California Zephyr

This story is written for Friday Fictioneers. The challenge is to write a complete story with a beginning, middle and end in 100 words or less using the picture prompt below. My story follows the picture prompt.

PHOTO PROMPT © Alicia Jamtaas

His mind wandered in and out of the real world. His twenty eight years working on Amtrak trains occupied his decaying mind at the moment. He had a nightmare that would not go away.

He had to throw a switch.

The switch that would allow his train to enter the siding and allow the Amtrak California Zephyr to pass on the main line on its way to its final destination in Emeryville. He didn’t realize how much the heavy snow would slow him down.

The headline in the San Francisco Examiner read: “Brakeman only survivor in Amtrak train disaster.”


  1. My stepdad worked for the C&O (later renamed The Chessie System) for many years. He had his fair share of haunting from things that happened on the job. People often don’t understand or grasp the reality that trains can’t stop instantly 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Unsettling. Great story. When I took a course in emergency management, we had a train derailment exercise. How this could so easily happen is very disturbing. You captured it well.

    Liked by 1 person

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