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A young man returns from a day working in a coal mine. On the margins of the coal mines small communities of people make a precarious living scavenging coal and selling charcoal and coke they make from it. Below ground permanent fires burn, fuelled by seams of coal. The ground can be too hot to walk on and there is an ever present danger that houses will collapse into the vast underground caverns that are left unfilled after mining operations have ended.