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In a growing collection of whimsically unpredictable short stories, a train leaves the station and is never seen again, a boy falls in love with a face from 60 years before, an old woman trudges into her past, a child crawls into a place that is not suspected to exist and the entrance has disappeared behind him, and more.

To read an individual story from this collection, follow this link.

Available editions: PDF (suitable for iPad and other ebook readers) at this direct order page. Kindle edition only at this Amazon.com page.

excerpt from The Resting Place


   Will and Shane discovered the locomotive one day the previous fall, a year after their families had moved into the development. The first time they came to it they climbed all over it and pretended all the things they could think to pretend. Shane, with a voice shrill and urgent, kept making the whistle wail while Will called instructions to the train crew and made as if to turn valves and push the throttle stick, although he only guessed what the stick was for. The hulk was filthy with rust and with bat dung and with the refuse of picnics and drinking parties.
    The next time they came to play on it they were driven away by maybe six or seven older boys, (probably even teenagers), who lived back in town and who had claimed it for their own hangout. Evidently, on their first encounter with the locomotive, the younger two had been lucky to hit it just right so that they simply weren’t caught, but they had disturbed just enough of the litter to leave evidence of their visit, later infuriating the older boys. After that, Will and Shane would creep, time and again, through the leafy undergrowth, on their own secret path to the train, and would crouch among some rocks to watch and listen to the Doots, as they called the older boys. Shane asked Will: If they’re the Doots, who are we? and Will answered: The Hoots! And right there in the rocks they hooted quietly and snickered.
    They never saw the Doots do much that was interesting. As they expected, the Doots would drink beer and smash bottles. Not as expected, one would climb from time to time onto the top of the cab or alongside the smokestack and would pee downwind. That was in the fall. The last time they went to the locomotive that fall - and this was the reason they stopped going - one of the Doots climbed onto the side of engine and loudly told an elaborate story about a boy who had disappeared one night when he said he was going to hide inside the engine. He never came home, and it was told that he had climbed inside the cold fire box, (through the iron doors in the front side of the cab), and if he ever came out again nobody knew because the doors were rusted shut ever since. Will and Shane had tried the doors the day they played in the locomotive’s cab, and they were truly stuck closed. The story went on: The boy who became trapped inside the engine’s belly could be heard moaning at night, and that’s why nobody ever came near the thing after dark, because maybe his ghost was wandering through the trees looking for someone to come open the doors and let him - or his body or his bones or his dust - out.
    But as the storyteller was spinning this yarn, one of the other boys, who had been leaning out the cab window, ducked back inside and fitted a steel bar behind the seam where the fire box doors met. He pried them open just a little with a terrible metallic creaking. The other boys, scattered as they were about the wheels and on top of the boiler, listened and peered toward the cab. Two or three started to move in that direction. But in seconds the one who had pried the doors stuck his head back out the cab window and raised a long white bone into the air, his mouth moving as if to shout something but no sound coming out. Doots dropped to the ground, those who were above it, and scrambled to their feet and fled, and the one with the bone chased the rest into the forest with it, stopping eventually to laugh maniacally somewhere off in the trees. Will and Shane discovered themselves hugging one another and then charged back toward the surety of their wooden-walled adult-infested homes.
    It was springtime before the Hoots dared to go back. Will and Shane had both turned eight in the winter. They were older now, and braver and wiser, and funnier and bossier. They set out farther and farther into the woods every day after school - as far as the wetness and their mothers’ complaints of stuff tracked in would allow. They re-discovered their secret path to the train, and the first time they could sneak to the end of it among the rocks they watched the Doots gathering to hang out. But these weren’t the Doots. They were all different boys. They were exploring it for perhaps the first time, and they liked what they saw. One said he used to come here when he was “a kid”. Another said his dad used to run this locomotive. Will and Shane both snickered at this one. They both knew the thing must have sat here at least a hundred years or maybe two hundred, but the other non-Doots took that one seriously.
    These new Doots, or as Will decided to call them, the Toots, discussed how they could take over this “property” from the official Doots. (They used a swear word in place of the “Doots”, but Will and Shane knew whom they meant.) Then one of them said, Hey let’s tip it over! I bet we can, with lots of long poles! The others howled and swore and laughed at him, and then one said, Hey, let’s start it up! They all considered this one for at least a minute - We’d need wood, someone said, and lots of water because you have to fill up the boiler with water and then start a fire under it. The tracks were blocked heading toward the state road, but there was nothing blocking them going back toward the quarries except a bunch of forty-foot, straight-up trees. The Toots howled over this idea, and then kicked and swore and broke little pieces of glass into littler pieces. Then they all left.

Available editions: PDF (suitable for iPad and other ebook readers) at this direct order page. Kindle edition only at this Amazon.com page.