Author's Note: Now we all know that "The White Spirit" was pretty much all about Lily and Cullen but that scene between Elam and Mr. Toole had me thinking and actually sympathizing for Toole a little bit. I'm not actually sure if Eva could have been authorized to send telegrams (though she did escort Durant all the way back to Chicago, so why not?) and the dates are just a guess, but I'm at least fairly confident that I've gotten the particular company right, heh. Anywho, Hell on Wheels and its characters belong to AMC. I'm just responsible for tinkering with them. :) Thanks for reading!


Telecommunications

WESTERN UNION TELEGRAPH COMPANY

Dated Hell on Wheels August 5th 1866

Received at 6h32 pm

To Mrs. Lily Bell

Made it to Chicago.

Mr. Durant is critical.

Will know more in few days time.

Eva

The news played both good and bad. Lily was cheered to know that the rest of their trip had gone without a hitch, though the uncertainty of Durant's fate had her in knots. He was alive but there was no telling if he was well. The men wanted definite answers, proof that they would be paid. Durant didn't matter so much as the money did. And although they'd gotten back to work, it hadn't been easy to keep them focused on the job.

She felt hesitant to pass the word on to Mr. Toole only because the rumor mill was already viscious and she didn't need any more lip from his crew. But as she also predicted, he appeared much more relieved to hear about his wife than their boss. A genuine tip of his hat reassured her that he wouldn't cause any trouble over it.

WESTERN UNION TELEGRAPH COMPANY

Dated Hell on Wheels August 20th 1866

Received at 6h03 am

To Mr. Gregory Toole

Heading home.

All is well.

Yours, Eva

Just after breakfast the telegram had come to Mr. Toole from the hands of one of Durant's minions. He read it a few times over, eyes tired in the bleary morning light, until he was satisfied with the message. It seemed like just yesterday she'd left, though he missed her all the same. Over his last sips of gritty coffee he wondered if Chicago had treated her all right. If maybe she'd had the chance to see a real doctor. Soured then, he took his leave to their tent.

Inside, Mr. Toole sat on the bed. It had been chilly without her and alcohol could only do so much to warm a man at night. He read the telegram one last time before tucking it gently under his pillow, like burying a seed under fresh earth. Elam Ferguson had come calling some days earlier and as elusive as he'd tried to be, Toole hadn't actually had any real information for the man. Few words as they were now, it was enough to him that she'd reached out at all.

"I'm her husband, for God's sake," he said quietly to himself.