A Railroad Tale

Avatar Author: Bob Liddil I am an author of science fiction, general fiction short stories, poetry, and non-fiction. I have been published in several genres, including fantasy and poetry, as well as non fiction. At one time I published my own c... Read Bio

Mine was a tough job, but I took pride in doing it well for more than twenty years. It required me to be patient, alert, and extremely durable. I was all those things and more.

Mine was a dirty job as well. From the highway, on rainy or snowy days, grime and water would splash off the street and turn my white base color a mucky gray. From the railroad, came dusty or sometimes wet high pressure wind bearing grains of sandy grit that pitted me and chipped me, even occasionally disabling some critical part of me temporarily as massive trains roared past on schedule to elsewhere.

My big red eyes flashed often, warning the highway world that a train was coming. My great long arm swung down to inhibit the bold from bypassing me. I kept everyone safe until one fateful day when Mrs. Tanner drove around my barrier onto the tracks in the path of the southbound 5:40 Amtrak.

She stalled, then panicked and froze.

The impact broke my heart.

They blamed me and replaced me. Now I live in storage, waiting for the call.

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Comments (5 so far!)

Average Reader Rating

  1. Avatar iamthemoon

    Great job. I maybe would have liked more of the story to reign the space given, but awesome general idea.

  2. Avatar Jim Stitzel

    Moon, I have no idea what you’re on about. :)

    I enjoyed this, especially those last few lines.

  3. Avatar Bob Liddil

    Moon, I kinda get what you are saying, but in 1024 characters I must:

    (1) Identify “what/who” I am
    (2) Give details about what I do
    (3) Show why you, the reader should care about me
    (4) Craft a human angle to the story
    (5) Wrap the story in a logical flow.
    (6) End the story leaving you satisfied.

    Sometimes I don’t balance these factors well for every reader. It’s a weakness I am working on by writing here.

    Thanks for your honesty :)

  4. Avatar Elizabeth Gallenberg

    I agree with moon that the balance could be altered to make the story stronger, but I wouldn’t want the incident at the end any longer — its chill briefness is just perfect. I would rather have less description of what a railroad signal does (as we all in the developed world are familiar with that) and more about the signal’s “personality.” How did it feel about its work? Did it have hopes and dreams? What were they?

    Overall, a very original idea and a well-told piece.

  5. Avatar Tina Murphy

    Nice! I liked the stalwart additude of the train and especially the line:
    The impact broke my heart.

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