MYSTERY GAMES

Here is an extract from ‘The Hardy Boys: Treasure on the Tracks’ - It’s a fable, a little bit in the style of ‘The Firebird’, found in a children’s book on the train…

The Legend of the Golden Train


…and again I waited in the perfect still of night, my bedimage
covers pulled tight up to my ears, holding my breath in silence. And I waited.

They said it wasn’t true, to forget my childish dreams, but I knew better. So - on I waited. Then, in the deep, deep black, I saw a light, moving quickly, dancing across the ceiling of my room. I raced to the window, my heart beating fast, pounding against my chest. I saw a beam of light now, focused tight against the horizon, fast, and now, ever faster.

Next, a sound, a rumble thundering up through my feet.image Not my heart this time, it’s coming from outside. I strained to listen, for it was distant yet, a drumbeat building from beyond the hill.  “Boom, boom, boom” was the drummer’s tune and I repeated it in my head . Faster it came! Nearer still and louder even then.

Boom, boom boom…boom boom boom…. Then, a sudden whistle! I leapt back, afraid as two more long blasts followed. Creeping back to the window’s edge, I knew the time was here…

- It’s coming! The Golden Train was coming near!

I pinched myself with an “Ouch!” but this was not a dream and my eyes were truly awake. I focused all my attention on the hill outside, straining to see. Not long now! What seemed like hours was seconds as I held my breath again.

Like the sun rising in the middle of the night, now did the great light appear fast and rising over the hill, catching me for a second in its blinding glare. The brightness grew. “Don’t blink!” I said. “Don’t blink or you’ll miss it!” I held my post, determined and resolute, waiting for the dazzling tide to pass.

And there! Suddenly, it was! Glorious! All shining gold and thunderous roar! I knew it – it was true! The Golden Train was there, right there! And then the strangest thing occurred.

From my mind’s eye I knew it couldn’t be, but for a moment the train stopped there - right in front of me! Frozen in place as if time halted, it was there to take in my unbridled joy. I gazed awe-struck at its magnificent side, an almost living flank, breathing, a shimmering waterfall of gold, catching the light and spilling off in radiant glow.

And tho’ I heard the thunder charging on, clattering over the iron, whistling its advance, it stood here, right here, by me, in absolute perfect stillness. “Take as long as you like” it seemed to say. “Enjoy, because I may never pass again”. I could barely contain my eyes as they widened, struggling to take it all in.

And suddenly, a flash and it was gone, charging on.image No fleeting glimpse remained, no trail of smoke, no swell of noise. Gone. “Who’s next?” I whispered. “What window watches for you still?” I rubbed my eyes once more, and held them tight against my face, holding in the memory of what I’d just seen.

“Farewell!” I shouted, bolder now, across the roofs below…

“Farewell ‘til next time, then!” I roared…

- For I knew I’d see the Golden Train again…