The world was escaping the bitterness of winter and emerging into the blossom of spring. What was once covered in blankets of white, gave way to silent streams and green grass that had been left dormant for three long months. The sun had still disappeared early in the evening, kissing the sky with hues of purple and blue before fading into black.
Human civilization was steadily growing and expanding into the wilds of the New World. Taking away the natural beauty of life. But for now, only the wooden railroads ran among them.
The outside world moved quickly outside the frosted glass window of the train car. Most of the passengers were asleep now, but Jamie Fraser remained wide awake. He hadn’t been here long, practically just arriving. The journey across the Atlantic was hardly tolerable, he spent nearly every minute with his head over a bucket.
But now he was on solid ground again, or would be. On the ship he often dreamed of the hills and moors he had lived among for so long in Scotland. He’d thought that life here would be much different, savage and harsh, as the rumors went.
Yet the vast wilderness and wildlife often reminded him of home, albeit much colder.
This place was a second chance, a fresh start. He took comfort in the thought, the only negative was that he was on his own. There was no Jenny, no family, nor friends. No one he knew. This was the first time in his life that he was really, truly alone.
He didn’t remember falling asleep, but the overpowering smell of stale cigarettes and the rising chatter of his fellow passengers had pulled him from his dreams.
A short, slender man had taken a seat next to him, seeking pleasant conversation. He stood out from most of the other passengers, dressed in what could be assumed his Sunday best.
“Not long now. I can’t wait to see my Charlotte. It’s been so long.” His lips curled into a smile underneath a graying moustache. “Do you have anyone waiting for you?” He sounded happy, hopeful. Ecstatic to finally be going home.
Jamie gave a faint smile and shook his head, “No, I’m on my own.” He felt his heart sink in his chest as he thought about everyone he had left behind. The thought bringing on a new wave of grief and loneliness.
“Ah, a Scot! What brings you to America?” The man’s joyful countenance never faded, and it only made Jamie long to feel the same.
How could he tell the man that he left to save his family? That the constant fighting between the English and the Scots had torn them apart? That he had nothing but himself to rely on?
“Work.” He lied. He turned to gaze at the dull browns and greens of the wheat fields that whizzed past them, wishing that they would swallow him whole.
The man smiled faintly, taking the hint that conversation was not wanted here.
Jamie let out a sigh once he was alone again, not realizing that he was holding it.
The window fogged in reaction to the warm air against the cold glass, temporarily obscuring some of the view.
He couldn’t wait until they reached their destination.
The man was right, it didn’t take long before they came to a halt. People were lined outside the station, safe and happy in the embrace of their loved ones. They all had a home to go to, a place where they belonged. A purpose.
Jamie hardly had more than the clothes on his back. No place, no purpose, no destination. He hadn’t the slightest idea what was to become of him, where he would go or who he would be. Nothing but the hope that everything would be alright in the end.
And it all began with a step.