Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Snapshot Reveal: Fading Tracks

410 words. :) I was so afraid I'd gone over this time.

This post is in response to last week's Snapshot Prompt. Click on over to read more work inspired by the same photo and words. Or even (gasp) submit your own.


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Fading Tracks

Houston Skyline, from Old MKT Railroad Trestle over White Oak Bayou, near Studemont & I-10, Houston, Texas 0330090947BWRoger flickered into sight next to the overgrown rails. He frowned down at them a moment, kicking at the wild vegetable greens. His foot went right through.

These tracks used to run straight into the city, carrying folk from all over to come try their luck under 24 hour lights. Now the living just forgot them, forgot the importance of them, lost in their need for single-passenger cars, clogging up the highways and filling the air with that smoke--

"Good morning."

Roger's frown melted away as he turned to his fellow ghost.

"Well, hello there, Miss. Going somewhere special today?"

"I'm hoping," she said with a toothy smile. The girl had obviously been around a while, dressed in petticoats and layers of muslin, holding a little purse in a white-gloved hand.

"Did it take you a while to get here?" Roger asked politely. The woman's eyes widened.

"Oh, yes. I was tied pretty tightly to my place of death. Childbirth, you know," she whispered. Roger nodded solemnly before pulling out his silver pocket watch.

"Well, my dear, you won't have to wait much longer. The train is due in three minutes precisely."

"Oh, I'm so excited. Where does the train go, precisely? I'm not entirely sure ... " Her voice faded, her hands clutching her purse. Roger sent her a reassuring smile.

"Why, nearly anywhere in the Cosmos you would like to go." Her smile lit the world in that moment.

The wind carried a heavy note followed by a whistling breeze. Roger signaled the passenger to wait a moment. The breeze kicked up dirt and ruffled the vegetables  but didn't do anything to the two figures standing by as the iridescent train materialized before them.

The lady rushed up to the ladder, cheerily greeting the conductor who opened the door for her. She paused on the landing and looked down.

"Are you coming, sir?" Roger hesitated, sharing a glance with the conductor before he answered.

"Not today, Ma'am. Have a nice trip, now."

She didn't waste another moment, slipping onto the train and out of sight.

"You sure, Roger?" the conductor asked. "It's been a long time."

"One day," Roger challenged. "One day they'll remember the tracks. They'll need me, then." The conductor set his lips and nodded goodbye. The train engine pushed the air up again as it disappeared.

Roger sighed and shook his head, looking down at his pocket watch before tucking it away and fading out of sight.