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The Lady Emily

Chapter 1: The Lady Emily

“Are you sure you didn’t know about this place when you bought the land?”

“No, I didn’t,” replied Alan, emphatically.

“Well you sure lucked out on this one! She’s a beauty, looks almost new.” Gerry climbed up into the cab of the ancient steam engine and began examining her.

Alan walked around her, grinning, stopping to rub her name plate, “She’s called, The Lady Emily.”

It seemed that the body of the engine had been abandoned several metres into the mountain, her face gazing deep into the darkness of the mine’s maw.

“Her boiler looks like she’d fire up tomorrow,” Gerry’s voice echoed around the cab.

“Well, regardless, we’re going to need to find some rails to move this engine out of here,” commented Alan. “And there’s feck all, out here,” he added, looking at the brown stain which was all that remained of the original track bed leading out from the mine. He turned back around and peered into the darkness in front of them. The beam of his torch hardly made any impression, swallowed swiftly by the blackness. “Well, if there are any spare rails to be had, I’d say that they were down there in the shadows, but for some reason, I have no inclination to go and find out.” There was something chillingly ominous about this dip into the bowels of the Earth that made Alan reluctant to pursue it.

“Yes, I concur,” Gerry replied, quietly.

“I think a little more research and a lot more light is required before we venture down there,” he pointed away into the blackness. “I mean, who knows what we might meet within those bleak shadows,” Alan added and fell silent.

“Whoa, heavy Man,” Gerry exclaimed, “Heavee.” He held two fingers up, crossed in mock symbology.

Alan didn’t laugh, his eyes remained fixed on the darkness. “Ok Man, you may scoff but just ask yourself this, why is there so little mention of this mine anywhere, why are there no trackways here, why is this ‘as-new’ engine abandoned. Somebody meant for this place to disappear for good.”

“Well, it’s found now,” replied Gerald, jumping down from the cab, his boots crunching into the gravel bed. “Hey, look at the time, don’t you have guests?”

“You’re right, time we moved,” agreed Alan, as he followed Gerry out of the mine.

“There must be loads of abandoned entrances spread out all across this area…., we seem to have found a belter,” he said with a smile in his voice. “Do you realise how much that little engine is worth?” An awkward silence fell between them, interrupted by a more pressing thought. “Goddamn it!” exclaimed Gerry and stopped. “I’ve left my Nikon in Emily’s cab,” he said and turned to look how far he’d have to return. “I’ll have to go back for it,” he muttered, inwardly cursing the fading autumn light and stepping forward. “You go, you’ve got friends coming, I will take some photos of Emily before going home.”

“Oh, okay but hold on, you’ll need this,” Alan held out the key. “Pop it under that stone,” he indicated a lone chunk by the entrance. “I may bring my guests up to see her tomorrow.”

“Got it!”


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