Teens & Young Adult Adventure Coming of Age

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

Black smoke fills the air. Squeeks of the brakes shut out the sound of the world. My heart throbs. This is the moment I had been waiting for, my independence. I am finally taking the train to Chicago. My stomach is in knots. I am so excited for the adventure ahead but scare to travel on my own. I Graduated from high school last week, and this is my first taste of freedom. 

I have done everything by the rule book straight-A student, Cheerleader, homecoming queen, valedictorian, and so on. I feel like I have been living out everyone else’s dreams but my own. Not today! Today I am going to be free!

My parents begged me not to go by myself. They told me that Chicago is not a place I should travel alone and that I should at least take a friend. I will show them, I am old enough to take care of myself I am eighteen, and I am an adult. 

I look up and I can not believe my luck. A man in his early twenties with large puppy dog brown eyes. Stands beside my seat.

“Is anyone sitting here?” The man asks.

My trip has just become even more exciting!

“No it’s open for you,”  I said as  I fix my hair. Hating myself for the dumb thing I just said.  

“Thank you, I am James,” he said as he slid into the seat next to me. His cologne fills the air around me. Damn, he smells so good. My heart thumps, and my insides scream!  I knew this trip is going to be amazing. 

“I am Abby’, I smile back.

My mind started to wander. I see James and I at the Navy pier riding the Ferris wheel close together.  After we get off the Ferris wheel we hold hands as he leads me to the restaurant bubba gumps. It is a magical night. We sit on the beach with his strong arms around me so tight, the perfect night. I glance back to James. Quickly to get another look at his scuffle face, and dark brown hair. Why didn’t the boys in my high school look like him? The school would have been so much more entertaining. 

“So what is bringing you to Chicago,” he asked. 

“I am just doing a little sightseeing, how about you?” Oh my God, I just want to jump up and down, he was actually making small talk with me, but I kept my cool on the outside. 

“I am going to Chicago for business. I need to fix a machine that is not working. He smiles back at me. 

The man over the PA comes on saying “All aboard.” I feel butterflies in my stomach as the whistle blows. The whistle blows again. The grinding of the wheels screeches,  I cover my ears to help block out the sound. My body jerks back as the train move forward. 

“Here we go,” I proclaimed.

We sped by the railroad crossing as cars lines up to wait for us to pass, I see deer out in the distance in the field as they feed on the grains. The ride feels so peaceful. I hesitate to put my earbuds in. What if James wants to talk? Soon James pulls out his laptop and starts working. My heart sank as I turn on my music.

Screeching came from the wheels my body moves forward rapidly. We came to a complete stop. I promptly took my earbuds out of my ears. “What is going on?” I ask.

“I am not sure,” Says James. 

A man on the PA calls overhead. “We are having issues so we might have a delay. I wonder what is happening. I put my earbuds back in my ears as I look out my window. That is when I knew what the delay was. 

Bright red blood covers the side of the tracks. A little way from the tracks lies a bloody shoe with white pieces sticking out the top of the Nike shoe, I am assuming a human bone. I feel like I am going to be sick. I quickly took off my earbuds. 

“My god we hit someone!” I scream.

I feel the heat of James' body over mine as he looks out the window. He pulls down the shade and sits back down, saying nothing. The other passengers on the train start talking,  many are crying, and some screaming. My mind keep replaying what I had just seen out my window.

From a distance, I can hear sirens. The only thing that runs through my head is you're too late, he's dead. The sirens stop. I feel afraid but curious, what happens when a body is destroyed? I peek out the side of my blind. A black body bag lays on the stretcher. A blue blanket has now been placed on the ground to cover the bloody shoe. A cop holding a tape measure, he shakes his head yes toward another man. The other man slides his white gloves on, rolls the shoe into the blue blanket, and places the shoe into the body bag. 

I quickly shut the blinds, I could not handle seeing anymore. I just want to go home. Several hours later a new voice came on the PA all aboard, the train whistles three times, and I feel the jerk as my body crashes against my seat.

Chicago at last. I walk off the train and into a beautiful cathedral-ceiling building. My body is still shaking from the traumatic experience we just had today.  The day is turning to night.  I had not planned on spending the night in Chicago. My trip was supposed to be just a day trip but I decided after this crazy day to spend the night. I want a hotel close to the train station. I thought I would go sightseeing tomorrow morning.  I had all I could take for one day.

I walk down the road to find a hotel. I soon realize Chicago is nothing like Glendale the small town where I am born and raised. I came upon a man who is stretched out on the bench he has newspapers covering him like a blanket, and I walk quickly past him. A  few minutes later a woman came out of nowhere. “Do you have a dollar I can have?” she asks as her tongue slipped out of her mouth with each word, I look a little closer and notice all of her teeth are gone. 

“No, I don’t have any money.” I feel so bad for lying but I just want to get to the nearest hotel. I walk a little farther, and a lady walks up to me. Standing two inches from my face she just stares at me. I start shaking, wondering what she was going to do to me. When she looks at me her black eyes are like looking at an empty soul. She walks around me like I am her prey, she is getting ready to go in for the attack. As soon as she went behind me I took off running, I run as fast as I can to get back to the train station. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to get back on the train. I didn’t want to stay in Chicago. I just want to be safe again, I want to be home in my own house.  I did the only thing I know to do. I reach into my pocket and pull out my cell phone.

“Dad, can you please come and get me? I had the most terrifying day ever.. See you soon.” tears rolled down my cheeks. I hung up the phone. I sat inside by the ticket booth in the train station waiting. My mom and dad walks inside, I ran up to each of them and gave each a  Hug as I sob and cry.

“Mom, can you please sit in the backseat with me and just snuggle,” I asked, as she wipes my tears away.

“Sure, I love you, my baby girl.” My mom says while holding me tight.

I might have graduated and I feel ready to go out on my own,  but I think I am going to stay young for a  while longer. Where I know I am safe and warm.

October 19, 2022 17:10

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Milena Todorova
04:58 Oct 27, 2022

I felt the tension in your story. And I felt the longing for freedom, the horror if facing it unprepared and the warmth of having the safe back-home. Congratulations on your smooth and easygoing style! It was a pleasure reading! I would allow myself just something small: the present and past tenses were a bit mixed and slightly confused me. Also you could use James a little more in the plot - he seemed nice:) I am eager to read your next story!


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Abdulsamad Jimoh
23:08 Oct 23, 2022

This is a beautiful work. Keep it up 👍


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