I Dream of Trains

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cloud-walker2 8/14/2014 (Thu) 23:17:47 #54118855

There is a set of train tracks that runs through my hometown. The tracks only go over one road. Next to the tracks there is a bank. In front of the bank is a bench.


I miss it.

Back in high school, a couple of my friends and I liked to visit that bench when we went on late night walks. The entire town was still and quiet, empty and inviting, an end on the edge of becoming a beginning.

We'd usually end up at that bench in front of the bank beside the tracks. We would sit there for a while talking about nothing and then resume our wandering.

One night while we sat on the bench we saw a man walking along the tracks toward us.

While we discussed whether or not to vacate our bench, the sound of the train horn started to roll toward us.

I liked the sound of trains passing by.

The rattle of the metal wheels against the metal tracks. The whooshing of air as it moved out of the train's way. Those sounds let me know that what was going to happen next was something familiar.

The noise was getting closer. He just stood there on the tracks.

Watching us watch him.

My safe noises were getting louder and louder.

Then without a moment’s hesitation, the train obliterated him.

The sound of someone turning into a paste rings in your ear for a while. I could feel his tissues pulling away from his bones while they snapped apart.

That was the last time we went on a late night walk.

The air was the same, the tracks were the same, the town was the same. But now all of the good was buried beneath a nightmare. We wouldn't be able to go back with those sights and sounds lodged in our skulls.

James went home.

David and I went back to his house, smoked some weed, and played on his Xbox for a few more hours trying to forget and went to bed.

In the morning we woke up to heavy knocking at the front door. David's dad answered the door. The cops told him that they needed to talk to us.

They told us that the conductor called saying that he hit someone, but they couldn't find the body. The bank's ATM camera showed us walking toward the tracks shortly before it happened, but the tracks were out of frame so they couldn't see where the body went.

We told them everything that I just told you.

Then they said that they went to James' house first, but James’ parents said that he didn't come home last night. No one knew where he was. They wanted to know if we knew.

We did.

I’ve never told any one this before, but there was no random man. That was the lie that David and I would tell the cop and everyone else about what happened.

In truth while we were on the bench, James got quiet. He walked out onto the tracks in front of the train. Then our best friend was gone.

We didn’t tell anyone because we thought that everyone would think we killed him. James was a good kid. He was my first friend in high school. He gave me a sense of comfort and kindness. No one would think that the we were telling the truth, so the truth stayed between us.

They never actually found his body, or any parts of it. His funeral had an empty casket. Each of us felt like we were walking through a void that day, and for a long time after.

I spent less and less time with David. Every time that we were together I could only think about James and that night. I’d hear the rattling and the pop.

My soul had a hole in it that I knew would never be filled, so I tried to pave it over as best I could. I went to school, got a degree, and now I am an engineer. I got a nice girlfriend and an okay apartment.

But that hole is still there. I can feel the edges of it buried beneath new memories.

Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of that night. The night my naivety got wrapped up in scar tissue and thrown away.

I commemorated it by going back to the bench in front of the bank beside the tracks.

I wanted to try and see if I could poke a hole through the scar to let a little bit of joy out. I tried to remember some of the good times we had in high school. Three friends that were there for one another, that loved one another.

I went over to the tracks. I walked down them a ways from the road to leave behind a note and some flowers for James. Corny, but I didn’t know what else to do.

When I got there it wasn't that late, around 11, and it was a little rainy, but not too much, and it was dark, but I could still down the tracks.

I set the flowers down and planted a cross with my note by the tracks a little bit off of the road.

The tracks started to vibrate so I started to walk back toward the road.

Silent stillness filled the air around me that the train was soon to take away.

I looked back and the bench beside the tracks in front of the bank was now occupied.

An outline of a memory sat there.

No part of me felt real. His eyes locked onto mine.

The rattling grew louder.

I couldn't move. The world became a dream.

He walked toward me and I was frozen.

The whooshing grew louder.

The horn blasted.

I was frozen.

He shoved me.

I fell beside the tracks only to hear him fall apart again.

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