This is the prologue for one of my unpublished historical romances (it still needs a lot of work in terms of rewrites/revisions/editing. Rex Maxwell is the main male character in the story. Chapter One, which is 12 years after this incident and the main female character is introduced in Chapter One. Rex is raising his niece Cissy.
Willow Bend, Wyoming
Tuesday, August 7, 1888
Seething, clenching his jaws, Rex Maxwell stared straight ahead and clutched the reins in his fists. Why had he been stupid enough to let Alex go to Laramie. Alex had no head for business. He just wanted a chance to take Martha shopping in the city. Alex was putty in his wife’s hands. He wouldn’t have demanded on going if that pretty young thing hadn’t smiled at him and insisted that she had to go, that she was tired of being confined out in the middle of “nowhere.” After running the streets of New York as a child constantly hustling for every scrap he and Alex got, Rex was glad, glad, glad for the wide-open spaces. He was glad for the ranch, a place to call his own. Did Alice Robinson have to be so amenable to taking one-year-old Cissy for the day? She just made it harder for Rex to refuse to let Alex go.
He guided the horse and the big black buggy up near the small, gingerbread Queen Anne style train depot, All he could do was wait now. Had Alex botched the deal? Rex had given him precise instructions what to do and say. Had he followed them? Rex Maxwell gritted his teeth waiting for the train to roll in. And then he heard it. His heart stopped and then raced so fast it felt like it would start out of his chest.
The squeal of breaks, the thud, the crash, a couple of more crashes. Screams. An explosion. More popping. More screams.
Seth Turner hurdled out of the depot’s front door and scurried off in the direction of the noise. Rex scrambled out of the buggy and raced after the station master.
Rex Maxwell sat at his desk in the study at the Star of the Plains Ranch. He clenched his hands on the top of the desk and stared straight ahead, but he did not see Logan and Alice Robinson sitting in the chairs facing him. He didn’t see Cissy squirming on Alice’s lap. He didn’t see Thelma Barker sitting in the wing chair beside his desk. He didn’t see Doc Boyd standing beside him.
“Can I do anything for you?” the doctor asked.
Rex blinked. “What? You can’t turn back the clock. You can’t make the train not derail. You couldn’t have stopped them from having lit kerosene lamps in the wooden cars. Every car caught fire, Doc. Every car.”