A rocky start –
Twenty years of riding trains with my father from circuit court to circuit court and not once did someone blow up a bridge, or disconnect cars. Twenty years of practically living in a narrow bunk and getting geography lessons through windows and never once did the engine plunge off the track down a ravine, never once did a dangerous creature get loose, never once did myself and the people around me wind up hunting a monster in the snow.
What made this train ride so damned special?
Considering the events of the past few weeks, I’m beginning to think that the two main men in my life are conspiring to continue to exert their influence on me from the Hereafter. My father raised me to think for myself, hold my head high and trust that all the strength I needed came from within. My beloved Ranger taught me that women are damn strong, but that doesn’t mean they should have to go through life being the strongest person in the room. Both of them loved me fiercely. Both of them encouraged me to use my strengths, bolster my weaknesses and perhaps unfortunately, to depend on men to pick up where my strengths ended.
My strengths came into play on the train ride between Denver and The City of Gloom. Train wreck, gun fight, injured folk, loose weird beastie, pushy government bitches who keep secrets… this was no ordinary train ride. It took all my brains and my guts to keep it together at first, what with my head getting a nasty bump and the horrible explosions and screetchings, but once I got started, the sensible kicked in. Long story short we saved who we could, hunted and killed the beastie, doctored up our wounds and moved back down the track to Watertown. Dealt with all the railroad officials, security, engineers who asked the most ridiculous questions. I may be educated, but structural integrity of bridges is not really part of my intellectual pervue. Engineers, scientists, lawyers… they all believe their knowledge is the end all, be all.
So. Everything got sorted and we’ve finally made our destination. However. I seem to have acquired a shadow. I don’t know if it is my imagination, and he HAD been stranded by the snows… although why he didn’t get on the train when we passed through the first time I don’t know… but. Dammit. Now I’m flustered. As I said, I seem to have acquired a shadow. He is huge, and hairy and has the oddest tang in the musk of his body. Don’t look at me like that. One tends to be closer than one might wish to their fellow travelers on trains. He helped with all the efforts to get the track cleared and running again. He lent a hand in dealing with the injured. He made fine conversation of an evening when it was too quiet to stand… and then he got on the train with us and got off in Junkyard. He has holed up in the same hotel, even though he doesn’t look the type to do much living in hotels. He has chosen the same diners as me for eating his evening meal almost every night since we got here. He is intelligent. He is funny with a slow, quiet humor. He doesn’t mind silence and always leans in to hear so I don’t have to strain my throat. He makes me feel incredibly lonesome. Dammit.