Calling the Train
by Jeff Stehman
Listen to the audio version
Sam lay on the shore, his one remaining leg still in the green water. The gator's death roll had
shattered an arm and ribs, smashed his face. An unexpected end to a desperate plan. He'd known
he might be shot, execution style, in some dark alley. But dying out here? Like this?
The pain was fading. Everything was fading. The smell of the swamp, the hum of the insects; all
so distant. Only the sound of a train whistle was clear.
The bastards he was after would remain untouchable, yet Sam felt calm, detached from the
drama. Even from dying.
The train whistled again.
No, not a train. He opened his one good eye and tipped his head back. A black face, upside down
and with salt-and-pepper hair, came into view.
"Ouch. Gator must've been huge." The old man stepped to Sam's side, raised a harmonica and
sounded the mournful wail of a train. "That oughta do it," he said, crouching down.
"Call the train for you."
Sam went through the motions of looking around, though he couldn't move much.
The old man chuckled. "Strange, I know. It'll be over soon."
"It should be over."
"Nope. Gotta wait for the train."
"The train come to fetch your soul."