Sunday, December 31, 2017

Year in Short Fiction - Cont.

My fourth story of the year was "The Last Run of the Piney Woods Express", published the "Bewitched, Betwixt and Between" anthology by Crosstime Publishing.

It is a ghost story, a rare foray for me. The idea grew from an actual incident I covered as a journalist where a railroad basically did a sneaky and unannounced demolition of an old and historic railroad depot, to avoid any attempt to stop it with an injunction.

This was a good example, by the way, of government meddling having unintended consequences. The feds promulgated a regulation that said that even if an entity like the railroad donates a structure for a public use, any asbestos has to be mitigated FIRST.

The railroad had indicated it was willing to donate the depot to the local historic society, but when the regulation was passed, putting the burden of cleaning out the asbestos on the railroad, it decided it didn't need to spend thousands of dollars on a building that had been derelict for years, and wanted to give away anyway.

They filed the demolition permit in Austin so no one locally knew of it, and then bulldozed the building in one day before anyone had a chance to stop it.

If you know anything about the Burlington Northern Railroad, in many ways they are legislatively above most of the laws the rest of us has to follow, as a result of concessions granted in the Robber Baron Era when railroad development was needed for the Westward expansion. They even have their own police, who have been known to confront local police.

Well, in my story, the sudden demolition of a depot has unintended consequences for the head of the demolition crew, who is confronted by some ghosts very irate at being evicted so suddenly.

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