Chapter 8, Part 1
The train company moved into town about a month ago. They setup a tent city just outside of town that resembles Knuckle Smash when I first came to town. With them so close it seems like more and more we will have train service soon. That first night the town threw a party. It was a quiet affair, but that worked in our favor. The railroad company has been blazing a path of destruction from town to town in fights, alcohol and actual fire. You put so many men on one project from so many different backgrounds and there will be disagreements. Then add the money they are paid, the amount of fun that money brings and chaos abounds.
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What has been a good if not great success has been incorporating the warriors into the sheriff’s department. It took some time and understanding but the five men that joined are all now competent valuable deputies. It doesn’t help that many of the townsfolk still fear them and a possible takeover. No one has seen the Chief in a month. His Son Fallon runs the shop. About two weeks after they withdrew some of the warriors came back and worked on the new hotel being built, but the railroad won’t hire any of the People. All reports say that the railroads are considered a harbinger of doom for the nations and it’s hard to disagree with them. The Chief wanted to help his people face what was coming and build a connection to the outside world. As he said it once, “you can’t stop the future and white people.”
The mayor has been trying to help rebuild a community spirit. At one point the wedding of Fallen and Susan was going to be that spirit but the Chief sent word he wanted nothing to do with it. Then a party to celebrate the opening of the train stop, but the company doesn’t want a party and it could be a year before we see a passenger train. A party for the new hotel wasn’t an idea she wants to promote with it being a rival business. The town is building its first school building. The current school building is a saloon that was closed after the owner left town with the fool’s gold rush. With so few children it worked, but as the town matured the child population grew. With the new building being finished the mayor had her party. But, would anyone attend?
In the last couple of months, the town has been rocked by shifting ground. Some of the old mines are collapsing. About two miles out of town to the west are some of the worst mines ever dug. Hastily dug, many had little to no supports. Overtime these shafts cave in. The area is off limits. Anyone can tell you a sign saying off limits is a welcome sign to children. I need to post a deputy out there every day when school is out of session to keep the children out of the mines. Some think they will find the gold the others didn’t while some think they will find monsters and demons. The why is not as important as the act its self. Tell a child they can’t and they will try harder to do it. This is also why so many children are brought back from the Hopi village nearby. Because they are not allowed to go there.
Candice watches the children as they walk by her print shop. It has been about two months since she lost what would have been her first child. Our first child. She doesn’t talk about it. We never talked about children. In the short-time I have known her, she has changed from almost childlike to a strong driven woman. She always had a dive, but now she attacks every task with a ferocious that is borderline frightening. After her two employees now partners rebuilt one of her homemade presses she not only rebuilt the other two she built two more. In that time, she wrote and printed her first book. The book is about a Sheriff in a western town in the future. People ride mechanical horses and the desert has grown to cover most of the country. The book is called Desert Prairie. So far, every copy she sent out was sold and there are orders.
As Candice and her partners Allen, David and his wife Pauleen print and bind copies of the book a rumble shook the town. Then another. Thomas one of my new deputies came running from the mine site. He said, “the entire site just caved in.” By the time I made it out there, the entire site which was a flat plain was now a stilted meadow of caverns. As we stared the ground started to fill in the shafts. From around a bluff came three children running. I looked at Thomas. He said, “I didn’t see them.” They found a hidden shaft out of view of the stand we built. One of them said, “Georgie and John were inside the shaft when it fell in.” It sunk in to all of us. As we watched these two children were being buried alive. Then it got worse. The final count was seven children.
These stories will be based in the old west and an attempt at a modern western (later on).
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