I was riding with the Glory Girls and we had an appointment with the four-ten coming through the Kelly Pass. I fiddled with the Enigma Apparatus on my wrist, watching the seconds tick off. When the four-ten was in sight, I’d take aim, and a cloud of blue light would come down over that iron horse. The serum would do its work, slowing time and the passengers to stillness inside the train. Then the Glory Girls’d walk across a bridge or light, climb aboard and take whatever they wanted, same as they’d done to all them other trains—a dozen easy in the past six months.
In the distance, the white peaks of the revival tents dotted the basin like ladies’ handkerchiefs hanging on the washing line. It were spring, and the Believers had come to baptize their young in the Pitch River. Way down below us, the miners were about their business; I could feel them vibrations passing from my boots up through my back teeth like the gentle rocking of a cradle. The air a-swirled with a gritty dust you could taste on the back of your tongue always.
“Almost time,” Colleen said, and the red of the sky played against her hair till it look like a patch of crimson floss catching fire in an evening dust storm.
Fadwa readied her pistols. Josephine drummed her fingers on the rock. Amanda, cool as usual, offered me a pinch of chaw, which I declined.
“I sure hope you fixed that contraption for good, Watchmaker,” she said.
“Yes, ‘m,” I answered and didn’t say no more.
My eyes were trained on them black wisps of steam peeking up over the hills. The four-ten, right on schedule. We hunkered down behind the rocks and waited.