“Hey, kid, you can’t stay here.” said a gruff voice.
“Mmmfph.” Grace grumbled, as she rolled over. The railcar floor was hard and cold. It was any wonder she was able to get any sleep at all.
“No, really, you need to skedaddle. There’s people coming to unload these railcars and you don’t want to get caught sleeping in here.” The voice said, concerned. Grace opened her eyes and rolled over. A sweet faced older man was standing at the open door of the railcar.
“Thank you for the heads up. I’ll get going.” Grace said. As Grace was getting up, her stomach let out a loud plea for food. Grace couldn’t remember the last time she ate something. She had left so quickly the day before. She didn’t pack any clothes, food, or toiletries. The man helped Grace down out of the rail car and with a gentle smile, he introduced himself.
“The name is Mac. You must be starved.” Mac said, with a kindness to his voice.
“Yeah. I…I don’t remember when I ate last. Where are we?” Grace said, looking around. She didn’t recognize anything. She had no idea how long she was asleep on the train.
“We are just outside Oasis Springs. It’s a huge city.” Mac explained. “Hey, if you’re hungry, there’s a diner about 5 miles down the road. My wife, Laurel works there. She makes an amazing meatloaf that you just gotta try. I’m sure she would make you a plate of food.”
“But I…” Grace cringed as she started to explain that she didn’t have any money but would have felt bad lying. Of course she had some money. There was loads of it in the duffle bag that sat next to her on the ground. But she didn’t want to spend any money because she knew she was going to need every penny to start her new life and to find Sophie.
“No worries.” Mac said, seeing the worry in Grace’s face. “You tell Laurel that Mac sent you. She will take care of your meal. You wouldn’t have to pay.” Mac said. Grace started to tear up a little, she was so touched. She couldn’t figure out why this man was being so sweet to her, but she was grateful for his kindness.
“I can’t leave work to take you as I need to oversee the trains being unloaded, but you head on down the road there and Laurel will take care of you.” Mac said, turning as he walked away. Grabbing the duffle bag, Grace headed down the road towards some food. Beyond that, she had no idea what she was going to do next or how she was going to get to Magnolia Promenade.