February 27, 2018. Transcript of ABC7 News evening report.
DAN: “Strange news in the mountains, today, as locals in the town of Glenwood discovered that the abandoned railroad tunnel just north of town had been opened recently by some overeager explorers. But when the locals went to investigate, they discovered a grim sight. Natasha is live at the scene.”
NATASHA: “Thank you, Dan. Residents of the sleepy mountain town of Glenwood awoke to a strange scene this morning. An old tunnel, abandoned and sealed by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1942, was found reopened this morning by a man walking his dog. Gil Pennington, a local homeowner, noticed a Toyota Corolla parked near the tunnel yesterday afternoon. But when he saw it still here this morning, he investigated. He saw in the back seat a copy of Derek R. Whaley’s book, Santa Cruz Trains: Railroads of the Santa Cruz Mountains, and concluded that it must have been somebody searching for the tunnel. What Gil did not expect to find was the author and two of his friends dead just inside.”
GIL: “I climbed down into the gully where the portal is and noticed a small hole, maybe a yard square, cut into the tunnel near the top. I dropped off my dog at my house and grabbed a flashlight before heading back to the tunnel. As soon as I looked in, I saw the bodies on the floor far below....”
NATASHA: “Gil called the local fire department as soon as he discovered the bodies. Sheriff's deputies accompanied them to investigate the scene.”
SGT. MILLER: “This is a highly unusual case. There are three confirmed dead in the tunnel but the cause of death remains unknown. They were not attacked and the only signs of injury are minor wounds sustained from climbing into and attempting to climb out of the tunnel, as well as unusual burn marks on one of the bodies. The investigation is ongoing.”
NATASHA: “Fire crews have now extracted the bodies from the tunnel, although the hole had to be widened to permit crews to access the bodies.”
CAPT. FERNANDEZ: “The three individuals had to have crawled through the hole when they entered the tunnel. A pickaxe and shovels were found nearby. With all our gear, we had to enlarge the hole considerably, which also allowed more light into the tunnel. It has taken about three hours to remove the bodies. ”
NATASHA: “CalTrans plans to seal up the tunnel again, this time with concrete to ensure nobody else attempts to enter inside. Whaley, the only of the three bodies to be identified thus far, was a local historian investigating the history of the railroad lines in Santa Cruz County. Gil suggests that Whaley was following a new lead before his exploration ended tragically.”
GIL: “Derek was a frequent poster on his group on Facebook and announced just yesterday that he had discovered new information regarding the closure of the line in 1940. Although we never met in person, one of my photographs is in his book and we have talked online a number of times.”
NATASHA: “Just what did Whaley discover and was it worth his life? Fire and rescue crews working today did note strange sounds echoing in the tunnel while they extracted the bodies. We will have to wait, though, to find out what happened within the tunnel. This is Natasha Zouves reporting from Glenwood.”
OFF-CAMERA SOUNDS: [A steam whistle blowing nearby. Metal squealing on metal.]
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. While some elements may be based on historical fact, the events described are entirely the author's own creation.