Haunted Engines III Written by Kyle Nicholas Edits by Fox Illustrations by James Drury (steamer58)
Not too long ago the Island of Sodor was been thrown into chaos following the arrival of a Black Shuck. Although it seemed to disappear after several disturbing supernatural occurrences, the engines reported that it has recently returned.
And although this time it seemed to bring more danger along with it, things weren’t all as they seemed…
Story Stops: 1. Yet To Be Seen 2. Waste Not... 3. Hitching A Ride 4. Called Into Question 5. On the Brink
Warrior was enjoying his new home at the Vicarstown Railway Museum. Although it was a lot quieter than his work on Main Line, or even on the branch lines, he found it was a place that he fit in perfectly. However, there were times when he found the roundhouse slightly unnerving. “I’m not sure what it is,” he said to the other engines one night, “but sometimes I just feel a little bit uncomfortable being in here - there’s an aura that the other sheds just don’t have.” “I do understand what you mean, s’ah,” Parker replied sagely, “I feel that sensation at times m’self – almost as if you find yourself being watched.” Fern looked at the two engines with interest. “I’ve felt it too,” she added, “but I always thought it was just Zelda…” The other engines looked over to the old diesel, to make sure she hadn’t heard. After a few seconds Zelda gave a snore, and the steam engines let go of their collective breaths. “I felt it before she arrived,” Warrior continued, relaxing visibly, “But it seems to be a feeling that comes and goes; there’s no consistency to how…” “Will you three be quiet?” Sharpe snapped, interrupting the conversation, “Can’t an engine get some well-deserved rest around here?” Parker went to reply, but was drowned out by a loud thunderclap. In seconds the sound of raindrops began to patter on the roof of the roundhouse. “And now the rain has set in,” Sharpe grumbled, “At this rate I’ll never get any sleep!” “At least you’re no longer left out there every night, though,” Fern said sweetly. Sharpe only grunted in reply, and the engines all settled down to sleep.
The next morning Fern woke up early. She opened up her eyes groggily, trying to figure out what had roused her. “It’s not even light outside,” she muttered to herself, “what could possibly…” But she cut herself off when she looked through the window. There, staring back at her was a pair of gleaming red eyes. “P… Parker…” she stammered, her eyes locked with those outside the window, “Parker, wake up…” But Parker continued sleeping, his moustache gently swaying as he snored. Suddenly a loud shriek echoed throughout the shed, and the other engines woke with a start. “What… what’s happened?” Sharpe muttered sleepily. “The window…” Fern began. But she didn’t finish… “YOUNGSTARRRRRRRRRR!” Zelda thundered, her voice overpowering Fern’s, “away, you foolish kitten!” The other engines looked over to the site the old diesel was watching, and instantly noticed her cause for concern. There, in the middle of the floor was Youngster, his hackles raised as he hissed and spat at an empty space of air. “There’s nothing there, you foolish cat!” Sharpe snarled, earning himself a deathly glare from Zelda.” “That’s strange,” Warrior said slowly, “He’s acting as if…” But he fell silent mid-sentence. “What’s wrong, s’ah?” Parker asked, seeing Warrior’s shocked expression. “Some… someone,” Warrior gulped, “just climbed into my cab…” The shed fell silent, and for several minutes no-one spoke a word. Suddenly a second shriek erupted beside Warrior, and Sister began to spit and hiss at the engine’s cab steps. “What’s happening?” Fern whispered, a series of invisible footsteps began to cross the floor, “There’s nothing there to make the sound!” No-one replied, and the engines watched in shocked silence as the footsteps continued to move around the shed.
It was several hours later before Mr Leigh arrived. “Good morning,” he said cheerfully, “I trust everyone is well?” Then he noticed the expressions on the engines’ faces. “My word!” he exclaimed, “What’s got into you lot?” The engines all looked around uncomfortably, before finally Parker spoke up. “S’ah, this morning something strange has been occurring,” he said simply, “Something we cannot h’explain.” “What kind of ‘something’?” Mr Leigh asked curiously. But before the engines could answer a strange series of sounds erupted around the shed, and in seconds the sounds of workplace activity were echoing throughout the roundhouse. “What in the world…?” Mr Leigh cried in alarm, looking around the shed, trying to locate the source of the activity. “It sounds like the morning preparations from the early days!” Parker replied, “Around the time of the Grouping…” “How is that possible?!” Fern exclaimed, her eyes darting around the room. The noises began to grow louder, before a familiar voice cut through the rabble. “Be silent, you wretches!” Zelda roared, “You're upsetting my children!" Instantly the sounds disappeared, leaving only an eerie silence lingering in the shed…
It was some time before Mr Leigh managed to calm the engines down, and by the time he had sat down in this office his was exhausted. “What a strange morning,” he said to himself, “What could possibly have been causing those sounds?” He leaned his chair back and breathed a deep sigh. Just then there was a knock on the door. “Excuse me Sir,” said the museum’s night watchman, “there’s something on the cameras that I think you should see.” Mr Leigh sighed again, and followed the watchman to the security room. “I heard some strange sounds in the roundhouse early this morning,” he explained to Mr Leigh, “but by the time I arrived they had stopped. So I decided to check out the CCTV footage. And, well…” He gestured to the screen, his face grim. The footage rolled, and for several minutes only images of the engines were visible on screen. Suddenly Mr Leigh cried out in alarm. There, in the grainy black and white footage, a man appeared on Warrior’s footplate. He was dressed in old-fashioned overalls, and appeared to be preparing Warrior’s fire for a day’s work. “And that’s not all…” the watchman said, watching Mr Leigh’s expression of shock. He fast-forwarded the footage for some time until a familiar figure came into frame. “That’s when I arrived this morning,” Mr Leigh explained. “Keep watching…” The two men watched the screen as Mr Leigh addressed the engines. Then, without warning, a group of men in overalls began to enter the shed, talking between themselves and moving off to different lines before seemingly preparing a set of invisible engines for work. They checked parts and applied oil until, for no apparent reason, they vanished – all at once! Mr Leigh and the watchman exchanged glances. “I think this museum may be haunted…” the watchman said simply. Mr Leigh silently agreed with him!
Meanwhile, over at Crovan’s Gate Bad Bob was waking up in preparation for the day’s work. “Urrgh...It would be raining out, wun'it...” he grumbled, “Bloody rain...s'like gettin' a bath innit?” His driver laughed. “Never mind Bob,” he said kindly, “It’s supposed to be quiet today, so we’ll wait under shelter whenever we get a chance.” Wendell was used to Bad Bob’s attitude, and knew exactly what to do in situations like this. “You can always switch jobs with me for the day,” he said, “I’d gladly take your shunting over the works to the Permanent Way today.” Bad Bob grunted unpleasantly, but before he could respond Mr Yeoman entered the shed. “Good morning,” he greeted the engines, his voice a low purr, “Glad to see the two of you up and about.” The two engines exchanged pleasantries before Mr Yeoman cleared his throat. “As you both know,” he said in his gravelly tone, “we’ve found some interesting things hidden away in The Wastes recently; engines and rolling stock we thought had been lost forever and have proven very useful in preservation.” “Then there’s the Old Hag,” Bad Bob muttered under his breath. Mr Yeoman continued, not noticing Bad Bob’s remark. “The folks over at the Vicarstown Railway Museum have asked if we have any further stock in the Out Of Use sidings that they could find useful. I’ve spoken to the Works manager, and they’ve agreed to let Bob take some time today to have a look.” Then Mr Yeoman removed his sunglasses, revealing a twinkle in his eye. “And with any luck we’ll find some more relics that came over with the North British Warship!” And with that he turned on his heel and walked out of the small shed, leaving Bad Bob and Wendell alone. “Well, I guess there’s no need to swap jobs any more Bob,” Wendell said cheerfully, “It looks like we’re both going to be out in the rain today!” Bab Bob growled, but didn’t reply.
After several hours of work Bad Bob had finished his shunting duties and was about to start searching through the wastes of the Out Of Use sidings. And he was not impressed. “Dunno why’m doing this,” he said in a matter-of-fact tone, “I’m not gunna find anything out 'ere.” “Oh, come now Bob,” his driver retorted, “There are many items back here that may be useful to the Museum. And like Mr Yeoman said, perhaps there’s something that could be of use for the Diesel Hydraulic Advance Project.” Then he lowered his voice. “And just between you and me,” he whispered, “I’ve heard rumour that they’re in need of another engine unit. If we find one, well…” And he winked as he let the sentence trail off. “In 'at case,” Bad Bob said, rolling his eyes, “we might as well get on wi' it.”
The search was long and tedious. Not only were they having no luck in finding anything of use, the rain was getting heavier as time marched on. “We’re not even going to be able to see anything of value with all this rain!” Bad Bob said fiercely, blinking water out of his good eye, “My headlamp can’t even cut through it!” “We’ll just check under that last tarpaulin,” he replied, “then we’ll call it quits for the day.” Bad Bob sighed thankfully, and watched as his driver jumped out of his cab and made his way over to the sheeted wagon, tugging on the tarpaulin to expose the truck underneath. But as it came free the driver recoiled in horror. “What’s wrong?” Bad Bob growled, looking over to see what had spooked his driver. Then he saw the truck’s face. Most of the old wagons and coaches in the Out Of Use sidings begin to show a look of resignation after some time tucked away behind the Works. However, this trucks’ expression was different; instead of looking sad and bored, its’ face was frozen in a mask of unimaginable terror. “Something seems strange about this,” the driver said slowly, having recovered from his initial shock, “I’m going to get the Works Manager to check it out…”
"My Gawd..." Bad Bob muttered... And he walked over to the offices, leaving Bad Bob alone with the horrified truck. “Well, this is jus' great,” Bad Bob harrumphed, “Now I 'ave t' wait fer 'im to get back so I can gerrout the rain!” Suddenly Bad Bob had the feeling that he wasn’t alone… “'Oo’s there?” he barked, “I’m not in the mood for games - 'oo are ya!” From somewhere in the lines of old rolling stock a voice began to call out. “Bob…” it hissed menacingly, “join me…” Bad Bob scowled. “Right, 'oo said that? Show yerself!” He looked around the sidings, but nothing moved; all the withdrawn trucks and coaches remained still and silent. “I must be hearin' things…” Bad Bob said to himself, feeling a shiver run down his frame, "goin' mad like..."
Then the voice returned. “BOB!” it hissed, as something dark and shapeless leapt out from underneath a nearby coach. A startled cry echoed throughout the yard…
Bad Bob’s driver returned to find the little shunter in a terrible state. His eye was screwed up tightly, his headlamp shone into the old rolling stock feebly as it twitched and turned about randomly and, worst of all, he was mumbling in an incoherent, stuttering manner. “What’s wrong boy?” his driver asked, “It looks like you’ve seen a ghost.” Bad Bob grunted. “Nu-uh....No' a g-ghost,” he stammered, his eye remaining clenched shut, “s-sumat m-much worse!” And he refused to say another word. His driver tried to move him, but his engine wouldn’t start. They had to wait until Wendell returned before Bad Bob could be moved back into the Works’ shed. “I’ve never known you to be the type to scare easily,” Wendell commented as the two came to a stop, “What on earth managed to frighten you to this degree?” “Sum’mit attacked me…” Bad Bob replied eventually. Wendell’s eyes narrowed. “Do you mean to say that there was an intruder in ‘The Wastes’? What were they doing; trying to steal scrap?” “Ar! It wasn’t ‘someone’,” Bad Bob snapped, “It wuz something!” “What do you mean ‘something’?” Wendell asked, confused. Bad Bob opened and closed his mouth silently several times before managing to finally speak. “All I remember is it was dark; it jus' seemed to be made of pure hate!” Wendell was sceptical, but wanted to know more. “So, what do you think it was?” he asked. “I do not want t’know what it was!” Bad Bob snarled, “And I don’t wan’ it to come back to find out – it can rot out there fer all I care! I don’t wan’ anything to do with it!” “Well, you know what they say,” Wendell replied, trying to lighten the mood, “‘Waste not, want not!’” And he chuckled happily at his own joke. Bad Bob didn’t think it was funny at all!
As Wendell tried to sooth Bad Bob at The Works, BoCo was working at Brendam, preparing a late goods train from the china clay works. The rains had steadily gotten worse as the evening had gone on, and were now accompanied by an icy wind, and BoCo found himself shivering as he arranged the trucks. “I won’t complain about getting this load done quickly,” he said to his crew, trying to remain cheerful, “I’d like to get into the shed before this rain gets any worse…” His crew mumbled an agreement, wincing as a bolt of lightning flashed on the horizon. BoCo sighed, before chuckling. “I guess I spoke too soon,” he said to himself, listening as the rumble of thunder boomed from the sky.
BoCo had hoped to begin his journey before the storm reached the harbour, but as he waited for the signal to turn green a bolt of lightning flashed brilliantly overhead, and with an ominous roar the rain surged down even harder. “Bother,” BoCo said to himself, blinking raindrops out of his eyes, “I would rather have avoided this…” “Never mind boy,” his driver replied, “we’ll just do our best. Now come on, the signal has just changed, so let’s get going.” The poor weather made for a difficult trip, and by the time they reached the middle station they were already behind schedule. Worse still, the delays had made them miss their path and now they had to wait for Jinty to clear the section with his own goods train before they could continue. “I hope that things don’t get any worse,” BoCo called out over the deluge, “I could only imagine what would happen if it did!” His crew chuckled in agreement, and BoCo began to look around the station yard to keep himself occupied. As his gaze drifted past the station building he noticed a young man standing out on the platform, seemingly oblivious to the storm that raged above him. “That’s odd,” the big diesel though to himself, “why would anyone be outside in this weather?” And he mentioned it to his driver. “Most likely a passenger that missed their train,” he said sympathetically, “What a pain for it to happen on a night like tonight.” “I’ll go check if he’s alright,” the second man added, before jumping out of the cab and crossing the tracks to the platform. BoCo couldn’t hear his second man’s conversation with the man, but noticed the stranger point in the direction of Wellsworth. His second man nodded, and beckoned the man towards the train. “I know it’s against regulations,” he said as he climbed back into the cab, dripping wet, “but I couldn’t leave him stranded here. So I’ve offered to let the gentleman ride with us as far as the junction.” BoCo and his driver welcomed the man warmly, but were surprised when he remained stony-faced and silent. He simply hung his sodden coat on one of BoCo’s cab chairs and stood behind it, staring out of the cab window into the storm ahead. “Are you sure he’s ok?” the driver whispered to the second man, “He seems a bit odd…” “Probably just a bit cold,” the second man said knowingly, before giving a small nod. Just then Jinty rattled through with his goods train, and the signal changed to green. “Right, off we go!” called BoCo, and once again the train set off.
The trip was uncomfortably silent. As time marched on BoCo began to grow concerned as to whether his crew had made the right decision. “Something just feels ‘off’ about all this,” he muttered to himself, “That man gives me shivers in my frames…” Meanwhile, in the cab the crew were trying to strike up a conversation with the unexpected passenger. But try as they might they could not get the man to speak; he simply stood there, looking out of the cab towards something apparently only he could see. “Look, I’m just trying to be friendly,” the driver soon said, getting irritated, “If you aren’t able to talk you could at least let me know!” The passenger broke his gaze and locked eyes with the driver. At first they were a stony grey, but the next instant they glowed a violent red. The driver leaned back, startled. “Now look here,” he said defensively, as the second man watched on, “I don’t want any funny business, you hear me?” The passenger turned back towards the cab window, and BoCo’s crew did likewise as a green ‘distant’ signal grabbed their attention. After several moments the driver looked back to the spot his passenger was standing at and saw… Nothing! The passenger was gone! “What in the world?!” the driver said in shock. But before he could look around the rest of the cab BoCo cried out in alarm. “Look out for the dog!” The driver looked back to the track and noticed a gigantic dog leaping away from the lineside. The creature turned its’ head, revealing a pair of glowing red eyes, before disappearing from view…
The Near Miss
“What was that about?” asked the second man, startled. Then he looked around the cab. “What happened to our guest?” “Umm,” the driver began, “He’s… gone…” “What?” cried BoCo, overhearing the conversation, “How could he have gone?! None of the doors have been opened…” “I don’t know how it’s happened,” the driver said slowly, “He’s simply… disappeared.” “But his coat is still on the chair; I can feel it against my back!” The driver looked across and saw something fuzzy and wet hanging off the back of the second chair; sure enough it was the stranger’s coat. “Perhaps there’s something in here to explain what’s going on,” he said, gesturing to the second man to pick up the coat. The second man reached back and picked up the coat off the seat, before reaching into the pockets. But after examining all of them all he found was a wet piece of paper. “This is all there is,” he said, as he began to unfold the piece of paper and examine it. “It’s a note,” he said simply, before he began to read aloud. “‘Heed my warning! The next time I present myself, beware – disaster is sure to follow closely! However, if…’ The rest is too smudged to read…” BoCo and his crew were silent for several minutes, digesting what they had just experienced. “Could that dog,” BoCo finally said, “have been the Black Shuck everyone saw last year?” “Perhaps…” the second man replied, “but what about that passenger? Who… what was he?” “Both the dog and the passenger’s eyes glowed the same shade of red,” the driver interjected, “perhaps they were one and the same…” And with that they all fell silent, not uttering a sound until they reached the end of their journey.[/font]
BoCo stayed in the shed at the end of the line, where he informed the other engines of what had just occurred on the branch. “So you think it’s happening again?” Bear asked with concern, as BoCo finished his tale. “Why would it come back after all this time?” Sodor Castle queried, “It just doesn’t make any sense.” The other engines mumbled in agreement. “The thing that I’m confused about,” piped in Wakefield, “is the note that was in that coat; was that referring to the next sighting of the Black Shuck?” “I’m more concerned about whether it was a threat or not,” added Dilworth. The others all looked over to the red diesel, unsure of how to reply. “I guess we won’t know unless we see it again…” Sodor Castle eventually said. “Until we see it again…” added Henry ominously. And with that the engines settled down to sleep for the night.
By the next morning the storm had passed. Thankfully for the engines the roster was busy, and by the time dusk was beginning to descend Henry was in a very good mood. He came to a stop at Killdane, where Dane was waiting with his connecting service. “Peep! Peep!” he whistled cheerfully, “How are you today Dane?” “Very well, thank you Henry,” Dane replied, “It’s nice to see that you’re in a good mood; everyone else I’ve seen today has seemed rather on-edge.” “Oh yes,” Henry said, his mood instantly dropping, “They’re all still probably thinking about what happened to BoCo last night.” And he explained what had happened. “So it’s back, is it?” Dane said with concern, when Henry finished the tale, “It certainly sounds as if it’s out to cause some major havoc…” “But why,” Henry asked, “What would it possibly have to gain by causing all of this harm?” But before Dane could reply the guard blew his whistle, and Henry continued on his way. “Unless,” he thought to himself, as the last coach left the platform, “it isn’t trying to gain anything at all…”
Henry continued on his journey, but as he approached a station he began to feel as if he was being watched. “Driver,” he asked, “is there anyone else about? I feel as if there are eyes on me…” His driver was confused. “Of course there isn’t Henry,” he replied, “There isn’t anything scheduled to pass for another five minutes, and nothing can enter your block without…” But he stopped suddenly. “Faster boy,” he said urgently, “I don’t know how, but there’s something coming up behind us – and fast!” He opened the regulator, and Henry responded with a will. “How is this happening?” Henry asked, panicked, “I thought it was impossible for two engines to enter the same block!” “I have no idea,” the driver replied, “but I’d rather not wait to find out!” Henry thundered along the line, whistling shrilly as he attempted to outrun the intruder. But as fast as he traveled, the mystery engine behind him gained ground. “It’s getting closer!” the coaches shrieked, “And it’s acting strangely; it keeps flickering in and out of view – like a ghost!” Henry began to respond when a sound silenced him instantly; a low, long howl that echoed around the land. “Oh no,” Henry whimpered, “not the Shuck, not now!” He looked ahead and saw a large shadow bounding towards him just beside the track, its’ red eyes shining brightly in the twilight. “Stay away!” Henry cried frantically, as the Black Shuck drew closer, “Don’t do anything to me!” The Black Shuck simply barked menacingly, its’ eyes locked with Henry. But instead of leaping towards the green engine as the two approached each other it continued running; passing beside the train by a matter of mere feet. A few moments later the coaches gasped. “What?” Henry asked, “What’s happening?” “A dog just jumped at the other engine,” the last coach said slowly, “and then… both of them… disappeared…” “Disappeared?” Henry repeated, stunned. “Yes,” the coach confirmed, “the dog jumped at the other engine, and when the two touched they both just… vanished.” Henry didn’t reply; he simply slowed his train down to a safer speed as he tried to process what had just happened.
When Henry returned to the shed he told the others what had happened. “I don’t understand,” Sodor Castle said when Henry finished recalling the incident, “I thought the message said that there would be danger the next time the Black Shuck was seen.” “Unless the danger was the phantom train that was already there,” Gordon said simply. “But why would it make it stop?” asked Squaddie, “I thought it was trying to spread chaos.” Pegasus ‘harrumphed’ in agreement. “Maybe we’ve been coming at this from the wrong angle,” Edward interjected, “after all, has the Black Shuck actually caused any of the problems it’s been associated with; or has it just been seen at the same time?” The engines all looked at each other thoughtfully. “I don’t recall it actually causing any harm,” Robert conceded finally. “Then wha’ is it trying tae do?” asked Donald. Henry, who had remained silent since finishing his story, spoke up. “Perhaps it’s trying to warn us of something,” he said with realisation, “Protect us from something bad occurring – it’s what it seemed to do for me tonight…” “But what would it be protecting us from?” asked Dick. Although no one responded the atmosphere in the shed grew dark. Silently, all the engines began to wonder what the true nature of the Black Shuck’s appearance was, and whether something sinister was still to come…
Although an investigation into Henry’s unauthorised high-speed run found that there were exceptional circumstances, the engines were too focused on the Black Shuck to notice that the crew had even faced an investigation. But as the days passed and the Black Shuck didn’t appear the engines became more and more confused. “Perhaps the warning the Shuck left was about the ‘engine’ that tried to run down Henry,” Robert suggested half-heartedly at the station one afternoon. “But that would seem rather anti-climactic, wouldn’t it?” Squaddie replied, “Not to downplay what happened to Henry, but surely it would be referring to something bigger?” “Maybe,” Robert replied simply, “But then there’s the issue of what it’s doing here in the first place. When it was appearing last year it seemed to be seen around strange things, not any disasters…” Squaddie paused thoughtfully. “There’s also the question of what the Black Shuck even is,” he said after several moments, “Remember what Duck told us? Dane said that Culdee saw it on the first day the Mountain Railway opened - that was over 100 years ago! So it’s obviously a powerful supernatural force… And driver told me that legends tell of Black Shucks being bad omens, with death and destruction following them wherever they go…” Gordon, who was waiting nearby to depart with his express, cleared this throat loudly. “There are other legends about the Black Shuck,” he said, as the other two engines looked over to him, “Many tales tell of it helping lost travellers and protecting them…” “So perhaps it is trying to warn us of something; trying to protect us from it,” Robert mused.
Gordon’s theory spread quickly amongst the engines, and soon all were arguing about whether the Black Shuck was causing the chaos, or was simply trying to warn them of it. “It’s hard for me to believe that that creature is a force for good after it set that skeleton nun on me,” Bear said firmly to Dilworth, as the two were waiting in the yard. Dilworth, however, was undecided. “I haven’t encountered it yet,” he replied, “so I can’t really say one way or the other. However, if Henry’s incident was anything to go by it would suggest that it may be trying to act as a protector.” Bear grunted, but before he could reply James steamed into the yard. “It’s back!” he panted hoarsely, “The Black Shuck is back!” “Where?” both diesels asked in unison, “What did it do?” “It was just before the viaduct,” James replied “It looked straight at me, and then to the line going over the viaduct. Then it barked and growled at me; almost like it was trying to tell me something…” “So perhaps the viaduct is the key here,” Dilworth said thoughtfully. “But is it warning us about it, or upset because James caught it when it was about to do something to it?” Bear growled.
James and Bear soon departed and Dilworth was left on his own. He didn’t mind this, and was content to run through the facts about the Black Shuck’s appearance until his train of oil tankers was ready to depart. However, as he waited the sky turned darker, and it wasn’t long before the previous rains returned. “If I were superstitious,” Dilworth said to himself, “I would take this to be a bad omen…” “It’s a good thing you’re not then,” his driver laughed, “Now come on; let’s get going.” Although Dilworth worked hard the rains made for a difficult trip, and the combination of the heavy tankers and the slick rails meant that by the time he had climbed Gordon’s Hill he was behind schedule. “We’ll have to go hard if we want to make up time,” the driver said, “Are you up for it boy?” Dilworth grinned, despite the rain pelting down into his face. “We might as well try!” he responded, and set off with a will. But as he passed through the station he began to have a strange feeling. He looked around, and although he could see nothing out of the ordinary, he couldn’t shake the sense that something was ‘off’. Then he realised that he was approaching the viaduct. “This doesn’t make any sense,” Dilworth said to himself, “the Black Shuck isn’t even about!” But he was wrong. As he looked down the track he saw a pair of glowing red eyes above the middle of the sleepers. He stared into them, and his mouth dropped open in horror. “Driver, brakes!” he cried out in alarm. The driver, knowing the Dilworth was not the kind of engines to joke about such serious matters, instantly applied the brakes. Sparks flew as Dilworth’s wheels slid along the slippery rails, the heavy oil tankers pushing him along. He drew nearer and nearer to the eyes, and soon the shape of the creature began to become apparent. It watched as Dilworth hurtled towards it, but remained defiantly on the tracks. “Move!” Dilworth cried out. But still the Black Shuck remained on the tracks. It lowered its head and snarled viciously. “We’re going to hit it!” Dilworth yelled out, panicked. But as the train bared down on the Black Shuck it simply disappeared, before instantly re-materialising on the track just beyond the viaduct. Dilworth put every ounce of weight against the trucks, and soon he felt the train begin to slow. But as he crossed the viaduct he felt a sharp jolt, and with a crunch his wheels left the rails and began to slide towards the edge of the structure. “Stop boy, stop!” Dilworth’s driver shouted in alarm, his knuckles white as he pressed his hand against the brake. The big diesel rattled and shook as he slid closer to the edge. Then, just as his first axle jutted out over the abyss he came to a stop. Both Dilworth and his crew sighed with relief. “I’d best get us rescued,” said the second man as he wiped his brow. And he jumped out of the cab, leaving Dilworth and his driver alone with the tankers.
It took some time to get Dilworth back safely onto the rails. Wendell arranged the breakdown crane and began to lift the big diesel away from the edge. As he did a workman came up to Dilworth’s driver. “I don’t know what made you stop,” he said with amazement, “but you should consider yourselves very lucky that you did. One of the fishplates back there is shattered; it must have been damaged and when your engines’ wheel flange hit it you bounced off the rail. Someone up there must like you.” Dilworth, who was listening to the conversation blinked in shock. “Or something…” he whispered to himself, as his wheels returned to the rails. Wendell buffered up the stricken engine, and began to haul him to The Works. “So how did you know you had to stop?” he asked in astonishment, “There was no way anyone could have known about that fishplate!” “The Black Shuck warned me,” Dilworth replied matter-of-factly, “I saw it as I drew closer to the viaduct, but when I looked into the creatures’ eye I somehow knew; I saw the broken fishplate, then had the image of crashing over and into the ravine – all through holding eye contact with it.” Then he added quietly. “It’s almost as if it was warning me…” Wendell didn’t know how to reply, and the two engines continued away. But as they went Dilworth looked up to a crest in a nearby paddock. There, standing proudly was the Black Shuck. It looked down at Dilworth and once again locked eyes with the big diesel, before giving a small nod of its head. Dilworth understood. “Thank you,” he whispered simply. The Black Shuck replied only with a long, low howl, before slowly fading away right before Dilworth’s eyes. Dilworth smiled to himself. The others might not have been convinced but, in his own mind, he knew that the Black Shuck was only trying to help them in its own way…[/font]
There it is folks - the end to the Haunted Engines trilogy. I hope that you've all enjoyed the stories; I've certainly enjoyed researching and writing them.
As with the last two volumes, all of the stories are based on true ghosts to one extent or another. My inspirations are as follows:
Yet to Be Seen – Based on tales on ghosts visible only on camera – not to the naked eye, together with reports of the sounds of activity at old airfields not used since WWI Waste Not… – Inspired by the ghost rumoured to inhabit 50 Berkeley Square in London Hitching a Ride – Based on the tale of the “silent passenger” 4. Called Into Question – Inspired by a story suggestion by Loey Machan On the Brink – Loosely inspired by tales of a less malevolent Black Shuck, and loosely on the 2002 derailment of the Swansea-to-Paddington express.
I'd also like to make a few acknowledgements. Firstly, to steamer58 for creating such wonder illustrations to this volume. He took a lot of time crafting the exquisite drawings, and I admire his skills highly. The amount of detail is supurb, so I highly recommend following the links below to the full-sized pictures (beware, they are big!) And secondly, to the entire ERS team. Although these volumes are not part of the ERS, the entire team has still taken their time to assist with crafting, editing and generally making these volumes as good as they can be. I thank them for both their patience, and assistance, especially considering that they did not need to. You guys are awesome.
Sent shivers up my spine and gave me goosebumps. So this whole time the black shuck was trying to warn engines of the disasters not cause them harm. Well done on these, I liked the first story and the last story best of all. Planning to do anymore or is this it for the Black Shuck?
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I'm enthralled by these tales, Kyle. Once again you've woven an unlikely set of stories for such a normally docile franchise. You've got a knack with these things.
steamer58 also provided wonderful illustrations throughout, but they always should be expected to be as such.
The Chase was my favorite picture out of them all. Out of all the others, it speaks to me the most. An unclear cut of Henry's face still shows his sheer anxiety and wonderment at what follows his train.
But the part that really sells is 87546 (?) chasing Henry's train in the background. With blood-red eyes, a vile expression on his face, and the fiery smog from his funnel, he seems ready to do business. It makes you wonder. Why would he antagonize Henry so? Did he have some kind of resentment towards him? Perhaps he's angry at the sight of how well Henry's come over the past ninety years, while he wasn't as well off.
Whatever it could be, it entertains me to see a long-gone engine, manifesting from the beyond to presumably destroy a former foe.
Overall, the writing was good, and the illustrations as well. Well done, and thank you.
(I'm sorry the saga has to end. It would be learn more about 87546's ghost. Perhaps, in future, you may try penning a volume explaining 98462 and 87546's later days a lot more than what we've seen. Their arrival, 98462's speed incident and demotion, their banishment, what became of them afterwards, and why they've come back from the other side. It would probably be too much to compress into only four-five stories... *winkwink*. And then, their histories as wholes can be displayed in a new folder on the ERS Guide, along with other mysterious or less-developed characters of both the ERS and the Railway Series.)
A great trilogy of books there, Silver Link. You should be proud of yourself. I enjoyed the fourth story the most and actually thought, judging from the picture steamer58 (Great drawings from him btw) drew, the ghost engine chasing after Henry looked like 87546.
That was eerie but brilliant. You certainly know how to pen a tale.
Although I can't help but feel as if I'm missing something - I read all the Haunted Engines volumes, but I don't recall the skeleton nun story, or the 87546 ghost mentioned above. Which volumes were those in?
Edit - I remembered the nun story, but not the 87546 one.
Firstly, on the subject of the Phantom Engine/87546: there is no real backstory to his presence in this. James (steamer58) brought up the suggestion of using either 87564 or 98462 when he was beginning the illustrations and we decided to run with it (my initial thought was an unknown engine from railway's early history). However, in terms of explanation it is more that the shape of 87546 was taken because he was known to have a malicious past (especially towards Henry) - it wasn't actually the ghost of 87564, but a representation of him (kind of how the Darkness that attacked Bad Bob was shapeless). Complicated, I know, but don't feel that there's some untold story in there - he's simply a visual MacGuffin
nodrog93 - So it got the intended effect then there! I thought it would be good to give the original Black Shuck stories a twist and make it a good entity, simply having its' intentions mistaken. As for more, no - this is it for Haunted Engines and the Black Shuck. Their tale has now been told.
Charlie - Thank you very much there mate - I'm glad that you feel that way about them. And I will admit, James' illustrations left me in pure wonder when I first saw them - he has done a brilliant job cramming in so much detail into them.
As for 87546, just remember that these stories aren't canon. Any further focus on them would ignore the events of Haunted Engines. And I thank you for taking the time to have read this
Sam - Cheers there Sam, it's always enjoyable to see when people have liked something I've crafted Considering this spawned from a failed attempt at an ERS volume, I'd say it's done alright
Hercules - Thank you Hercules - it's been great to combine my passions for both the Railway Series and the supernatural during these past 3 "volumes". I hope that the above comment explains 87564's presence for you
And I'll get them pictures resized ASAP there Ryan - it was 2 in the morning when I posted them and didn't take note of how much they'd be resized. My apologies EDIT - Resizing done - sorry again Guv
Whoa... That was brilliantly crafted. I was hooked from beginning to end. And speaking of "end", is that it? I somehow have a feeling that there is one more story that could be told; the real-impending danger that the Black Shuck is trying to warn everyone about and trying to protect them from.
Director, Producer, Illustrator, Voice Actor, and Co-Writer of the VRS. Wrote for the Shining Time Station Fansite's Episode Guide. Lead Actor, Vocal Director, and Writer for the #ThomasCreatorCollective. And also Winner of the following awards from IMTA-LA '17 & '18: -Monologue -Singing -Improvisation -Cold Read -Male Actor of the Year -Test Screen -TV Real People (Man, this guy's done a lot! ;D). For more, check out my VO website, www.manyvoicesofjoel.com.
Wow, this was quite creepy, Kyle, especially the first, fourth and fifth stories! I've heard of similar tales to the first one before on various hauntings websites. The image of Henry being chased by the ghost engine looked very sinister, too, and it was interesting that the Black Shuck saved Dilworth's life, even if only by a whisker.
Very good work, and good luck with whatever you have planned next.
Geeb Machine - Thank you very much - I'm pleased that it was able to grab you in such a way. However, this is the end. Inspiration became harder to come by (at least stories that had enough difference and variation from others) as I went on, and I really found myself struggling with getting a good source for them. As for what the Black Shuck was warning about, Dilworth's accident would have been quite a disaster had it occurred. A train of fully-loaded oil tankers falling off of a viaduct? The damage would have been catastrophic!
Hercules - Praise must go to James (steamer58) here - he spent quite a bit of time getting these illustrations prepared, and I can only repeat my awe at them. He really has outdone himself here
And that's no problem - I can understand why it needed clarification, so it should now make more sense for everyone. And as for other ghost stories, there are none planned at this stage. Maybe in the future if I can find enough inspiration, but I don't foresee that any time soon...
Stuart7 - Cheers Stuart, one of the biggest things I've tried to do in this trilogy is create an eery atmosphere - I'm pleased that I've succeeded for you. As for that first incident, the story I adapted actually occurred at an old abandoned airfield, however I thought that it would be translatable easily enough
And I thought it would be good to have the Black Shuck simply being misunderstood by everyone; instead of being the cause of disaster he was simply the foreteller of it. Easy enough to gain a bad reputation from that, especially when misinterpreted...
kerrstuart81 - I thought that if I was going to finish this up I might as well go out with a bang! I'm happy that you found it enjoyable
As for the familiar figure, as discussed in the posts above, it refers to the engine seen in "The Chase". He happens to take the form of (but not be the spirit of) 87546!
MrMilkDuctor: Most of them are hit era which I don’t mind since this is the I grew up on
Sept 21, 2021 19:07:34 GMT
aspiegurl: IDK where you are but it aired first the year I was born and in reruns until '98. It's on Youtube and there's a wikia for it.
Sept 21, 2021 21:20:27 GMT
MrMilkDuctor: I was born in the 2000s so i I didn’t even watch the reruns from 1993 - 1998, as I said the only time I watch shining time STS was probably on a unknown channel but hey that’s cool to hear
Sept 21, 2021 22:02:48 GMT
dtchapman1: I suppose that is one thing we do have to consider on this forum now. We are pretty much at a point that new members are going to have grown up largely with the HiT era.
Sept 21, 2021 22:26:37 GMT
Two Red Engines: Me, I was born in '96. I didn't really see the episodes when they were first broadcast (Dad's job took us overseas), but I had several VHS tapes from S1-8 - including the AUS releases of Thomas & Gordon, Percy & Harold, Trust Thomas,...
Sept 21, 2021 23:22:57 GMT
Two Red Engines: Story & Song Collection, and Thomas & The Special Letter!
Sept 21, 2021 23:23:27 GMT
MrMilkDuctor: The hit era is actually decent compare to what we have now also the merchandise was just incredible
Sept 21, 2021 23:33:57 GMT
MrMilkDuctor: Two red engines i had only Like 5 DVD’s when I was young sadly I lost 3 of them hopefully you kept all of your VHS tapes
Sept 21, 2021 23:37:21 GMT
Two Red Engines: Thanks! I think I managed to keep most of them (mainly the individual S1-4 releases, as well as my Series 5 box set), as well as two DVDs, an S1-5 compilation ('Truck Loads of Fun') and a Series 6 release, ('The Chocolate Crunch')...
Sept 21, 2021 23:41:07 GMT
Two Red Engines: ...but some were lost to time, and others (mainly the S8 releases!) were just simply given away. Still have about 5 VHS releases (6 if you count the fact that my S5 box set came with two tapes) and those two DVDs, though, so not too bad in my opinion.
Sept 21, 2021 23:42:55 GMT
Two Red Engines: Say, anyone still got copies of their Railway Series books? Me, I've still got my 1997 edition of 'The Complete Collection' (the Gawdry version!), as well as RWS volumes 31, 32 and 40 (along with some stories from RWS 28 and 30 from the TTTE Book Club).
Sept 21, 2021 23:45:44 GMT
MrMilkDuctor: Solid collection right there!
Sept 22, 2021 0:05:56 GMT
MrMilkDuctor: I have the complete first series of the classic collection DVD from 2003 the one that has a menu option,I might post that later and a another one from the hit era a steam team DVD these are the only ones I still have .
Sept 22, 2021 0:06:33 GMT
MrMilkDuctor: Classic Thomas is gonna come back?
Sept 22, 2021 10:15:53 GMT
MrMilkDuctor: Or did I just read that in a wrong way
Sept 22, 2021 10:19:38 GMT
whosgeoffrey: I'm personally inclined to think of it as just another one of Allcroft's very heart-warming messages to the adult fanbase. If she is doing something new with Thomas, I doubt it'll be new episodes, though — maybe the biography she mentioned some time ago?
Sept 22, 2021 12:36:14 GMT
MrMilkDuctor: Yeah that could be true
Sept 22, 2021 13:17:21 GMT