Koré Kosmou

As Joe arrived at the train yard, he could think only of his wet socks. The fierce rain had covered every inch of his body, and he didn't bring a change of clothes. Joe stood a few hundred yards ahead of the train, facing the engine. In the distance, he perceived faint shadows of about fifteen men waiting for the train to pull out. It was dusk, and Joe was going to hitch the train bound for Portland, should he be so lucky.
The train gave its high ball and began to pull out. Suddenly, a searchlight flashed on the fifteen men standing beside the train. Four yard bulls charged the men and stopped them from boarding. Joe felt a mixture of pity and relief as he watched this scene from afar. Outside of the searchlight, he slipped toward the approaching train.
By the time the train reached Joe, it was moving too fast for Joe to get inside one of the freight cars. With all of his might, Joe ran alongside the moving train, feeling winded as the muddy ground beneath him slowed him down. Each step splashed water up to his knees. Joe grabbed the first set of ladders he could see and climbed to the roof of the train car. He lay pressed against the cold, wet iron, swearing he'd never again take being dry for granted.
After the hitch, Joe was tortured by his thoughts. He had never been this far away from home before—not without an adult, anyway. He longed to be home again, enjoying a hot meal in clean clothes. He closed his eyes and pictured the supper table with Mom and Dad and Betty and Marjorie. Were they looking for him? Were they worried sick about him? Had they called the police?
A few hours after the rain stopped, the train approached a long tunnel. As Joe passed through the tunnel, his vision grew pitch dark. The engine was only a few cars ahead of him, covering him in smoke. His eyes stung from the heat, and he felt a fiery, searing pain in his lungs as he struggled to breathe.
Joe coughed and choked furiously. He lifted up his shirt to cover his face, trying to shield his eyes and mouth from the smoke. Joe gasped for air but only felt a growing heaviness on his chest. He was prepared to die.
Suddenly, the train sprung out of the tunnel. The pale moonlight illuminated the countryside. Not a sound was heard except for the steady hum of the train engine. Exhausted, Joe gasped for air. The air was delicious and tasted like honey.