Chapter 10

Written by: MatClarke

Such a sight the celebrations had been. So much drink and food. Everyone full and bloated. Liam held his head as he thought of all the whisky he had drunk. He barely remembered what had happened after the closing ceremony.

They pounded the golden spike into place, followed by its bronze twin. They laid 100 feet that last day. Everyone picked up a spade or helped carry a sleeper, just so they could say they gave a hand in building the railroad which would mark history forever.

When Governor Stanford had missed the spike altogether and hit the rail, the work gangs had found it shockingly funny. Instead of a solid thud, it had been an ear piercing clang. Followed by hoots of laughter from groups of Chinese, Mexican, Irish and every other worker.

He coughed, then groaned and rubbed his temples as he looked around the white canvas tent, trinkets and clothes scattered all about. That was another thing; he didn’t remember going to bed. He didn’t even know whose bed this was.

“Hey, you awake?”

Liam whipped his head around so quick his stomach lurched. He put his hand over his mouth, but then just as quickly lost all thoughts of being sick. From out the top of the covers he saw long black hair curling down, hiding the face of a woman beneath.

A hand reached out over his chest and pulled him closer to the middle of the rough blanket beneath them. He could now see soft olive skin of a woman’s cheek with just a touch of pink brought on by the early morning chill. Her eyes remained closed. She smiled and it was like dawn with the first rays of sunshine. His face warmed. And then he remembered...

*   *   *

Once he had settled into his role with Clement, he had mailed Phoebe and to his surprise received a spirited reply. The letter came late one night after his work gang had laid a good amount of track across the border into Utah. She explained in the letter she would be ready to head west soon and could be in town on the day of the ceremony.

He guessed Phoebe had arrived in town days earlier than that but had either not been able to locate him or had decided to surprise him on the day of the celebrations.

Liam still wanted to buy land in California, and eventually revisit Ireland. He would show off his finery and prove that an Irishman could make good of himself. He was already quite wealthy by a regular man’s standard’s, but with his own land to use as he wished and a woman that he loved by his side... well, he could become more than he had ever dreamed possible.

She opened her eyes and Liam’s body quivered. She leaned in to him and opened her mouth. Their lips touched and their bodies tangled together again.

 

Mat Clarke (Australia)

Comments

Great ending! There is an old saying, "Only American stories end happily ever after." This is indeed an American story and many Irishmen had happy endings' in the US, building this railroad. There were also many lives given in the building of that great railroad. To this day it stands as a great tribute to all who lived and died making that piece of US history happen. I think you and everybody did a great job of capturing the essence of the building of the TransContinental Railroad.
This could go another round of chapters as Liam's life changed since it first began. This was a fun serial to be part of.
I agree, Ken, this has been a fun serial. It surely could continue with his new family and a ranch in California.