“Papa, look there.
That poor fool must have stepped off by mistake. No one comes here by choice. He doesn’t even have the sense to wear a hat.” She grinned, turning to her father. He liked to make sport of newcomers.
The old man’s face had paled to ash, his eyes wide. “He never did. Never wore one,” he whispered. He closed his eyes and leaned to his weaker side, staggering one step.
“Papa?” Rachel gripped his arm. “Who do you mean?”
Her father took a wavering breath and squinted toward the train, easing his head up from his rounded shoulders like a tortoise from its shell. “Him.”
“Who, Papa?” Still holding him steady, Rachel swung her gaze back toward the train.
The man had cleared the mist and steam. He strode toward the platform, a worn saddlebag over one shoulder. He paused at the base of the steps and lifted his face, dark eyes glaring out of a sun-browned face, shoulder-long black hair hanging lank in the stillness of the morning. As he mounted the steps, a strange notion took hold of Rachel. Whoever he was, he was walking into her life out of a dream, though a dream she didn’t recall ever having.
She brought her father close behind her. Now the length of the platform stretched between them and the man who just kept coming.
“He seems familiar, but…”
“He’s back,” Matthew Logan’s voice was low. “Oh, Lord God, he’s bringing it with him. The trouble, the sorrow…”