Shoebox Train Wreck by John Mantooth
The end of the road can be a haunted place. These genre-bending stories are set against a backdrop of sudden violence and profound regret, populated by characters whose bleak circumstances drive them to the point of no return...and sometimes even further. A high school track star faces a betrayal she cannot outrun. Two friends take a journey to find the dead alien hidden in the belly of a water tower. A high school senior learns about defiance on a school bus and witnesses a tragedy that he won't soon forget. Six survivors in an underground bunker discuss the possibility of the apocalypse being an elaborate hoax. Brothers take a walk on the dark side of the wheat field and discover that some bonds are stronger than death. And in the title story, a former train conductor must confront the ghosts of his past while learning that it's not the dead who haunt the living but the other way around. Traversing the back roads of the south and beyond, these stories probe the boundaries of grief as well as imagination.
"Good, spare, bleak storytelling, and some haunting images that will stick with readers like the kid at the end of the road." - Publishers Weekly
"An awesome short story collection populated with characters whose bleak circumstances have set them on the road to nowhere, with the reader being a spectator on their journeys into despair and grief." - Horror DNA