The blistering cold numbed my eyes as I stumbled through the biting snow, dragging a dull, faded suitcase
overloaded with necessities behind me, leaving a train in the deadly, ice snow.
"All abroad!" a man in a bright red suit, a funny red hat and an equally crimson nose called, his voice straining
to be heard over the howling wind.
I struggled up to him and handed over my ticket, which was faded from sweat, tears and the bitter snow. Then
man, whom I safely assumed was the train conductor, glanced briefly at the ticket, then smiled at me slightly.
"Terrible morning isn't it?" he commented. I did not reply. "In for a long ride, I see!" he added when he saw my
ticket. I gave no response as I checked my heavy bag. He beamed wider as he said, "Welcome aboard the Windows
I tried to smile back, but my scarf was bundled around my nose and my mouth, so I nodded instead. "Thank
you." My voice was barely audible over the gusty breeze as I stepped off the platform and boarded the train. The
front compartment was crowded, packed like sardines. I squeezed past the numerous bodies to get to the next train
car, which was where I was to be seated. Even though the warmth there was comforting, I hoped it was not too
stuffy in my car.
I finally broke free from the crowd, swinging the car door open and entering a considerably cooler car. I
removed my scarf from my face. My skin was raw with cold, but I barely felt it. I glanced around. This car was
deserted, the seats along its aisle empty. I checked the number of compartment I had been assigned then opened
the door to it. There was a small bunk bed in the corner, with a little closed off area I guessed was the bunk. I
glanced out the single window, but there was nothing to be seen through the fog and slat than plummeted so hard
against the glass it felt like hail. Feeling slightly claustrophobic in the narrow compartment, I briskly threw off my
jacket and exited, walking back into the aisle. I noticed a door at the back of the car and decided to check it out. I
made my way down the aisle and slid the door open.
It led into the next car. This one did not have seats, but little booths lined up neatly along either side. There
was a bellboy near the back, tending to a little refreshment stand. His eyes were bored, even as he attempted to
greet me pleasantly. "Hello, ma'am, welcome to the lounge. Would you like anything? Some pie, perhaps, or a cup
Uninterested, I declined politely, just as another door caught my eye. Without thinking, I flung it open. There
was nothing in the room except a door with a window fixed into it, and a shiny red handle. "This is where you'll be
disembarking," the bellboy informed me. "That there's the emergency brake," he added, pointing at the handle.
"You're perfectly welcome to pull that at any time."
Taken aback, I spluttered on my Coke. "What? I wouldn't. That's ridiculous. Then how will I get to where I am
going?" I demanded incredulously.
The bellboy shrugged. "Sometimes you can't rely on trains to get you to where you want to go."
I stared openly at him. Quickly dismissing him as crazy, I turned away and hastily returned to my
compartment. Once safely inside, I lay on my bed, thinking to myself about my destination, a place I had never
been and a face I had not seen for so many years it hurt to think about it. Flashbacks began to attack my once-
peaceful mind, invading my would be calm pondering. At four years old, my hands pressed tightly over my ears,
trying in vain to block out the sounds of heated arguments over nothing. Seven years old, an empty bottle crashing over my head as I tried to escape the debris of broken plates. Thirteen years, bruises covering my face, blood on my hands, a broken ankle, pain...
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