Ghost Train 1
"Where is that damn turn off?" Logan sighed, wishing she had taken better directions instead of trusting the rental agent when he assured her the GPS system in the car would get her anywhere she needed to go.
As she made her way down the two-lane highway, Logan was still fuming about being sent out into the middle of nowhere to inspect property her employer was planning to develop as a resort. Alex Rodriguez should have been on this wild goose chase, but he was supposedly attending his Grandmothers funeral. She still couldnt believe her boss had believed that excuse, considering he has had five Grandmothers die over the last three years while he had worked for the company.
Scanning the roadway looking for any sign of a turn off, she spotted a small gas station coming up on her right. As she pulled in she read the sign proclaiming it to be "Bobs Hunting and Roadside Supplies".
"I sure hope Bob knows where I am heading," she mumbled as she got out of the car and stretched her aching limbs.
The place looked almost deserted as she opened the door and walked into the small store.
"Hello, my friend," an old gentlemen said from behind the counter, startling Logan.
"Hi, I was wondering if you could help me? I am looking for Solana Trail."
"Ah, you be meanin Freemans Pass," he said as he moved down the counter to stand in front of her.
"Some developer a few years ago came up here and bought all the surrounding land and started changin the names. You wont find their fancy names on most maps of this area." He explained as he looked her up and down. "You must be headin out that way to hike since you dont look like a hunter," he questioned.
Logan had learned the hard way about saying anything about why she was in a particular area. Shed been chased off some land by a squatter who didnt like the plans for the lakefront property. She found herself agreeing.
"Yes, I heard about some of the trails up this way and thought I would take a look at them before they are no more," she said to cover her true motives.
"Well if you be headin up the trails, I should tell ya the Legend of the Ghost Train," he said in a sad voice. "Why dont you have a seat and Ill get us something to drink, " he motioned towards a set of chairs out front of the station.
Logan decided if she was going to get directions from the old man, she was going to have to humor him and listen to his story. She just hoped it was an interesting one. She settled her sunglasses on her face, and ran a hand through her short, pale hair as she sat down in one of the chairs.
A few minutes later, the man stepped out of the building carrying two bottles of Coke. He offered one to Logan and then took a seat in the empty chair next to her. "Now where should I begin? Sarah McGregor was a schoolteacher who was born and raised in Freeman Pass. She married Thomas McGregor, a blacksmith, and they were together for about a year when he was killed in an accident," the man paused to take a drink before continuing.
"McKenna Christiansen was a bit of a mystery when she moved into town. She was hired by Thomas to assist him with the increase in work brought in by new businesses in town, and spent a majority of her time in the forge. After Thomas death, McKenna took over responsibility for running the business. There were people in the small town who didnt think a woman should even work as a smithy, never mind run a forge, but McKenna proved herself, and soon the nay sayers were silenced."
"Wow, she must have been a tough woman to be able to do the work. Did she and Sarah get along?"
The storekeeper nodded, "McKenna and Sarah were inseparable, and most people believed they were best friends, but there were rumors that floated around that the women were more than that. Anyway, McKenna decided to take Sarah on a trip to the city to see a play."
"Oh McKenna, I still cant believe were going to the city," Sarah was excited, and her green eyes sparkled. This was her first trip out of the small town she grew up in, as well as her first train ride.
McKenna smiled at her friends enthusiasm. She couldnt think of anything that made her feel the way she did when she saw Sarah smile. There was just something magical about it that could make even the worse day better. "Believe it. And I thought while we were there, we could check out the theatre."
"The theatre? Really?" The other woman nodded. "Thank you." She reached over and hugged her friend.
McKenna reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out a small, wrapped box. "Happy Birthday, Sarah," she held the item out.
The petite blond took the box and began carefully unwrapping it. "You didnt have to get me anything," she opened the box and took out the locket necklace it contained. "Its beautiful." Tears of happiness threatened to flow as she opened the locket and saw the pictures of her and McKenna. "Would you help me put it on?"
She had just finished latching the clasp when 2 men and a woman burst into their railcar, guns drawn and bandanas disguising their features.
"Okay everyone," the woman began, "if you follow directions no one will get hurt. Now put all your money and jewelry into that bag," she pointed to a man who opened the mouth of a canvas sack and began walking down the aisle. He paused just long enough for the passengers to deposit their valuables as his companions stood watch with their guns.
The color drained from Sarahs face as the man neared their seats. McKenna reached over and grasped the blonds slightly trembling hand in her own. "Dont worry, its going to be okay. Just keep thinking about how much fun were going to have. Okay?" Sarah nodded and tried to put on a brave face. McKenna leaned over and kissed the crown of her head. "Thats my girl."
The women were unaware of the inquisitive brown eyes that were focused on them. A lone eyebrow raised in interest at the kiss, and an evil grin pulled at her lips. Morgan had been thinking this was going to be just another boring job, but this development could make things more interesting.
The male robber stopped in front of McKenna and Sarah. "Okay ladies, put everything into the bag." His eyes swept over the small blond and he smiled, "I wish youd fit in there."
McKenna would have liked nothing more than to knock the mans rotten teeth down his throat, but she was concerned about his partners getting trigger happy. She placed her money in the bag. The man nodded his approval and then turned his attention back to Sarah. "Okay, now your turn."
Sarah pulled some coins out of her small purse and dropped them into the sack. It was all she had, but the man wasnt content with such a meager offering, "I think you can do better than that." He looked her over again. "Ill take that necklace."
Her hand automatically went to her neck and her hand covered the locket. "No, please. Its a birthday present."
"Oh, so its your birthday? How about I give you a present of my own?"
"Why dont you just move on?" McKenna suggested, her hands clenched into fists.
The man dismissed her with a look. "I dont think so." He reached over and grabbed Sarahs arm and roughly pulled her to her feet.
"Let her go," the brunette growled as she stood to her full height, which was a good 4 inches taller than the man.
"Or what?" He pulled his gun from its holster and pointed it at her, but when he saw no fear in the womans cool, blue eyes, he switched the position of the weapon so it was pointed at Sarahs head.
Sarah felt the hard, metal object pressed against her skull, and she fought back the panic that was threatening to overtake her. She looked up at McKenna and saw a mixture of anger and apprehension on the womans face. How could this be happening? Shed finally found true happiness in her life and now it looked as though it was going to be taken away from her.
The man kept the gun to Sarahs head as he slowly backed up. "Stay where you are, unless you want me to kill her." He could tell by the look in the taller womans eyes that she would kill him if she had the chance, and he didnt want to give her the opportunity.
"Dont worry Sarah, its going to be okay," McKenna tried to assure the small blond. She could tell her friend was terrified; her green eyes were wide with fear. The blacksmiths mind worked rapidly to try to find a solution to the situation. "Let her go, take me instead."
Morgan watched the exchange between her man and the tall brunette woman. The sadist in her wanted to see her in pain for some reason, and she knew exactly what to do to inflict it. She opened the door to the train car, the ground rushed by outside. "Push her out," she ordered the man.
He frowned, not sure he heard her right, "What?"
"I said push her out the door," she repeated not bothering to keep the annoyance out of her voice.
Brown eyes narrowed as the man hesitated, and in an instant Morgan drew her weapon and fired a shot at the pair. Sarah grabbed her chest as she stumbled backwards, a pained look on her face. A moment later she fell from the train.
"Noooo!" McKenna cried out as everything seemed to move in slow motion before her. She rushed forward towards the door, intent on jumping out after Sarah.
A wicked grin pulled at Morgans lips as she fired a round into the charging woman. McKenna fell to the floor as the bullet entered her midsection. She crawled towards the open door, determined to get to Sarah. Morgan looked down with mock sadness, "Im sorry about your little friend," she taunted, "but Im sure youll be together real soon."
McKenna saw the barrel of the gun and closed her eyes, "Im sorry Sarah."
Logan looked at Bob as the man took a swig from his bottle of Coke. "So they both died? Thats the end of the story?"
Bob shook his head, "Not quite. Sarah was saved from Morgans bullet by her locket, and she survived the fall from the train, but she was never the same after that day. Almost every night she could be found at McKennas gravesite, a vacant look in her eyes as she placed a bouquet of wild flowers on the grave. Some people thought it would have been better if they had both died that day.
Sadly, it was less then six months later that Sarah took her own life by walking in front of the same train that McKenna had been killed on." Bob paused a moment before he went on. "Trains havent used those tracks in many years now, but people still swear they can hear a train go by at night sometimes, and once in a while, someone will claim they heard a womans voice callin out Sarah. Course its just a legend around these parts, but I thought you needed to hear the story, just incase, you know?"
Logan nodded as she stood. "Uh, yeah. I guess Id better get going now. Thanks for the directions and the Coke."
"Youre quite welcome, Miss. Now you take care of yourself, okay?"
"Sure. Ill probably stop by on my way out of town to gas up my car and to say hi."
"You do that. Enjoy your hiking now."
As Logan drove her rental car along the bumpy dirt road, her thoughts returned to McKenna and Sarah. It was such a sad story, but her head was telling her it was probably one of those local urban legends that Bob told visitors to pass the time. Her heart, however, was sending her other signals. Maybe shed Google the names on her computer and see what came up.
A check of the GPS showed she was at her destination, so she pulled off the road and onto the grass. She got together her cameras and the other gear she needed to scout the area, and got out of the car.
Logan glanced around and took in the view, "Wow, this is beautiful." She took out a digital camera and started to snap pictures of the trees that were full of foliage, and the thick, green grass, with wild flowers mixed, in that covered the ground.
It was so beautiful she didnt want to see it ruined by a having a resort built on the land, but she had to do her job. At least shed be able to stretch her legs as she surveyed the area and took some video for her boss, and maybe she could get some hiking in after all.
It was getting dark when Logan made it back to the car and stowed her gear. Shed had a good day hiking around the area and had taken some great pics for her own personal collection as well as getting some good film for work. She was surprised by the varying collection of wildlife that inhabited the area, and she made note of the creatures she saw to place in a report.
Logan got behind the wheel and turned the key in the ignition nothing happened. Okay, no need to panic. She tried to start the engine again, with the same result. She unclipped the cell phone from her belt and checked the display. Shit, no service. Okay, Logan, you havent seen a car come by all day and its dark. She quickly ran through her options and decided the best one, for now, was to stay in the car, and when it got light, she would try the car again and hike out if it still wasnt working.
Since she didnt have any entertainment, she set her flashlight on the dashboard and took a notebook and pen from her pack; she might as well get some writing in.
The figure moved silently through the dark towards the car. A look inside the vehicle revealed a blond woman reclined in the drivers seat with her eyes closed. A balled up fist reached up and tapped the window, gently at first and then more forcefully when the woman didnt react. Damn, shes either dead, or sleeps like she is. The balled up fist relaxed, and moved to the door handle where it slowly lifted up on the cool metal. The door opened and a chime sounded a warning that the keys had been left in the ignition. The hand then reached into the car and made contact with the womans shoulder.
Logan was dreaming she was watching a movie in her house, she kept hearing an annoying tapping sound, but she was too involved in the movie to go see what it was. Suddenly she was conscious of something touching her shoulder and she jerked awake thinking a bug was on her. What she saw was much bigger than a bug.
"Hey youre okay," a womans voice announced. "Im Eryn, I saw your car and just wanted to make sure you were okay. I knocked on the window, but you didnt wake up."
The blond tried to stretch the kinks out a little as she carefully climbed out of her car and sized up the person who had interrupted her beauty sleep. She knew she should be a bit freaked out, but there was something in the womans voice she found calming. Eryn was close to a foot taller than she was, and had shoulder length dark hair. She could see in the light from the full moon that the brunette had exceptionally blue eyes. "Im Logan, my car wouldnt start and my cell phone couldnt get a signal, so I decided to spend the night in my car." She looked around and didnt see a vehicle. "What are you doing out here?"
Eryn pointed to her backpack that was lying on the ground by the car, "I was doing some hiking and camping in the area," she paused a moment, "and checking out a local legend around these parts."
"You mean the ghost train?"
"Thats right. What do you know about it? Is that why youre here too?" the taller woman questioned hopefully.
"Bob at the gas station told me the story today, when I stopped there looking for directions. What a sad tale. So is it true? Have you seen the ghost train?"
"Ive done a bit of research on the story, and unfortunately its true. And no, I havent seen the ghost train yet, but Im still hopeful I will." She pointed to her pack, "Are you hungry? I have some food in my pack and I could get a fire started if you want."
Logan was about to say she wasnt hungry when her stomach betrayed her with a loud growl, "Umm, I guess Im a little hungry."
Eryn laughed, "Let me get some stuff to start the fire, Ill be right back."
Since Eryn had done all the work on the fire, Logan decided she would do the cooking. She emptied two pouches of beef stew into the pan and began to heat it up as she stirred in some spices from the containers the taller woman had in her pack.
"Mmm, that smells better than when I heat it up," Eryn announced as she walked over to the blond. "And I dont think you said what youre doing out here."
Logan tried to think what she should tell the woman and decided on the truth, "Im out here for work, actually. The company I work for is thinking about building a resort on this land, Im out here kind of scouting the location. But its so beautiful, Id hate to see it messed up with construction."
"Yeah, its really peaceful here, and there are some great spots for watching the local wildlife." She took the bowl of stew that Logan offered. "Thanks."
Logan had a habit of checking her necklace, and when the clasp moved to the front, she would pull the locket out from under her shirt and hold it as she returned the clasp to the back of her neck. She did this and then picked up her bowl of stew, she noticed Eryn was starring intently at her neck, What?"
"Where did you get your necklace? Is that a locket?"
"Yes, it is," she undid the clasp on the necklace and handed it to Eryn. "Last year I was walking in downtown, and I dont usually do antiques but for some reason I was drawn into this store. There was this desk in there that I just fell in love with, so I bought it. Later, when I was cleaning it up a little, I found a secret compartment and the necklace was in there. I tried to open it a couple of times, but it was jammed, and theres a dent on one side."
Eryn examined the necklace, and ran her finger over the indentation in the necklace. She turned it over and saw the delicate initials that were etched into the gold surface, "SM". The brunettes eyes widened as the locket seemed to open on its own. Inside was a photograph of a blond woman on one side, and a brunette one on the other. "I think this belonged to Sarah McGregor," she showed her companion the locket. The dent is where the bullet from Morgans gun struck her, thats how she survived the gunshot.
"No, it cant be," Logan began, "I mean " but deep inside she knew it was true.
The women had eaten in silence, each caught up in her own thoughts about what theyd just learned. Eryn had helped Logan had replace the necklace around her neck. The action had felt familiar to her, as though shed done it before.
After they cleaned up from dinner, Eryn broke out her sleeping bag, and opening it, she spread it out on the ground. "You ever sleep out under the stars?"
Logan shook her head, "No, cant say I have."
"Well I guess theres a first time for everything," she saw Logans skeptical look, "Trust me, itll be more comfortable than sleeping in that car."
The petite woman glanced back at the car in question and then at the inviting sleeping bag. It would just be like kids sleeping out. "You know any good scary stories?"
When Eryn finished her story the pair laid down and gazed up at the midnight sky finding shapes in the stars. "Theres a bear," Logan announced.
"A bear? Where do you get a bear?"
Logans hands traced the areas as she explained, "Theres his body, and his ears, and theres his tail "
Eryn was about to tell her new friend she was crazy when a loud train whistle cut through the night air.
The women froze and then looked at each other when a second blast sounded. "Are there any trains in the area?" Logan couldnt remember crossing any tracks.
"No, they took the tracks out ages ago," she stood. "You want to go check it out?" She offered Logan her hand.
"Uh, sure." She let the taller woman help her to her feet. "Should I get my flashlight out of the car?"
"No, mine should be enough, just stay close to me"
I think I can handle that. "Okay. "
They made their way through the clearing and slowly moved into the more wooded area. A rustling sound to their right made them stop. Eryn slowly raised her flashlight in the direction of the noise and spotlighted three possums, two were in an intimate act and the third appeared to be watching; and all of them looked indignant about the interruption.
"Eww, I could have lived my whole without needing to see that," Logan complained as they continued.
Now the women could hear the familiar clackety-clack sound of a train traveling on a track, and it sounded as though it was slowing down. When they broke through the tree line, they could see a stopped train a few yards ahead of them. "Do you see that too?" Logan questioned, not sure if she could believe her eyes.
"I was about to ask you the same thing."
Clouds moved across the moon, giving the train an eerie look as Eryn and Logan crossed over to it. Logan could feel the hairs standing up on her arms, and a chill ran down her spine as they neared their destination. Eryn seemed to sense her uneasiness and placed an arm protectively around her narrow shoulders. "Its gonna be okay."
As Eryn placed her hand flat against the cool metal of the train, images flashed through her mind, quickly at first and then slower. It was as though her life, or McKennas to be exact, was passing before her eyes. The images changed to real time as the events from the train came into play. She felt a pain in her chest as she watched the man grab Sarah and drag her towards the door. Then everything moved in slow motion, the sound of the gun echoed in her ears.
"Nooo," Eryn and Logan cried out simultaneously as they sat up. They looked at each other and were surprised to see they were back on the sleeping bag. "I guess we fell asleep," she had a knot in her stomach from the dream shed had, itd seemed so real.
Eryn took in her friends pale features and the light sheen of perspiration that covered her face, "Did you dream about them?"
A fair head nodded, "Yeah." She had to know, "Did you have possums in your dream?"
The brunette moved over and embraced the smaller woman, "As a matter of fact I did. Three of the ugly little suckers." She continued to hold the woman, something about it seemed so right.
"Awwww, isnt that sweet?" A menacing, female voice declared.
Eryn pulled away from Logan and stood so she was in front of her friend. She quickly assessed the woman who stood before her and an involuntary shiver ran through her body. The stranger was wearing an inmate uniform from either a jail or a mental hospital, and her very pale hair was unkempt. She had an evil gleam in her dark eyes and a revolver clasped in her hand,
The hiker tried to keep her voice calm as she spoke, "What do you want?"
"What do I want? Hmmm, what DO I want. Well, to start with, I want to see your little friend there. Stand up blondie, dont be shy, I wont hurt you much."
Logan cautiously got to her feet and stood close to Eryn, so their arms were touching. The contact steadied her nerves a little.
"Very good." She eyed the small woman. "Now take your clothes off."
The woman pointed the gun at Logan, "I said take your clothes off; you cant expect me to continue to walk around in these, can you?"
"Leave her alone, you can have mine," Eryn offered.
"Oh save your chivalry for someone else, Jolly Green Giant, I like your friends style better.
Logan undid the buttons on her green, cotton blouse and slid the material off her shoulders. She was still clad in a black tank top and jeans.
"Very good, drop it on the ground and take off your pants."
The blond followed the directions and placed her jeans next to the shirt on the ground.
"That wasnt so hard now, was it? And I didnt have to ruin a perfectly good set of clothes with bullet holes." The woman scratched her chin with the gun and then, without warning, swung it around and fired a shot at Logan. "But youre no use to me now."
She heard the gunshot and saw Logan fall to the ground. Eryn hoped this was all just another nightmare, she couldnt bear to lose her again. She knelt down beside her fallen friend and placed her hand on Logans neck. The brunettes heart jumped when she felt a pulse. She needed to find a way to get them out of this now.
"So tell me, how did it feel to watch your little girlfriend die?" The intruder taunted.
"You know, I should really thank you. I brought her out here to break up, but now I dont have to worry about that."
The woman was taken back by this unexpected reply, "You mean youre not going to cry? Youre not going to threaten me about getting revenge or anything?"
"Nope. In fact Id like to shake your hand, " she paused for a name.
"Well, Taryn, how about you get dressed and Ill give you the keys to the car over there and we can part company. Ill give you a few hours before I call the cops."
"How bout I kill you and get dressed, then I wont need a head start."
Eryn began to move away from where Logan was lying, she didnt want to take a chance of Taryn noticing the woman wasnt dead. "You dont need to kill me, I can help you." She maneuvered around so Taryns back was facing Logan.
"And how can you help me?"
"Youre going to need money, I can get you some. Ill go with you to the bank and get some money out of the ATM."
"I can do that without you."
"Not unless you have my security code."
Brown eyes moved back and forth in thought, "But I really just want to kill you now," an evil smile pulled at her lips as she began to squeeze the trigger.
Everything happened so quickly Eryn didnt realize what was going on until it was over. One moment Taryn was standing there with a gun aimed at her, and she was sure she was a goner, the next, the mental case was on the ground and Logan was standing over her with a dented pan in her hand, and a pissed off look on her face.
Eryn picked up Taryns gun before she rushed over and hugged Logan. The smaller woman made a small whimpering noise and Eryn pulled back, "Youre hurt."
"Just a little sore," Logan confessed, "the locket took the worst of it." She held up the piece of jewelry, the indentation was deeper now.
A tear rolled down Eryns cheek, "I thought I had lost you."
"Not this time, or ever again."
"Logan and Eryn had been surprised when the car started the first time they tried it. Some people might be thinkin it just needed a rest, but others believe it was fate the car didnt start for Logan."
"Which one do you think it was, Mr. Bob?" a child inquired as she took a drink from her bottle of Dr Pepper.
"I cant really say one way or the other. The only thing I know for sure, is that after that night, no one has heard the ghost train, its as though whatever happened that night righted a wrong and the spirits of McKenna and Sarah were put to rest."
"And what about Eryn and Logan?" a little boy asked shyly.
"Oh, I get a postcard from them once in a while, and they come by here on the anniversary of the day they met and let me know what theyve been up to. Boy do those two get into some adventures. Let me tell you about the time they "