She felt the rumble of the train before she heard it, a crescendo of approaching power that penetrated her dreams. As the beast neared, the rhythmic beat of wheel pounding rail became audible. She was fully awake now, her every sense alert and filled with dread.
Although on the previous night, the iron monster had thundered through the town without pause, Azur Moonstorey steeled herself for the inevitable signal that it would stop tonight. After all, it was midnight marking the bridge between the twenty-second and twenty-third days in October, twenty-four hours before the train would take on passengers, twenty-four hours until she would board it and be carried off to an alien place to face the enemy.
And then it came, a long haunting whistle followed by two shorter ones. Azur listened as the train approached Prosper Station, bells clanging as it coasted to a brief taunting halt before heading off again into the darkness.
Shivering, she pulled the covers closer, searching vainly for warmth and sleep against the chill settling into her soul. I’ll be ready, damn you, she whispered. I will be ready.
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