His battles are long over but still Robert Fairweather feels like a relic and out of step with this new world. One chance encounter and Robert ends up on a train in trouble. In this world of steam, Mark Rookyard conjured up some empathetic characters and a dilemma the judges’ could empathise with to take home third place in this year’s Story Quest Competition. SY
The train whistled and steam billowed, great puffing clouds of it spewing all around Robert and the hundreds of others waiting on the platform. A hiss, more steam gasping out, and the steps wound back inside the doors.
Windows glowed golden through the steam, three stories high, and people waved excitedly from the giant brass contraption, looking out for loved ones on the platform.
Friends and family called out, their voices drowned by the hissing and steaming, and then the train was on its way, its brass length sleek and shining in all its glory.
Testament to the glory of man, testament to the glory of one man. A dead man. A beaten man.
The steam and smoke drifted all around Robert now, as idle and lost as those who had been waving farewell to their loved ones. They too drifted about the platform before slipping away into the crowds.