The Dragon hissed, disappearing into a cloud of steam. She creaked and groaned as her pistons drove her six great wheels into action. From the platform the early spotters watch large prairie “Dragon - No. 4115” awake for the days work with rhythmic huffs.
She was rather small for a mighty dragon, 41 ft of Parcels Department maroon, yet she never failed to dazel the spotters as she trundled out of the parcels bay at Cyfforan Junction. The steam she blew from her funnels blocked-out the wonderful, stained glass mosaic roof of the station.
Two men were crammed into her shed-sized cab. The greying wolfman, Cadock, yanked open the regulator while young foxman, Idris, shoveled pile after pile of coal into the white-hot blaze of the Dragon’s heart. Cadock looked over to Idris and put a paw on his shoulder.
“That’ll do ‘er!” The wolfman shouted into Idris’ ear. The foxman nodded, kicking a leaver, causing the firing door to slam shut. Idris produced a rag from his pocket and dabbed his across his hat. He turned and offered it to Cadock, who accepted with a thanks. The wolfman removed his cap and goggles before wiping the rag across his face.
With a screech of her whistle, the last maroon parcel van emerged from the monolithic marble station that stood above the smog of a million chimneys. The Dragon rolled over the viaduct, she had it all to herself at this ungodly hour.
She huffed faster, longer, speeding-up as she flew over a hundred redbrick homes, stained black by the smoke. The cab swayed and rocked as her wheels clacked over joints in the track.
“How long to Abermouth?” Asked Idris, leaning out the cab and watching the sleepers speed by.
“With each stop on the way, I’d say six hours or so.” Cadock yelled over the howling wind as it rushed by. Pulling his head back into the cab, Idris began to smile, a laugh escaping his maw.
“Knew this job ‘d be the death of me.”