Ronald Lee Geigle's The Woods Shares the Final Installment

The opening chapter of Ronald Lee Geigle's new novel, The Woodsa saga of love, grand dreams, and transformation set in the world of railroad logging and labor unrest in the Pacific Northwest during 1937is being presented in serial form December 25 28. The novel is being published in association with WordVirgin, an indie publishing platform in Washington, DC, Seattle, and Edinburgh.

The Woods is available at

Final Installment, The Woods:

Spring, 1937

It hung there. The ten-ton Shay locomotive, tethered to the taut, steel cables and the screaming winchall perfectly balanced. Enveloped by sound and smell, and smoke that stung the eye, the iron beast didn't move.

Then a wave of men flowed toward it, to save it, to settle it safely back to earth. SeveralConrad Bruel and Charles Walker in the middlewound more cables around the body of the locomotive, then winched them to another massive fir standing not far from the track. Others poured gravel into the muckof mud, oil, and charred woodthat lay below the locomotive, then threw down wooden ties, all laid shoulder to shoulder, to build a wooden platform. Lightning Stevens and Nariff Olben stood in the middle, directing the placement, as the makeshift crisscross foundation began to form just underneath the iron wheels.

Bud Cole called out for everyone to stand back, then lowered his arm slowly as St. Bride loosened the winch. Again, the sound of screeching metal as the Shay settled onto the wooden base, which groaned under the growing load. Only a few ties slipped.

Bud signaled for St. Bride to let out more slack, which brought more groans from the woodthen a metallic pingked, pingked shot through the air as one of the cables snapped and bullwhipped within killing-reach of several men. The Shay jolted downward, but then stopped, as the others cables held tight. Men from both ends of the locomotive rushed in again to set more ties, others raced to add more cables.

Albert set out for the gravel pile, but before he reached it, the sickening staccato soundpingked, pingkedagain echoed through the clearing, followed by metal tearing against metal. He turned just as the Shay lurched forward, then pitched violently sideways, sending men lunging in all directions. For a moment, it seemed to teeter, as if uncertain to stay up or fall over, then finally it slumped hard onto its side. As it did, it up-ended the flatbed cars it had been pulling, unleashing the massive fir logs that now shot down the steep incline toward Albert.

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