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The disturbing thoughts grew more insistent. The inner voice he tried so hard to suppress pushed itself to the surface. It cantered forth with fresh promises of danger and adventure. It told him it was the only way to relieve his pain. His blood stirred. He knew what he must do.

“I'm going back to blood alley,” he announced to Charlie and Woz during lunch at school. “I want to take on that train.”

Charlie scratched his head. Woz scuffed the floor with his shoe. Neither looked at Kaz or said a word. They hadn't returned to blood alley since their first visit. They'd talked about it, about the men that went there to test their courage, but something had held them back. Charlie had finally admitted that the idea of a train bearing down on him was more excitement than he needed. Kaz hadn't agreed, but he'd kept quiet, until now.

“Are you coming?” Kaz demanded.

“The last time you did something like this you damn near killed yourself.” Everyone knew Charlie was talking about the swings in the school yard. “Why should we be part of another one of your crazy stunts?”

“Because you're my friends, and I don't want to jump alone. But if you're too scared, then I guess I will.” Kaz gave Charlie a fierce look that dared him to say no.

Charlie stared back, his body stiff with resentment. He and Kaz had always been competitive with one another, but not like this. This was more than a dare. Kaz was asking Charlie if he had backbone. This was a challenge that couldn't be ignored. He met Kaz's glare and nodded. 

Woz let out the breath he'd been holding and did the same. “If you go, we all go.”

“That settles it then,” Kaz said with satisfaction. “There's a freight train every afternoon about half-past four, but we should get there early, in case there's other jumpers. Make sure we get a good spot. Let's go tomorrow.”