RDP Wednesday: AWAKENING
When Eldin Barnes was a teenager, and he will tell you that this was about a hundred years ago , he discovered a train on a set of dead end tracks in the woods behind his house.
The two cars were covered by blackberry bushes and ivy, they were surrounded by Pine trees and smooth gray deadfall. When it was covered with snow during the winter the train looked like headless body laying on it’s back and when it rained rodents and cats took shelter inside of the rusted cars and watched each other through narrowed eyes until it stopped.
One car used to be a passenger car. It was full of wooden seats eaten by wood rot and age. The other car was the engine and no matter how how hot or cold it was outside the windows were always foggy with warm running droplets of water.
The train, Eldin Barnes said to me, was sweating.
About a week after finding the train ( hiding he wondered at first- was it hiding? ) Eldin found himself jumping at the sounds of train whistles ( which he heard often because the main tracks and the station was only 2 miles from the Barnes’ home ) and sometimes the sound of car doors slamming shut made him feel like the air had evaporated from his lungs and he had to force himself to take a breath.
It was a long week and thinking back on it Eldin would say it was like going through a handful of days knowing that at the end of those days you were going to end up at a Dentist’s office. The days rushed by but the hours inside of them seemed to creep along.
Like I said, it was a long week.
And then on an unseasonable warm Spring evening Eldin fell asleep in the family room watching TV. That was the best room in the house to sleep in on warm nights. It was always cool in there.
So in that cool comfortable room and in the deepest part of his sleeping mind, Eldin heard something was whispering in his ear and had he been able to make a sound when he realized what it was, he was pretty sure he would have been a screamed himself awake.
Instead Eldin woke up in stages, nightmarishly slow stages. Eldin thought he heard a train whistle and the grunt of an engine but no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t open his eyes. But he knew he must. He knew that he had to wake up because something was outside his house. Something big. Something that hissed and whispered as it slid along the ground.
He took a ragged breath and told himself to concentrate- slowly his left eye opened halfway. His right refused to open at all but he rolled off of the couch and then he stood up and his leaden legs seemed to float under him and that is how he got to the sliding glass door.
He pulled the blinds back and there it was.
The train from the Woods.
Only Instead of two neglected cars there were a dozen slick green and black cars.
Every single window was glowing a soft shade of red, the engine was hissing and the train was circling Eldin’s house exactly the same way a snake circles it’s prey before it squeezes it to death and then swallows it whole- and sometimes still alive ( or so I’ve been told ).
” Go away. ” he tried to yell. ” Get the hell away!”
The Train, wasn’t moving like a train.It didn’t sound like a train because Eldin was pretty sure it was breathing and he was positive that if he touched it he wouldn’t feel metal under his hand. He’d feel muscle- and that wasn’t possible, was it?
The train kept circling Eldin’s house and it came closer and closer and then…
Eldin says he woke up
in the Woods on a little hill next to the train.
Eldin told me that after that night he went back to his house and came back with a crow bar and an axe and he tried the best he could to pry up some of the track. It was pointless, so he settled for burying it instead.
Now the train only had a little track left in front of it and almost none behind it and he wondered how many other people had the same idea he did.
Eldin said messing with the tracks must have done the trick because the Train has stayed where it was.
” Are you sure Eldin?” I asked.
Eldin, who in case I forgot to mention it, never did get his right eye to open after that night he found himself in the Woods said to me. ” No. No I’m not sure at all.”