In two minutes’ time No. 7 train was due. “Oh, Lord! Have pity on innocent souls!” In his mind Semyon saw the engine strike against the loosened rail with its left wheel, shiver, careen, tear up and splinter the sleepers and just there, there was a curve and the embankment seventy feet high, down which the engine would topple and the third-class carriages would be packed… little children… All sitting in the train now, never dreaming of danger. “Oh, Lord! Tell me what to do! … No, it is impossible to run to the hut and get back in time.”
Semyon did not run on to the hut, but turned back and ran faster than before. He was running almost mechanically, blindly; he did not know himself what was to happen. He ran as far as the rail which had been pulled up; his sticks were lying in a heap. He bent down, seized one without knowing why, and ran on farther. It seemed to him the train was already coming.
Strength was exhausted
He heard the distant whistle; he heard the quiet, even tremor of the rails; but his strength was exhausted, he could run no farther, and came to a halt about six hundred feet from the awful spot. Then an idea came into his head, literally like a ray of light. Pulling off his cap, he took out of it a cotton scarf, drew his knife out of the upper part of his boot, and crossed himself, muttering, “God bless me. I tore up a rail!”