I’ve always loved model train layouts. Growing up, we had a modestly-sized – but very detailed – HO scale model train layout in our basement. Hours were spent running the trains, and still more hours spent planning the layout I’d build someday. When I was old enough, I began collecting bits and pieces for layouts – track, buildings, rolling stock (cars), engines, cabooses, terrain materials – and boxing them away in big green totes for the day I’d finally build my own layout.
For several years, I scoured yard sales and train shows, slowly collecting my own materials. I built several small sets for different organizations – youth clubs, etc – practicing and honing my skills. Learning little tricks along the way, like the fact that paper mache – newspaper and glue water – is just as effective and much cheaper than plaster, or that corrosion can be scoured off old tracks with a penny.
My former fiance’s father had a basement-sized replica of our city. It was immense and beautiful. When we broke off our engagement, they only thing I really missed was that layout.
The seed for this story took root nearly a year ago, during our family’s visit to the Roberson Science Center‘s annual Christmas celebration. At some point in the night, I became enthralled with the center’s always beautiful layout, dreaming of the day I’d finally get the chance to work on my own. I thought of how many hours I’d likely spend laying down track, crafting terrain, molding mountain regions….how many hours I’d spend lovingly creating my own little world.
And then I thought…what if that train layout was all I had?
What if, even more than that…it was the center of my world?
What if I loved being a Creator far too much…and lived in a strange little town where strange things happen when strange people believe in something TOO much?
A year later came “On A Midnight Black Chessie.” I hope everyone enjoys reading it, as much as I enjoyed writing it.
And someday, maybe I’ll finally get a chance to build my own little world…of course, if I don’t get a chance to, maybe that’ll be for the best…
He’s currently finishing his Creative Writing Masters Degree at BinghamtonUniversity, he teaches high school English and lives in Castle Creek, New York with his wife and children.
He is the author of Hiram Grange&The Chosen One, Book Four of The Hiram Grange Chronicles. His first short story collection, Things Slip Through is forthcoming in November. He’s currently working on his first novel.
The Dark is coming! Call your friends over. You don’t want to go through this alone.
You will be taken back into the past, down to the depths of the ocean and across the borderline between our world and the next. You will see snapshots from the lives of small children, old-time cockney gangsters and aimless stoners. You will journey into the darkest house on the darkest street, wander hospital basements and take a flight in the comfort of first class. You will meet Mr Stix.
This tome includes stories by some of the best horror writers around: G. N. Braun, Carole Johnstone, Armand Rosamilia, Daniel I. Russell, Scott Nicholson, Gary McMahon, Joe Mynhardt, Kevin Lucia, Tracie McBride, Stephen Bacon, Benedict J. Jones, Blaze McRob, John Claude Smith, Tonia Brown, Mark West, Robert W. Walker, Jeremy C. Shipp, Jasper Bark, William Meikle and Ray Cluley.
Are you scared of the dark? You will be.
Cover artist: Ben Baldwin (www.benbaldwin.co.uk)
Editor: Ross Warren
Only $15.99 for the 428 page print book, and $5.99 for the Kindle and Kobo versions.