I'm happy to write short stories again in this lovely community, #TheInkWell, run by @jayna, @agmoore, and @gracielaacevedo. This time the prompt is "Railroad"; you can check on the details here.
It was challenging for me, which is good. There's no progress in life without that +1 we must assimilate. I've never seen a train in real life, only in movies. I had to make a great effort to stop thinking about Lumet's Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Zemeckis'The Polar Express (2004), Bong Joon Ho's Snowpiercer (2013), and other movies and the books... because anything that I could write was never going to be as good and entertaining as those works, and it made me feel unmotivated. Worst writer's block ever.
Fortunately, I got to figure out a story, and here's my "exercise." My fellow Hivezen, I hope we can share impressions about your writing and mine. I'll be happy to read your story and your reading is much appreciated.
Maria José spotted the train in the distance and thought she had plenty of time; it’d take its sweet time arriving at the station two miles away, and this was a good distance for it to get up to speed again. It wouldn’t be like always; this time Juan was not there to tell her jokes and make up stories about the places they would visit if they had a million dollars, while she pretended to be amused and unworried about their chances in life because she loved him that much.
She walked towards the place where the train had hit her boyfriend, Juan. It had hit him really hard, killing him on the spot. She examined the structure, trying to go back to that moment and get into his skin; she knelt on the sleepers and caressed the steel rail softly like it was part of him; she felt the ballast among her fingers, wondering if he was still there. She lay down between the tracks, expecting to learn something about the circumstances of his death, something that helped her understand him and, perhaps, stop feeling guilty.
Her eyes looked up at the sky while her neck pressed against the hardness of the steel; she remembered his father slapping him on the back of his neck and back, Move, boy! It was getting dark already, and she felt the weight of the night hovering over the lonely steppe. The train had been scheduled to reach the town at six and leave an hour later again; it was six forty-five. An early full moon surprised her; it was a nice still frame to take to eternity. Juan must've felt this lonely and scrutinized by this sky, she thought.
Three days ago Juan had committed suicide. The railroad that would take him away to distant lands of magic finally did it at 7 p.m. The morning of that day, they’d had an argument. María José tried to make him understand once more that it was too soon to become parents. She was nineteen and had left school three years earlier to work; through those years, she never gave up on her dream of finishing and going to college. She was only two weeks late, but she was sure about what to do in case she was actually pregnant. When she told Juan she had made up her mind, he got angry. He was a child, too; he’d turn twenty next month. She would expect him to be afraid to become a parent, but no; he kept on repeating, this could be a sign, something that destiny sends us to have a reason to go on, to keep trying. She didn’t understand it then, but she did now.
The wave propagation made the ground shake, and she vibrated with it, too, but the loose sandy soil offered little resistance, making it feel more like resonating than shaking. Her body liked it; her ideas of Juan and the guilt trembled and escaped her conscience, so her blood began to feel warm again. The silvery moon looked at her soul with her one round, huge eye illuminating every secret, every regret. She felt naked and clean.
The railroad tracks leaded away from her town and the only life she’d ever known. The train would take her finally and end the pain, the purposelessness; no more blinding daylight, no more struggle, no more push. That was how he felt. It was so much like him, thinking of unreal solutions. He was just a kid; he’d always be a kid.
She got up and saw the train pass before her. It hit her hard and killed her on the spot. The moon had witnessed it. That day the girl died and she became an adult. Life pushes you like that. She’d take a bag the next day, buy a train ticket and go forward with a purpose, little money and important decisions yet to be made.