No sooner had he finished his practice run than a great shriek split the silence. It resonated in the chilled air and swept over the waiting men with the force of an ocean wave. All eyes swiveled to the place where the tracks disappeared. Anxious moments passed without any sign of the monster approaching them. A flicker of hope pulsed through the group. Perhaps, it wasn't the train after all. That hope was quickly dashed when a geyser of angry, gray smoke burst through the foliage, and a fiendish face in the shape of a blackened, full moon rounded the bend, accompanied by the heaves and sighs of a laboring engine and the squeals of metal wheels grinding on iron rails.
Kaz knew instantly that this was a far greater challenge than anything he'd faced before. The train charging down the tracks both frightened and mesmerized him. He wanted to defy its power and embrace it at the same time. Would it be so bad to jump into its arms? His life would be over, but his pain would be gone. He recalled the bullet that had zinged past his ear. It had nearly ended his life, but he’d been glad to escape it. He realized that he had no desire to die now, either. Not by his own hand. Only a hunger to test the limits of his courage.
There was no more time to think. His friends were already in position next to the four men. Kaz hurried to his spot. The sounds of the engine straining against the limits of its power roared at him as the train hurtled forward. Events began moving too quickly for him to do more than react to what he saw. The first two men ran and jumped across the rails well ahead of the engine. The next two waited longer, poised in a contest to see who was the braver. One leaped and cleared the train with feet to spare. The other followed, but too late. The engine's great, blackened face seemed to snarl as it struck the man's leg and sent him spinning off the tracks.