I am proud to show off the first page of The Vengeance Spear, a new fantasy collaboration between another author and myself. He’s fairly new to writing, but has a incredible talent for making great storylines and fun characters. I’m something of a ghost writer for this endeavor. This is the raw and unedited first page of that project.
There are a few hints to this being a fantasy project rather than an early 1900s era historical fictional piece. See if you can find them while reading.
His hammer clanged hard against the railroad spike. Sweat fell down his face like a rushing brook. He hammered a second and third time before taking a quick breather, and then pounded again until the spike was in place. He grinned before continuing on to the next spike.
Kayd had been working here for some time now. The job was hard and the weather was hot, but the pay was good enough that he had a place to live, so he stayed. He’d been a short but strong boy since he was young, so it didn’t surprise his parents when he left the house saying he wanted to help build the intercontinental railways. It was supposedly one of many steps in bringing all the continent’s diverse groups together. It would make a real nation out of them, the government said.
He hoped they were right this time.
He moved to another railroad spike and began pounding it as hard as he could. This time he got it in in only three swings. He laughed to himself.
“What’s funny?” asked another worker right next to him. Kayd was just amazed he’d heard him over the din of the hammers.
He caught his breath quickly before responding, “New record. Three swings.”
“Near the end of the work day?” The worker laughed. “Maybe you should tell those arms of yours to calm down. You’re making the rest of us look bad.”
“Mikk’s gotten three before,” Kayd pointed out.
The worker sighed before starting on his own spike. “Yes, and you’ve been here about half the time he has.”
Just as he’d finished speaking, Kayd caught a glimpse of his boss walking up to the area. The boss looked out over his crew with a cigar in his mouth and a furrowed brow. Kayd instinctively began hitting his next spike as hard as he could.
The boss took his cigar out slowly. He then blared a trumpet, and the crew slowly stopped what they were doing. His gaze softened. It was slight, but Kayd noticed.
“Don’t know how many of you boys were looking at your stop watches, but it was the end of the work day as of about five minutes ago. Now, normally I would be letting you all go home by now, but we’ve got a bit of an announcement.”
The boss rubbed his moustache profusely before continuing.
“With how long and hard you wonderful gentleman have worked, we are now approximately a week way from completing this area of railway. After our team and the next one meet up, that’s going to mean you fellers won’t be working on the railroad anymore. That is, unless you want to travel about a hundred miles to meet up with the next crew. Basically, you’re going to want to find other work.”
The crew stayed silent.
“You’ve been a great team. I’ll be sorry to see you all go. “
The boss smiled, trying to pretend to wipe away a bit of sweat. Kayd knew it was the beginning of a tear. “Well, that’s all I got. You all can pack up now, no dawdling.”
Kayd put away his things and began walking home. As he entered the outskirts of the town, he looked up at the sign above him. UNION CITY, said the sign, and just below it, THE PILLAR OF THE NEW WORLD. It greeted him every day he came and left work. He wondered how it would feel when he saw the sign for the last time.