call, along with scattered bones of the long dead warriors and their horses.
A few of the pieces of the long ago discarded battle armor was bent and otherwise destroyed which had been discovered by some of the exhausted workers, and were saved as keepsakes by the tired workers. But the owners of the earth moving equipment and construction companies were more interested in searching for the prized iron ore than they were in what they believed were the worthless trinkets of the past glory of Japan. The once great and honorable account of Japan’s history and the proud samurai warriors who once carved out a harsh life in Japan’s savage past, had long since been forgotten. Just as all the honored histories of other great nations were also forever lost in the quest for personal riches and greed of the earth.
But on this special Tuesday morning, the work crews of this construction company were ordered to blast away a certain section of the low lying ridges at the base of the Kai pass. This was to allow easier access to the needed waters of the Kii River. The water would be used to wash away the loose earth and other debris blasted from the earth to expose the rich deposits of the needed iron ore buried deep within the rocks and hard packed earth. Despite how rich modern day Japan was, she was forever forced to rely heavily upon the imports of her steel and iron to make their cars and various other commodities and their personal fortunes. This heavy reliance on other nations of the world went against the very fiber of the extremely proud Japanese people.
As the cloud shrouded sun slowly raised high into the heavens over the distant mountain range on this damp and overcast day, a light mist was soaking the ground they worked on. The workers knew later in the day, heavier rains were expected to fall and that would place an early end to their work day. So the workers set off to plant the explosive charges and try and make the most of the morning hours, and the time they had to work and earn a living with.
A bulldozer was cautiously working at trying to remove the loose rock and dirt recently blasted from the base of the ridge the day before. Many behemoth, yellow trucks moved in like a swarm of angry bees as the large earth moving machine scooped up huge bucket loads of loose rock and earth, and dump it in the rear of the trucks for removal from the work site as fill for other projects the construction company had going on at this time.
Human trouble shooting spotters kept a constant and close vigil before the mechanism as the huge machine dug deep into the crumbling ridge and earth, making certain the extremely valuable machine didn’t fall victim to any of the uncovered hidden crevasses which the earth moving machine might tumble into and get damaged or stuck in. This region of Japan was well noted to be honeycombed with many steep and hidden caves and deep rivets which could easily trap or damage the mammoth and expensive commercial machine of steel and wire.
By the end of the first hour of work for the construction crews, the fine mist of rain turned into a steady and heavier drizzle, with the lead foreman considering calling an early end to the day’s work. The old foreman who didn’t want any of his work crews getting hurt or injured foolishly by slipping on the wet and loose stones or the mud of the work site. Glanced up into the sky and he was just about to blow his whistle to end the work day, when one of the spotters began raising all sorts of hell by where the bulldozer was digging into the side of the mountain. The concerned foreman left his perch on top of the running board of the huge dump truck he was standing on, and he rushed to where the spotter was working, fearing the bulldozer might have thrown a track or something.
When the well aged and angry foreman reached the excited worker and he looked to where the worker was pointing at. The older man immediately noticed what looked like to be a small mouth to a well hidden cave that seemed to have been carved by hand into the side of the mountain and it was covered over by an ancient avalanche many years past.
The wise and cunning Japanese foreman ordered the massive earth moving machine away from the opening in the mountain. Then, the old man ordered the spotter to retrieve a flashlight from the field trailer for him. There was something eerie about the cave that interested him greatly, and he carefully climbed into the narrow opening and he peered cautiously into the dark and dank smelling void of pitch darkness. In his wandering and suddenly excited mind, he was fearful something immortal and extremely dangerous was lurking ominously just inside the mouth of the cave, and it was waiting to drag him in and then devour his soul to give the evil a new life.
When the young and out of breath spotter returned with the flashlight locked in his hand, and his eyes displaying the excitement he was suffering, the foreman nastily grabbed the flashlight from his hand and he shined the light inside the narrow opening in the side of the mountain, and he instantly noticed the bright light reflect off of something hidden within the dank cave. Now, greed and the want for some personal riches for himself to enjoy, took over his once fears of the foreboding cave and what might be lurking within, and the foreman cautiously started to probe a little further into the hidden underground chamber.
Carefully placing one shaking and cautious foot before the other, the old foreman slowly entered the feeling of dread void of darkness and fear. Breathing was extremely hard inside the dust filled cave, because of the stale air so long ago trapped inside the sealed chamber of death, and the thick cloud of dust raised by the recent blasting in the area. The fearful foreman pulled back as if he was suddenly frightened by what he had noticed hiding within the small cave opening. But the foreman’s dream of vast and personal wealth quickly filled his mind, and it also gave him the inner strength and courage he needed to continue on deeper into the cave.
The foreman looked over his shoulder at the spotter, and he ordered him to move all the heavy machines further away from this section of the crumbling ridge. Then the foreman sent most of the work crews home for the rest of the day. The foreman named Utsumi, was going to keep a certain crew of chosen men he was convinced he could trust with is very life, to remain behind with him in case they were needed by him if there was anything found inside the small cave that was of any great worth to them or his boss and owner of the construction company. Utsumi slowly removed his small hand held radio from his breast pocket and he placed an emergency call out to his boss who was back in his lush apartment in Tokyo. He wanted to inform his boss of what he believed he had just found on the work site, and he also wanted to see what his boss wanted to do about his possible discovery and if his boss had any new orders for him to follow.