Read by Shawn Robertson
That old iron horse blew its whistle. Smoke belched out of the diamond stack of the Jupiter Steam locomotive. Steam blew out at me as it backed up to hook up another baggage car.
The Transcontinental Railroad had just been completed a couple of years earlier, and they were getting ready to build a new line. I had just turned eighteen then and was in the U.S. Army Cavalry. I was on guard duty that day, somewhere in the Wyoming Territory or maybe it was the Utah Territory. I was at some railroad station in a town in the middle of nowhere. They pulled a few of us up from Fort Laramie to relieve the soldiers riding on the train. I had my Springfield rifle as I walked alongside the train, moving slowly along at the station. I was on one side of the train, and another soldier was walking along the other side.
It was hotter than tarnation on that day. The local town folk really needed some rain; none had fallen since the previous year. I could hear the bang, clank, and rumble behind me as they hooked up the other baggage car. Then the train came to a stop. A few minutes later a two-horse wagon pulled up next to that new baggage car.
The man in the wagon had his face covered with his hat. “Whoa now,” he said as he stood up and opened the door to the other baggage car.