“Where is Maggie?” Thomas said as the Iron Grunt pulled into its home shed. “She usually meets the train with refreshments.”
Ben shrugged. “Late?”
“Go get Fair.” Thomas started down the steps out of the engine. “I will check on Maggie.”
Thomas stepped into the office and found everything quiet. There should have been a couple of workers at least. He stepped back out and made his way to the tool crib.
“Marco!” He called out to his private station foreman.
No one answered.
Thomas looked into the secured tool storage and did not see anyone moving inside.
He exited back to the train area just in time to see his granddaughter helped down out of the carriage. She wore a fierce frown and attempted to cross her arms but the cast interfered too much.
“The office is empty.” Thomas informed Ben. “I don’t like it. Keep a watch on Fair.”
“WeFair!” She growled at him through clenched teeth.
He waved her off and turned away. He pulled his ballpeen hammer out of the coveralls from one pocket and then drew an over-sized wrench from another pocket.
Stepping out of the station everything looked quiet outside. He could not see the house from the station due to the stand of trees between. He walked cautiously down the trail: knees bent, eyes narrowed and weapons at ready.
He stopped short of the trees and listened. He heard nothing, not even birds.
Something moved towards the right in the trees. He turned and then felt a blow hit him in the shoulder. Pain lanced across his chest. The wrench clanged as it fell to the path.
Thomas looked down and saw a crossbow bolt sticking out of his left shoulder. He dropped the hammer and reached up with his right hand and grasped the bolt. Pain shot through his right arm and chest as another bolt appeared in his right forearm. Nausea built in his throat. He tottered.
When he attempted to move his right arm he found it pinned to his chest.
His stomach convulsed. He stumbled forward a couple of steps bent over. He vomited into the grass and then took a step backwards. His foot caught on something and he went over backwards. Pain flashed across the back of his head when he hit the ground. Blackness encompassed everything.