It was a dark morning, the smoky factories releasing gas like a breath too heavy to keep in. It made a light fog across the whole area, the smaller buildings obscured from view.

The mighty skyscrapers still show their light and pointy ends that dare to touch the sky with the threat of lightning.

The colors of the city are always dull unless you find your way to a club or a graffiti alleyway.

I watch the scenery zoom past, like panels in one of those old mickey animations. Someone in the booth in front of me was whistling so it made the experience almost make it feel as if we were actually in a scene of Steamboat Willie. I sigh, though I can’t hear myself over the constant chatter of all those in the crowded car of the train. I heard a baby’s cry, a wheezing cough. A group laughing, a child complaining, an angry old man’s grunt of disapproval. But above all, I heard the rumble of the train’s wheels on the track. Bu-bu-bum-bu-bu-bum. 

It was a rhythm, one I wasn’t too fond of either.

Work was still a thirty minute ride. You’d think it’d be easy to find a job close-ish to your home in the city. There are so many buildings to apply at. But you also have to consider the amount of people. Thousands upon thousands. 

I work at an office.

Same drab room all day, doing the same damn thing hour after hour. I like routine, but after about twenty years it starts to get awfully boring. I feel like it has turned me awfully boring. I didn’t think I'd be able to go to work today regardless. My boss even offered if I needed a few days off. He was usually a strict character, wanting work to be done, no slackers allowed. He even told me he would still pay me. He never obliged to such a thing, called it bull. Said you shouldn’t get money for doing nothing. I guess my circumstance was...unique. Some say tragic. The event happened two months ago and the full blown reality of it decided to just now register. Made me break down in the middle of typing on my computer yesterday. Every single person in that office heard me scream as I tried to pull each strand of hair off my head. Humiliating. As the shy character I am, I like to stay away from attention and gossip. Hell, I can only dream of a normal, quiet life now. One where I could have avoided people’s stares and false accusations. 

My breath was steady, mind clear. I intend to fully forget the incident. I’d rather not be consumed by it. But the memory will sometimes creep it’s way into my mind like a snake’s venom finally setting into my veins and to my brain. I push it away again as it decides to try the same trick for the fifth time this morning. I don’t like letting emotions have a visual effect on me. I bury it deep and swallow my grief with a small white pill. 

I know, it’s a bad, unhealthy habit. But I can’t seem to find any other way to stomach the fact of the matter. The way life seems to slowly creep out of you day by day as you get hit by truck after damn truck. The way life seems to love death in a way that leads to its ultimate undoing. The way life takes away everything that's yours so that you have no real purpose and are no longer alive but just an empty body that somehow stays upright as its insides fail into many broken pieces. 

I look back out the dust-tinted windows. 

I see cars lined up as far as the naked eye can see. They go all the way into the depth of the sea of buildings, disappearing around a bend and appearing over another one further out. I watch as the level crossing beeps red and a car has to stop, the others in line hitting the brakes like dominoes.


Always so treacherous in a large city like this.

The guy in the first car looks pissed.

Another thing about large cities like this one.

People have almost no patience.

I chuckle a little. 

My exit finally comes into view.

Hurrah, another horrid day at same old, same old work.

I sigh as the high whistle alerts passengers of a stop.

I’m about to get up when a beautiful monarch lands on my window. It beats its wings like the pulse of the heart. I’m transfixed by its natural beauty. 

I don’t know but all of a sudden I feel the urge to just ride the train on and see where it takes me. 

I shake my head. What a rancid idea.

The butterfly is still there and I place a finger against the glass. 

To my surprise and ultimate delight it follows my hand and rests above my finger, only the thick slab between us, separating our touch.

Hell, why not?

I sit back as the train whistles once more, starting to move again.

I smile despite myself.


My interest is piqued as is my curiosity.

Where will I go?

Though my brain still tries to convince me how rogue this plan is, how mad.

My heart prevails and I continue on the journey.

The city is a speck in the distance. The cloud hovering over it no longer above me.

Soon, the train is no longer crowded, just me and two other parties. 

A little girl looks back at my seat with a doll in her hand.

It’s small and dirty but I can tell how much she loves it. She lifts the doll’s limp arm as a wave in my direction. I wave back. She smiles.

I ache inside.

The hospital.

They were taken away from me.


I look away, not wanting the memory to resurface.

I take deep breaths, an attempt to clear my mind.

This actually just puts me in a sleepy spell and soon I find myself drifting off.


When I awoke, no one else was in the train car.

I must be the only one left.

My semi-adventure would soon end.

The train screeches to its last stop and I stand.

My foot’s asleep and I try to shake out the tingling feeling as I walk to the exit.

“Oh! Pardon me, Miss. I hadn’t realized there was anyone else on the train,” said the conductor.

I politely nodded and went out the doors.

I was met with….


I don’t know how long I rode on, but I was far from the city I so loathed.

I was in a field of green. Occasional red and yellow flowers dotting the seemingly never ending landscape.

Mountains were a faint blue in the distance, some turning purple.

Clear blue skies, clear fresh air, clear floral aroma.

It was all wonderful.

I would have brought my children here, I would have let them see this magnificent expanse of freedom and vibrant color.

My children.

I stood stock still but the tears found a way to continue to move.

Move down my cheeks.

Down my face.

Down my now-empty stomach.

A butterfly that looked very much like the one I had seen earlier landed softly on my chest.

Bringing in the grief of that night.


She was going into labor.

Contractions and cramps shot up her waist and through her spine.

The doctor assisted her frantic body in a wheelchair, racing to an empty room.

They gave her doses of whatever it was that was supposed to numb the pain. 

In her opinion, they didn’t work very well.

It was time.

But when the baby came into this world, she was silent.

No cry.

No noise.

No breath.

No nothing.

The mother started to panic.

Why was her baby silent?

Was her baby ok?

She demanded to see her but the doctors had to rush her newborn to the emergency room.

The mother couldn’t do or say anything to get her baby back as another surge of pain came and she was once again asked to push.

Another baby.


This baby was crying.

But this baby was also blue.

The mother was tear-stricken as her son was also taken away to be cared for.

The mother burst in emotion, not only from the birthing experience, but from the fact that the two human beings she knew she already loved more than anything could be gone in a matter of minutes.

First one.

Gone was what they said.

The mother tuned out, she couldn’t understand what else the doctors were saying.

All she knew was that she was never going to see her child grow.

Never going to see her live.

Never going to see her again.

All she could hope was that her sec-

Second baby.


Both now turned to dust in the wind.

The mother grew limp.

Her son was now gone too.

The lady was not to be a mother.

At this realization sorrow was able to evade her brittle bones.

Thoughts of failure, thoughts of guilt.

The lady believed it was her fault.

But no matter how much she says this to be so, it simply could have not been avoided. 

It’s not her fault that life denied their presence.

It’s not her fault that fate played its wretched game.

It’s not her fault.


The butterfly flutters its wings as my eyes swell with salty liquid.

It wasn’t my fault.

I sank to my knees and grabbed a handful of dirt.

I then blew it away, dust in the wind.

I wanted to hold on.

To feel like they weren’t gone, that they hadn’t existed at all.

But doing this was the wrong thing to do.

They had lived, they were alive, they were still my babies and still are, wherever they may be now.

I was still a mom.

I look around for two round stones which is easy to find. I stick them in the mud, face up. I gather a bundle of the prettiest flowers and put them in front of my small gravestones.

In the soft ground in front of me I write in dear loving memory of Ellie and Barret, my children forevermore.

The butterfly flies it’s gentle self onto the stones, almost like a soft caress.

With that under resolve, I look up.

Wind shutters through my scalp, flowing against my hair.

I didn’t know where I was, but it was where I wanted to be.

A place perfect to raise children.

A place perfect to remember.

A place perfect to feel.

I grabbed the pill bottle out of my purse.

I opened it and dumped the remaining pills onto my palm and shut it closed, crushing them.

I opened my hand again then, pouring the broken pieces onto the innocent floor.


I felt it through my every being, looking over this beautiful world.

April 22, 2021 02:06

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

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