Writing Prompt: It was an old railway tunnel.

Good morning all and welcome to a fresh new week. In hale the scent as it comes fresh out of the box. Ah, that new week smell. So full of possibilities. And baked goods. At least at my house. The holiday baking has begun. So with the scent of baked apples, melted butter and caramelized sugar filling the air, let’s begin our first prompt of the week.

I think this one could go somewhere. I think that our intrepid sheriff Harold is about to find several dead hikers and a murder mystery is set to begun. Of course that doesn’t mean he can’t find a portal filled with demons. You just never know until you write it. But I like the set up. Or the beginning of the set up I should say. I can see the story from here. It’s still hazy, but I can see it.

Monday, November 22nd: It was an old railway tunnel.

It was an old railway tunnel.  It burrowed into the mountain like a hole cut into cheese.  As though someone was testing the ripeness of the mountain.  For years it was the only way through the mountain.  It bypassed hours of winding road and sliced four hours off of the journey. 

For years, it was the reason rail travel in this part of the county was still considered valid.  N one wanted to drive that treacherous four hour addition to their route.  In summer is was a winding pathway that required the utmost attention to detail.  In winter, its use was determined by weather and after several tragic deaths, the local police cordoned the road off in bad weather.

It made the train the only alternative. 

Then came the debate. 

The railway was deciding whether or not to modernize.  This was one of the few sections of track still reliably used.  With the building of interstates across the country, rail fell out of fashion.  In the end, they couldn’t justify spending money to upgrade and they couldn’t keep the older engines running forever. 

They did manage to keep it open until a new highway tunnel could be blasted through the rock lower down the mountain. There had been talks about simply converting the railway tunnel to serve the highway, but they fell through.  Harold was never quite certain why.  He suspected it was a combination of greed and timing. 

Whatever the root cause, the new tunnel was built.  The new highway created and gradually the tunnel and the curving winding road above were forgotten.  On the road, maintenance was deliberately deferred and it was allowed to crumble. The entrance was officially blasted out of existence about three years after the highway was built and all traffic permanently rerouted. 

The local death count from traffic fatalities dropped significantly.

The tunnel was filled in by the railway. 

With time, both were more or less forgotten.  Older people mentioned them but gradually they passed and both faded from conscious memory.  The railway tunnel featured in several local legends thought.  It was the scene of some tragedy the railways wanted covered up.  It was the site of ghostly hauntings.  It was the place where notorious bank robbers and other criminals made their secret lair. 

The sight of the blocked up tunnel entrance seemed to inspire such tales.

Now of course, something was happening at the old railway tunnel. It was why Harold and his team were here.  A local hunter reported that part of the entrance was now open. He also reported noises coming from within. 

‘Well that’s not entirely true,’ Harold thought.  He parked his car on the rutted road and got out.  The other cars were already parked ahead of him.  As sheriff, he came to check on the situation personally.  As it was the most exciting thing happening for miles, all four of his officers were here already.  Only Kelly running dispatch was absent. 

‘I think it was old Bob Talbot’s tales of shrieking demons that got everyone moving.  Bob claimed that the tunnel now opened into a pit of hell. He also claimed that the apocalypse was neigh. Hoping for a rain induced rockslide and not an army of demons, Harold walked forward over the rough ground to join his cluster of men.

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