A klaxon went off down in the engine room, making Hazel jump.  The Chief bellowed louder, but the noise always played like a bow across her heartstrings.  She knew that it meant that she was going to have to go in again.  She was the ‘boiler’s boy,’ a thankless, dirty, and dangerous job.  She thought the engineers knew she wasn’t really a boy, even though she kept her hair short and never acted like a girl.  If a boiler’s boy avoided falling or burning himself, when he grew up a little he became an apprentice.  She hoped they’d let her.

Advertisements