The last glimmers of light danced across the rails even as their source slowly sank below the horizon. A solitary figure crunched her way alongside one of the lines, her feet causing small displacements in the cinder ballast. Glancing over one shoulder, she moved a cautious ten paces away from the rails as a trio of engines rumbled down on her. A slight wave from the engineer was returned, and they cleared. Glancing both ways, the woman crossed over the tracks, leather heeled boots ringing out on the weathered wooden sleepers that held the rails in place. Stifling a yawn, she crossed through the parking lot towards her vehicle, a battered truck she jokingly called Trudi. Unlocking it, she tossed her gear bag in the back, and climbed in. Cranking the ignition, she put the truck in gear and pulled out of her assigned space. One of the first things she'd learned when she was taught how to drive is that one always backs a truck into a parking space, so as to avoid needing to back out into traffic.
Accelerating down the long access road that connected the Rosefield Yard to the main highway, she suppressed another yawn. Long days were nothing new for her, but she'd ended up having to double on when one of the other yard engineers had called out. As a result, she'd been kept two and a half hours over when she should have gotten off. But, that was how life went when one worked as an engineer for the Wheeling & Southern Railway.
It wasn't long before she hit the turnoff for the driveway to her house, and she took it smoothly, dropping down into second gear. The road itself was a typical country back road, little more than a trail through the woods. It wound its way up a hill to the summit, where an old Victorian-style house sat overlooking a valley on the back side. The house itself had been in her family for generations, and was kept in good repair, thanks in no small part to her younger brother and his family, who occupied the guest house just up the road. Aside from him, she had no living relatives, and so she rented out rooms to help cover the bills. Usually, they were rented to college students or to new folks in town who were looking to get established. Fortunately for her, her sister-in-law happened to work for the local sheriffs department, and so she always got full background checks on anyone looking to rent a room. Take the kid that was supposed to be coming tonight. James O'Mally; twenty-five years old, fresh out of Mountain State University with a liberal arts degree. No run-ins with the law, and by all accounts, a nice quiet kid from a good family. His reason for coming out this way was that he was in between jobs and looking to find himself. Who knows, she might put in a word with corporate if he turned out alright.
As she puled up to the summit of the hill, her headlights swept across the side of the house and the garage, and she noted that there was a figure waiting with a pile of luggage at the front door, and that her brothers station wagon was gone. He must have taken his family out to dinner that night. She knew that the cook had the week off as well, since her sister was in the hospital expecting child number five. She snorted at that thought. She couldn't even imagine herself with one brat, let alone five. She pulled her truck into its usual spot in the garage and shut it off. Hoisting herself out of the seat, she locked the vehicle up and walked over to the house and waiting figure.
“Sorry to keep you waiting.” She said with a pleasant smile as she came even with him. “You must be James. I'm Roxy.” she introduced herself, extending a hand.