An excerpt from a little something I’ve been quietly working on….
The gods were with him, that much he knew, and as little as he cared for their influence, he was happy for the hammer. It felt right in his hands, more than the one he’d used for years on the Old Ohio. More than his own cock. More than his lovely wife’s bare shoulders and slim waist. Never had anything been so perfect as a man waging his war against gods and governments and machines and mountains with cold iron in his calloused fist.
He could hear the steam driver pounding out a rhythm that had no soul in it. That’s why he had to win. A man pushed as far as he’d been swung his tool with passion, his muscles fueled by loss and a life lived hard. No machine could know the kiss of the lash or the bitter embrace of an empty bed. No engine could understand how a man bears the burden of laying a tiny coffin in a tiny grave, only to leave it unmarked as the sun rises and the work bell rings in the empty chambers of a heart too big for this cruel world.
John was screaming as he swung the mighty thing, and Wong flinched as a spark flew from the steel spike and burned his cheek. He and the Irishman dared not move their hands, for it was clear that even one bit of a miss and that hammer would be pounding into him, and Wong knew he wouldn’t survive it. John had ghosts in his blood, and they had him going for broke.