First time for everything - Destination1
So, I've never done blogs before. I kinda hope someone reads this, it'd put a cheeky grin on my face if they did. *Grins!*
So I thought I'd share a piece called Destination with you guys. It's episodic, and I'm using shorter chapters than I usually do, so I reckon it's pretty good for blogging.
It's a sort of experiment - I'm trying to investigate the nature of death entirely through metaphor, but as soon as I thought of that idea I realised it might be quite depressing reading. So, I decided to make it a bit fun. Resembling Alice in Wonderland a little, I decided to incorporate the most eccentric and bizarre characters I could - all very different from each other in their own ways. I asked my friends for help in the creation of several of these characters (as a result some are more mundane than others, because not all my friends are as crazy as I am) and the end result is rather interesting.
Having ranted on about the eccentric characters involved, I'm afraid to say that none of them appear in the first blog... Yeah, sorry.
Chapter 1. The Train
Mia Turner has just died. She is sure of this fact.
She is sitting in the upper branches of a tree, gazing out over a road, and on that road are two vehicles. A red mini has veered off the road to the comparative safety of a hedge, narrowly avoiding colliding with a taxi coming the other way. The taxi, whose speed was the cause of the near collision, has thrown his steering wheel to the left, mounting the pavement with some speed and hitting several objects before eventually coming to rest at a lamppost. The driver’s face has been thrown into an airbag, but his neck is twisted strangely and Mia thinks he may be dead.
A little girl’s body is curled around the bonnet of the taxi. Her legs are broken here and there, so that they stick out at odd angles, and glass from the front window has smashed all over her. There is blood all over her torso and arms, one of which dangles lifelessly over the side mirrors, frozen into immobility by the still cold weather, though it is not long until rigor mortis starts to set in.
The child’s face is upturned, an expression of shock registered in wide green eyes, with what had been a smile still fading from her dimpled cheeks. She wears a blue dress, decorated with daisies around the bottom – embroidery by a doting grandmother.
Yes, Mia realises; she is dead. Her body is down below her, where she remembers being hit, though she doesn’t remember how she got here. And why is she here? She has a vague feeling that she is waiting, but if so, what is she waiting for?
While she waits absent-mindedly for the answer to the question to occur to her, she dangles her translucent legs off the edge of the branch she is resting on and hums a tune. Nobody below looks up, and she wonders if they can hear her for a moment. But in the films, she theorises, dead people are scarcely seen by people like panicky women driving minis and paramedics swarming out of their vans, because those people are so focussed on life… they don’t know that it’s too late. And even if they could see her, it wouldn’t achieve much.
A distant rushing sound fills Mia’s earlobes, the sound of a train approaching. It’s a sound she recognises because her father has always treated her exactly like her older brother, and this includes watching hour-long documentaries about trains. Mia has always liked trains, but looking at them on a television set has never had much of a thrill to it. What she loves is to ride on one for hours, enjoying the rhythm of the tracks rattling the carriage from side to side and making her teeth chatter if she grits them tight together. She wonders if there is a train coming for a few moments, before considering the fact that there are no railway lines near her house and she has never seen a train go past when staying with her mother. This thought surprises her, but nonetheless she looks around to search for any sort of train.
On the ground there is no sign of a train or even a railway line, but when she looks to her right she sees an old-fashioned steam train descending from the clouds, which are dense and grey. Impossible though it seems, it is heading straight for her treetop rest stop, chugging slower as it pulls in to the branch she is sitting on.
The train is painted matt black all over, and choking black steam shoots out of the top of the engine with alarming suddenness. The windows too are dark, and they are tiny things, with sliding wooden frames that look old, but not worn out. The noise of the hydraulic “chugga-chugga” slows down as it approaches, and eventually stops altogether as the brakes are nosily applied and the train screeches to a halt.
A door opens, and Mia feels an odd tugging within her, a strange desire to get on this train and never look back, but she hesitates a little as she stands and reaches for the doorway. She glances down to the scene below her, which is now being controlled by a ginger moustached man, perhaps the chief paramedic, who is barking out orders with lightning precision.
She gazes at this for a few seconds, then back at the train. There is something unearthly about it, almost as though it inhabits a separate dimension, but now, so does she. She belongs on the train, and she knows it. One step later, she stands in a tiny compartment – some sort of space between carriages, staring obsessively at the conductor.
She knows it’s rude to stare, but she can’t help herself.
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