RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 4 . . Stowaway . . Part 3
RAILCAR GOLD is a historically accurate multi-generational fictional tale of hidden treasure, primarily set in York County, Pennsylvania during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. This is Part 3 of Chapter 4 . . . Stowaway. A new part will be posted every Thursday. New readers may want to start at the beginning.
CHAPTER 4 . . . STOWAWAY . . . Part 3
As Dan fried the second fish, the boy boasted that every few weeks he settles in a new town; always moving on by hitching rides on the rails. Dan questioned, “I’m not going to tell anyone; however I have to ask, are you the boy we saw sneaking out of a railroad car yesterday, down the tracks from here?” The boy declared, “I might be, however before I reveal any more about myself and about riding the rails, I want to know your story.”
Dan introduced himself, “I’m Dan. I live with my Uncle Rufus not far from here; although it is not a happy life.” Dan continued telling the stranger the sad story of how he became an orphan and his arrangement with Rufus, his Guardian. Dan normally did not open up to others for fear of the conversation getting back to Rufus, however first impressions told him to trust this boy.
Dan explained, “My Uncle likes to eat fish; he has me catching fish at least six days a week. When we moved into the place, this old skillet was up in the rafters. When my Uncle started to send me to bed without a meal, I moved the skillet, a fork and a knife down here to my fishing spot.”
The boy announced, “I have a good feeling about you Danny boy; name’s Billy. Sounds like we have a lot in common.” Dan was curious “You ride the rails? Do you always travel alone? I’ve never been on a train, what is it like?”
Billy explained he also was an orphan and that he stowed away in rail boxcars initially to run away from his Guardian; however now he moves from town to town in a quest for adventure. Billy boasted, “It is very rare that I stay in any town for more than four weeks. Why not join me when I leave this town?”
Dan had passing thoughts of running away, but he never seriously considered actually doing so until last night. Billy camped out at the fishing spot and in the coming weeks he shared his adventures with Dan.
The first time that Billy ran away from his Guardian, he got caught and was returned. The second time that Billy ran away, he utilized a well thought out elaborate plan that involved faking his death. That was the foolproof plan that Billy wanted Dan to use. With each passing day, Dan became more convinced that he would run away.
Today on July 2nd 1860 Billy wanted a final decision from Dan. Billy would be leaving the next day. When Dan arrived to catch fish that morning, Billy was not at camp, which gave Dan additional time to reflect as he gazed at the penny in the palm of his hand.
Billy suddenly surprised him, jumping into his camp site, “Everything is set for tomorrow. I’ve continued to scope out a quarry not very far downriver where the train stops to pick up quarry cars every day; a nice spot to slip into a boxcar. You’ve got a positive response about borrowing a small boat to fish on the river. That sack tells me you’ve made a decision. Is tomorrow the start of a new life?”
Dan did not hesitate; answering, “Yes!”
Go to Part 4