Don’t Get On The Train

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“The old Number 6 used to run down this line,” Charlie told Chris as he was showing him around the woods while walking down the old rail line that had been half swallowed by time.

“Why’d it stop?”

Charlie stopped, took a deep breath and looked at the scrawny new kid, sizing him up. They were the same age, but Charlie was from the country and looked it. Thin and muscular, from ten years of wandering through the Hidden Woods. Chris was from the city. Years of video games and television left him with a few extra pounds and from his heavy breathing, very low stamina. It wasn’t as much the differences in size as much as differences in ability to handle the story. All the kids around here learn the story by the time they are five or six. It’s almost a rite of passage. Charlie took a deep breath, while Chris gave him the ‘well?’ look.

“Alright, I’ll tell ya the story, but you can’t blame me if ya can’t handle it.”

Chris laughed until he noticed Charlie wasn’t. They continued walking down the line until they came to a little shack in the middle of the woods. Charlie looked around for a log and flung it down in front of Chris, then Charlie sat on the ground between the shack and a wild blackberry bush.

“It was 1922,” Charlie began, picking a few ripe berries. “The train was packed with people coming back from a fancy party in New York. Well, the party continued on the train and everyone was having a great time. The music was so loud people heard the music long before they heard the train. People looked out their homes while the train passed, and everyone says the people inside were having a great time. People dancing, laughing, drinking. My grams called them flappers. Well, while the passengers were having a party, the engineer was too. He became drunk and didn’t notice the switchman who lived in this shack. The switchman was running up and down the line waving his lantern around like a mad man trying to get the train to stop, but the engineer thought he was a funny little guy and simply waved as they drove right by him.

“What happened?” Chris asked, gripping the end of his log.

“The Number 6 slammed into a tree that had fallen on the line down there,” Charlie said, pointing down the line. “Everyone died. People say you can still hear the train driving hard down the line on a clear night.”

“You’re foolin’ me,” Chris said.

“Says the guy that just moved here.”

Charlie huffed and started walking back down the trail. He was stupid for thinking Chris was ready to hear the story. Should’ve known he wouldn’t believe. But he will by tomorrow. What with Chris living in the old engineer’s house.

“Good luck tonight,” Charlie called as he left Chris at his house.

“How was your day?” Angela asked, pouring Chris a glass of milk as he washed his hands for dinner.

“Mom, the kids here are nuts! They actually believe this story about a stupid haunted train –”

“The Number 6.”

Chris gulped and stared at his mother. “How do you know about it?”

Angela laughed. “Did you forget I grew up here?”

“Oh, yeah. You don’t believe it, do you?”

Angela took a deep breath. She remembered being six years old when she met her great-grandfather on a cold October night when the Number 6 came through. She was woken by the sound of party music and laughter, then the screech of iron wheels slowing on the line. Outside her window, up on the hill, sat a large train with lots of passengers. She slipped her feet into her pink fuzzy slippers, climbed out her window, and ran up the hill.

“Hi, Angie! It’s nice to finally meet you,” the engineer said, helping her up the stairs.

Everyone one the train seemed to know her name and everything about her. She danced, laughed, and drank for what seemed like hours before she heard her mother and grandmother calling her name. She looked out the window and saw them running toward the train.

“You can stay if you like,” the engineer said, standing between her and the exit.

“YOU CAN’T HAVE HER, DADDY!” her grandmother screamed.

The engineer sighed and stepped aside. Angela bolted from the train into her family’s arms as the train disappeared. She saw the train many times after that, but always ignored the calls to come join the party.

Angela looked at Chris. “Yeah, I believe it. And you never go with that man. Or even set foot near that train if you ever do see it.”

Chris thought his mother had lost it. He didn’t believe in ghosts or any of that nonsense. The night passed, and no one spoke of the train again.

“Night, hun.”

“Night, Mom.”

It must have been well after midnight when Chris was stirred by the sound of light music. He rubbed his eyes, rolled over, and listened as the music grew louder. His mother was a hard sleeper, so it didn’t surprise him the she wasn’t knocking at his door to either turn it down. The music was soon joined by a screeching sound. The train. Chris grinned and jumped to his feet. No way was this possible. Charlie told the truth? His mom told the truth?  His mouth began drooling with adventure. As soon as the train rolled into view, Chris slipped on his Keds and crept out his window.

“Time to wake up! Got to get ready for school!” his mom called as she left her bedroom.

Silence filled the house.

“Chris? You up?” she asked, knocking on his door.

No answer.

She opened the door and found nothing but an empty room.


This was written for the new WATW Photo Challenge #1. Hope you enjoyed it!

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Worth A Thousand Words #1

Welcome to

Worth A Thousand Words

A new daily photo prompt


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Photo Credit: ejaugsburg @ pixabay.com

This challenge is different than many other challenges in that it aims to encourage longer stories. Use the photo prompt above to find your inner muse and set it free. No limits on word count, genre, rating, etc. Let your imagination run wild.

To participate, simply write a story for your blog and either link back directly to this page or post your link in the comments.

Please use WATW as a tag so that I can find your stories easily if the pingbacks don’t work, or you forget to post a link in the comments.

Remember, no word limit, the longer the better, read what other’s have written, and most of all, HAVE FUN!

 

Eight Hours!

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“And that is the last time,” Jacob began telling his wife over the phone. “I can’t believe they kept us sitting there for eight hours. EIGHT HOURS! What did I get for them wasting eight hours of my life? Nothing, Ellen, nothing! This is ridiculous. I am going straight down to the customer service desk…ha! did I say customer service? EasyJet wouldn’t know service if it came up, bit them in the nuts, and introduced itself! Ellen, I’m telling you I have never been so furious in my life! Don’t tell me to calm down! You weren’t there! You weren’t stuffed into the middle seat between two sumo wrestlers…no, wait, these guys made sumos look like swimsuit models! I don’t care if the pilot died mid-flight, the left engine fell off over Cleveland, and we landed on Lake Erie in the middle of December! They should have foreseen things like that happening! Once I figure out how to walk on water, you can sure bet I am going straight down to that service desk and demanding my money back.”


This short was written for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner  – 2018 Week #28 

That Wasn’t Funny

Sam and Kat were always the family jokesters. When the twins were five and didn’t want to go to school, they hid every calendar in the house thinking that’s what made the days change. Hey, they were five, cut them some slack. Then when they were eight, they rigged an string across the upstairs hall leading to the bathroom after everyone went to bed that was at the right height to catch their father, in well, I’ll let you take one guess. He dropped to his knees and cursed his children. Needless to say, their parents were not thrilled to have two jokesters in the house, but they had already hatched a plan.

It all started a month before the twins’ sixteenth birthday. Mom took the twins out to the mall by the car lot when she suddenly had the desire to go look around. Now, looking at new and used cars is something they would have expected from Dad, but Mom? Sam and Kat looked at each other and grinned. The following day the twins overheard Mom telling Dad about a the new Jeeps they just got in.

Dad started bringing home auto tool kits, car wax, repair manuals for a 2018 Jeep, and new steering wheels covers. Covers! Two covers! Sam and Kat were bursting inside by the day of their party. They went through the usual routine of swapping out the candles for sparkling ones that ruined the cake, played pranks on each other throughout the day, and waited to get their new Jeeps. They were sure they were getting new cars.

Dad handed each of them a small box. Sam and Kat looked at each other and their faces lit up. Small box. Key. Right size for a key. Sam opened his first and just stared. Kat was surprised by his reaction, and quickly open hers. The next two hours for the Nimble family were spent in the living room with Mom and Dad laughing themselves silly, Kat crying and screaming into the decorative pillow, and Sam trying to figure out why his parents would have given their sixteen year old a cut out of a paper Jeep.


This was inspired by the Three Things Challenge prompts: Jeep, knee, calendar