Rocks Along the Track

This short story was written in April 2013 and was published in the Carlow Writer’s Co-Operative Anthology What Champagne Was Like.

Rocks Along the Track.

The train line ran next to our estate. We lived in number sixty-four. I would listen to the trains rumble by at night while I sat up reading my favourite books over and over again. But once I’d fallen asleep they never woke me up.

I was six when my father caught me up there with some older boys. We were playing rocks along the track. We’d place large rocks on the track in the hope that they would derail the train and we could watch it happening.

I was lost in our game and never heard him coming. I think he had just arrived home from work or maybe he was out of work at that time, I can’t remember. Anyway, he must have seen me from the street and ran up. I don’t recall what he said, but I do remember him dragging me screaming down from there, and into the house.

Up until then my father had never hit me, he was too kind a man for that, but this time the look in his eyes told me that he would. He took off his leather belt, the one he would give to me when I turned sixteen, and struck me a few times on the backside. It hurt. I cried for hours afterward, not so much from the pain, but from the fact that he had actually done it.

Two months later the Walker boy from number twenty-three got hit by a train.

They put a fence along the tracks after that.

By J.O’Brien

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