Metal grated against metal as Engine 4003 shrieked to a halt. The bell tolled creating an almost dissonant harmony. Thick, black smoke filled the air as the engine coughed its annoyance at being stopped prematurely. Two dirty faces peered out the open doorway at the track laid out in front of them. The men disembarked the train and cautiously approached the body.The bloated corpse was lying facedown between the tracks. Both men pulled their bandanas over their noses to try to block out the stench. A swarm of flies rose into the air like a black tornado as Ben, the engineer, toed the body with his boot, rolling it over.
The pair blanched as they recognized cattle baron Ted Trillert.“Wonder how he got clear out here.”
Dennis shrugged. “Dunno. We can’t just leave ‘im here.”Ben gagged. “I ain’t touching him. We can tell the Marshall where he is when we get back ta town.”
“Help me put him on the train.”“Where’s he gonna ride? No one wants that stink in the same car as them. Just roll him outta the way and lets get a move on.”
Dennis blanched as he grabbed the dead man’s shirt and rolled him from the tracks. He bolted upright and turned to run back to the train as a bullet ricocheted past his head. He skidded to a halt realizing they were surrounded by mounted men.“Thanks for stopping this here train. We’ll be taking the payroll from here.”
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