Chapter 6

Written by: Joe Labrum

Liam hoped to make it all the way to track’s end but the climb up through Sherman Summit was longer and steeper that he had imagined. In the fading twilight, he saw only military buildings, a row of barracks and a larger structure with a flagpole and a sign over the door that read, “HEADQUARTERS”. He watched groups of men in uniform entering a long, low building that his nose told him was the mess hall. His spirits lifted with the possibility of a meal.

The train screeched and clanked to a stop, the engine under the water tower. The pour spout dropped into position. Water, apparently kept from freezing by the proximity of the kitchen chimneys, began filling the boiler. Liam grabbed his things and made his way with the others to the door of the coach. Everyone was excited to have a job with the great railroad company. It had taken him a year since he landed in New York to reach the railhead. The agent back in Julesburg promised a half-month’s pay and a ride to the railhead in a coach when he signed on. Thus far the money he earned along the way was all he had to buy food, but the ride in the coach was better than a stinking boxcar.

As he stepped onto the porch of the army headquarters building, a scream caught Liam’s attention. He looked down a long line of flatcars and could see a man, dressed in griming homespun abducting a young, fashionably dressed woman. Without thinking, Liam dropped his bag and ran down the platform. He hurtled over a livestock watering trough and sprinted to the rescue. The assailant disappeared from sight dragging the girl into a stable. Liam ran towards the screaming.

When he reached the stable Liam could hear no sound. He eased the door open and stepped inside. It seemed deserted. Hay rustling above caught his attention. He looked up just in time to dodge a pitchfork flying toward him followed by the girl’s abductor jumping down from the loft. He snatched up the fork in one fluid motion, spun and slammed the tines into the man’s chest.

The man fell bleeding. The stable doors flew open and five men in eastern business suits rushed in, followed by another wearing a badge.

“Daddy!” The cry came from the loft followed by loud rustling as a young woman with flying blonde ringlets and her skirts awry flew down the ladder into her father’s arms.

Her distraught father hugged her to him then held her away to examine her. “Lucy, are you alright?” Nodding she burst into tears.

Holding her, the gentleman turned to Liam.

“Young man, it seems you have saved my daughter from great harm.”

Liam stepped forward and shook the outstretched hand.

“I would like to show my gratitude by inviting you to join Lucy and me for dinner in my car. I’m the President of the Central Pacific Railroad.”

Joe Labrum (USA)






I like how some fortune and luck has come Liam's way. There may be some heroic romance involved. There may be a reward anyway that's for the next writer to work out. Great addition to this adventure Joe.
I liked the flow of this chapter and the immediacy of the scene. We also really needed to get the railway gangs soon; there's not many months left until the railways join up. However, there is work after that anyway. I read that many tracks and many bridges needed to be redone because of the haste they were constructed in.
I'm interested in seeing where we go in the next chapter.