Monday, April 24, 2017

Night Suntan

There is a place back behind the old Lochiel Hotel where some disused railroad tracks have been rusting away for over a century in an overgrowth of wild trees and scrub.

If you stand there for an hour or so in the middle of the night, even the darkest night, in the morning you will find you have a suntan.

Or rather, you will find in the morning that you have what looks like a suntan. It may be a slight reddishness, but it will be noticeable.

It doesn’t matter what clothes you wear. It doesn’t matter whether or not the moon is shining, whether it is summer or winter.

You just have to stand back there, behind the Lochiel Hotel, in the right place. The place where it happened.

You see, that is where two trains collided in the middle of the night, over a century ago. One train was filled with sleeping passengers. And the other was filled with freight. When they collided, one train poured its steam into the other one, the sleeper train, and roasted alive the people in there. The victims of the train wreck looked like hot dogs which had been boiled.

If you bring an old radio back there and listen through the static on the A.M. side, you can sometimes hear voices from the accident. There is one man’s frantic voice which keeps crying out, “Tell Alice! Tell Alice!”

Five of the victims from the wreck were never identified and are buried in a cemetery nearby. It is believed that the “Alice” voice people hear on A.M. radio is the voice of one of the men buried there, a young man who never made it home, still trying to find a way to explain to his wife or girlfriend what happened to him over a century ago.

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