RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 5 . . Westward . . Part 6
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 6 of Chapter 5 . . . Westward. A new part will be posted every Thursday. New readers may want to start at the beginning.
CHAPTER 5 . . . WESTWARD . . . Part 6
Following the speech, after a band played, a good part of the crowd headed south on Queen Street. Dan followed to see where they were going. One block later, the crowd turned left onto King Street. In only a short distance, everyone turned right into a field marked “Fairgrounds.”
Children were playing all over the place. There were picnics everywhere. Dan lay down on an open patch of grass and watched the clouds go by. He relaxed and enjoyed the surrounding sounds of happy people.
One of the fairground buildings had a clock tower. Dan made sure he left in plenty of time to be near the train station when the early afternoon train was due in from Wrightsville. Sadly, Billy was not on this train. Dan felt helpless without the reassuring direction provided by Billy.
On the train ride to Columbia, with the knowledge that crate markings indicated the boxcar was likely headed towards York then Baltimore, Billy had talked about traveling westward. It took little urging to convince Dan to join him on a westward train after their arrival in Baltimore. With Billy a no-show, Dan worried he may have been caught in Columbia.
Dan still held out hope with the arrival on the last train of the day from Wrightsville. Dan relaxed in the fairgrounds until the early evening train. This train had many excursion cars and not a single boxcar; evidently people returning from a Fourth of July out in the countryside.
Suddenly from behind, “That was a nice move this morning; getting out of the boxcar near the switch.” At first Dan believed it was Billy; but quickly realized it was another voice. Dan thought, I should run as fast as I can, without even turning around; however he froze in fright.
The man stepped in front of Dan, proclaiming “I’ve been observing that switch stoppage from the trees for several days; might be a good place to sneak onto a car. Are you going to the fireworks this evening? They put on a pretty good fireworks exhibition here in York.” Dan was relieved this guy did not appear to be working for the railroad.
However, playing it safe, Dan was reluctant to share any information with this guy. Dan never acknowledged that he got out of a boxcar, instead he asked, “I’m sure I’d enjoy the fireworks. Where’s the best place to see them?”
The guy replied, “Walk with me, if you’d like; I’m headed to the commons now.” Dan felt he had nothing to loose. Maybe this guy could help him get into another boxcar. Maybe this guy knew Billy.
This guy did not talk much, however Dan started to relax around him. From the little he did talk, Dan became convinced this guy was a rail traveler just like Billy. Maybe he could provide some assistance, however there was little doubt they would ever become friends. This guy did not have a trusting personality such as the one resulting in an instant friendship with Billy.
The first rocket ascended into the sky and scattered its brilliantly colored stars across the sky; to hearty applause. Numerous rockets and exploding bombs filled the air as the cheers mounted. Glowing set pieces on the grounds mesmerized everyone across the commons. These were followed by the biggest rocket of the night. Definitely the best fireworks exhibition Dan had ever seen.
The guy offered Dan, “I’m staying the night in the closed up car shop across from the train station. You’re welcome to join me.” Dan had already picked out a nice spot in an alcove of a building at the fairgrounds, however decided to accept the offer. Dan thought this guy might be a good source of information and a reassuring presence as he continued on his journey.
Go to Chapter 6, Part 1