Disclaimer: I do not own Thomas & Friends
Here's an adventure story. I've had the idea for years. I hope it's liked! Reviews welcome!
The year is 2047. Many advances have been made in technology, and the world has grown both smaller and larger. Populations are packed into massive metropolises, and the countryside is virtually unpopulated. Global warming was drastically slowed, but there are several large wastelands spanning thousands of miles.
About 30 years ago, railroads were disappearing rapidly. It looked as though trains would no longer exist.
However, they had a massive rebound, called the "Railway Renaisance" that led to a more advanced, environmentally friendly steam locomotives. Railroads became the most important transportation systems on Earth. It was the new golden age of steam.
Then, in 2028, all steam engine production stopped. Steam engines became illegal, and were scrapped by the millions. They were replaced by diesels, who began a new, totalitarian era of railroads.
Any steam engines that survived were constantly fleeing diesels. It's the end of an era. There is no safe haven for steam any more . . .
Johnny's wheels hummed as he rattled down the line. He was going as fast as he could, but he got the feeling that it wouldn't be fast enough.
The diesels were catching up to him. There were two of them. If Johnny didn't get out of the yard and onto the main line soon, they'd have him.
Just then, he swerved sideways. Switches rattled beneath his wheels. He'd made it to the throat! If he could just press on for a little longer, he'd be in the clear. No engine could match Johnny on open track.
Johnny gritted his teeth and forged onwards. He was so close!
Then, his boiler rattled and a thin line of black smoke erupted from his safety valve.
"No, not now," he moaned.
But there was nothing he could do. His wheels started to spin less quickly, and he rolled to a halt with several bangs and cracks.
One of the diesels drew up alongside him. "We got him, Joe!"
The other diesel screeched to a halt and buffered up to him.
"No escape this time, Steamer," said the first diesel. "it's the Auction House for you."
The diesels pulled Johnny to the auction house - the sorting place for all outdated railway equipment.
The Auction Houses were built many years ago during the Renaissance. They were where newly manufactured engines would be sold to their new owners. After the crash, they were converted into scrap dealerships.
Johnny was lined up with several other tank engines, each as bedraggled as himself. They were each inspected in turn, then given values and sent off to the sales floor.
The inspector looked at Johnny. "0-6-0, branch line work and shunting. Electric-steam experimental . . . hmm . . . probably some complex electronics . . . $60,000."
Johnny was then shunted down to the sales floor. He was left on a platform at the side of the main hall, his wheels locked to the rails so he couldn't move. Soon enough, several scrap dealers arrived and began bidding.
His price was soon up to $80,000. Then, a balding fat man who was smoking a cigar walked towards Johnny and began looking him over.
"$100,000," he told the auctioneer.
The other scrap dealers started to move away. This man apparently had more clout and more money than any of them.
The auctioneer was about to end the sale when a twenty-something year old woman came running over. She didn't look like a scrap dealer. But then, who was she?
"What's the price on this locomotive?" she asked.
"$100,000, if you'd like to raise it," replied the auctioneer.
She blanched. Evidently, she hadn't been expecting as much.
The fat dealer began to laugh as she started to walk away dejectedly.
"Shut up!" yelled Johnny. The dealer scowled.
"Don't talk, or you'll be punished," said the auctioneer.
The woman stopped, and turned around. She muttered something under her breath. Then she walked back over to Johnny.
"I bid 102," she told the auctioneer.
The dealer chuckled. "105."
She glared at him. "110."
"I surprised you've got that much. 115."
The dealer grumbled something about not being worth it and walked away.
"Sold!" announced the auctioneer. "Would you like a diesel to take him away?"
She smiled. "No thanks. I'll drive him."
Johnny had never been more relieved than when he saw the Auction House shrink away into the horizon.
"Thanks," he told the woman.
"Always glad to help a steamie. I'm Dulcie, by the way."
They sped on for several minutes before Johnny thought of something that should've been painfully obvious.
"Where are we going?"