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Toll Road

By Christopher Keelty

Smashwords Edition

Copyright 2012 Christopher Keelty

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THE RAILROAD WAS THICK with briars and waist-high weeds. Bayle followed it through ruined towns to the fallow fields of an abandoned farm. Atop a hill were the skeletons of a house and barn, and a funerary gathering of farm machines dressed in vines. A small stream ran through the fields and into a stretch of forest. It led him away from the rails, but night was coming and Bayle needed shelter and a fire.

He’d left Pittsburgh too late, and winter came too soon. The first days were easy and he covered thirty miles like they were nothing. Then the cold came and his body gave up. Bayle couldn’t turn back. There were too many memories. Too much Danny. He shifted his knapsack.

His boots were going soft in the soles. He’d layered all his clothes, the leather jacket, hooded sweatshirt, thermal t-shirt. They kept him alive, but not warm. The cold slithered through the thin spots in his jeans where his thighs rubbed and clung to his eyeballs like a film.

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