Winter months saw the train pass through town in a bedlam of whistles and spilled inkwells of smoke. Children, starved not least for entertainment, took to standing parallel to the station tracks, their game over whenever the weakest lunged among them coughed through the locomotive’s asphyxiating soot. “Over here!” shouted the lad who found them first: boot tracks zigzagging away from the depot, alone, preserved in the train’s dim snow, not a stride indented through the powder. That long season, that juggernaut train, continued, its every flight beside the shanties claiming yet another boy.



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