Wednesday, 10 April 2013

A trip

Another Prompt time!

Write about a character going on a trip! Where are they going? Who are they seeing? Are they paying for a plane ticket with their April grocery money to avoid taking a bus (like I did), or are they ride sharing off Craigslist? How are they getting there? Be descriptive.
Do it in fewer than 1500 words.
And as always, tag us or submit.
I lost where this prompt came from for a while… but it turned out to be a tumblr page called writershelpers. Very neat and worth bookmarking or following. They have lots of great posts listing resources for writing. Stuff like how UK and US schools are different; mythic worlds, meaning of symbols etc.
A trip - 678 words. It went weird again. It must be me. *laughs at self*
The train carriage was about half full. One side had seats for two persons and the other side three. People usually spread out on the wider seats. They sat at each end with a person-sized gap in the middle. But they often put their bags next to them to discourage anyone from actually having the nerve to expect to sit down there. As the train approached the city it got fuller; but people congregated at the exits, rather than moved into the carriage.
The whole train was using mobile devices; phones, laptops, music players and iPads. Not one person was looking out the window… other than her.
She watched the houses go past and remembered how she had grown up in a house almost as close to the railway line as these were. You got used to the noise and you didn’t hear the trains unless you were listening for them. She learnt to tell the time by the train timetable. ‘Oh, that’s the eight minutes to train. I’m late.’ But that was when trains were more often on time than not.
She saw his reflection in the window. He looked lost and panicked. She turned around hurriedly to ask if he needed help, but he wasn’t there.
She stood up a little to see if he had sat down on a seat or something… but, no.
She sat again; feeling odd and bemused. She looked at her own hands. She was most definitely there.
And so was he.
The movement caught her eye. He was waving at her frantically; clearly overjoyed that someone could see him.
No one else on the train seemed to notice her or him.
Having learnt not to try and look for him directly, she looked out the window and unfocused her eyes a little. There he was. She mouthed at the reflection of him, ‘Are you okay?’
He shook his head.
He looked about fifteen. He wore the ubiquitous uniform of hoodie and low hung jeans. A cap was stuffed into his back pocket.
He mouthed something else.
She thought it might have been ‘help’.
‘How?’ she asked silently.
He shrugged.
Yeah, she didn’t know either. She made a perplexed face.
She motioned at the steps leading up to the door. ‘Can you get off?’ she asked.
Another head shake.
The disembodied voice announced the next stop in a mumbled message. It was her stop.
She bit her lip.
‘This is my stop,’ she told him. ‘Hold my hand?’ She shuffled to the aisle end of her seat, ready to stand. She held out her very real; very solid hand and waited.
He looked unsure but clearly desperate.
She waved her fingers a little.
She saw him take a breath and then try to hold her hand.
It felt as if she had suddenly plunged her hand into a bucket of iced water. She held on, though. She waited for people to stand and move up the aisle until she was last and very carefully, without jostling others, she stepped deliberately towards the stairs; her hand behind her back.
The doors opened with their standard warning noise and a hiss of released gas. The sunlight flooded in as people flooded out. She fought her way up the stairs, dragging his weight behind her. It felt like rescuing someone who was drowning in the surf. The second she stepped onto the platform she felt the pressure ease. She was grounded now and she yanked him after her.
As his weight disappeared, she lost her balance and fell on her ass on the tiled platform.
She heard his amused chuckle.
“Jeez. Say thank you why don’t you,” she grumbled. She had actually said that out loud. She got an odd glance from an old lady who shuffled slowly past, intent on the exit stairs.
“Thank you,” he whispered in her ear. She felt the icy touch of lips against the side of her head and then he was gone.
She picked herself up and dusted her ass off and went on with her day.
© AM Gray 2013

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