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Rated: E · Short Story · Action/Adventure · #2318585
His Steam Engine was a success
“What’s that ya say?”

I shook my head. I knew it was loud, but it did not help that the poor bloke was hard of hearing. “I said, the coals in this fire basket get hot. That heat from these here coals produces steam, and the hot steam moves up this boiler here.”

Samuel rubbed the back of his neck with a dirty handkerchief. “What is my job again?” he shouted over the whistle.

“Your job is to encourage the men to keep the firebox hot until the King spares us with a visit. He did not believe we could complete the task.”

“I can do that,” Samuel declared with a firmness in his voice that echoed his determination.

I watched Samuel climb to the coal car, doing as he was told.

All I had to do now, was shed my soot-stained attire and present myself, with utmost respect, to the King and Queen upon their arrival at the staging area.

Once dressed, I left the workmen and headed down the newly laid tracks, excitement running its way down my spine. It would be a short journey. Today was about showing off the beauty of the Steam Engine, nothing more, nothing less. They would be pleased. I was sure of it. They held the key to making this juncture a connecting point between Stockton and Darlington and adding more purpose tracks to extend travel.

From his vantage point, he saw Lords and Ladies, dressed in their finest as if they were attending one of the King’s Polo match tournaments. Word had spread, and even average folks had turned out for this big event. He didn’t know if he should be content about this just yet.

I moved into the crowd, hoping to gain insights into their perspective.

“Mother says that no one in their right mind would get on something like that. A box car?” the young woman scoffed.

“Do you intend to drive that horse and buggy forever? Just think, Jessa, one day we will be sitting on one of those things, in a fancy car, off to places Father would never allow it if he were here.” The younger girl squealed with delight.

Horns trumped announcing the arrival of the guest of honor, the King himself, a man of very few words. It was common knowledge that the Queen had his ear and the poise and grace to extend the King’s wishes.

I turned to watch with the other bystanders. The Queen stepped out and waved to the crowd, a thin smile on her full mouth. The King stayed out of sight.

The whistle from the Steam Engine blared and the crowd turned to watch it approach in all its glory. This had to be enough to garner the attention it deserved. I could move this years-long task forward if I received one nod from the King.

Smoke filled the air, and the tracks shook from the force and speed of the black beauty heading down the tracks. Some folks in the crowd cheered, others gasped in awe, their slacking jaws agape.

It became increasingly difficult for me to suppress a smile of pride, though I needed to keep my emotions buried. My livelihood was on the line with this venture. A venture the King himself proclaimed would be a disaster and a waste of resources, not that he was good with finances.

The steam engine passed, and men from the coal car remained steadfast with their work. Samuel waved to the onlookers, looking like a conquering hero.

Some of the onlookers clapped and cheered, too soon the event was over. I turned to see the King standing beside his carriage. We made eye contact. One sharp nod and he disappeared into the carriage, the Queen following closely behind.

Jubilation rushed through me. I had done it! My future was sealed.

WC: 643

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