The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Family Legacy
by Terrie Leigh Relf
When I was a boy, I discovered an old, red train engine in the woods behind our house. As the story went, Great-Great-Grandpa was a railroad engineer who died in a freak train accident. For some strange reason, Great-Great-Grandma had the engine moved to the property. Apparently, Great-Great-Grandma would visit the train every day until she died. My great-grandparents and grandparents, too.
My mother believed it was morbid and forbade me to hang out there. If she had her druthers, the train engine would be hauled off, but dad wouldn’t let her. “It’s part of my legacy,” dad would say, and mom would just stare at him with an odd expression.
I still hung out there. It was my place, somewhere I could go to just be alone. Sometimes, my head would fill with an odd clanging before I sensed a presence at the engine controls. I could almost see Great-Great-Grandpa, almost smell the smoke emerging from the boiler, almost feel the rumble and sway of the train as it moved along the tracks.
After I returned home, my dad would say, “Best take a shower before your mother gets home.” He could always tell I’d been out at the train, as flakes of rusty red paint would cling to my jacket and jeans along with the acrid scent of smoke. It was our secret.
Years later when I came home from college, I headed into the woods. I was surprised to see my dad sitting on the train engine’s step. “Let’s take a walk. There’s something we need to talk about.”
He was silent as we took the well-worn path encircling the train. “You see, Sean, that train’s special. The property is yours now, so promise you won’t have the train hauled off.”
“That’s what mom always wanted . . .”
“If you spend enough time here, you’ll meet more than just your Great-Great-Grandpa,“ he continued. “Since he passed, almost everyone in our family ends up here in spirit.”
“You mean it’s haunted?”
“It’s more like the family graveyard.”
We stopped walking, and I turned to him. “That’s why I can see you too now, right dad?”
Fiction © Copyright Terrie Leigh Relf
Image courtesy of Rie Sheridan Rose.
More from author Terrie Leigh Relf:
For thousands of Earth years, the Transgalactic Consortium has had a quiet interest in this planet and its inhabitants, the Haurans. While the Sisterhood of the Blood Moon works together with the Consortium and Haurans to maintain balance in the universe, the Blood Moon is fast approaching. The power of this moon reveals untold secrets . . . including a sacred covenant with the Mora Spiders. There is an ancient pact that needs to be honored—but at what cost and for whose purpose? The world may come to an end. But will there be a chance for a new beginning?