Outwitted #TwitteringTales

The detective stood on the empty platform, casually smoking a cigarette and watching the steam train rolling in through the heavy down pour of rain.

This was the moment he had been waiting for. The carriage doors open, steam billowed and the hunt for the murder was finally over.

 

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2019/03/12/twittering-tale-127-12-march-2019/ with thanks).

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The Santa Express #FridayFictioneers

The Dobson family stood on the platform wowing over the red steam engine billowing out clouds of smoke.

‘It’s the Harry Potter train!’ Cat cried.

Her parents laughed, ‘no, it’s Santa’s train!’

They boarded an empty compartment and sat on rough red plush, lumpy spring box seats.

The train whistled, pulled off jerkily then gained speed and soon was chugging through the Yorkshire Moors.

Sometime later, Santa appeared and handed out presents.

Cat received a soft toy pony and Harley a set of toy cars. They played whilst their parents sipped warm mulled wine and watched the countryside go by.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/12/05/7-december-2018/ with thanks).

Out Of Control #TaleWeaver

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Police Constable Williams surveyed the scene then slightly lifted his heavy black helmet to scratch his thinning brown hair. He had worked this beat for so long, he knew it like the contents of his house. All the people were like old friends and he had a good thing going with all the factory owners.

This though….This was just something Williams didn’t know what to do about. He wrapped his fingers around the handle of his cool wooden police baton, feeling comforted by the familiarity of the weapon. Then, he looked again, trying hard to understand what his eyes were seeing.

In the middle of the busy cobblestone main street was the wreckage of an iron steam engine train. The front was wedged into the upturned pavement, the body angled up to the building above and the coal truck behind flatted against the wall. The start of the first carriage could be above, balanced on the edge but trapped in place by the coal truck. The wheels and pistons were still moving, though the train was clearly going no where.

Bricks and wood planks of the ruined factory which the train had fallen out of, lay scattered everywhere. Grey steam curled for the train’s funnel and there was the smell of burning coal and fire. People were gathered in the protection of the other buildings, looking in horror and shock. Shouts and screams echoed the Wiliams’ ears.

The sound of a police whistle brought the Williams back and he moved carefully closer to the wreckage looking to see if anyone needed assistance. He could not see much due to the raising dust and steam. The noise of the train’s wheels and pistons were loud and blocked out anybody’s cries for help.

‘Constable!’ a voice called.

Williams turned as a young man dressed in a black police uniform hurried over then stopped as he saw the unreal scene.

‘I don’t know what happened,’ Williams answered the unasked question, ‘just fetch some more help will you!’

The young constable nodded and turned away.

Running footsteps from the opposite direction caused Williams to try and appear around the steam train. Out of the mess came a group of men dressed in simple working factory clothes; dirty white shirts, black trousers, leather waist coats, gloves, flat caps and goggles.

‘It was an accident!’ one of the man cried.

Williams recognised him as Thomas Smith, the oldest son of the factory’s owner.

‘A likely story,’ Williams muttered.

‘She just shot forward and there was nothing we could do,’ Thomas explained with some wild hand gestures.

‘And what exactly where you doing?’ Williams demanded.

‘Well, we were-‘

A short man, Williams thought was called Henry Pitcher, nudged Thomas in the ribs, making him stubble over his words and go silent.

‘It’s top secret, sir!’ Henry declared loudly.

‘Well, it’s not very secret now is it,’ Williams said, pointing at the train, ‘answer me, what in the devil’s name is going on!’

‘We just experimenting…’ Thomas came back in, ‘we have all the correct permissions. I can show you.’

Williams cocked an eyebrow, not sure he truly believed that. He had had issues with this group of men before and there ‘experiments.’ It had only been little disturbances before though but they had really landed themselves in trouble.

‘That’ll be proven,’ Williams muttered, ‘can you turn that thing off?’ he asked.

The men looked up at the stream train, the wheels and pistons were still going, steam was still blowing and the sound of the gears was growing deafening.

‘Not sure,’ Henry shouted, ‘we’d have to get up there and try turning things off but the coal will have to burn out before we can really do anything.’

‘It might be too dangerous,’ another man spoke out.

Williams would just have to take his word for it, he didn’t know anything about this new metal monsters, just that he was keen on them.

‘Well, I guess we’ll have to try and get it down,’ Williams mused.

‘Leave it to us, sir,’ Thomas said and the men started to scatter around the steam train.

Soon enough, other police arrived and the crowd had grown larger. Some plan was put in place and with the strength of many men and horses, the train pistons were stopped and whole thing was lowered on to it’s side in the street. The coal truck was also lowered but it was too crushed to be saved.

The night was arriving and with the loss of light they had to stop. Williams lent against the wall of the building next door. It had been along day and he was ready for bed. He looked up and spotted an airship flying low above the roof tops of London, parting through the clouds.

Williams started walking home, thinking; I do not know this world anymore, everything is changing too fast. I guess I had better change with it then.  

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/06/21/tale-weaver-176-june-21st-trains/ with thanks).

Balloons

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I walked out to the abandoned train track and blew up the party balloons one by one. I tried string to them when I was done and found a rock to hold them down with. Then as my therapist had suggested; I choice a blue balloon, said one of my worries aloud and let it go. I watched the balloon floating away, my worry with it. Then I selected another one, yellow this time, I said my worry and let the balloon go. I carried on until all the balloons and my worries had gone.

(Inspired by; https://carrotranch.com/2018/03/09/march-8-flash-fiction-challenge/ with thanks).

No Longer #3LineTales

Bob still couldn’t believe that underground train network was closed down as he started to turn off the lights. It had only been open a few years but its’ popularity hadn’t been able to save it when the business and economy had gone bust. Still he’d somehow held on to his cushy night watchman’s job, even if all he was guarding now were empty stations and tracks.

(Inspired from; https://only100words.xyz/2018/02/08/three-line-tales-week-106/ with thanks).

Christmas Eve

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The moon shone of the freshly fallen snow, making it sparkly like diamonds. The little girl sighed and felt the chilly night air deep in her lungs. She should be home, safely tugged in bed, waiting for Father Christmas to arrive, but she wasn’t.

The train station platform the girl stood on was empty expect for her and her mother. They were waiting for the midnight train which was bringing father back to them. Huddled in her new white cloak, the girl looked up at the clear sky and full moon. A shadow in shape she recognised passed by and she pointed excitedly upwards; it was Father Christmas in his sled!

The sound of a train broke the silence as it pulled into the station, black smoke pluming through the air. There was a hiss of steam and squeal of wheels as the train stopped before them. The girl clutched her mother’s skirts and half hide behind her.

The handful of carriage doors opened and only a few people got out. The girl saw her father coming towards her and broke into a run, tugging her mother to do the same. They embraced, all hugging each other and talking at once.

Safe in the arms of her parents, the little girl looked to the sky once more and thanked Father Christmas for the best present she could have asked for.

Gone #ThreeLineTales

three line tales week 90: New York subway

On the wrong train! Was in hurry just got on the 1st 1 it’s full of strange people who keep staring at me it’s dead quiet no 1 is doing anything. Should get off at the next stop but scared 2.  

(Inspired from; https://only100words.xyz/2017/10/19/three-line-tales-week-90 with thanks).

Querulous #atozchallenge

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Querulous; complaining in a whining manner. 

Mum said I was just too much and this would be better all around. I didn’t believe her though but there wasn’t much I could do about it. I’d never travelled by myself before and it was a long way to go to Aunt Maggie’s. I’d be excited about going on the train, but now two hours later, I was bored.

The train was rattling loudly and clicking over the rails. Rain was hitting the window and the countryside was racing past in blurs of green and yellows. I couldn’t focus on counting sheep or other animals now. For awhile, I had watched the old woman, who I was sharing this carriage compartment with, but then she had fallen sleep.

She reminded me of my great grandmother because of all the wrinkles and old dress. The woman had been reading, then knitting a scarf, then eating lunch before she had gone to sleep. I was tried too, but feeling awake. Leaning against the window ledge, I watched the rain and began thinking.

I wasn’t being sent away because I was bad, mum had made sure to tell me that, it was because she wasn’t well. She needed someone to look after her and there was no one, so she had to go to hospital which meant there was no one to look after me. I couldn’t be by myself, not just because I’m only thirteen, but because I have autism.

Autism is a hard thing to explain to people, so I don’t talk about it often. Mum says, I’m not different, I’m normal, but I just have a special way of thinking and doing things. There are lots of other people like me and they have their own ways too, just like everyone else does. I wish I didn’t have it though. If I was normal, I could look after myself and mum better.

Instead, I’ve to go to Aunt Maggie’s though I’ve not seen her for years and she’s not really my aunt but a very old friend of mum’s. I don’t know how much she knows about me, but mum says she’s really nice and with it being half term, I won’t have to move schools. Hopefully, she’ll be nice and let me play games and read my comic books all the time.

I had been fighting going to Aunt Maggie’s for the last two weeks. Mum had slowly started suggesting it along side explain things to me. I told her I could stay in the hospital with her or someone else could look after me. What about my normal babysitter, Nancy? I really like her and she always makes me laugh. I’d have anyone, I plead; even Mrs. Cramps, the crazy lady who smells bad and lives at the end of the street.

No, mum had said, no one else can do it. Please don’t make this harder. Be a good boy.

I was a good boy, but I didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay with her. I wanted to stay in my bed, in my room, in my house. I didn’t want to go to some place new. I don’t like new things, especially if it’s noisy. Mum knew that and still she had tried to make me excited about going. It hadn’t really worked even though the train had been a nice distraction.

That’s how she’d really got me on the way to Aunt Maggie’s and the bag fill of snacks, toys and comics. Now, I was getting close to arriving and meeting Aunt Maggie, my mind had changed again. No longer did the way mum had put things make a difference. I just knew it was going to be too hard. I couldn’t be good if I didn’t like it. That was just the way it worked.

I shut my eyes, listening to the rain falling and the old woman snoring. I’d try my best I decided then if I was really good, maybe I’d be able to go home faster.

The Dying Light (Part 1)

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 Nathaniel arrived late at night on the tiny train station platform, tried and dirty from the journey. As the old steam train pulled away behind him, he looked around, loosely clutching his large case in one hand at his side. There was a small hut with a single door and window to his right. A light in an old fashioned black case with a fancy pointed dome on top hung over the door.

He went to the window and looked in, but it was dark inside. He tried the door but it was locked. Sighing, he walked away and back to the middle of the platform. There was nothing else here and no other source of light. For a few moments, he wondered if this was a dream; had he fallen a sleep on the train?

Then from far in the distance came a flash of white light and Nathaniel saw for a few seconds what lay before him. Stretching as far as he could see was a marshland. Large pools of dark water, some of which were half hidden by the giant reeds created moats around islands of tall grass. Unseen bullfrogs croaked loudly and splashed into the deep waters, their sounds the only thing that could be heard.

‘Yes, I’m dreaming,’ he uttered, ‘this can’t really be the place!’

He went back to the hut’s door and banged loudly on it. The lantern above his head swung, creaking on a short chain. No one answered the door.

‘Hello? Is anyone in there?’ Nathaniel shouted, ‘I’m Father Tawny and I’m looking for Mrs. Fitz. She called me to give aid in her dying hour.’

His voice faded and he listened hard but still heard nothing. At a lost for want to do, Nathaniel paced the tiny platform which was actually only a few feet across. His case swung about then he placed it down and carried on walking back and forth. Every so often he would see the flash of white light in the distance and catch a glance of the dark marshland.

‘God, I could do with some guidance,’ Nathaniel muttered, ‘how am I to get over there?’

He quickened his pacing as he tried to think. He went back to the hut again and double checked the door. He rattled the handle hard and without really meaning to give the door a sharp kick. Suddenly, the door handle and lock came away in his hand, the wood splintering loudly. Nathaniel stumbled backwards as the door squeaked open.

He looked down, seeing the handle and lock in his hand. Glancing around he made sure no one had seen him then walked into the hut. The door, he noticed had totally rotted away which had made it easier for the handle and lock to come away. He set them on a small desk and looked around in the gloomy light.

There was hardly anything inside the hut. He found a stack of tickets, a few pens, an empty water bottle, a box of matches, four candles and a large lantern. Upon realising this, he thanked God, collected the last three items and took them outside under the light above the door.

Inspecting the lantern, Nathaniel saw it was a simply made long rectangle with black iron and thick glass panels. The handle was a massive hoop like that of a door handle and seemed quite secure. The door was a latch lock and it took a few moments for Nathaniel to open it. Picking the biggest candle, he placed it inside and lit a match. The tiny flame glowed brightly then become two as the wick caught.

Removing the match, Nathaniel shook it out then closed the lantern door. The candle light made a nice circle to see by.

‘Thank you, Father,’ Nathaniel whispered.

Putting the other candles and matches into his long brown coat’s pockets, he picked up the lantern and his case. Moving the light around the platform, he walked to the nearest corner and looked down at the train tracks which led away from the mash. The distant white light flashed by and he turned his head towards it in time to see something at the opposite corner.

There was attached to the edge of the platform a wooden plank. He approached slowly, letting the light show him the way. The plank was attached to a second one then a third by thinning ropes on either sides. It was a bridge just above the marshland. The planks were dark, but dry and seemed to led towards the distance flashing light.

Nathaniel reached a booted foot out and stepped onto the plank. There was a small groan and slight shifting movement. He put his other foot on and uttering a pray moved on to the next one. The bridge held his weight and underneath him rose the smell of stagnate water with rotting vegetation. A bullfrog crocked loudly close by, startling him and Nathaniel saw the long legs of said bullfrog jump off the bridge and splash into a pool below.

Swallowing, Nathaniel tightened his grip on his case and lantern, started whispering another prayer and walked further into dark marsh.

 

To Be Continued…

(This story was originally written for Sue’s Thursday Photo Prompt Lantern. However, I decided it was too long and I wanted to divided it up into smaller parts, making it unsuitable for the prompt. Sometimes, my story ideas demand to be longer and I like to do them justice, so that what they want to tell can happen. So, please enjoy this story and if you like it please give me a like and share it with your friends. Feel free to leave comments too, I love hearing feedback and it helps inspire me to write more. Also, if you are not already please follow my blog. I’d love to get up to 500 followers this year! I’m currently at 327 followers. Thanks, Hayley)

Love Don’t Bother (Part 4)

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Trying not to over think as the train whizzed me away and rain pelted the windows, I set my thoughts on my work and the week ahead. For some reason, though I couldn’t get the image of Darcy, Amelia, Alex and Luke sat on the sofa eating Chinese food. My cruel mind put words in their mouth and I hear Alex say, ‘good job she’s not here or she would have eaten all the food already!’

Darcy chines in with, ‘You know she’s addicted to prawn crackers. I saw her eat two whole bags once!’

‘Hey, there’ll be left overs for lunch tomorrow!’ Amelia points out.

Then maybe, Luke might tell them to stop being mean to me. Alex will laugh and say, ‘it’s fine, she’s not here, she won’t care!’

I shake my head and swallow a lump in my throat. I try to convince myself that they would never have that kind of conversation about me, but as the train pulls into the station it’s too deeply planted in my head.

I get off the train and hurry through the ticket gate, which I almost get stuck in. Without looking back, I go to the automatic doors and step outside in the rain. I wipe my face and sweep my hair back, enjoying the cold air on my skin. The crowd is crazy, but everyone gives me a wide berth and though no one is staring at me, I know they all see me. How can they miss me? The giant wearing blanket size clothes.

‘Marcy? Marcy?’

I turn at my name and see Ben coming through the doors. He looks smart in black trousers and a pale blue shirt. He’s unbuttoned the first few buttons and I can see a v shape of his chest. His large stomach hangs low, strapped in by a black belt. He’s dark brown hair is neatly cut short and his face looks tried and concerned.

‘Hi,’ I say softly.

‘Are you okay? Did you have a panic attack on the train again?’ he asks.

I shake my head. He reaches out and takes my hand. His fingers are warm and soft.

‘Let’s go and eat. You’ll feel better.’

I nod and let him led me off into the city.

The bad weather hasn’t stopped people – mostly the students, from a night out. The bars, pubs and clubs already seem busy. We weave through everyone and the streets, passing a Superlambanana statue on the way. They are a new icon of Liverpool; with the body of a sheep and tail of a lamb covered in brightly coloured paint. I feel drawn to stop and look, but Ben tugs me on.

We reach my favourite restaurant and Ben opens the door. The smell of burgers and fried onions hangs in the air. We take the second window booth in the small sixties America themed room. The long counter is directly to my left and it stretches all the way to the back where the toilets are. On the other side of it is a row of plastic red chairs and matching tables as well as two more read leather booths at the end.

The walls are covered with all sorts of memorabilia and Americana. Most of its sixties rock ‘n’ roll, with framed records and photos. A red electric guitar hangs a meter or so above my head. The sign claiming it belonged to some rock singer I’ve never heard of. It always reminds me of Back To The Future.

Feeling soaked, I take off my jacket and grab a menu. It feels slightly sticky in my hands, but I turn the pages anyway. I scan the words, but don’t really take them in, my thoughts have switch to wondering why I’m here. Of course, to have a date with Ben, but was it actually worth it? Maybe my time would have been better spent studying some more and stuffing my face full of Chinese food.

‘You look nice,’ Ben says suddenly.

I glance over and thank him.

A waiter appears and politely takes our drinks order, a strawberry milkshake for me and a vanilla one for Ben.

Then Ben reaches over and takes my hands in his. He rubs my knuckles and watches the movement.

‘Thank God you text me when you did,’ I speak out, ‘I sort of forgot we were meeting tonight. I was busy studying.’

‘Glad I did then and you study too much!’ Ben responses.

I shrug, ‘a PhD is a lot of work.’

‘And what will you do when it’s done next year?’

‘Stay at the uni, hopefully.’

I trail off and look outside at the rain and the city lights. I can just about hear people laughing and talking. Ben is staring at me, I can feel it, waiting for me to go on, but I don’t want to talk. My mood feels like the weather; depressed and gloomy. Ben is still stroking my hands.

‘I really like you, Marcy,’ he says.

I snap back to him, ‘what? We’ve only met twice now…’

‘So?’ he presses and smiles at me.

I press my lips together and smile back, I can’t help it. He’s cute with his baby chubby cheeks and long black eye lashes. There’s something infections about his orange slice smile and laughing eyes.

The waiter returns and we are forced to break hands as the drinks are placed down.

‘Ready to order food?’ he asks.

‘I’ll have a chicken burger, please’ I say.

Ben ponders, glances at the menu then, ‘can I have the bbq chicken pizza?’

‘Of course, thank you,’ the waiter speaks and turns away.

I watch him go and place the order in even though the chef is right behind him. Looking further up, I notice the last booth next to the toilets is occupied. Two young teenage looking boys are staring at me and I can make out a third too, but all I can see is his sticking up hair. The boys look away and carry on with what they are doing.

A wave of nerves wiggles in my stomach and I turn back to the window. I just know they are talking about me…

‘Marcy? Are you feeling okay?’ Ben asks, he’s been sipping his milkshake.

‘Sure,’ I mutter and take a drink of mine, though I wish it was alcohol.

‘Look, I know that was a bit sudden, but you said we had to be honest about everything with each other. So I was just being,’ Ben explains.

I stir the straw in the thick shake, wrestling with myself over what to say.

Ben leans back, his hands pressing down the table top, ‘it’s fine if you don’t like me…I really thought you did though…’

‘I do! It’s just that…’ I take a deep breath, ‘I’m worried you only want one thing…’

His lips twitch and form an O as he makes that sound.

I shrug, ‘why else would you want to date me? I’m not pretty and I have all these issues.’

‘You’re completely wrong. You are very pretty and your issues are not all of you,’ Ben cries.

‘Really?’ I look up through my eye lashes, trying to judge his words.

‘Yes. And of course that’s the ultimate goal, but I’m happy to wait and right now I’m just enjoying your company,’ Ben adds.

I smile, feeling the nerves being overtaking with tingles of delight.

‘A chicken burger and a pizza?’

We both look up and let go of each other’s hands. The waiter places the food down, tells us to enjoy and leaves.

‘Do you really mean that?’ I ask.

Ben nods and unfolds his napkin, ‘wouldn’t say it if I didn’t.’

‘Good.’

I pick up my cutlery and spear a chip. Putting it in my mouth, I watch Ben chopping on a slice of pizza and I just feel things are going to work out between us.