Drop your sleeping bag down on an abandoned railroad line and keep one eye open to catch a glimpse of a haunted train.
“What’s the Dead Train Challenge”?
After the final out was recorded, lightning danced between distant clouds. Jared and Maura weaved through the departing crowd to leave Appalachian Power Park.
Maura sought to continue their ninth inning conversation.
“Well, I need to learn a little more,” Jared replied, “but the challenge is to sleep on an abandoned railroad line between Charleston and Clarksburg. Trains don’t use this particular line anymore, but there’s supposedly a ghost train that runs the tracks each night.”
“That sounds incredibly uncomfortable.”
“Definitely,” Jared continued, “but you wanted to do something different and out of the ordinary with your sister.”
Thunder rumbled through the night sky. The couple hustled along Lewis Street and crossed Morris Street, desperately seeking the refuge of their truck before the skies opened.
“Wouldn’t the train just pass through you?” Maura asked. “Isn’t that what ghosts do?”
Jared smiled and guided his girlfriend between a few parked vehicles. He unlocked the passenger door of their truck and helped Maura inside. The first raindrops stuck his shoulders before he was able to get behind the wheel.
“That’s a good question,” he finally answered. Well aware that Maura wasn’t much for the outdoors, he was unsure if she would have any interest. However, he suspected the challenge had captured her curiosity.
“I could see Kelly enjoying that,” Maura offered.
“This is the sort of thing you record and put on YouTube,” Jared added. “I know Kelly loves social media.”
The two shared a quick and knowing glance.
“How about we stop and pick up some new sleeping bags on the way home?”
That’s my picture up there. I’m not totally sure why I look so angry. I may be thinking about how much I hated the Crypt Keeper as a child.
I grew up faithfully watching reruns of The Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt. Unfortunately, I missed the boat in terms of writing for either of those programs. I do consider both to have been wildly influential when I think back to my earliest thoughts about becoming an author and I’m grateful my parents let me watch those shows as a kid (although there were probably some nights early in my childhood my mother wished she hadn’t let me watch those shows). If you’re familiar with either program, then you know what genres are my focus. I thoroughly enjoy science fiction, suspense, the twist ending, and some horror or supernatural elements as well. Honestly, when I was a kid the Crypt Keeper scared the hell out of me. As an adult, I’ve really learned to embrace the puns.
Historical fiction is a favorite of mine as well, and the root of that is shared with my profession. I am an educator by trade, and I teach American History. I consider some of the best writing I’ve ever done to be within the realm of historical fiction and I really enjoy saturating my mind in the research end of those projects.
I would make the argument that storytelling is in my blood. Even my sister mulled, very briefly (about 45 minutes), launching a career as a screenwriter! My last name is one of those Irish (and, apparently, formally Manx) ones with a wonderfully researched history -“the story-teller’s descendant”. On of the first day of school each year, I do share that “my name is Mr. Scully, and that rhymes with Kelly”, just so I do not hear the myriad of mispronunciations on the first day.
Several years ago, I started a blog similar to this one to highlight my middle years as a teacher. If that aspect of my life is of any interest to you at all, you can still find that blog online. During my summers, I really have time to pursue my writing projects and this blog will highlight some of that work. My first attempts to sit down and write extensively occurred when I was 15, but only a few years ago did I make setting time aside to write a priority. I’ve also benefited wildly over the years from many willing readers among my family and friends. The direction and feedback from those individuals has been invaluable.
Outside the world of the written word, I am an educator, basketball coach, lecturer, and (very, very occasionally) a landscaper. I have only ever known Western Pennsylvania as my home.
Although I love a good novel, I am absolutely unable to resist the power of the short story. The latter is really what I hope to be remembered for one day.
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