and Stories from Laura Wright Rail of
Frederick seated himself at the small booth
in the dining car of the train. He was on an overnight journey,
traveling London to shortly beyond Edinburgh. He had ordered a bottle of
red wine to relax him, sleeping on trains had always made him nervous.
The concept of your body traveling at a completely different speed than
your mind gave him a strong sense of motion sickness.
He drank slowly and read the Herald. One
column was speaking out against another act of Parliament while the
opposite page praised their dedication to the betterment of London.
Frederick was usually empathetic to politics, he had his own opinions
which usually crossed individuals from all political parties at one time
He wasnt paying attention to the dark
stranger until the man lightly tapped his shoulder. "Is thaur
aabodie seeted wit ye?"
"Nae," Frederick began. "Nae,
thaur isna. Please, sit doun."
"Thenk ye, lad."
He wasnt an old man, Frederick felt it
odd that he would still be a, "lad," after thirty-five. But,
he didnt object if it was sincere. The stranger appeared to be in his
fifties, and had the oddest glint in his eyes. A mixture of laughing and
wisdom, Frederick had never before witnessed such a look on anyone.
"Am traivleing awa, effter
Edinburgh. A disna traivle in the day, am not carein fur the
clanjamfrie. Houre ye lestin?"
"A canna compleen," Frederick
folded his paper. "A didna think onieone wis awake tae
"Am Frederick," he reached
out his hand. "Nice tae make yer innin."
"Thenk ye," the stranger
grinned. "Am Roy."
Just as they were beginning to talk, the
captain announced loudly, "Could the passenger whose luggage is
marked A1523 please come to the front. There is an unexpected problem
with one large trunk and we need to speak with you."
Frederick didnt have time to say
anything, for as soon as the captain clicked the speaker system off, Roy
jumped up and bolted through the door towards the rear the train.
Frederick simply sat there, his head spinning from such the sudden
evacuation of Roy. He was getting his belongings together when a rush of
footsteps brought a group of several Scotland Yard officials in.
"Have ye seen a man, a dark man with a beard come this way?"
The elder of the crowd demanded. Frederick was anxious over what had
happened. What was his in the middle of? He looked at them and pointed
towards the end of the train, still unable to grasp the correct words.
The Inspector continued, "He is about your size, around fifty, and
has a heavy Italian accent."
The mass moved quickly and finally,
Frederick was able to get the attention of the youngest. "Please,
sir," the young officer halted and looked at him. Frederick seized
the opportunity, "Tell me what is on gaun? Whit ye leukin
The other man considered his words for a
moment. "Well, we have found a person dead on the train, were
looking for the individual in order to ask him about it."
"Possibly," the young man
answered. "Please, excuse me."
The man was gone as quickly as he had
entered the room. Frederick thocht it was due to his newness in the
field. Every move would seem like an exciting adventure to someone new
to police work.
He wondered what Roy had done for the
authorities to be after him so. What could he have had to do with a
death? Was that orra glint in his eye really that of a murderer? He
considered all which had taken place and decided it was safer in the
dining car, away from any possibly firing line which may occur out in
the other sections of the rail.
It occurred to him fremmit that an
Italian individual, with a prior heavy accent, could imitate a Scottish
accent so fluidly and without mispronunciation. He marveled at the
ability someone had of acting so convincingly. It was amazing.
Frederick huddled up to his dram of wine.
He wondered what a killer would be doing running from one side of the
country to the other, instead of leaving for Europe or the states. It
made him wonder what went on in the mind of a desperate man.
The car was silent and he was glad. He
had much to absorb within the confines of the traveling car. He had been
pulled in to a mystery, although he did not know what the details were.
He stood up, his curiosity getting the better of him. He stepped
gingerly though the car and slipped out towards the baggage car, unable
to control his overwhelming desire to learn more.
The other passengers seemed asleep and he
lightly walked past their quarters. He noticed no sign of the crowd of
inspectors which had flooded the car, nor the mysterious stranger who
charaded around as a Scots man named Roy.
The baggage car was guarded by a sleeping
man in a police uniform. Frederick was cautious as he opened the door.
The room was dimly lit by a single, suspended light bulb. The suitcase
was opened and Frederick walked closer, unaware of how he would react o
an actual body. He had never been near one outside of a coffin.
He walked slowly, aware that the
authorities could burst in to the room at any moment and give him the
devil for tampering with the scene of a crime. His curiosity was getting
the better of him. He moved to the other end of the car, swaying back
and forth with the swaying car. He neared the trunk and stopped. He
didnt need to go any closer, he could smell the metallic scent of
blood. He didnt need to see it in gruesome detail. He could see a
feminine hand stretched out and open over the lid, motionless and chalky
He backed out of the room and passed the
sleeping guard. He bolted as quietly as he possibly could, back to the
dining cart. It was too much, the light-headed feeling brought on by the
wine had disappeared. He no longer felt sleepy and relaxed. He was
charged and worried. A murderer was on board, and had sat across the
table from him.
Frederick sat back down at the booth,
patiently waiting for any sign or word from the crowd which had came
through previously. He poured himself another dram of wine and sat back.
The door opened carefully, someone backed
in to the room. It was Roy, and he looked terrified. "Roy,"
Frederick began. The man looked exactly like Roy, however he acted
completely different. He thought for a moment and said, "Si,"
He didnt really pay any attention to Frederick until he reached the
door on the other side of the car. Finally, he broke the silence and
said, "Mi dispiace, per favore, mi scusi."
Although far from being an expert,
Frederick could associate the few fragmented sentences he knew in
Italian. The man was posing as Roy and had simply left saying,
"Im sorry, please excuse me." He was gone, as though he had
never entered in to the room.
His eyes and his mind were telling him
this was exactly the same man, but he sensed it was not. Although
they appeared the same, there was a certain air the Italian-speaking Roy
carried which made you wince and think of death.
Frederick sat down in his seat and a
million questions hammered at his brain. Who, being the most
prominent. Who could the stranger have been, if not Roy? Had he gone
mad? Was he seeing some sort of twin for everyone. He looked back down
at his drink and wondered if the double-vision so often associated with
alcohol could come with only certain individuals. He pushed the glass
away and sat back again.
A roar of screams and voices erupted from
the car the Italian stranger had just went in to. A shot from a gun and
again, silence. Frederick went against his better judgment and went in
The same crowd of authorities stood in a
circle around the man. In the middle of them all stood Roy. Frederick
took a deep breath and His eyes went directly from the stranger to the
man he had just talked to. What was happening to him? He was seeing two
of the fremmit man.
He placed one hand on his head and leaned
back against the door frame, he backed in to the room and had to go back
to his seat. He felt faint and flushed, he was ready for the room to
spin when the door opened, yet again.
It was Roy, "Ay, man. Didna ye see
whit wis on guan?"
"Ay, a seen aw a need tae."
"Nae, ya didna." Roy laughed.
"Ave ben efter him fur a auld time. Hes a killer, a murderer.
A leuk like this to git him trapped."
Frederick was relieved that he wasnt
crazy, after all. "Nou, shall we go tae sleep?"
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