August 3, 2004, Category: Short Stories

Have you ever been hit by a train? My guess is, Yes. It can be brutal and life changing. I wrote this after one of my own train wrecks.

Sleek Black Train

14530434_sThe sleek black train did not thunder down the tracks. It sped silently and secretly as it rushed to an unknown place. It had traveled long and far…and I stood in its path, clueless. Cold metal slammed against my back, flipping me onto my chest and plastering me against the front of the large engine. Through the windshield, I saw the conductor concentrating on the road ahead; trying to see around my body and through the bloody streaks on the glass. I slid up, smearing blood, until I flew into the air. Below, the train continued to rage ahead to an unknown destination.

I don’t know how much time passed. I woke to my body in a mangled contorted heap on hard ground. I didn’t move or open my eyes. I simply acknowledged the strange sensation of my arms and legs twisted into a mess. Cold mud cooled the right side of my face and I wondered if I was dead. I couldn’t imagine surviving such a horrible ordeal. Slowly, I opened my eyes. The light was dim and with my face pressed to the ground, all I saw were blades of grass and mud. I moved my fingers but it hurt. I closed my eyes again, deciding it was better to stay still. Perhaps it was also better not to see the damage to my body. I went back to sleep.

Time passed, although I don’t know how much, and I woke again and opened my eyes. The same blades of grass greeted me. This time I didn’t try to move my fingers. I didn’t move my eyes either. Instead, I stared blankly as I took long and deep breaths. The air was like a drug. With each breath my head felt lighter. My body floated as I continued to inhale deeply…and soon, I fell asleep.

The third time I opened my eyes, I looked around. I was in the middle of a strange field. I carefully unhooked my arm from around my left leg. With extreme effort, I pushed myself onto my elbows and rolled onto my back and extended my legs. I was exhausted. Flat on my back in the mud, I closed my eyes and again focused on breathing.

My body ached for months. While awake, I replayed the scene in my mind over and over. I tried to change the outcome. I tried to figure out why the conductor ran me over. I failed at both. When I slept, I forgot about the field and was once again walking down my old path. But then I awoke and the pain was there to remind me that my life had become a horrible nightmare.

I cursed myself for walking that damned path. I cursed the conductor and her complete disregard for anything but her unknown destination. I wondered about the train; how far had it had traveled and where it had gone? I tried to discern and understand…but it was impossible. I didn’t have enough pieces of the puzzle and I cried in frustration, agony, and anger. I cried for help. I cried until I was exhausted…and then I slept.

I hoped somebody would see me lying in the field, come to my aid, and carry me to safety. But nobody came. I swore, thought, ached, cried, and slept…but I didn’t move for a very long time.

Much time has passed and I now sit taller in this strange field. I am growing slowly and cautiously. My body still aches and sometimes my soul still curses. At night I still feel cold and lonely but there are also times when a sweet melody from birds singing in my branches make me smile. And there are even times I see the beauty around me and I am happy to be in this new land.

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