Journey Through Wonder story

Chapter 41: Slope

Wilfred, Yufantel, and the Fireman were pushing a passenger train up the mountain. They were crossing Devil’s Back in clear weather and were about to reach the station at the summit. There was still a bit of wind, but it wasn’t enough to make anyone worry. Yufantel was a little nervous as they climbed the last remaining near straight-up 600 feet of Devil’s Back. They soon saw the Summit Station ahead. Yufantel then released a breath in relief. “It’s weird,” she muttered.

“What is?” asked the Fireman.

“I commanded a skyship just fine, but I get nervous on mountains unless there’s a clear building in sight.”

“I’m like that with rollercoasters if you can believe it. I prefer to control the speed of the train and going fast on high hills isn’t exactly fun.”

“Yeah, I guess I prefer having closed walls around me as I’m in the air.”

“Er, Yufantel?” asked Wilfred. Yufantel then realized what was going on and screwed on the brakes a little quicker than usual, but still enough to ease into the platform. Patrick and his crew were on the opposite platform, waiting for passengers to climb aboard.

“Head in the clouds?” chuckled Sira.

“Something like that,” replied Yufantel embarrassed.

“Long as it’s not a habit, especially on a mountain,” remarked Irina.

“You’re absolutely right,” agreed Patrick. “It’s a risk no one should take.”

“Says the risk-seeker,” muttered Wilfred.

“FORMER risk-seeker!”

“HEY!” called the Stationmaster as he stormed out of his office. He was looking directly at the points outside the station. “Clear off, you! Patrick has to-!”

“Not again!” gulped Patrick as he guessed who was sitting on the points.

“Stationmaster, what’s the number on the engine?!” called Wilfred’s Fireman. The Stationmaster was confused at the question but walked toward the engine. He didn’t get behind it as he saw the nameplate and screamed in horror as he fled to hide by Wilfred.

“G-G-G-Go-God-d-d-dr-!” He couldn’t get the name out. Irina guessed it quickly.

“Godred,” she said as she stepped out of Patrick’s cab. Sira and Yufantel followed her and faced Godred’s ghost.

“What are you doing here, Godred?” asked Yufantel. “The engines, staff, and visitors all believed you had moved on after your accident.” Godred said nothing. “…Godred, if you want help moving on, I’m a licensed ghost-easer. It’s my job to help ghosts that want to move on but can’t.” Still nothing. “…Can you hear me?”

“He can hear you, all right,” chuckled a woman’s voice in a cold tone. The speaker then came out. She was tall and wore a seafoam green dress. “I just made it so that he won’t speak as long as he’s mine.”

“And you are?” asked Irina.

“Oh, where are my manners? I am Auriella, Queen of Adrexia.”

“Never heard of it.”

“Only because you Vortex Riders never passed by it or asked the Chizarans about their cousins.”

“I see. So, you’re the reason Godred’s haunting this mountain?”

“I prefer the term ‘revisiting’.”

“Souls that moved on and are pulled back tend to cause havoc!” argued Yufantel. “You need to let him go!”

“And a Queen obeys a mere Princess?” scoffed Auriella.

“You’ll obey this one!”

“You’re in no position to give me demands, child!” Auriella turned to Godred. “It’s time, Godred.”

“Time for what?” asked Irina.

“For his last passenger run. Must keep to time, and all that.”

“He can’t even touch anyone!” scoffed Patrick.

“No, my Superheat Design Friend, but he CAN take you.”

“…Possession,” hissed Yufantel.

“P-Possession?!” gulped Patrick. “As in…take over our-?!”

“Wilfred would be a better candidate,” remarked Auriella, “since his construction is similar to Godred’s.”

“Then what?” demanded Sira.

“Then he takes the engine’s train back down the mountain.”

“Godred never kept a good look-out!” protested Wilfred.

“If he’s a repeater as I suspect,” supplied Yufantel, “then the engine he possesses will be doomed to repeat the events leading to his death!”

“Meaning Godred will no longer be alone,” said Auriella.

“Murder is murder, no matter how you slice it, you thug!” Auriella snarled at that insult.

“I never did expect someone like you to understand. Godred, Wilfred’s ready for you. Take him and his passengers.” Auriella then summoned an energy ball in her hand. “As for you lot, onto the coach. Get in quickly please.” Just then, Auriella heard a snap from behind her. She turned around to see Godred rolling backwards. “What?! WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!” she shouted as she turned the energy ball into chains. “COME BACK HERE, YOU-!”

“That’s enough!” shouted Yufantel as she tackled Auriella and pinned her to the ground.


“You’re not in a position to give orders, lady!”

“I SAID GET OFF!” Auriella threw Yufantel off and into Patrick’s coach. She then threw a smoke bomb at the ground and used it to get away. Everyone was confused at why Godred repeated his accident.

“And he just rolled down the mountain?” asked Culdee once the day’s work was done.

“Derailed at Devil’s Back again,” replied Sira.

“But what would make him do that?” asked Alaric.

“I can answer that,” said Yufantel. “At their core, ghosts don’t want to harm anyone. So when he was ordered to possess an engine with a coach full of passengers, then he felt like he had no choice but to repeat the actions that led to his death so others could still live.”

“…Still, I wish we could help him move on,” sighed Irina.

“That will take less effort than you think,” chuckled a new voice. Everyone gasped as Godred stood in front of the shed. This time, he was smiling. “I see the railway’s still in good hands after my tumble,” chuckled Godred.

“Godred, it really IS you!” gasped Culdee.

“Hello, Culdee,” replied Godred. “How are things?”

“Just…just fine, but…” Culdee was lost for words.

“Ah, my sudden appearance. That’s Auriella’s doing. I WAS resting peacefully after my accident. Then she ripped me from the afterlife. I see that my accident is used as a cautionary tale.”

“Y-Yes,” stammered Wilfred.

“Well, it’s kept Patrick and his fellows on their axles. I just came to finally say goodbye.”

“That’s it?” asked Irina.

“That’s it. If it were possible to tell you what the afterlife was like, I’d tell you. As it is now, I must stay mum. Stay safe up there.”

“We will,” promised the engines and their crews. Godred then faded away. Once he did, the Manager strode up to his engines.

“I saw the whole thing,” he said. “I didn’t think it would be right for me to interrupt.”

“Well, thank you, Sir,” said Alaric.

“Now, I DO have some bad news,” continued the Manager. “While we had a slight decrease in passengers during this incident, the fact remains that the summer rush is approaching and we’re likely to our busiest season yet. So, to that end, I have acquired four new engines. They’ll be coming in the morning.”

“How hard-working are they?” asked Patrick.

“Well, they’ve been shut up in their sheds since their construction in the 80’s. Their sisters have had better luck on the Snowdon Railway. When I approached them for a chance to work on a mountain railway, they were thrilled. I need our new drivers to help them along the line while your normal crews return to work.”

“The 80’s?” asked Culdee. “That’s when they were built?”

“But steam traction stopped being the norm around the 60’s,” recalled Wilfred.

“Exactly,” confirmed the Manager. “These four engines are mountain diesels.”

“We’ll make sure they know how this railway works,” promised Endram.

“I knew I could count on you! Well, that’s all the news for tonight. I’ll see you in the morning. Good night!” The Manager then walked off to his car and drove home.

“Well, I, for one,” said Culdee, “am eager to see how these diesels handle themselves.”

“As am I,” agreed Eric.

“Well, we can’t exactly do that,” remarked Patrick, “without some sleep.”

“He’s right,” affirmed Wilfred. “So, good night.”

“Good night!” everyone bid. The crews headed off as the engines went to sleep.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *