Did you miss part one of chapter one?
From Runaway Murder
Chapter One Continued…
“Excuse me,” a young woman said, slipping past us and through the
crowds. I stepped out of the way.
“You’ve heard about the heist, right?” Vanessa asked, pulling me
back to the conversation we hadn’t quite started earlier on.
“Of course I have,” I said, moving out of the way of a well-dressed
man pulling an enormous trunk. He looked like something out of the
1920s, like I’d somehow stepped back in time, and I stifled a chuckle.
“Hey,” I said. “Would you like a hand with that?”
“Sure,” he replied. “Thank you.”
I leant down and grabbed the handle on the far end of the trunk,
swinging my bag around my back. “Where to?” I said once it was in
“Luggage locker,” he replied, nodding over to the small room in the
far corner. “I had to check out of my hotel early this morning. I sure
was glad when I found out I didn’t have to lug it around with me all
“Yeah, there are some pretty great resources here at the station.”
Vanessa ran ahead of us and opened the door. “And I hope you don’t
mind my saying, but I love your trunk.”
“Not very convenient, like these modern ones with wheels,” he
admitted. We put the trunk down and he grinned as we straightened
up. “But I never was one for all things modern. Thanks for your help.”
“No worries,” I said. “Maybe catch you later.”
“Morning, Jessica,” another man cried as soon as we were back on the
platform. He was suited and booted and ready for a long day in the office.
He waved a hand in the air. I waved back. I never had learned his name,
and I didn’t really know how he’d learned mine, but he was on this plat‐
form every morning at the same time, and he always said good morning.
“So, what do you think?” Vanessa asked, hot on my heels as I
worked my way past people.
“About what?” I asked over my shoulder, and she tutted loudly.
“The heist, of course!”
Ah yes, the heist. It had been on everyone’s lips since it happened,
only two nights earlier. Golden’s small but historic museum had been
broken into, and someone had stolen the golden spike the town had
been loaned to commemorate the transcontinental railroad’s 150th
“That spike was 17.6 karats. Er . . . is . . . wherever it’s ended up.”
I laughed and flicked my long black hair over my shoulder. I had to
keep it tied up when I worked, so I liked to wear it down whenever I
“Yes, I saw the exhibit too,” I said before parroting the words that
had gone around the town ever since we received news of the arti‐
fact’s arrival. “Driven into the First Transcontinental Railroad by
Leland Stanford himself in 1869.”
“And now someone’s stolen it!” Vanessa squeaked.
I stopped and turned to look at her, both amused and endeared by
how much she cared. The news had rocked the town to its core, and
Vanessa did love a good mystery, but this one seemed to have gotten
to her personally.
“Yes, it’s an awful business,” I replied. “But they’ll find who did it
and return the spike to its rightful place, I’m certain of it. Golden PD
will put the best people on the job.”
I rubbed her arm and smiled at her, then turned and continued
through the station. I could almost hear her rolling her eyes at me
before she started walking again.
“Best people my a—”
“Vanessa,” I warned with a chuckle.
“Arm,” she insisted, pulling up beside me. “I was going to say arm!
And anyway, who cares if they’ve Sherlock Holmes himself on the
case. Doesn’t stop us theorizing, does it? I do love a good theory.”
I snorted at that, unable to stop myself, but I didn’t answer. I was
sure to hear all her wild and wonderful theories throughout the day.
“Good morning, Jessica,” a woman said, a thick bag strap across
her chest as she strode across the platform. Mary was a ticket collec‐
tor, and bright and breezy as always.
Vanessa stopped and looked all around her, her face crumpled in a
“What is it?” I asked, turning back to her.
“Everyone knows you,” she said.
“Golden’s a small town,” I replied with a shrug. “And I’m here every
day. It’s nothing, really.”
I said that, but in truth, I loved that everyone knew my name. It
gave me that warm feeling, like I belonged. I liked to nod a greeting at
the track inspectors gathered around in their hi-vis jackets, looking as
though they were discussing something of great importance. I said
hello to a conductor as he climbed aboard a train, and again to the
signalman at the end of the platform. Along with all the passengers—
both known and new—we felt like a true community, almost a town
in our own right.
“Well, anyway,” Vanessa said. “I’ve been thinking a lot about it.”
“The heist?” I asked as we skipped down the steps to the under‐
ground tunnel—a must to get to our own platform. It was quiet down
there, as it always was, the walls and ceiling insulating the space from
the noise above. It was echoey, too, so when Vanessa spoke again, I
jumped and threw a hand to my chest.
“The security must have been terrible,” Vanessa said. “I mean, it’s
understandable in a small town like Golden, but you’d think they
would have kicked it up a notch, given the spike was there.”
“This way,” I said, turning and trotting up a set of steps.
“Even so, I reckon the person who did this was experienced. Must
have been, right? He—or she—has done this before. I think . . .”
She stopped talking as we came out onto the platform. It was busy
here, too, though less so. There was a relaxed atmosphere, people
milling around as though on vacation, smiling and chatting to each
other and making friends. And there, gently puffing away, was the
“It’s . . .”
“Beautiful?” I suggested.
She had seen it before, of course, but never up close. I always loved
to see people’s reactions when they first saw it. It was an old train, but
it had been revamped and brought into the modern world. It ran on
steam, but inside it had all the features of a brand-new train. And
from the outside, it looked as though it had just rolled out of the
manufacturers for the first ever time.
The station master blew his whistle—two short puffs—a first
reminder to get onboard. The end door opened, and out leaned the
general manager, Greg, holding onto the handle. He grinned wildly,
then looked at us.
“Come aboard, ladies. Come aboard.”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Fast-paced and fun. I love these mysteires!”
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Diana Orgain is my new favorite author!”
Share the love!