April 29, 2006
The train was slowing into the yard. Liam Hartford was hiding in an empty closed hopper and knew that he must get out quickly, without being detected.
He kept a listen on his portable Uniden scanner for the whereabouts of railroad personnel.
Liam placed his scanner into his Wenger backpack, along with the rest of his belongings, then peered out of the hole of the hopper car.
It was a slightly overcast day and the yard didn’t have much activity going on.
Through communication intelligence gathered on his scanner, Liam knew the train he was on would be broken down that night and wasn’t familiar with as to where the car he was hiding in was destined, so he decided to get off in this yard and find a barn to hide in. He knew there was a farming community within walking distance of the railroad yard.
Liam left home the day he turned eighteen, which was a year and some months ago.
He had a rough childhood and knew he had to get out of his town as soon as he could. For the next year and some odd months, he supported himself taking odd jobs for cash and purchasing items to help him in his transient lifestyle.
He had traveled all over the United States and even into parts of Canada, usually riding illegally on freight trains.
The train was now at a dead stop as Liam kept watch from the hole in the hopper car.
There weren’t too many people in the yard, so he grabbed his backpack came out of the hole and disembarked from the train.
He made a beeline for the yard exit, just as the sky was getting darker.
Finally, he was on public property and escaped the yard without getting caught, as he had done dozens of times before.
Now, it was time to find shelter and work.
Liam began walking along the main highway, then through town.
He filled up his canteen at a water fountain in the park and also relieved himself in the park restroom.
Afterward, he left the park and headed on foot towards the more rural parts of town.
He admired all of the quaint farmhouses as he walked past them.
The sky was getting darker and darker.
Liam looked at his Casio G-Shock and saw that it was around two in the afternoon.
He knew his time was fairly accurate because he synchronized his watch with a sympathetic train conductor just days ago.
He saw a US Mail truck delivering packages and letters to homes along the main highway. He soon was past the mail truck
Liam then came upon a two-story wooden farmhouse with a large red barn. The house appeared to be one of those houses that were offered in the Sears Catalog in days gone by.
He thought about hiding in the loft of that barn at least until the storm passes.
As Liam stood still, a beautiful young lady stepped out of the house, to check the mail.
They briefly glanced at each other, smiled then both blushed.
She was dressed in a knee-length, plaid blue dress, brown work shoes and had long strawberry blonde hair. The young lady was ever so slightly chubby, but it made her all the more beautiful
She walked up to the mailbox and opened it, but there was no mail in.
There was a look of some disappointment on her face.
“The mail isn’t here yet, but it’s coming. I just saw the truck,” Liam told the young lady.
“Thanks. How far is it, do you know?”
“Oh, a few houses back. If I was able to pass it up on, foot, it can’t be too far.”
“Okay, I’ll wait out here, then.”
There was a brief silence, but then she said, “You’re cute. I’ve never seen you in this town before.”
“Aw, thanks. I’m not from around here, actually. By the way, you yourself are quite lovely as well!”
“You’re so sweet to tell me that. Will you be here a while?”
“As long as I like!”
The young lady’s eyes lit up, then she said, “I’m Aubrey Gables, by the way.”
“What brings you here anyway?”
“Looking for work and shelter. It’s a long story actually.”
Suddenly there was a bright flash of lightning followed by an ominous roll of thunder.
“Durn it,” Liam said in distress.
“Why don’t you come up in the loft of my daddy’s barn where you’ll be safe and tell me your long story?”
“Thank you. I’d be more than happy to, but what about the mail?”
“The mail can wait, let’s get you safe from that weather…”