It was night and the train rumbled along the twin ribbons of rail that shined under the light of a pale moon. Suddenly the engineer applied the brakes but the long chain of cars took what seemed forever to finally squeel to a stop. After that there was no more noise. After awhile the baggage car man got up from his chair and walked to the side door unlocked it and slid it open. Listening all was quiet except for the intermittent hiss of air escaping from the car's air brakes. The moon dimly lit the rolling fields and trees scattered along the railway. Then off in the distance back toward the train's caboose was the sound of voices. The baggage man stepped down from the car and onto the rail bed then began to walk toward the voices. At a distance he saw three men standing around a form on the ground. As he got closer he saw it was a man stretched out on the gravel. The men had flashlights and their voices were strained and loud. The engineer, a fireman and a conductor were wrapping lengths of white bandages around the legs of the man that lay beside the rails. Both of his legs were missing below his knees and the men had finally been able to stop the flow of blood. No one knew why he was on the tracks at a road crossing but he had surely been run over by the train. They'd called 911 but the man was close to death. Too much blood had been lost between the time they first saw him on the rails and the heavy train could come to a stop. The wail of a siren began to faintly rise and fall from the far distance and it finally made it's way to the dark rural crossing. The ambulance emt's checked over the victim and one of them stood up and with a grim expression slowly shook his head back and forth. They placed the amputee onto a stretcher and then put him into the ambulance. The engineer had asked the baggage man to ride with the victim and accompany him to the hospital so he climbed in and made a seat beside the moaning man. The victim was in shock and periodically went into a paroxysm of violent shivering and saying how cold he was while throwing his head from side to side. The emt gave him something for pain but it had little effect. He was in shock from the trauma and loss of blood. In a voice filled with fear and pain he cried out to the baggage man. "Mister I'm afraid and I'm so cold please help me, it's so very dark here, why is it so dark?" The ambulance emt sat on his other side and kept checking the man's pulse and listening to his struggling heart beat. The speeding ambulance raced on through the night the siren wailing of another tragedy. "Can you please please help me" the victim moaned again. The baggage man replied "sir what can I do for you? How can I help you?" "Please pray for me if you can. Do you know how to pray to God?" Leaning over toward the man he said: "I'm sorry sir but I don't know too much. I've never been to church very much. Just a few times. The preacher I heard last time said that we have to ask God to forgive us of our sins." The wounded stranger was holding onto the baggage man with one shivering hand. He began to weep and said" it's getting darker and I'm so cold. But I ask God to please forgive my sins. Please God forgive me! I've been such a bad person. I've done so much wrong. Hurt so many people". He broke out again in spasms of violent shivering tossing back and forth. The baggage man answered back once more "there is something else that preacher told us. That we should ask for God to forgive us our sins in Jesus name. He said it was very important. That God only forgives sins if we ask in the name of Jesus. It was about the sacrifice and the blood that Jesus shed that was so important. That's what he said". The dying man had become quiet but listened as the good Samaritan spoke to him. His shivering wasn't as strong now but he still gripped the railroad man with one hand as if holding onto his life, only with lessening strength. His life was slipping away and he knew it. Repeating his prayer in a strained voice and sobs he said" oh God please forgive my sins and I ask you this in Jesus name. I don't want to die God" he cried out through tears "but I ask you to please forgive me. Jesus help me!" He was quiet for some time after he prayed and his breathing and pulse were erratic. He spoke again quietly after awhile saying "It's not so very dark now and I'm not as cold. Do you think God heard me? I think He heard me." Thank you for helping me. Thank you." "I'm sure he heard you sir. He must have heard you. That's what I believe God does is hear and answer our prayers". The baggage man had been thinking about prayers too as the desperate man cried out to God for his forgiveness. "it's lighter now, soon be sunrise" the baggage man half whispered. The poor injured man gave out one last loud breath and then was still. "He's gone now for sure" the emt said. "His heart just stopped." After a session of fruitless attempted heart compressions the two men just sat there quietly not saying anything. They both suddenly felt completely exhausted. The adrenalin rush was over and they felt it. The railroad man wished he could be anywhere else but there and the whole thing seemed as a very bad dream. In all his years he'd never seen anything like this. They soon arrived at the hospital. The siren had been shut off for miles. Shut off back at the place where death had taken the injured man. They had slowed their speed down too. No need to hurry now with no life hanging in the balance. Arriving at the hospital the baggage man was able to give a few details to the emergency room physician and then went to a waiting room to await his ride back to the rail station. I'm going to take the rest of the day off he thought to himself. I can't do this today. I don't want to think about this all day and try to work. As he sat down he noticed that he had some blood on his sleeve from the hand of the wounded man. He sat there alone in the waiting room in those wee hours with all that had gone on racing through his mind. Like a terrible movie the pictures kept playing over again and again. He put his face in his hands and began to quietly weep thinking of the man that was alive just a short time ago. Was he married? Did he have kids? Where did he come from? Why was he on the rails? He considered his own life and the prayers so intensely prayed to God by the dying man. How quickly a life was ended. He thought of his own wife and children and their lives. Everything seemed suddenly so important. Even though he was alone he whispered a prayer as if afraid someone else might hear. "Dear God please forgive my sins in Jesus name. I'm sorry God, I've been very wrong. I believe in you and know I need to change my life. I don't want to wait until the last minute to be forgiven so I ask you now for Jesus sake to forgive me, amen". We should start going to church the man thought after praying. The wife's been wanting us to go for a good while now. I'm sorry she had to plead with me. He didn't know how or why but he felt lightened. He'd seen or heard or felt nothing while praying, but something was different. This experience was a life changing one. His ride came after awhile and he asked his friend just to just drop him off at home and to tell his boss that he was taking off. After a night such as this it was high time for some big changes. He was sad about the death of the stranger but maybe God could help him with that. Learning to pray and reading the Bible were going to be a part of his everyday life from here on out he decided. He didn't want to approach death and not know how to pray. It seemed to him now to be the most important thing in the world.