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Trouble on the Orphan Train
By Marianne Hering, DAVID HOHN, Amit Tayal
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2016 Focus on the Family
All rights reserved.
The Train Station
Patrick watched the Imagination Station vanish. He quickly looked around at his new surroundings.
He was standing on a wood platform. He saw a nearby sign on a wood post. It was shaped like an X and said RAILROAD CROSSING.
Then he remembered he wasn't alone. At least he shouldn't be.
He turned around and saw a small gray wood building. It had a door and two windows. A wood sign was on the side of the building. It said Hogan Mountain.
But there was no Beth. He shouted her name twice. No one answered. He shouted for Eugene. But again, no one answered.
A mountain stood in the distance. Train tracks and dirt roads crisscrossed the area. Patrick saw nothing else except countryside. Pines, oaks, and rocky hillsides spread out before him.
Patrick looked down. His shoes were black boots. They laced up to his ankles. He had on black knee-high socks and black knickers.
He groaned. "I don't like knickers," he whispered to himself. "They're too short for pants and too long for shorts."
He stretched out his arms. He was wearing a jacket that matched the knickers. He was glad for the jacket. The air had a chill to it.
He felt his neck. A bow tie. "And bow ties look goofy," he said louder.
Patrick moved toward the building. The building was obviously empty. There were posters nailed to the wall near the door. Most of the posters said WANTED at the top. All of them showed faces of scowling men.
One fellow had a straight nose with a thick moustache. The governor of Missouri would pay a ten-thousand-dollar reward for him, dead or alive. The outlaw's name was Jesse James.
An off-white envelope caught Patrick's eye. It had the words "To Patrick." The words were handwritten in black ink. He pulled the envelope off the wall. It was sealed.
Just then Patrick heard the faint whistle of a train.
Patrick couldn't wait to open the envelope. He started to tear it. But the train whistle blew again. This time it shrieked much louder.
He would have to wait to read the letter.
Patrick rushed to the platform. The train was approaching the station. Smoke gushed from the engine's smokestack.
The engine car rolled past Patrick slowly. It had a large number seven on the front.
The engineer stuck his head and an arm out the window. He wore a gray cloth cap. He waved at Patrick.
Patrick waved back.
Then the fuel car slowly rolled past. It was loaded with wood.
A long railcar was next. It said Adams Express Company on the side. The express-car door was open.
The train came to a full stop.
The passenger cars had lots of windows. Patrick saw faces looking out at him. Most people were smiling. Could Beth or Eugene be on that train? he wondered.
One boy in the last car stared at Patrick. The boy stuck out his tongue. Then he kept staring.
Patrick scowled. He thought the boy was rude.
A door on the passenger car opened. A tall, bearded man stepped off the train. He checked his pocket watch. His watch was gold too.
The man's blue uniform had gold buttons. He wore a matching blue cap.
"Hello," the man said to Patrick. "I'm Conductor Alford. May I punch your ticket?"
Patrick's heart sank. Ticket?
Patrick felt in the pockets of his knickers. There was something in his right pocket. He pulled it out. He found three pieces of hard candy, but no ticket.
Patrick felt in his jacket pockets. Nothing was there except the letter. He gulped. "I didn't know I needed a ticket," he mumbled.
The conductor frowned. He said, "Young man, you can't ride the train alone. Where are your parents?"
Excerpted from Trouble on the Orphan Train by Marianne Hering, DAVID HOHN, Amit Tayal. Copyright © 2016 Focus on the Family. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
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Table of Contents
1 The Train Station, 7,
2 The Newsboy, 14,
3 Children's Aid Society, 24,
4 The Apple, 38,
5 Beth, 43,
6 The Letter, 49,
7 The Horseman, 61,
8 The Cotton Fire, 71,
9 The Express Car, 81,
10 Gad's Hill, Missouri, 90,
11 The Diamonds, 97,
12 In the Sleeper Car, 104,
13 Leonard, 117,
14 The End of the Line, 125,
15 Jail, 132,
Secret Word Puzzle, 138,