Next treehouse illusion *a short story

Submitted into Contest #27 in response to: Write a short story that takes place on a train.... view prompt



" John, are you sure you're going to be okay up there?" I ask him, he's laying on his back on the top of the running train. He smiles-a genuine smile, one that not too many people understand nor do- and says, " Robin, I'm going to be alright. Don't worry about me."

I believe him, and continue with the problem at hand: in order to not be caught.

You see when you are the age of sixteen-years-old and you simply "snuck" your way into a train going to Geneva, Switzerland, you definitely don't want to get caught when you're only five hours away from your destination.

But, first off, why Geneva?

" Ma'am are you going to sit there?" A boy who looks to be about my age asks me before abruptly-deciding without a clear response- sitting on the seat right across from me.

I give him that I-really-don't-want-you-to-sit-there face, before looking back out the window (as a form of ignoring him) with a sigh.

John tells me, " Just talk to him. He's a human being, you are a human being. Just. Talk." He's floating-like the ghost he is- down the side of the window-that I'm looking out at- and observes my whole "avoiding humanity" situation, with pure delight.


" Would you like to take the window?" I ask him, mostly just out of curiosity.

"Yeah! Thank you, ma'am" The boy says.

A few minutes later, a plump elderly woman with a nest of frizzy white hair appears. She starts scolding the boy-for not sitting with her and his family at the back of the train- and says to me, " I'm so sorry dearie, he will be coming with us." She then pulls the boy by the ear and leads him to the back of the train.

Well, so much for talking to a regular human being.

--- --- -- -- --- - -

They say that John died.

They even made a grave for him.

But they’re wrong, how can he be dead when he’s right next to me?

After he came back from the hospital 6 years ago, he’s become invisible. When the sirens took him away that night, he came back to only me. “He’s right here” I insisted to my ma, yet she still dug a grave for him. She still held a funeral for him, and everyone came. No one except me knows he isn’t rotting away in a casket.

“Aren’t you lonely?” I ask.

“A little; the best of people is always alone, after all.”

Well, one thing is for sure-and that I’m certain of- he was certainly writers-blocking himself; just to indicate the little bits of fancy and flair into the situation.

“Dear brother, do you ever FEEL the sudden rush of blood when you see a human, such as me?” I ask him, like he definitely wasn’t human four years ago.

He chuckled and took my hand in his; he felt so cold like he was catching the flu or something. But, then again-yet- ghosts can’t:

Catch influenza.

When John and I were kids: him ten years of age, and I a mere six-year-old, we used to play a game of tag combined with hide and seek. This was a form of play that John’s best friend Beth invented in the fourth grade. It was a game full of twists and turns, fun and glory. Twists: because we always played this game near the local city central park. Turns: probably it was just me and my bounce of energy that was static across the entire GAME itself. Fun: well, it was superb. And glory: because it was something that only children played and found the satisfaction of playing it in general-that is.

“Robin, can you give this to your brother?” Beth said one day, handing me a bouquet of fine red and yellow roses; her face flushed a deep burgundy.

“What for?”

She rolled her eyes, and continued, “Just a little get well present”

“But he hasn’t had the flu since last week. Oh- “I glance over to her raven-pitch-black chiffon dress, her lobster-red hair wisped in the aroma of Chanel perfume and lemongrass straight from her grandfather’s farm; which was probably where she was at an hour ago.

In the end-however- John never did get well, nor did he even HAVE the flu.

         The saddest part of life is not the fact, but the reality of the fact. If I was like everyone else, I would’ve mourned during my brother’s funeral. But, why would I mourn for someone whom never have left this Earth to begin with?

I think about this as the train runs.

I think about the ghost-that is John- as it roams above the train. The ghost that no one in the train knows is there.

--- --- -- --- -- -- -

After an hour rolls by, the train skids to a stop. SCREECH! The wheels of the train scratch against the railroad.

"What the hell just happened?" The motorman at the front of the train says out loud. The windows go foggy; but cool to the touch. Smoke lifts into the air: they are here.

Their bat wings emerge from their backs, their rusty horns glimmer on their heads. Half-human faces that are beautiful, their other halves are ghoulish and bloody. Blood drips down from the tip of their noses, nether less. But, each is built with lean muscle, they are all male.

One of them, the one called Andrew, breaks in from the back of the train door. He doesn't transform this time.

Into his TRUE form.

" Which one of you is Robin?" His voice quivers, he's pleading.

I rise from my seat and walk over to where he stands. He lifts me princess-style and leaps out of the train. I am shook with fear, and in fear I say, " Why are you here?" I ask him. " Robin. You...Are.....Really.....Here." He says slowly, and he holds me tightly.

" I missed you so much. Everyone misses you. Please! Come home." He pleads me, as If I had the choice.

He was a human-devil and I was a human who could see human-devils and ghosts.

What he was asking for me: to retain my abilities in hell and lead the lot of them....No. I couldn't do that.

Never could, never will.

---- -- -- -- -- -- -- -

I try to recall those days in which I could see the what boy. The one illusion that could never get out of my limp brain.

Now, all I recall are those moments that I had now.

I cry out of vain, and I'm back on the train.

--- --- -- -- --- -- - -- -

Three hours before.

" Robin, if you hate me, you don't have to do this. But, please know that you ARE our only hope to win this war." Andrew said sadly.

" What war?" I ask him.

" The war between Satan and God. The one war that has been put off for so long.... Centuries, eons it has been. I've waited for you-for so long...." He places a light kiss on my cheek.

And, with that, he brings me back to the train; as if nothing ever happened.

----- -- --- -- --- --- -

I remember the first time that I ever saw and witnessed an illusion. This certainly wasn't one of those "illusions".

A few more hours past: then we are here.

The clear teal lakes, the snowy buildings, the fluorescent-green plants. Beautiful flowers-all in bright and beautiful colors, are seen from the train windows. But it was cold.

" Ok, all passengers, please exit on your left of the train exit-doors." The train driver announces.

And, hand in hand, me and John make our way to our first destination:

Mount Blanc.

Why? Because this was the place that Andrew was born. This was the place that the first ghost-seeing-woman, Ms.Edna Eggen was born.

And, that's where we will realize all that we've questioned.

People say that we are all driven by our ability to succeed-but for me- I'm driven by my ability to know. To know why I was born this way. To know why I can see my illusions.

Clutching the list of club activities-from school- that Emi had compiled for me to join his spring semester, I let go of that list.

The piece of paper with Emi's scribbled handwriting flies across: past the lakes, past the people, into the wind like a lost balloon.

" Are you ready for this, Robin?" My brother-and only brother- John asks me. " I know that Ms. Eggen told me that you need training. And I know FOR SURE that this is the right choice."

"Yes. It is."

The training to fight against my demons, the what boy, the whole fiasco of half-human-devils.

But, did I truly want to?

I'm not sure.

I remember all those days that Andrew would be there for me, he'd help me when I was lonely, he'd cheer me up when I was sad. But, like the devil he was, he sought revenge: using me to help him defeat the angels so he could be set free.

And, I didn't want that.

And, with that, I'm off the train.

February 03, 2020 00:00

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