Your last journey

Submitted into Contest #168 in response to: Start your story with someone looking out a train window.... view prompt

18 comments

Friendship Sad

This story contains themes or mentions of suicide or self harm.

I wish I could tell them to stop worrying now, because this really is quite nice. It’s more peaceful, it’s more me, I think whilst staring out the recently cleaned window at mountain peaks coated in mist and marshmallow clouds. They all cried when I died, those great big sobs that seem to take over your whole body and I guess it was nice in a selfish sort of way to know that I’ll be missed but it still felt like all the veins in my heart were being pulled opposite ways to see them so upset. Heartbroken was the word mum had used.

The train glides seamlessly across the tracks, a smooth ride in a metallic carriage painted white and lined with gold. It’s warm in here but not stuffy, cosy warm like when you’re wrapped in blankets and there’s a fire going, the heat licking your toes.

I’m also not alone in here. Across from me is the elderly man in a suede jacket with elbow patches and he seems very content staring out his window, I wonder what he sees. Two rows over is a young girl in a nightdress with one of those hospital tubes going into her nose. She too seems relaxed like the weight of the world has been lifted from those fragile shoulders. I wish I could tell them all to stop worrying and crying and grieving now because me, the man and the girl really are all okay.

You’re probably wondering what I look like, you need that to be able to picture me. Think brunette hair, but not quite brunette because it has a tinge of dark purple softened into the sea of brown strands. Green eyes, again not purely green but with tiny flecks of yellow, brown, grey. My thick soled doc marten boots cross over one another on the matt white floor, their signature yellow stitching crawling round their edges. My lashes are thick, but I wish they were longer. And my body is swamped in faux leather leggings with zips where pockets should be, my top half in a biker jacket sat comfortably around my shoulders.

Now you can picture me, picture what I see. Staring out the window, my body leaning on the side of the carriage, scenery untouched by human hands stroll past. Smoky grey clouds break away from each other and begin to pour with rain that pelts at the windows and treks paths down the doors. Their droplets mesmerising to watch as the sound is therapeutic enough to send you to sleep. Beyond the rain and the greyness is a pure stark white. White snow and white ice and white capped mountains with their crevices and cliff faces. I think that’s a goat on one. And there’s trees over there, pine ones that you can chop down and put next to mantelpieces and adorn with Christmas lights. It’s hypnotic in its beauty.

The elderly man is smiling, ‘you okay dear?’

‘Peaceful.’ I speak slowly.

‘Good, that’s good.’

I know what they say about me, I’ve heard the rumour mill but it’s not true. I didn’t step in front of that train purposefully and yes; I know I was being treated for PTSD and yes, I know I wrote in my navy leather bound journal that I was going too but I wasn’t really. I just wrote that because it helped me to know that I wasn’t trapped in that life and there was a way out if I wanted to take it. But I didn’t. I felt cold fingers press into my back and push forward with the surge of early morning commuters and suddenly I was falling, my hair whipping into knots and hitting my face. There was a train, not like this train but a green one going straight through London and then I was a part of it, laying against its front window. So, I do know what they say about me, ‘a tragedy.’ But it’s not that cut and dry, if they looked at the top of my back, they’d see a few fingerprint sized bruises. Yellow and purple and hints of blue.

They’ve taken the crime scene tape down by now, cleaned the railway tracks and the trains are running as usual again. And the train pusher will still be stood on the platform, blending in with other passengers who ride London transport, and waiting for the next victim. I want someone to notice those bruises but let’s be honest, I was pretty cut up. A few bruises placed close together on my back aren’t really anything to take notice of. I think they were more worried about the remaining passengers and the driver who will never drive a train again. I was gone, not worth worrying about so now it was time for the ones left behind to be worried over. They were never crying for me. They were crying for themselves for they knew I was in a better place and they had been left behind.

‘You think they’re crying for me?’ The little girl asks, her voice surprisingly strong as she comes to sit beside me.

‘I think they’re thinking of you.’ The elderly man winks and I’m glad he answers because how do you tell a girl that yes, they are most likely torn apart.

‘Why are we the only three here?’

‘We’re the only ones to go today I guess.’ I thought for a moment. ‘Or they knew how well we’d get on.’ I picked up her small hand and squeezed. She squeezed back.

‘what’s your name?’ She asks, looking up at me with big round eyes, a sparkling blue colour.

I opened my mouth and paused.

‘It’s okay dear, I can’t remember either.’ The man smiled and his eyes creased at the corners.

‘Nor can I.’ The little girl stood to look out the window. ‘Should we choose new ones?’ She turned round to face us again, her round face lit up with excitement.

‘What a lovely idea.’ The man smiled warmly. ‘But choose good because it’ll be yours forever.’

‘Lilia.’

‘Hello Lilia, lovely to meet you. I think I’ll go with Edward.’

‘That’s an old man name.’ Lilia wrinkled up her nose.

‘I am an old man.’ He chuckled like my grandad used to it. ‘It means protector.’

‘Ember…it means smoke.’ I said with a sense of serenity.

‘Smoke, lilies and protector. What a group we are.’ Edward raised his hand in a mock toast. ‘To eternity.’

‘To eternity.’ We raised our empty hands too. And then we let silence fall. We had forever to get to know each other but for now we had our names and for now that is enough.

The sun is just beginning to set. I’ve never noticed how beautiful sunsets are before. All that orange and pink streaking across the sky and bending down to meet the ice topped mountains.

I guess it’s a good thing I like the view, we will be on this train for eternity now, forever gracefully gliding through mountains, clouds and endless sky. It’s not a fancy train, it doesn’t have everything you’d expect to need for an eternal train ride with no stops, but it is clean, and we are content.

October 17, 2022 13:15

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18 comments

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07:16 Nov 24, 2022

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Diana Mecca
07:16 Nov 24, 2022

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Diana Mecca
07:16 Nov 24, 2022

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Charlie Murphy
01:31 Oct 29, 2022

Wonderful story. But how do they know they will be on the train forever?

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Jennifer Cameron
20:26 Oct 30, 2022

Thank you :) they’ve died so it was just a different interpretation of what could come afterwards, instead of a heaven or hell it was an eternal train ride. I guess maybe they shouldn’t have known

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Charlie Murphy
20:36 Oct 30, 2022

Or they could be in eternal limbo. Can you read my story, A Squirrelly Halloween?

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Olive Silirus
01:10 Oct 28, 2022

Sweet, sad, but also hopeful. I really enjoyed reading it. Just wondering: was she murdered or did she really commit suicide?

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Jennifer Cameron
20:25 Oct 30, 2022

I was veering towards murder but one of my friends read it and said she took it to mean that she’d committed suicide and the hands pushing her were metaphorical and symbolised her feeling like she had too if that makes sense but I loved that interpretation of it.

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20:23 Oct 26, 2022

Well done, Jennifer. Your prose is excellent. This story is warm and cozy with a dark tinge. Perfect for October! Nice work!

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Jennifer Cameron
20:24 Oct 30, 2022

Thank you :)

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Daniel Allen
11:26 Oct 26, 2022

This was an awesome read. A beautifully written piece that somehow managed to be both haunting and heart-warming at the same time. Great job!

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Jennifer Cameron
20:24 Oct 30, 2022

Thank you, I really appreciate this

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Carrie Sheldrake
14:51 Oct 24, 2022

Wow this was amazing, such an interesting concept and beautifully written :)

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Jennifer Cameron
06:52 Oct 25, 2022

Thank you so much :)

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