wake up! I've got to tell you about Billy McPhee.”
younger brother sat up, rubbing his eyes. “What? Go away, Harry. I don't
care what Billy McPhee said.” Fish lay back on the pillow and pulled the
blanket over his head.
Last night Billy stopped by. You were in bed. His face was as white as
your sheet.” Harry nudged him.
some of his mates had got to the old Inverlarich Train station,” Harry
Chips and I go there all the time. It's boarded up, you know,” Fish
slipped out of bed and put on his bathrobe.
let me finish? They went to the old train station and while they were
sitting there, they heard the sound of a train.” Harry sat on the edge of
trains all the time. Why did you wake me up just for this. It's Saturday.”
Fish put his slippers on.
you'll be quiet, I'll finish. They heard a train and so they jumped down
onto the tracks. They walked around the bend and a train headed straight
know trains still used that line.” Fish combed his hair.
the whole point. They don't. The train ran right into them and went right
through them. It was a ghost train.” Harry's eyes bulged with fervor.
train? That's nonsense, Harry. Billy McPhee is pulling your leg.” Fish
turned the door knob. “I've heard enough of that.”
pulled him back. “I say tonight, after Mum and Dad go to bed, that we go
up to Inverlarich and see for ourselves.”
another one of your schemes, Harry. We'll be in big trouble if we're
caught.” Harry pulled himself free of his brother's grasp.
go and get Chips and take her with us. Come on. You're not chicken, are
stood at the open door. “No. I'm not chicken. We can go, but I know we'll
not find any ghost train.” He shut the door behind him and went to eat
busy day helping his father with the chores, Fish was ready to relax. He
ate supper, bathed and climbed into bed. When he was on the verge of
sleep, the bedroom door creaked open. “Pssst. Fish. Are you ready?”
yawned. “Go away, Harry. All you do is wake me up. Go to bed.”
going to Inverlarich Train Station. You've forgotten already?” Harry crept
over to Fish's bed. “Get up and get dressed. I made a phone call to Chips
earlier tonight. She's waiting for us.”
right.” Fish put his clothes and boots on and climbed out his bedroom
window. “I hope Mum and Dad don't find out.”
worry. They're both sound asleep.” Harry dropped to the ground and urged
his brother to hurry.
five minute jaunt to Chip's house, they stood outside her bedroom window.
“Toss a stone at her window, Fish.” Harry handed him a round pebble.
it. What if it breaks the glass? I'm not doing it.” Fish ran over to the
window and tapped on it.
pulled the curtain back. Her dark eyes looked like pools of deep water.
She put her finger to her puckered lips, telling the boys to be quiet.
Slowly she slid the window open and climbed out. “Hello Harry. Hello Fish.
What grand adventure are we going on tonight?”
going to Inverlarich Train Station to see the ghost train,” Harry said,
running into the woods. “Come on you two.”
train?” Chips put her hand on Fish's shoulder.
shrugged. “Billy McPhee told Harry that he and his mates saw a ghost
train. It went right through their bodies.”
believe that, Fish?” Chips looked ahead for Harry.
know. Harry made it sound real.”
Get a move on!” Harry waved his arms as he shouted.
found a worn trail used by backpackers, leading them straight to the old
train station. Crumbling mortar fell away from between the bricks, leaving
them to fall at the slightest touch. The door, wooden and dented with
years of hammered papers, hung open and covered with lacy spider webs. The
scent of pine penetrated Fish's tastebuds. “There's nothing here, Harry.
Let's go home.”
rapped on the boarded up windows with his knuckles. “This place hasn't
been used in decades.”
we're here, Fish, we might as well have some fun.” Chips jumped down on
the tracks. “It wasn't that long ago,” she said. “I remember my mum
telling me about how she took this train. At one time it used to run
through Highlands on the eastern Scottish coast. Many times she traveled
to Wick to visit her Auntie Phamie. My mum's not that old.”
follow the tracks for a while. Billy says it goes through a tunnel. That's
where they saw the ghost train.” Harry ran up the rusting tracks, trying
to balance on the metal bars. He jumped into the center. Wooden boards lay
at strange angles.
climbed over the edge of the station house and jumped onto the tracks,
standing next to Chips. “I suppose it won't hurt,” he said.
walked the length of the track for several kilometers. “I'm tired. Enough
is enough. There's no tunnel and no ghost train.” Fish sighed and turned
to head back.
ground beneath their feet shook. “What was that?” Chips gulped.
have earthquakes in Scotland?” Fish stepped off the tracks into a patch of
ghost train,” Harry said. “It's coming.”
of them stood in silence. The ground quivered and the loose railroad ties
rattled. Chips heard it first. “I hear a train chugging.”
impossible,” said Fish.
really? What is that noise then? Is it your stomach?” Harry ran over to
rumbling noise grew louder. An eerie opaque and muted light appeared in
the distance. “What's that light, Harry? Did you get Billy McPhee and his
mates to do this to frighten us?” Chips looked over at the boys.
stood with his mouth agape. His pale face, ashen and cadaverous white
gawked at the oncoming light.
you're not joking. There is a ghost train, isn't there?” Chips legs froze
with fear as the light grew brighter and headed straight for the three of
of the way!” Fish reached to pull Chips from the tracks, but the train
arrived. It roared down the tracks, its auroral spectral light flowed
through her body. The train whistle blew as it rushed down the tracks.
Harry covered their ears from the deafening blast.
stood still until the train passed. Without saying a word she turned to
see the caboose in the distance behind her. “What was that!”
it was the ghost train. I'm not going to sleep well tonight,” Harry
McPhee wasn't lying. We have our very own ghost train,” Fish said.
say we keep this to ourselves. Nobody will believe us. They'll think we're
crackers,” Harry noted.
We won't say a word.” Chips heard the last blast of the train whistle
before it disappeared over the mountain.
there's something you don't see every day,” Fish said.
we go home, or see if we can find that tunnel?” Harry ran down the tracks.
through that, so I doubt if there's much more that would surprise us
tonight,” Chips said. She ran after Harry.
me!” Fish darted away.
tunnel loomed ahead. “Should we go inside?” Harry ran to the entrance.
“It's quite a long tunnel.”
want to. What if another ghost train comes?” Fish stopped behind his
Fish. You're such a baby.” Chips ran into the tunnel.
of them were about half way through when they felt the ground shaking. “Uh
oh.” Fish gulped.
coming back the other way. It'll run us over. We've no way to escape.”
Harry's eyes swung from side to side. “Get off the tracks.”
Chips threw themselves against the tunnel wall just before the train came
from the opposite direction. It roared past them like a herd of wild
elephants. Bits of rock fell from the tunnel roof.
in!” Harry shouted and with back against the wall, moved towards the
whistle blasted, nearly breaking their ear drums. Before they could utter
another word, the train disappeared around the corner.
outta here,” Chips said. She ran to the tunnel entrance and kept on going
until she was home. Fish and Harry kept pace with her.
their breath, the three collapsed on the ground under Chip's bedroom
going to ask my mum about that train. Maybe there's some train engineer's
spirit that can't find peace, or something. That was very, very odd.”
Chips lifted her window.
don't tell your mum. She'll think we're out of our minds.” Harry pushed
Chips into her house.
Chips chuckled and slammed the window shut. She pulled the curtains closed
in their faces.
and Harry walked back to their house, Fish turned to the mountain. “What
was that, Harry? There's no such thing as ghosts, is there?”
think there was, but you saw for yourself. There's a ghost of Inverlarich
Train Station. Hopefully he'll stay in his train and ride back and forth,
up and down the tracks, and leave us alone.”
silhouette of their croft house came into view, both breathed a sigh of
relief, climbed through the window and into their beds.
awake for a long time, swearing he heard a train whistle in the distance.